Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review: Value driven

Value driven

GSMArena team, 17 July 2016.

Unboxing

The Galaxy J3 (2016) comes in an ordinary white box, which doesn't contain much other than the basics. You get an AC adapter (5.0V/1A) and a USB cable. The charger is even less powerful than the 1.5A one in the J5 (2016) for some reason. You do also get a pair of headphones.

The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) box content - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) box content - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review
The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) box content

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) 360-degree spin

The Galaxy J3 (2016) has a bit wider bezels than the J5 (2016) or the J7 (2016), but Samsung has still tried to keep the overall look and feel consistent.

The device is quite compact with a footprint of 142.3 x 71 x 7.9mm and tipping the scales at 138g. Bear in mind that this includes the 2600mAh battery as well. And even better, it is easily user-accessible by simply popping the plastic back cover - a useful feature that is becoming less and less common with the push towards slim, metal, unibody designs.

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) next to Galaxy J7 (2016) - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) next to Galaxy J7 (2016) - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) next to Galaxy J7 (2016) - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) next to Galaxy J7 (2016)

Hardware Overview

The Galaxy J3 (2016) shares the same overhauled and modernized design of its bigger and more expensive siblings. However, in terms of materials, it is much more reminiscent of the previous generation in that it relies entirely on plastic.

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review

Plus, thanks to clever coatings and painting techniques, the body does give off a metal look. Other than that, the small details are taken straight from the new Galaxy J design manual. The frame is chamfered at the front and back while the sides are finished in the phone's main color. They're also flat, for better grip.

At the back, the plain plastic cover of yesteryear is replaced by one that imitates brushed metal. While there's a camera bump, it's not irritating.

As for the main speaker and LED flash, they are still where you would expect them, on either side of the camera. These two are rather reminiscent of Samsung's older design language.

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) back - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) back - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) back

Up front, the Galaxy J3 (2016) display is not afraid to flash some oversized bezels but it's actually alright. Below it, there's Samsung's traditional Home button, which feels nice and responsive and gives pleasant feedback. It's surrounded by a capacitive Task switcher on the left and a Back button on the right. A quick double press of the Home key would start the camera.

Above the display, there's a front-facing camera on the right. Unlike the J5 (2016) and J7 (2016), there is no front LED flash, just the earpiece and proximity sensor. The phone lacks an ambient light sensor as well so the brightness level can only be adjusted manually.

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) front - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) front - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) front - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) front

The power button is on the right while the volume rocker is on the left.

Power/lock on the right, volume rocker on the left. No surprises here - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Power/lock on the right, volume rocker on the left. No surprises here - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Power/lock on the right, volume rocker on the left. No surprises here - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Power/lock on the right, volume rocker on the left. No surprises here - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review
Power/lock on the right, volume rocker on the left. No surprises here

At the bottom, you'll find the microUSB port and the main (and only) mic. The top houses the 3.5mm headphone jack only.

Bottom and top of the device - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Bottom and top of the device - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Bottom and top of the device - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review Bottom and top of the device - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review
Bottom and top of the device

Removing the back cover reveals the 2,600mAh battery as well as the microSIM and microSD card slots.

The battery is removable - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review
The battery is removable

Overall, the Galaxy J3 (2016) manages to punch above its budget in terms of look and build quality. Everything is nicely finished, tightly put together and just feels sturdy. The weight distribution is a little uneven, but still, the phone feels nice in the hand.

In the hand - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review In the hand - Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) review
In the hand

Reader comments

  • VaporeonPL

worst phone ever, avoid or destroy it if you have this trash

  • Jack

I'm experiencing touch challenges on my J3 and galaxy core

  • tt2

slow to charge after a year