Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime Review: Gateway to the Galaxy?

by Jamie Inocian  March 14, 2017

We Review the Latest Budget Device from Samsung!

Not everyone can afford a flagship device. It’s the truth and though we would all love to be running around with the latest flagship device, the responsible thing to do would be to get a smartphone that’s within a certain budget. Korean brand, Samsung, has opened up several different categories within their Galaxy lineup to cater to each segment in the market. You’ve got their S series leading their charge in the battle of the flagships, their A series as their middle ground, and the budget-friendly J series. The latest device to be released by Samsung for those seeking a phone with their brand name, but are on a tight budget is the Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime. You’ve, no doubt, seen the ads featuring the angel-faced Liza Soberano promoting this phone and, today, we’re going to see what the phone has to offer and if it’s worth its asking price of Php 5,990.

Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime

  • 1.4GHz MediaTek MT6737T quad-core processor
  • Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • 1.5GB of RAM
  • 5-inch, qHD TFT display, 540 x 960 resolution
  • 8GB of storage
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with AF, LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera with LED flash
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE (Cat. 4)
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 2,600mAh removable battery

Back to the Future

Seeing and handling the Galaxy J2 Prime — and most of the J series phones for that matter — is like taking a  trip back in time, as it closely resembles the Samsung Galaxy S series phones of the past. The Korean brand has definitely retained most of their design aesthetics from its early days to make their products unmistakably Samsung. The rounded corners, textured back cover, the home button flanked by navigation keys, and even that slight camera bump really takes us back to 2013.

The Korean brand has definitely retained most of their design aesthetics from its early days to make their products unmistakably Samsung.

Despite the use of polycarbonate plastic throughout its build, the J2 Prime is well built and there’s a certain weight to it that really makes it feel like it’s solidly put together. We don’t recommend tossing it around, but we’re pretty sure it can survive a few tumbles plus a few slips here and there.

It Won’t Win Any Hearts With Its Display

As mentioned in its spec sheet, the Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime has a 5-inch qHD TFT display with a “whopping” 220 pixels per inch. While it’s okay for navigating through the phone and going through your social media feeds, the display definitely won’t impress YouTube video junkies. You’re going to be stuck at 480p video if you happen to watch a ton of YouTube videos, which means you won’t be able to fully appreciate the gorgeous footage some people take with their fancy cameras. The upside to that is, videos will load faster since you are capped to that resolution; just looking at the silver lining here.

The upside to that is, videos will load faster since you are capped to that resolution; just looking at the silver lining here.

The single speaker on the back of the device does a decent job at pumping out sound with little to no distortion at higher volumes. Don’t expect the best quality, but it gets the job done and, hey, we are talking about an entry-level phone here.


Storage Is the Main Roadblock

The J2 Prime isn’t meant for everybody and people who have used phones with better specs might be quick to dismiss the J2 Prime. It wasn’t an easy task for us to take it around as our daily driver given what we usually ask of our main devices. Honestly though, it’s a pretty decent performer once you understand its limitations. For sure you aren’t going to be multitasking with this device or going to be running the latest graphically intensive games available on the Google Play Store, but if you’re new to the Android ecosystem or just happen to be a light user who just wants to use a smartphone for calling, texting, Facebook, and messaging apps the J2 Prime is up for those tasks.

Honestly though, it’s a pretty decent performer once you understand its limitations.

The main barrier we’ve had to deal with here is its on-board storage, which is at 8GB. We installed a battery benchmark app and Dead Trigger 2 to test out if the J2 Prime could game (it actually ran the game smoothly at medium settings), and that was pretty much it. We received a warning that the storage on the J2 Prime was running out and we couldn’t even open the photo gallery. This is, of course, easily solved by a microSD card which is a definite must and immediate buy if you do end up choosing the device for your next purchase.

A big plus for the Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime is that it runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which was so last year but we have to remind you that we’re still seeing some budget phones (and a couple of mid-ranged devices here and there) still running on Lollipop.


Don’t Expect the Best Snaps

We don’t think we can mention this enough in the article, the J2 Prime is an entry-level device. In a perfect world, we would get a phone within its price range equipped with flagship specs and the best camera setup. Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world and you’ll have to manage your expectations with the cameras equipped on the J2 Prime. You won’t get the sharpest images with its 8-megapixel main shooter but it will definitely do in a pinch. The 5-megapixel front camera is a little more miss than hit with its focus, but it does have a front LED for those night time selfies; just take multiple safeties!

Lasts the Day with Light Use

It clocked in a time of 7 hours and 30 minutes in PCMark’s Work 2.0 Battery Life benchmark, which usually translates to a day of battery life with light usage. Given that we have to be out and about most of the day, we had to make sure that we brought a power bank for the J2 Prime on days that we used it as our main phone. You’ll have to top up just before leaving your desk, if you work the typical 9 to 5. If you’re tethered to a WiFi connection most of the time and use mobile data sparingly, you may be able to extend the battery life of the device enough to get home after work.

Verdict: Decent Entry-Level Phone at a Respectable Price

At this point, we may be starting to sound like a broken record when we say that the Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime is not meant for everybody. In fact, most of you might be quick to dismiss the phone with a glance at its spec sheet and that’s certainly understandable if you’re looking for a little more oomph. Samsung is clearly catering to those with less leeway in their budget for a smartphone, but want a brand-name device.

It’s true that, even at Php 5990, there’s a lot of competition and phones to peruse from both local and international manufacturers. If you do include the J2 Prime on your shortlist of devices to look at for your next purchase, prepare to address the issue of storage and ask yourself how you intend to use the device. As John had mentioned in his initial review for the device, what you do get in return for the lack of hardware on the J2 Prime is Samsung’s tried and tested software plus their great after-sales support.

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    You’re actually better off getting something else. Sticking Liza Soberano’s face on it won’t help, unless you really want a budget device.