Samsung Galaxy J6 - budget phone with compromises

Those looking for a newer budget smartphone from Samsung currently have one option: the Samsung Galaxy J6 (2018). The device – for sale for about 219 euros – has various modern tricks at home, but also looks a lot like its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017). Time to see how Samsung's latest phone performs.

Samsung Galaxy J6

Price € 219,-

Colors Black, purple and gold

OS Android 8.0

Screen 5.6 inch OLED (1480 x 720)

Processor 1.6GHz octa-core (Exynos 7 Octa 7870)

RAM 3GB

Storage 32GB (expandable with memory card)

Battery 3000 mAh

Camera 13 megapixels

(rear), 8 megapixel (front)

Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC

Format 14.9 x 7 x 0.82 cm

Weight 154 grams

Other Micro USB, Headphone Port

Website www.samsung.nl 7 Score 70

  • Pros
  • Dual SIM and Micro SD
  • Battery lasts a long time
  • Beautiful (am)oled screen
  • Negatives
  • Software policy could be clearer
  • No 5GHz Wi-Fi and automatic screen brightness
  • HD screen
  • Charging takes a long time
  • no usb-c

There is little wrong with the design of the Samsung Galaxy J6. The device is made of metal and has a plastic back that has a matte finish and feels solid. It is striking that Samsung says on its website that the J6 has a full metal housing: this is simply not true.

There is an excellent fingerprint scanner on the back of the smartphone. At the bottom you will unfortunately find an older micro-USB port and no USB-C. That's a shame because the connector only fits in one way, it takes longer to charge and micro-USB is less future-proof. We have mixed feelings about the display. Like more and more smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy J6 has an elongated 18.5:9 screen with fairly narrow edges, which results in a modern look. Samsung calls it an Infinity screen, just like on more expensive Galaxy devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S9. On the J6, however, the screen edges are thicker and the display is not curved. The budget phone does use the same type of display: an OLED panel that guarantees a beautiful color reproduction and a high contrast. On the other hand, the HD screen resolution is on the low side and the image therefore does not look as sharp. A pity, especially because most devices in this price range have a sharper full-HD screen.

Annoying cuts

However, the lower screen resolution of the Samsung Galaxy J6 does contribute to a good battery life. The Galaxy phone lasts for a day and a half without any problems, so you never have to worry about an empty battery. Please note that charging the 3000 mAh battery takes a very long time: more than three hours. There is no fast charging technology. The same goes for 5GHz Wi-Fi support: the Galaxy J6 only works at 2.4GHz. Another irritating cutback is the lack of a sensor that controls the automatic brightness of the display, meaning you have to do it yourself every time you go outside, say, and see nothing. These kinds of flaws give the impression that you have a cheap smartphone from 2014 in your hands instead of the latest affordable Samsung phone.

Hardware

The Galaxy J6 runs on 3GB of RAM and an older Samsung processor that works fine but is not the fastest. You notice this especially when playing games, starting up heavier apps and switching between apps.

It is nice that you can expand the storage memory with a micro SD card and in the meantime two SIM cards (dual SIM) can be stored in the device. The storage memory of the J6 is 32GB, of which in practice 20GB is available to the user. The remaining gigabytes are taken up by the Android operating system. Because of the nfc chip in the Galaxy J6, you can use the device for things such as contactless payment, and functions such as a 3.5 mm audio port are also present. You can protect the Galaxy phone with facial recognition, but this works through the front camera and is therefore not secure. In addition, the function works moderately in the (twilight) dark.

The flaws give the impression that you have a cheap smartphone from 2014 in your hands

Cameras

The cameras of the phone (13 megapixels at the back, 8 megapixels at the front) are comparable in quality to those of the Galaxy J5 (2017), although they are less good on paper. The cameras themselves produce excellent pictures, but don't expect too much from them. Samsung has also clearly cut back on this part. There are competing smartphones from Motorola and Nokia, for example, with noticeably better cameras, where the difference in quality is especially noticeable in dark situations and when zooming in on images.

Software

Samsung provides the Galaxy J6 with Android 8.0 (Oreo) with its Experience 9.0 software. The shell looks and works a bit differently than the standard Android version, although we do not find that a drawback. The software works fine and anyone who has used a Samsung phone before (the chance is high in the Netherlands) does not have to get used to it. The not so smart digital Bixby assistant, which is available in software and via a separate button on expensive Galaxy phones, is missing on the J6. As far as we are concerned, this is not a loss but a relief because the speech assistant does not understand Dutch and is limited in options anyway. For example, the Google Assistant that is rolling out this week for all Dutch Android users (including Samsung customers) is a better choice.

Unfortunately, Samsung's update policy is quite unclear: the Galaxy J6 will receive software support 'until at least May 2020'. The manufacturer says "to strive to give the phone a security update about four times a year", but Android upgrades are not discussed. It is likely that the new Galaxy J6 will receive an update to Android P, which will be released this fall. But when, that's still a mystery. Whether there will be more version updates after P as well. We would like Samsung to further outline its update plans to make it clear to customers which updates they can expect, just like Nokia does, for example.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy J6 is a new smartphone with several dated parts and without established technologies such as automatic screen brightness and 5GHz Wi-Fi. Add to that a fairly vague software policy and we recommend most readers choose another phone, such as the Motorola Moto G6 and G6 Plus, Nokia 6.1, Xiaomi Mi A2, and Huawei P Smart. By adding a few bucks, you can get a good and future-proof smartphone. If your budget does not extend further, the Galaxy J6 is not a bad choice, but for this money there are better models for sale.

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