Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016) Preview: First Look: Android UI And Performance

By 06:44 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments


Software

The Galaxy J2 (2016) ships with a recent version of Samsung's skin running on top of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. It has what Samsung calls 'Turbo Boost Technology', which is a combination of lighter native apps and services, proactive app management, and intelligent memory control that all combine in an effort of improving the user experience.

The launcher has been updated with a recent app drawer, which is now a vertically scrolling list, just like in the Google Now Launcher. Samsung has dropped many of the app drawer features here, such as the ability to create folders and manually rearranging apps.





Android 6.0.1 on the Galaxy J2 (2016) uses a recent UI

The key feature of the phone is the Smart Glow, which gets an app of its own. Here you can control the functions related to the Light Emitting Diode (LED) ring on the back. Smart Glow app lets you enable the ring light for three features: Priority Alerts, Usage Alerts, and Selfie assist.






The Smart Glow Light Emitting Diode (LED) light has three distinct features

In Priority alerts, you have four slots, and you can fill them up with an app or contact of your choice. If you acquire a notification from that app or contact, the Light Emitting Diode (LED) ring on the back will glow.

The other function is Usage alerts. Here you can enable the lighting for things like low battery, excess data usage, and low storage.

Lastly, there is something called Selfie assist, and it's meant to assist you frame a selfie shot with the rear camera. You can point the rear capturing camera towards you, and the ring will guide your framing by blinking so you know which direction to go your camera. When your face is in the center of the frame, the entire ring will light up in blue before taking the picture. Or you could just, you know, utilize the front camera.

We like the general concept of having such configurable notification light on the back of a smartphone, but the Smart Glow implementation is quite limited in features to be properly useful.

The Light Emitting Diode (LED) ring doesn't double as a notification Light Emitting Diode (LED) like on any other phone, and it won't glow for just about any app or notification - only one of the four apps or contacts specified in the Priority alerts list can create the light glow. Once you acquire over that absurdity, you might find some solace in the fact that the four apps/contacts can have custom RGB lighting so that you can choose a specific hue for each of them.




The Smart Glow is quite flexible when it comes to colors but not so in any other aspect

For the rest of the apps you don't acquire any light at all even if you download an app like Light Flow as Samsung has not provided an API for devs to access the Glow light controls.

Another thing to remember is that the light will blink only up to three times and would then stop completely, so if you missed spotting, you are out of luck.

Another addition on this phone is Smart Notifier. It splits your notifications into four sections: All, Priority, Utility, and Social. You can choose which apps descend under which section and then those notifications will only show up there. It reduces clutter in your notifications and lets you organize them better.




Smart notifier is a recent feature and helps hold back the control over your notifications

Samsung also added some lockclassy screen shortcuts. By swiping from the icon in the center, you acquire four shortslit icons for the radio, calculator, mirror (turns on the front camera), and flashlight. We couldn't find a way to customize these, but you can customize the phone and capturing camera icons in the corners and also disable them.






The lockclassy screen has four shortcuts

Other than that there is the S bike mode that Samsung introduced on the J5 and J7 to assist cyclists and motorcycle riders have an uninterrupted ride. Whenever the mode is active, a pre-recorded message will let your callers know you are on the bike correct now and that it would be hard to pick up. They can press 1, if it's urgent, and the call will be sent through to the phone but you can only respond once you pull over and you're stationary.







S bike mode could potentially come handy for cyclists and motorcycle riders

There is also the Ultra data saving mode, which uses Opera Max to compress all data, including over Wi-Fi, by routing it through Opera's VPN service. It not just compresses browser data but also videos and now audio over music streaming apps as well. Samsung claims up to 50% data saving using this mode.





Data saving mode comes courtesy of Opera Max

The phone also comes with a boatload of Microsoft apps, including the full Office suite, OneDrive, OneNote, and Skype. That's fine unless you don't plan on using those as they hold up some of the limited storage on the phone and cannot be uninstalled.

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016) runs on the Spreadtrum SC9830 SoC, with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 Central Processing Units (CPU) clocked at 1.5Giga Hertz (GHz) and Mali-400 MP2 GPU. You also acquire 1.5GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) and 8GB internal storage, which is expandable with microSD or OTG device for media files only.





System hardware details

In terms of connectivity, there is dual SIM (micro) support with LTE and VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and A-GPS. The phone misses out on NFC (so no Google Pay). There is not even a magnetometer or a gyroscope so using VR tech such as Google Cardboard would not be possible.

As for the actual real-life performance, Samsung's claims descend flat. You realize the performance enhancement features aren't a luxury but more of a necessity to mask the inadequate hardware. The truth is that the Spreadtrum chipset just does not have enough power. This shows in the phone's performance, which often stutters in several places in the UI.

To give you an example, the phone is almost unusable with Snapchat's extremely popular capturing camera filters, as the processor simply does not have enough power to render the real-time virtual effects.

Gaming is also a no-go, unless you are into light 2D gaming, and even then you might see an odd stutter here and there.

Samsung also had to employ some aggressive app management to create up for the limited 1.5GB RAM. But there is nothing they could do to create up for the lack of storage. The phone has 8GB internal storage, of which only about 1.4GB is available to the user. You then have a measly amount of storage left for your own apps. Even though there is microSD support and the phone runs on Marshmallow, you cannot format a memory card as internal storage to extdiscontinue the storage space, so you really are stuck with the 1.4GB for your apps, which runs out faster than you can spell out the phone's full name. Moving apps to the SD is an option to alleviate the situation but that's a hassle.

In case you are interested in the benchimprint numbers, we have those as well:

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GeekBench 3 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)

    4140

  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus

    3038

  • Oppo F1

    3014

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3

    2842

  • Moto G (3rd gen) 2GB of RAM

    1589

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)

    1437

  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)

    1247

  • Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016)

    1207

  • Samsung Galaxy J2

    1083

GeekBench 3 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)

    745

  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus

    689

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)

    471

  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)

    396

  • Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016)

    385

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)

    49094

  • Oppo F1

    35353

  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus

    35291

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)

    27487

  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)

    24884

  • Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016)

    24697

Baseimprint Operating System (OS) 2.0

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)

    1007

  • Oppo F1

    961

  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus

    884

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3

    804

  • Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016)

    406

  • Samsung Galaxy J2

    358

  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)

    326

Baseimprint X

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)

    5383

  • Oppo F1

    5314

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3

    5108

  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus

    4863

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)

    2180

  • Moto G (3rd gen) 2GB of RAM

    1866

  • Samsung Galaxy J2

    1683

  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)

    1424

  • Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016)

    1419


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