Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Duos 

Compared to the predecessor, Samsung has implemented the most extensive changes in the design of the Galaxy J5 (2017) SM-J530F. While earlier, there was only an aluminum frame and the rest was poly-carbonate, the manufacturer has now decided to wrap the whole smartphone into aluminum. The battery is now built-in and even shrunk slightly. In addition, the Galaxy J5 finally has a surrounding-light sensor to control the display brightness. Instead of the Snapdragon, there is now an in-house Exynos processor inside. Samsung has also updated the cameras. The front camera offers a generous 13 megapixels and the main camera is nominally more light sensitive at f/1.7. Nothing has changed in terms of the storage equipment, though. Besides 2 GB of working memory, there are 16 GB of eMMC storage, which can be expanded via a microSD card. We have the Duos model which can accept two SIM cards in our test. 



In the 2017 model, Samsung has completely redesigned the Galaxy J5, following more their A series. Although this looks good, it also makes the smartphone large, slightly growing it around all the edges. We like the fact that not only is the camera flush with the case, but even recessed slightly, which protects the glass from scratches. Samsung does not specify anything about the glass in the front, but where it transitions into the aluminum can be clearly seen. The antenna recesses fit excellently into the design.

Due to the aluminum body, the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) is very sturdy and can neither be twisted, nor does anything creak when trying. Even though the material changes are clearly apparent, it is cleanly built and the gaps are small and even. It is a bit unfortunate, that the card trays and their covers are made entirely from plastic, which may lead to a color change over time compared to the aluminum case, although originally the colors are identical.



The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Duos has maintained its features that are almost unchanged in comparison to the predecessor. However, the SoC and LTE have become faster. The latter now supports one more band.

The bottom edge still provides a micro USB port. Samsung does not use the newer Type-C form factor in its entry-level series yet. This interface does not support video output, but OTG. Hence you cannot only connect external storage devices, but also peripherals. Unfortunately, the audio jack is also placed at the bottom edge. We would have wished it were on the top edge.

Our test model is the so-called Duos variant. This means that the smartphone can use two nano SIM cards simultaneously. It is a fully-fledged dual SIM variant, which also allows using a microSD card. The microSD slot supports the SDXC standard and therewith all usual storage media. Hence, it is possible to expand the storage capacity by up to 256 GB. However, it cannot be formatted as internal storage. Nevertheless, it is possible to move bigger apps to the optional microSD card.



The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) uses Google Android 7.0 Nougat as operating system, which is skinned by the manufacturer's own TouchWiz UI. Among others, the Galaxy S8 also uses this UI. The software features are not restricted in any way. Apart from multitasking, the Game Tools and the Game Launcher are also available. The radio app appears very well-made to us. It starts an automatic channel search upon first launch and allows saving favorites, and recording channels. Moreover, several Microsoft apps are pre-installed, which cannot be completely uninstalled, but only deactivated.


Communication and GPS

The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) can connect to the mobile data network via HSPA+ or fast LTE Cat. 6, which allows download rates of up to 300 MBit/s on paper. Therewith, it is at least double as fast as its predecessor and supports the current standard of mobile network operators. The frequency coverage is also fully sufficient for Europe. Moreover, the Galaxy J5 supports Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi telephony if this is also offered by the provider. Reception is okay, but connections sometimes dropped in the street in between houses, while other devices worked flawlessly there.

The Wi-Fi module of the smartphone supports the IEEE-802.11 standards a/b/g/n/ac and transmits in the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequency bands. The measurements with our reference router Linksys EA8500 showed very good and stable transfer rates. The range of the Wi-Fi is also very good. Even through an inside wall and in about 12 m (~39 ft) from the router, we still had a strong signal and could stream HD videos without problems.