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Samsung Galaxy J1 (2015) review: This is no Moto E

Samsung Galaxy J1 lead
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £89
inc VAT

The Samsung Galaxy J1 is cheap for a reason and there are better options available if you don't want to spend much


Processor: Dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 , Screen Size: 4.3in, Screen resolution: 800×480, Rear camera: 5-megapixel, Storage (free): 4GB (2GB), Wireless data: 3G, Size: 129×68.2×8.9mm, Weight: 122g, Operating system: Android 4.4



There’s only a 5 megapixel camera on the rear and a 2 megapixel camera on the front. Neither are particularly good. Outdoor shots in afternoon sunshine looked underexposed and there was a surprising amount of noise considering the lighting conditions available and a lot of clipped shadow detail. You don’t get any advanced photography options like HDR, either.

Samsung Galaxy J1 outdoor test

Indoor photography didn’t fare much better with washed out colours and lots of noise with the flash off. A shutter speed of just an 11th of a second in usual test did not help its cause, as moving subjects will simply be blurs. With the flash turned on everything was given a very cold colour cast and the image still missed a lot of detail. Image quality fared considerably better with an external studio light turned on with a much sharper image and more detail captured. In short, it’s pretty hopeless away from optimal lighting conditions.

Samsung Galaxy J1 indoor no flash

^Indoor images are noisy and soft without the flash

Samsung Galaxy J1 indoor flash

^But the overbearing flash gives everything a blue hue while still underexposing

There’s a palm detection mode for the front-facing camera that’s supposed to automatically trigger the shutter after a 2-second delay, but it was difficult to get working and I saw no reason to not just press the shutter button as normal. It would have made more sense for the mode to work with the superior rear-facing camera, so you could set it up for remote control shots.


The Samsung Galaxy J1 has respectable build quality for a smartphone this cheap and the display was also a pleasant surprise, putting the low resolution aside. However, those are the J1’s only positive qualities. The Moto E 2nd Gen is available for a little less and is superior in practically every way. It’s quicker, runs a newer version of Android, has better battery life, higher resolution display, more storage, the list goes on. It’s still the budget handset to beat.

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ProcessorDual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7
Screen size4.3in
Screen resolution800×480
Screen typeTFT
Front camera2-megapixel
Rear camera5-megapixel
Storage (free)4GB (2GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
Wireless data3G
Operating systemAndroid 4.4
Battery size1,850mAh

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