Samsung Galaxy J2 review

11 July 2016

It’s very hard to hate a phone that costs $199 and promises as much as the Samsung Galaxy J2 does. With a screen as big as an iPhone 6s, Samsung’s pedigree working with Google’s Android system and access to the Telstra 4G network, we held high hopes for the J2. Happily, we haven’t been disappointed.

As you’d expect with a phone at this price point, the name of the game is balance. How many corners can Samsung cut without sacrificing something would impact on the everyday use of the phone? 

If you compare the J2 on paper beside a more expensive model, you will see lots of smaller numbers. A smaller screen, a lower megapixel camera, less RAM and a lower capacity battery to name a few. But when you switch the phone on, it is hard to see how any of these things have a major impact on using the J2. It is a very capable smartphone. 

The screen is a 4.7-inch Super AMOLED display. If this size seems familiar it is because the same size as the screen in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. This also means it is nearly an inch larger than the ‘cheap’ iPhone SE. The 960x540 pixel resolution is a few million pixels lower than we’ve been used to after reviewing the best and brightest smartphones of the year, but it certainly does the job.

The 5-megapixel camera on the back of the J2 is also a decent feature for a phone in this price bracket. 5-megapixels may not sound like a lot next to the 12- and 16-megapixel cameras on the expensive models, but when you consider that an Instagram photo is about 1-megapixel in size (1080x1080) then you can see how the camera here might be more than enough.

The photos we’ve taken with the J2 are colourful, and the camera deals well with bright sunlight. The final images do look a bit soft when you sure closely, and there is a fair bit of pixely noise too, but overall the photos are not too bad.

The general performance of the J2 is usually quite good. Unlocking the phone, opening the apps folders, launching an app — these simple tasks happen quickly and smoothly. We did notice significant pauses with some jobs, like opening the multitasking window.

Web browsing was also a little slower than we’d have liked. It’s important to remember that this is a combination of components at work; the processor, memory and connectivity hardware; so it is hard to pin down exactly why this is the case. 

With a 2000mAh battery, the J2 had enough juice to last us through a reasonably busy work day. It’s not exactly the Energizer bunny, but like the other features in the phone, it meets our expectations. 


If you’re looking for a new phone on a budget, it is hard to go passed the excellent Galaxy J2. There isn’t one thing it does exceptionally well, but there are also few drawbacks to consider either. 

In Australia, the J2 is available exclusively through Boost Mobile. See the latest Boost Mobile plans here.

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