Samsung Galaxy J3
Much like the J5 and 3rd Gen Moto G, the J3 has a 5in display with a 1,280 x 720 resolution. However, its AMOLED screen technology blows almost every other budget smartphone out of the water – except the J5, of course, which uses the same panel technology as the J3.
AMOLED screens work very differently. Instead of one universal backlight, each pixel on an AMOLED screen each generates its own light, which means when it’s off, there’s no possibility at all of light leaking through from behind to ruin the black level.
It comes as no surprise to find, then, that the J3’s black level is perfect. In fact, I measured it at 0.00cd/m2, and this – combined with the screen’s 100% sRGB colour gamut coverage and the perfect contrast that perfect black leads to – really makes colours pop out of the screen with a wonderful sense of vibrancy and saturation.
The Samsung Galaxy J3 is certainly a respectable budget smartphone for £150, but with very little difference compared to the Galaxy J5 in terms of price – just £10 at the time of writing the review in 2016 – I can’t think of any reason why you’d pick this instead. Both have an excellent display, but the Galaxy J5 is faster, longer lasting and has a far superior camera, making it much better value overall.
Of course, there’s also the 3rd Gen Moto G to consider as well. This is just as fast as the J5 and has one of the best budget cameras we’ve ever seen. It also runs the latest version of Android, making it feel newer and more up to date than Samsung’s J series, all of which only run Android 5.1.1.
Samsung’s notoriously bad at providing its cheaper handsets with free OTA updates for newer versions of Android, so those that want all the latest Android features such as Doze and Now on Tap should probably pick the Moto G instead. For me, the Moto G is still our favourite budget smartphone, but if you’re not fussed about what version of Android you’re running and value having a long battery life, then Samsung’s Galaxy J5 is still the J series phone to buy.