Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review: Just the job

Just the job

GSMArena Team, 4 August 2017.

Telephony and loudspeaker

The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) is available in either a single-SIM or a dual-SIM version and we have the former. We'll take another chance to note, however, that on the dual SIM variant there's a dedicated microSD expansion slot accompanying the two SIM slots, as opposed to the hybrid compromise.

The new Samsung UX design has soaked through to the core features of the J5 as well. There are some notable differences, though, from the likes of the S8 and S8+ we recently reviewed. Some are surely dictated by hardware limitations, but then there are things like the omission of the new Places tab in the Phone app. Shame really, the local directory it provided was kind of neat.

Still, you get the familiar dialer, which can be summoned from any tab by tapping on the green button in the bottom right corner. And Contacts in the adjacent tab.

Dialer - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Contacts - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Settings - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review
Dialer • Contacts • Settings

The Do Not Disturb mode can be put on an automated schedule. When it's on, only priority notifications can get through and you decide what counts as "priority" - it can be anything from calls by select contacts to reminders from key apps.

Do not disturb settings - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Do not disturb settings - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Do not disturb settings - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review
Do not disturb settings

Loudspeaker

The Galaxy J5 (2017) is equipped with a single speaker located in a rather unusual spot high on the right side of the phone. Unusual, that is, unless you're familiar with Samsung's latest entries in the A and J series, all of which are designed that way.

The speaker is a massive improvement over the J5 of last year in terms of loudness, and pumps out enough decibels for a Very Good rating in our three-prong test - just like the J7 (2017). We didn't experience any distortion at maximum volume either.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
HTC 10 (Theater mode) 61.9 66.0 62.1 Below Average
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 62.9 65.2 71.6 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) 66.0 64.3 70.1 Below Average
Sony Xperia XA1 61.7 69.7 71.8 Average
Xiaomi Redmi 4 64.8 70.1 72.0 Average
Moto Z Play 62.9 70.3 77.0 Good
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 66.4 66.2 78.0 Good
Nokia 5 63.9 70.0 81.7 Good
Nokia 6 (Chinese version) 63.0 70.2 85.2 Good
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625) 67.3 70.3 81.5 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) 68.0 70.2 82.3 Very Good
Huawei P10 Lite 68.5 72.5 80.1 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) 67.8 71.2 83.1 Very Good
Google Pixel XL 73.4 72.1 84.1 Excellent
Sony Xperia L1 (xLOUD) 91.5 74.3 83.2 Excellent

Text input

The Galaxy J5 (2017) uses the Samsung Keyboard, which long-time Samsung users swear by. It's quite feature-packed, with a dedicated numbers row, a row above that for word suggestions and additional characters on each key (accessible via long-press).

If that seems too tall, you can scale the keyboard down (or up, if you want bigger keys). We don't like that the Space bar can end up quite short in some instances, though. Additional typing tools include swipe input, My Hot Keys (predefined phrases that can be typed by long-pressing a number key) and voice dictation.

Samsung keyboard - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Samsung keyboard - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Samsung keyboard - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review
Samsung keyboard

Other apps

Samsung continues to bundle the Microsoft app package that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and Skype.

Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review
Microsoft app package

The Samsung-customized web browser makes use of the Samsung Pass service and features Web sign in - a password manager secured by your fingerprint. This makes logins as simple as unlocking the phone, and people can't peek over your shoulder to see your password.

With the Samsung browser, your fingerprint is your password - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review With the Samsung browser, your fingerprint is your password - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review With the Samsung browser, your fingerprint is your password - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review With the Samsung browser, your fingerprint is your password - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review With the Samsung browser, your fingerprint is your password - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review
With the Samsung browser, your fingerprint is your password

S Health has been renamed to Samsung Health, but it's the same thing - it can fully utilize the heart rate and blood oxygen sensors. It also tracks walking/running/cycling, and you can manually input water and coffee intake and so on.

Samsung Health - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Samsung Health - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Samsung Health - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Samsung Health - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Samsung Health - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review
Samsung Health

The My Files app is the default file browser. It features Google Drive and Samsung Cloud integration. You can ZIP folders to make them easier to share as a single file, and you can do batch actions.

My Files - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review My Files - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review My Files - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review My Files - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review
My Files

All the other basics are covered as well and all executed in a consistent visual style. Clock, Calendar and Calculator are about as straight-forward and approachable as possible. Samsung Notes (formerly S Note) is a bit more feature-rich, but still pretty simple to use.

Clock - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Calendar - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Calculator - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Sound recorder - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review Samsung Notes - Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review
Clock • Calendar • Calculator • Sound recorder • Samsung Notes

If you do find something essential missing, Samsung still maintains its own aptly named "Galaxy Essentials" app store. It is a good place to find great tools (like Kids Mode), but for general app shopping, you would probably be better off with Google Play.

Reader comments

  • hert

None dear , you are too young to own a phone. Do opt for a button phone though.

  • Anonymous

which is good for me (im 14 years old) samsung j5 pro (2017) or huawei p10 lite

  • Anonymous

I just got this phone for 160€ and I am impressed so far. Fingerprint scanner is super fast! The screen resolution is not up to date but you don't really need more in daily use. Actually I think the screen is better than the ones in A3 or Note 8 cau...