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Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus review: Samsung’s budget beauty

Our Rating :
£73.98 from
Price when reviewed : £127
inc VAT

Samsung’s Galaxy J4 Plus is the best-value Samsung phone in recent years, but that isn’t saying much


  • Extra large screen for less
  • Nice design for the price
  • Decent camera


  • micro-USB charging
  • Poor performance

The mightily impressive Galaxy S10 may go for the best part of a grand, but there are some alternatives that are more worthy of your wallet. If you want the bling without the sting in the tail, Samsung’s Galaxy J4 Plus offers flagship-like design and features at a mere fraction of the price.

Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus review: What you need to know

As the Plus name suggests, this is another big’un from Samsung. Unveiled at the same time as the J6 Plus, the J4 Plus boasts the same 6in screen size, but manages to shave a little more off the price.

If you’ve got this review open in one tab, and the J6 Plus review open in another and are looking for differences in the specs tables, let me help you out. The J4 Plus has 1GB less RAM and a single 13-megapixel camera on the back, rather than the dual array that the J6 Plus employs.

That’s about it when it comes to differences between the two, but this has the potential to be a much better option for those in search of a competent, big-screened phone that doesn’t break the bank.

Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus review: Price and competition

The Galaxy J4 Plus’ key appeal is its price. While flagships such as the Galaxy S10 or iPhone Xs come in at around £900, the Galaxy J4 Plus sells for a fraction of these wallet-whacking handsets, coasting in at a mere £127.

That might sound enticing, but we’ve recently seen quite a big shake-up in this price bracket, and there are plenty of excellent alternatives to consider. Motorola’s Moto G7 series of phones continue to impress, starting at £150, and Vodafone’s Smart X9 remains the best budget option under £100.

Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus review: Design and key features

Other than the few changes I mentioned earlier, everything else is identical between the J4 Plus and J6 Plus, right down to the phone’s physical dimensions and the weight. Oh, and the colours – Samsung has spun the colour wheel and come up with three entirely random colours: gold, pink and black.

That means that everything I said about the J6 Plus is true here. It’s a good-looking phone, even if it does lose the fancy curves that have set flagship Galaxy handsets apart in recent years.

Of course, being a budget phone, the design isn’t flawless. The reflective rear panel picks up fingerprints quite easily, which is more of a mild annoyance than anything else. What’s more irritating is that there’s no fingerprint reader, so you’ll have to rely on the old-school PIN or pattern method to unlock the phone, or take advantage of the phone’s face unlock feature, which is a bit slow.

Alas, if you were hoping for USB Type-C quick charging, you’d best look elsewhere. Even though other phones in the J4 Plus’ price bracket have adopted this fast-charging method, the Samsung is limited to micro-USB, just to the left of the 3.5mm headset jack.

Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus review: Display

The phone’s screen is IPS instead of OLED, which means it doesn’t have the infinite contrast and deep blacks of Samsung’s flagship products – but it remains a solid display in its own right with bright, vibrant hues. At 6in across the diagonal, it’s a big beast, and coupled with its low-ish 720p resolution not the sharpest either, but getting this much screen space on a device that costs this little remains a triumph.

In technical testing, our colorimeter revealed the J4 Plus’s panel was capable of covering 85% of the sRGB colour gamut and is reasonably colour accurate, too, with an average Delta E of 2.31. That’s rather good for a phone of this price, and the reasonably high contrast ratio of 1,236:1 ensures text and images look as good as possible. A maximum brightness of 354cd/m² isn’t ideal though, and you might find yourself squinting at your Facebook feed when summer begins.

Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus review: Performance and battery life

The real issue with the J4 Plus, however, is where the corners are cut to get the phone quite so cheap. The obvious culprit is in the raw power of the handset. This year, we’re treated (for the lack of a better word) to Qualcomm’s ancient Snapdragon 425 processor, which is clocked at a measly 1.4GHz and backed up by only 2GB of RAM.

With those numbers, you can expect power roughly equal to that of the Moto E5, which wasn’t all that good when it released late last year. Don’t get me wrong, the Moto E5 is a decent phone for the price – but that price is £119, and you simply can’t expect the latest and greatest games to run brilliantly on a setup with a similar DNA. And with 1GB less RAM than the J6 Plus, the J4 Plus doesn’t play as nicely with Android.

Which is odd because Samsung makes a big deal about the phone’s ability to multitask. And yes, it’s true that multitasking is easier on a large display, but it’s equally true to say that a slow CPU makes this process unpleasant.

One thing’s for sure: the Galaxy J4 Plus is no speed demon. In Geekbench 4’s multi-core benchmark, it scored 1,779, which is almost 54% lower than Vodafone’s cheaper Smart X9. Things aren’t so good with single-core performance either, with a total of 665. Here’s how the Galaxy J4 Plus stacks up against its competitors:

The J4 Plus also struggles when it comes to gaming. The low 5fps score in the GFXBench Manhattan 3.0 test indicates that it won’t handle demanding 3D scenes, but I didn’t have too many issues with everyday titles such as Florence, Wordscapes and Stardew Valley.

It’s a slightly better story when it comes to the J4 Plus’ stamina, although this could still be much improved. The J4 Plus lasted for a total of 14hrs 27mins in our continuous video rundown test, which is roughly 11% longer than the Vodafone Smart X9. All the same, it’s outlasted comfortably by Motorola’s budget G-series juggernauts.

Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus review: Camera

As for the phone’s camera capabilities, the J4 Plus employs a solitary 13-megapixel camera unit on the rear, with a respectably wide aperture of f/1.9. This lacks the secondary depth-sensing unit of its bigger brother, the J6 Plus, although I don’t think this is a big loss. A 5-megapixel, f/2.2 selfie camera sits on the front of the phone.

As long as you have plenty of light, the Galaxy J4 Plus is a pretty solid photographer’s companion. Of course, the results don’t look quite as swish as the images captured by fancy flagships such as the Galaxy S10 or Huawei P30 Pro, but the end result is an image that looks rather good given the price.

Pictures come out with plenty of detail, colour reproduction looks nice and accurate and the phone’s HDR algorithms do a tremendous job of lifting up shadows and softening overly-bright areas of the scene. Everything is captured well enough, but you begin to spot a handful of issues as the light dims. Mostly, images get too noisy for most tastes, although not distractingly so.

Lastly, the Galaxy J4 Plus is limited to Full HD video capture at a maximum frame rate of 30fps. That’s a shame when Motorola’s suite of budget handsets are capable of recording 1080p footage at up to 60fps and 4K at 30fps.

Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus review: Verdict

The Samsung J4 Plus’ limited specifications are easier to stomach in a cheap budget phone and you could argue that the £40 savings on the J6 Plus have been made in the right places. Losing the depth-sensing camera is a pity for photography buffs but they’d be better served by opting for the Moto G7 instead.

Still, that’s not to say the Galaxy J4 Plus is worthy of a recommendation. I think Samsung has fallen behind a bit when it comes to its budget offerings in the last year or so, and its focus on the high end of the market doesn’t seem to be paying off across the whole range. The Galaxy J4 Plus is a fine option for anyone wanting a whole lot of screen on a tiny budget, but you’re not getting much more than that.

Samsung Galaxy J4+ specifications
ProcessorOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (1.4GHz)
Screen size6in
Screen resolution1,480 x 720
Pixel density274ppi
Screen typeIPS
Front camera5-megapixel, f/2.2
Rear camera13-megapixel, f/1.9
Dust and water resistanceN/A
3.5mm headphone jackYes
Wireless chargingNo
USB connection typemicro-USB
Storage options16GB, 32GB
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD (up to 256GB)
Cellular data4G
Dual SIMYes
Dimensions (WDH)161 x 77 x 7.9mm
Operating systemAndroid 8.1
Battery size3,300mAh

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