Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy J7 Core Hands-on Review

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If Samsung is playing favorites when it comes to phone names, the J7 moniker would be its first choice. Just about a week ago, the South Korean company brought us its newest budget phone — and you guessed it — it sports the J7 title.

Let’s take a look at the Galaxy J7 Core.

The front is a familiar Samsung face

Pretty thick bezels, though

There’s a front-facing LED flash up top

Shiny plastic chrome frame surrounds the phone

A physical button and two capacitive keys on its chin

It doesn’t have a fingerprint reader!

It has micro-USB and 3.5mm ports at the bottom

Standard ports for budget phones

Even the rear is a traditional layout from Samsung

The rear cover has a rubbery surface

Removable 3000mAh battery and dedicated microSD card slot!

You get two slots for SIM cards plus another for storage expansion!

Performs great, gaming is okay

The Galaxy J7 Core is currently the lowest-end and cheapest offering in the J7 series, although it sports similar specs like its siblings. It’s still powered by the aging Exynos 7870 processor paired with an ample 2GB of memory. Unlike the Galaxy J7 Prime from last year, Samsung blessed the phone with its gorgeous Super AMOLED display; however, the panel only has a 720p resolution. The display might not be the sharpest around (even for its price), but the color quality is top-notch. It perfectly shows the vibrant Samsung Experience UI on top of Android Nougat.


During its launch, Samsung said they positioned the phone to be a budget gaming device. The Philippine retail version comes with 10,000 battle points and three hero trial cards from Mobile Legends, plus a free 16GB microSD card to store your files and apps, because the 16GB internal storage will never be enough. Pre-loaded on the phone is Samsung’s Game Launcher app, which we first saw on flagship models. Basically, this gives users some tools for better gaming like silent alerts, option to disable the capacitive keys (we need this since we always tap the back key accidentally), screen recording, and more.

Performance-wise, the J7 Core is no slouch. The system runs smoothly and it has a comparable gaming performance to its siblings (they sport the same processor and graphics units), without the higher price tag. The lower memory is a bottleneck, but it’s necessary to keep its price low for a Samsung. Our favorite titles like Asphalt Extreme and NBA 2K17 run fine as long as you keep the settings in check. We manage to get smooth frame rates in low to medium graphics level.

Camera is okay and straightforward

If its Galaxy J7 Pro sibling is marketed to “capture the night” with its f/1.7 rear camera, the J7 Core is a runner-up with a 13-megapixel f/1.9 main camera. Those numbers are just on paper though, as we find the daylight images to be just okay. Low-light performance is pretty good, but the camera doesn’t compensate for the shake and slow shutter speed. Here are a few samples:

The selfie photo was captured with the front LED flash on. This helps fill up light directly onto the subject’s face, especially when taking a photo indoors. Not exactly a quality selfie phone, but the front flash is handy.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For the phone’s retail price of PhP 9,990, there are a number of options you can choose from. But, we get how some consumers like to stick to Samsung as a trusted brand. The Galaxy J7 Core has some unique offerings, including its Super AMOLED display, removable 3000mAh battery, and a triple-card slot. The budget segment has tough competition, but with a number of models you can choose from (and it continues to grow), you’ll never run out of options.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro Review: Looks good, feels good

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Hands-On

Nokia 3.2 Hands-On: Basic but classy

Nothing fancy but really speedy

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Nokia has been stepping up its lineup of budget smartphones. Early in 2019, the brand launched a plethora of budget smartphones that are under the Android One program. One of the budget-friendly smartphones introduced was Nokia 3.2. Eager to have that Nokia experience, I took the phone out for a spin.

It’s cheap… but classy

I had high hopes when I first got the Nokia 3.2 in its box. Seeing it earlier in MWC 2019 made me appreciate its look and vibe. Compared to other budget smartphones, it’s classier and sexier. However, the phone feels a little bit downgraded when compared to its predecessor.


Nokia the 3.1 with an aluminum frame, a plastic back, and corning gorilla glass while the 3.2 used only a polycarbonate unibody design. Its plastic back is smudgy and slippery, but the phone has a tighter grip, thanks to its subtle curved edges towards the front.

Even its buttons are subtly protruding on its sides. On the left is a dedicated Google Assistant button, and on the right are its power buttons and volume keys.

Found on its back are the 13-megapixel main camera, LED Flash, and fingerprint scanner. On the other hand, its top side features a headphone jack, while the micro USB port and speaker grilles are found on the bottom.

If the notch is troubling you, try hiding it with a wallpaper similar to what I did in the image above.

It also features a 6.2 inches LCD panel on its front display, with a tall 19:9 ratio. It might be disrupting, but the Nokia 3.2 still sports a small notch, housing its 5-megapixel selfie camera capable of AI face unlock. Even though it might be bigger and taller this time, the Nokia 3.2 is definitely a joy to hold.

Stock Android on a budget

The saving grace for Nokia’s disappointing build (at least for me) is its clean version of Android One. That means there’s no bloatware to take up your limited memory and storage.

Additionally, the Nokia 3.2 comes with Android 9 Pie out of the box. This makes it feel faster than its competitors in the budget segment despite having a 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Fortunately, it provides a microSD card slot up to up to 400GB of storage.

An entry-level performance

Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 429 processor, the Nokia 3.2 performs better compared to its predecessor which carried a MediaTek chipset. In addition, its GPU runs on Adreno 504.

This made the Nokia 3.2 handle graphic-intensive games like Mobile Legends even if it was set on the highest graphics setting possible. There were no delay and lag spikes, ensuring smooth gameplay all throughout.

Decent cameras for your everyday needs

Featuring a 13-megapixel main camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture, the Nokia 3.2 takes decent photos. Depending on the lighting, both of its cameras can either take a vibrant, lively reproduced color during daylight or a slightly desaturated photo on indoor and low-light conditions.

Of course, we can’t really expect budget smartphones to have flagship-like cameras. It won’t have quick auto-focus or any fancy features like blurring your background, but it’s the compromise we’re getting when we follow our tight budget. At the very least, make use of natural light and other camera tricks to improve your photos.

Lasts longer than your partner

If there’s one thing I enjoyed with this smartphone, it’s the humongous battery. Packing a 4000mAh battery, the Nokia 3.2 can definitely last a day on a single charge. It can handle your multimedia use and everyday tasks throughout the day, yet it will still have enough juice left to carry you through the night.

However, for a phone carrying a huge battery, it charges slowly at 10W. This phone might just be good for those who love to charge their phones overnight.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Nokia 3.2 is a contender in the budget segment. It might have a disappointing build and design, but the phone packs with power, performance, and speed, thanks to Google’s Android One program.

With a starting price of PhP 7,990 (US$ 154) for the 3GB/32GB model, Nokia loyalists will find this a real treat. For people looking for a secondary phone, or a primary phone with no frills and just functions to handle your everyday needs, the Nokia 3.2 could be your GadgetMatch.

However, there are still far better options in the budget category, like the Redmi Note 7 and Realme 3. If Nokia wants to come back in its former glory and capture people looking for an affordable powerhouse, they need to join the battle and beat Realme and Redmi in their game, just like Samsung bending over to compete in the tough budget battlefield.

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Samsung Galaxy Fold Hands-on: The Redo!

Refined and ready for release

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This is our Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on! We revisit Samsung’s foldable phone as it relaunches and check out what’s new!

More on the Samsung Galaxy Fold: Global Availability | How Samsung Fixed it | A more affordable Galaxy Fold?


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Two Screens, One Phone: LG G8X Hands-on

LG is making dual screens their thing

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This is our LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen Hands-on.

LG’s answer to foldable phones? A phone with two screens! Well sort of. The LG G8X ThinQ comes with a Dual Screen case and it’s a pretty fantastic idea. Two screens on one phone is like smartphone multitasking on steroids!


WATCH ALSO: LG V50 ThinQ Dual Screen Unboxing and Hands-on

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