Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) review: A removable battery, but the Moto E4 is still better

Often, budget camera tech keeps pace with advances on the high-end. Not so with this year's Galaxy J3, which has the exact same camera resolution as last year's model: 5-megapixels on the back and 2-megapixels on the front.

That's pretty low, but image quality isn't tied to the megapixel count. Photos taken with the rear camera are decently detailed: indoor, outdoor and portraits. These are good enough to share online and with friends. Unfortunately, the images lack richness and oomph, and backgrounds are often washed out. Focusing took a long time and action shots came out in a blur. Selfies were a real problem, too, looking wan with uneven focus.

It's always true that you get what you pay for with budget phones, especially ones that cost $180 (that converts to £138 and AU$227). And I do find the Galaxy J3 reliable enough for casual users who are looking for a cost-cutting way to get the essentials. It's also fine for first-time phone owners, like young teens. Still, your money will go much further with the Motorola Moto E4, which costs less and gives you a smoother experience with significantly higher quality photos. Get that phone instead.

New Galaxy J3 versus Moto E4, Moto G5 Plus, 2016 Galaxy J3

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) Motorola Moto E4 Motorola Moto G5 Plus Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
Display size, resolution 5-inch; 1,280x720 pixels 5-inch; 1,280x720 pixels 5.2-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels 5-inch; 1,280x720 pixels
Pixel density 293ppi 293ppi 424ppi 294ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.6 x 2.8 x 0.34 in 5.7x2.8x0.37 in 5.9x2.9x0.3 in 5.6x2.8x0.3 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 141x71.1x8.6mm 144.5x72x9.3 mm 150.2x74x7.7 mm 142x71x7.9 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.2 oz; 147g 5.3 oz; 150g 5.5 oz, 155g 4.87 oz; 138 g
Mobile software Android Nougat 7.0 Android Nougat 7.1 Android 7.0 Nougat Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera 5-megapixel 8-megapixel 12-megapixel 5-megapixel
Front-facing camera 2-megapixel 5-megapixel with flash 5-megapixel 2-megapixel
Video capture 1080p 1080p 1080p 720p
Processor 1.4GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos 7 Quad-core processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon in North America; MediaTek globally) 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
Storage 16GB 16GB 32GB (UK & US), 64GB (US only) 16GB
RAM 1.5GB 2GB 2GB on 32 GB (US model), 3GB on 32GB (UK model) or 4GB on 64GB (US model) 2GB
Expandable storage Up to 256GB Up to 128GB 128GB Up to 128GB
Battery 2,600mAh (removable) 2,800mAh (removable) 3,000mAh 2,600mAh (removable)
Fingerprint sensor None Beneath screen (varies by region) Below screen None
Connector Micro-USB Micro-USB Micro-USB Micro-USB
Special features Outdoor mode Dual-SIM (varies by region), splash-resistant (varies by region) Dual-SIM, splash-proof N/A
Price off-contract (USD) $180 $70-$130 $229 (32GB); $299 (64GB) $110-$180 (varies by carrier)
Price (GBP) Converts to £138 £129 £249 (32GB) £140 (8GB version)
Price (AUD) Converts to AU$227 Converts to AU$172 Converts to AU$300 (32GB) and AU$390 (64GB) AU$329

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