Samsung Galaxy J3 First Impression – Middling Launchpad For The Innovative S Bike Mode

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Samsung is trying something different with the Galaxy J3. And since we love different, we are all ears for #TapKickVroom aka S Bike mode, which will be the next big J series thing tailor made for Indian bike riders. Separate out this new innovation from the package, and all you are left with is a Galaxy On5 like humdrum phone/experience, but with valuable tier-1 Samsung branding. Let’s explore further.

Also read: Asus Zenfone Max Review – The Best Big Battery Phone Under 10,000 INR?

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Key Features and Specifications of Samsung Galaxy J3

Model Samsung Galaxy J3
Display 5-Inch, AMOLED Display, 720p HD resolution
Processor 1.5 GHz Quad Core Spreadtrum SC9830
RAM 1.5GB
Internal Storage 8GB, Expandable up to 32GB
Software Android 5.1.1 Lollipop based TouchWiz
Primary Camera 8MP with LED flash, f/2.2 aperture
Secondary Camera 5MP, f/2.2 aperture
Battery 2600 mAh
Dimensions & Weight 142.3 x 71 x 7.9 mm and 138grams
Others 4G LTE, Dual SIM
Price 8,990 INR

TapKickVroom: S Bike Mode Explained

So here is how the Samsung’s new S Bike mode works. You can activate SBike mode from quick-settings toggles lined under notification shade, or you can simply use the NFC Tag that comes bundled in the box. Just stick the NFC Tag to your motor-cycle and tap your phone on it before you kick and Vroom away.

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So once the mode is activated, anyone who calls you will be greeted with an automated pre-recorded message (Available in 14 regional languages) that informs the concerned caller that you are riding, and if it’s something urgent that needs to be conveyed, he can always choose to press 1 and the call will go through. The rider will now hear a high pitch ringtone designed to steer past ambient traffic noise. For obvious security reasons, the inbuilt motion lock won’t allow him to pick his phone while riding. He can park his bike on the road side and attend the call.

You can also program S Bike mode to send automated SMS messages with estimate time of arrival to family members who call. It also accumulates your travel stats in one place.

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Is Samsung trying to solve what isn’t a problem in the first place? We don’t think so. For years bike riders have relied on Bluetooth headsets to somewhat work around this inconvenience, but they are far from Ideal. Most low cost ones don’t support noise cancellation and are thus worthless, and even the better ones aren’t convenient enough or entirely safe with the helmet put on. So yeah, Samsung’s new offering is more than a gimmick and commendable too.

Also check: Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus First Impression – Knockout Price, Not a Knockout Phone

However, there is definitely room for improvement here. The automated pre-recorded message is a tad too long. We would have liked an option to record our own messages. It’s hard to put a finger on it as of now, but it feels like Samsung could have added a few more features and customization options. Perhaps the option to attach custom high pitch tones to different contacts.

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Familiar Design and Display

So, getting down from the S Bike Mode high horse, the Samsung Galaxy J3 is a very familiar budget Samsung handset. Design monotony is broken only by subtle changes Samsung has implemented on the plastic side edges (Chrome finished).

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The plastic faux leather back cover is removable and so is the 2600mAh battery inside. The handset feels very slim and light, and will easily slide in your pants pocket.

The display is a 5-inch HD AMOLED panel, with a bit over-saturated colors. Quality-wise, we would rate it a few notches below the AMOLED panel Samsung delivered on J5 and J7 last year, but this should be pleasing to those who have a liking for deep contrasts and rich blacks AMOLED offers.

Samsung Galaxy J3 Photo Gallery

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Camera and Performance Expectations

The Samsung Galaxy J3 is powered by very uninteresting innards. There is 1.5 GHz quad-core Spreadtrum SC9830 64-bit processor, with 1.5GB RAM and paltry 8GB internal storage. The hardware at helms shall qualify only for basic usage. The software is also commonplace. There is Android 5.1.1 Lollipop based TouchWiz UI with enhancements like Ultra data saving mode.

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The camera module used is the same one which saw in Galaxy On5. Similar to On5, the front and rear 8MP shooters have wide F/2.2 aperture lens on top. If the camera performance is anything close to that on On5, this should be good news.

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy J3 is all about the new S Bike mode, but we do think this innovation deserved a better launch pad with more compelling hardware. It is too soon to write this off, but we strongly suspect that performance will bog this handset down. On the other hand, Samsung branding is a valuable specification by itself. Devices like On7 and On5 which weren’t hardware behemoths either, but were hugely successful. Samsung hopes this will be appealing to 70 percent of these customers who use bikes as primary mode of transport.

Deepak SinghDeepak Singh
Deepak has more than 8 years of experience in covering technology for several eminent publications in India. He currently leads an enthusiastic team of young writers at Smartprix and tries to uphold the highest quality standards.

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