Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy J6 Hands-on: When you want a trusted budget phone

Lives up to expectations, but also lacks in certain aspects

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The popular J-series from Samsung has a new member, and for loyal fans looking for a new budget-midrange phone, the Galaxy J6 is a viable option. It’s got everything users need in an everyday phone, plus premium features.

A well-crafted phone

Despite having a plastic body, the Galaxy J6 doesn’t feel cheap at all. It lacks the metal unibody of the Galaxy J7 phones but, thanks to the matte paint of the back panel, has a good feel in the hand. It doesn’t attract fingerprints much which avoids the need to constantly wipe the phone.

In front is the tall display along with the earpiece, front sensors, and selfie camera. There’s no branding here making the phone look clean and stylish, especially when placed flat on a table. Keeping up with the trend, the bezels of the Galaxy J6 are minimal, but still there just like most budget phones with tall aspect ratios.

There’s no display notch on the Galaxy J6 — something Samsung dislikes on their phones. I guess that’s a good thing, right?

Samsung made the left side of the Galaxy J6 really busy by putting most of the phone’s physical features on this side. There’s a couple of buttons for adjusting the volume and two card slots are placed right below them. The first slot accepts a nano-SIM card labeled as SIM1, while the other slot is for the second SIM card and the microSD card. It’s good to see a dedicated card slot for expanding storage.

On the right side are the loudspeaker and the power button. Ever since the Galaxy J7 Prime was introduced, Samsung’s midrange and budget phones have always had their loudspeakers on the side. It’s fantastic compared to a bottom-firing speaker, to be honest, since you won’t muffle the speaker when holding the phone in landscape orientation with two hands.

Sitting at the bottom of the Galaxy J6 is the micro-USB port, microphone, and 3.5 audio port. Samsung is yet to introduce USB-C ports for their budget phones just like OPPO and Vivo. It’s about time to make USB-C truly universal though, and there are already a number of USB-C cables available for cheap.

The rear is pretty basic with just the main camera positioned above the fingerprint reader. There’s also a single LED flash beside the camera while the Samsung logo is debossed onto the plastic black.

Overall, the Galaxy J6 is a simple-looking phone that gives a bit of value for money by copying the design of more expensive Samsung phones. If you’re already spoiled by the cold and solid feel of aluminum, you could check out the Galaxy A6 which is only a little more expensive.

Amazing display, decent camera, old processor

Being a Samsung phone, the Galaxy J6 has a vibrant Super AMOLED display — not just another LCD panel. The phone’s display measures 5.6 inches with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and a tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The Infinity Display usually found on premium Samsung phones is now made available to its budget devices, sans the curved edges and high pixel count.

It features most of display features too, but it doesn’t have Always On which is a bummer since it’s already an AMOLED display. Other display features include an outdoor mode for increased brightness, blue light filter to reduce eye strain, and multiple screen color modes including adaptive display.

The cameras on board the phone are single shooters, but with large aperture openings that help to see more in low-light environments. On the back is a 13-megapixel sensor with an f/1.9 opening while the front has an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/1.9 opening, as well. Here are some samples for reference:

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Samsung’s familiar camera launcher is present here, along with a few camera modes including Pro (manual mode with very few controls), Night, and HDR. Both the front and rear shooters support AR stickers, while only the front shoots portrait photos.

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In terms of performance, the good old Exynos 7870 processor takes care of things along with 3GB of memory and 32GB of expandable storage. A 3000mAh battery keeps the lights on and it runs Android 8.0 Oreo skinned with Samsung Experience.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 13,990 in the Philippines, there are more powerful options available in the market, but they don’t have certain Samsung traits when it comes to build and design. The best-selling feature of the Galaxy J6 is its Super AMOLED display which is a rare sight in this price segment. The display alone could convince people to purchase one, even though the phone sports a pretty old processor.

For everyday usage, the Galaxy J6 is a capable phone. It’s not a gaming smartphone, but it was never meant to be one. You’ll get the Galaxy J6 for its looks, display, camera, and Samsung label.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy A6 Hands-on: Repackaging the older series

Galaxy S10

Instagram photo challenge with the Samsung Galaxy S10

Hands-on with all three versions!

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Samsung’s newest Galaxy S devices have just been announced and we’re blessed with three versions: The Samsung Galaxy S10e (small), the Galaxy S10 (big), and the Galaxy S10+ (big big!).

Each phone is equipped with a number of cameras so you know what that means: IG photo test!

In our Her GadgetMatch video, we check out what’s so cool about the new Samsung phones and test what the cameras can do. Spoiler: They do a lot!

In case you’re having trouble viewing, watch HERE.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s new LED light cover is the phone case we’ve always wanted

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Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10 Hands-On

Does it live up to the hype?

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Infinity-O Display, five cameras, in-display fingerprint reader, next-generation wireless charging: these four features define Samsung’s new Galaxy S10.

When you take its features apart like this, it makes it seem like what we have is yet another underwhelming phone with no new groundbreaking feature. But to look at the S10 that way does the phone an injustice. It’s one that needs to be taken as a whole, not a sum of its parts.

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Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10 Hands-on: A refinement of everything

A decade of Galaxy S phones

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Samsung‘s latest installment of flagship phones is now official. Instead of just two phones though, we were immediately given three choices. Interesting move, but can they keep Samsung on top of all the great Android phones in the market?

As mentioned, there are three Galaxy S10 phones: the regular Galaxy S10, the bigger and better Galaxy S10+, and the supposedly budget-friendly Galaxy S10E.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our hands-on the Galaxy S10 series.

Nothing new, just polished

The Galaxy S10 series is a testament to Samsung’s leadership in Android phones for almost a decade, despite the decline. How so? Everything there’s to want in a smartphone in 2019 is present here, with some reservations for the Galaxy S10E, of course.

The first thing you’ll appreciate about the Galaxy S10 phones is their displays. All three models come in different sizes. The display of the Galaxy S10E is the smallest at 5.8 inches followed by the regular version with a 6.1-inch screen. The Galaxy S10+, being the Plus variant, has the biggest at 6.4 inches.

All three phones still use vibrant and splendid Super AMOLED panels. Samsung likes to call them Infinity-O because they have O-shaped holes to house one or two front cameras. The displays are also slightly taller than before and have slimmer bezels all around.

Aside from the screen sizes, what are the differences between the three? The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ share a lot in common. Both have curved displays, which is what you’d expect from top-of-the-line Samsung phones, but have squarish bodies like the Galaxy Note 9’s. They have a similar triple rear camera setup, but the Galaxy S10+ has an extra sensor in the front. The two also sport the fastest in-display fingerprint readers I have ever tested.

The Galaxy S10E, on the other hand, has to cut down some of the unimportant features to keep its price lower than its siblings. It doesn’t have a curved display and the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. Instead, the fingerprint reader is built into the power button on the side. The smaller Galaxy S10E is also noticeably more rounded than its siblings.

What Samsung didn’t sacrifice on any of the Galaxy S10 phones is the quality craftsmanship. With a metal and glass body, no one will ever hold a Galaxy S10 (any of the three) and call it cheap.

Beauty matched with power

Enough about the looks; let’s now talk about specs. As always, newly released flagship phones get the best processor available. In the case of the Galaxy S10 family, it’s rocking either a Snapdragon 855 from Qualcomm or Samsung’s very own Exynos 9820, depending on the region.

The difference between the two chipsets are quite intriguing, but end users won’t feel the difference in daily use. The Snapdragon 855’s 7nm process has a slight edge over the Exynos 9820’s 8nm, but both are capable octa-core chips with dedicated AI brains.

With a minimum of 6GB memory, no member of the Galaxy S10 family is a slouch. If you want, you can have the limited edition Galaxy S10+ with an insane 12GB of memory and 1TB of storage. If you get that, you’ll have a phone that has more memory and storage space than most laptops today.

When it comes to battery, the Galaxy S10E has the lowest capacity at 3100mAh. In the middle is the Galaxy S10’s modest 3400mAh, and of course, the Galaxy S10+ is blessed with a huge 4100mAh battery. The phones support fast charging through wired and wireless means, but Samsung is also introducing Wireless PowerShare, which is essentially reverse wireless charging similar to what the Mate 20 Pro can do.

Samsung’s new One UI is pre-loaded out of the box. It’s already based on the latest Android 9 Pie version. This means you’ll get to experience Samsung’s newest take on Android with its own customization.

Three cameras are better than two?

Apart from having three Galaxy S10 models, Samsung also put in three rear cameras on the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+. Samsung calls this “True Vision Multi-Camera,” which is a mouthful but you don’t have to call them that. Basically, the triple camera setup has all the mobile shooters you’ll need.

The Galaxy S10 has a main camera sensor, an ultra wide shooter, and a 2x telephoto lens. The main sensor is a 12-megapixel Dual Pixel camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) and dual aperture mode (f/1.5 to f/2.4). The fun-to-use ultra wide-angle shooter uses a 16-megapixel sensor with a fixed-focus lens, while the telephoto camera has a 12-megapixel sensor and OIS as well.

Aside from the hardware, Samsung also bumped up the software side of things. Thanks to improved AI capabilities, the Galaxy S10 can now recognize up to 30 scenes and can even automatically help you compose the perfect shot.

Check out these samples using the phone’s main camera:

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Since the Galaxy S10 phones are equipped with multiple shooters, they’re fun to use. Each scenario calls for a different camera, so it’s nice to have both wide-angle and telephoto cameras. Here’s how each camera takes a photo from the same distance:

Keep in mind that the Galaxy S10E has just two rear cameras. It can only shoot a normal and ultra-wide photo, but the megapixel count and image quality remain the same as with its more expensive siblings.

As for selfies, the Galaxy S10+ has a slight advantage with its depth sensor for Live Focus, although all three phones can shoot portrait selfies anyway. Like with most phones, there’s a built-in beauty mode to liven up your selfies.

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Let’s not forget about the improved AR Emoji. It’s still subpar when compared to Apple’s Animoji for iPhones, but it can at least detect if your tongue is sticking out this time. There’s also the option to superimpose over your face like Memoji.

Which is your GadgetMatch?

Which of the three Galaxy S10 phones is your GadgetMatch? While I wanted to have more time with the phones to give an elaborate conclusion, I have a general idea on where each one fits.

The Galaxy S10E, which is the cheapest among the bunch, would be best for people who like to have the best specs but in a smaller package. Much like the compact versions of Sony Xperia phones, the Galaxy S10E offers just about everything its bigger siblings offer in a pocket-friendly size.

The regular Galaxy S10 is ideal for the general population with its perfect balance, while the Galaxy S10+ is for those who want (and need) all the features a modern smartphone can offer. Also, the Galaxy S10+ is similar to the Galaxy Note, but without the S Pen.

I wish Samsung had given the prices for each phone while I’m writing this to give a better perspective. After all, the pricing will be a big factor. To be honest, there’s nothing uber-special about the Galaxy S10 family. We already saw most, if not all, features on other devices. Samsung will be selling these phones because they are reliable and trustworthy — not because they are revolutionary.

Samsung wasn’t able to create “the next big thing” here, maybe because we have reached the limit of candy bar-style phones. It’s time to move on to foldable devices, which is something Samsung is also working on. That for sure will be revolutionary; for now, we’ll just stick to what we have.

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