Samsung J4 Plus review

Samsung has faced a massive assault in the budget segment of the smartphone market. The Samsung J4 Plus is one of their attempts to tackle the competition head-on. That means, Samsung needs to make sure that it can go head-to-head against competing products from TECNO, Infinix, Xiaomi, Huawei, and others.

It is a tall task. And we are here to see if the Galaxy J4 Plus is able to pull it off. Before we dive into the review proper, let’s have a quick look at the core specs of this phone.

Samsung J4 Plus 32GB Quick Specs

samsung j4 plus review

The J4 Plus has a 6″ display, runs Android 8 Oreo, has a 13 megapixel camera, a 5MP selfie camera with LED flash, and a 3300mAh battery.

For storage, our unit has the 32GB option. RAM is 2GB, and the processor is a Snapdragon 425 unit.

For security, our unit is the global version, which has no fingerprint scanner (the US version does). But there is Face Unlock available. This is also a Duos device, meaning that it has two SIM card slots.

galaxy j4 plus review

Samsung J4 Plus 32GB Review

In terms of looks, it is a copy of the Galaxy J6. That means it shares the same 6-inch FullView display and plastic build.

That puts it in the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S9+, even though the latter has a bigger display. The J4 Plus’ bigger bezels are responsible for the extra bulk.

It is a beautiful device still, as the bezels are not what we used to see on smartphones in years gone by.

galaxy j4 plus review

 

The screen is bright and sharp. But its blacks are not deep and it washes slightly when viewed at angles. This is an LCD display after all.

The J4 Plus has both the USB and 3.5mm audio jack ports at the bottom end. The phone has a nice glossy feel all round

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Software

samsung galaxy j4 plus live screen in hand

The Samsung J4 Plus runs Android 8 Oreo with Samsung’s Experience UI 9.5 integrated to customise it. It is standard Samsung fare and works well, if the number of duplicate apps and bloatware does not irk you.

Besides Samsung’s apps, there are Google apps, and there are Microsoft apps, all pre-installed. Some Google apps can be uninstalled if you do not need them. But you are stuck with Microsoft’s apps. They can be disabled, but not uninstalled. That is the same situation with the Facebook app.

I found it odd that Samsung Music is not pre-installed on the Samsung J4 Plus. Google’s Play Music is pre-installed though. odd choice. I will take Samsung Music over Play Music any day. Anyway, I was able to install the former from the Play Store. Thankfully, Play Music can be uninstalled.

Bixby is not present on the Samsung J4 Plus, as it is a preserve of high-end Samsung smartphones.

Samsung Experience 9.5 does not let you peg network to 4G only. That means you can only use 4G in auto mode.

The J4 Plus is on the Samsung Android Pie update list, meaning that it will get the new custom user interface called One UI. But you have to wait till May 2019 for that to happen.

Photography

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What is it like using the Samsung J4 Plus for taking pictures?

The 5MP camera at the top of the display takes decent selfies. It has an LED flash to brighten things up in low-light situations. It has been a while that I last saw LED flash with the selfie camera of a Samsung smartphone.

Even the mighty Galaxy S9+ does not have one.

galaxy j4 plus review

The main camera is a 13 megapixel snapper and takes bright and sharp photos especially in good daylight. As with many phone cameras in its class, if you zoom in to the images, you will see some over-processing here and there.

Battery Life

Despite the large screen, the J4 Plus’ 3300mAh battery delivers good battery life. It delivers a working day of regular use. If you push it more, you will need to charge it.

Samsung J4 Plus’ Performance

samsung galaxy j4 plus top screen

In general, the Samsung J4 Plus is a good performer all round. The 2GB RAM doesn’t make room for great multitasking, but we got by. The spacious 32GB internal memory is a feature that we love too.

We miss the fingerprint sensor that was left out. That is my single biggest grouse with the phone.

I wonder why the US version gets a fingerprint sensor but the rest of the world is considered unworthy. In my opinion, it is a costly mistake considering the horde of budget smartphones from Chinese manufacturers that the J4 Plus is lined up against.

The Competition: Samsung J4 Plus vs TECNO Camon X

The logical competition to the J4 Plus 32GB is TECNO’s Camon X 32GB. It costs roughly the same as the J4 Plus 32GB, so it is fair game for a quick comparison.

TECNO Camon X Unboxing phont top

The two phones square of with 6.0 inches for screen size. They also have the same 32GB internal storage. But the differences begin from there.

The Camon X has a fingerprint scanner, a feature that is missing on the J4 Plus, though there is Face Unlock.

The processor is an Octa-core Mediatek chipset clocked at 2.0 GHz. This is in contrast to the J4 Plus’ Snapdragon 425 clocked at 1.4GHz. While the numbers suggest that the Camon X processor delivers more power, it is well known that Snapdragon chipsets deliver more power than their Mediatek equivalents.

The Camon X has 3GB of RAM, against the Samsung’s 2GB.

And while the Samsung J4 Plus has a 13MP main camera and 5MP selfie camera, the Camon X has 20MP and 16MP respectively.  Again, the raw numbers give the TECNO greater optics.

The Camon X has a 3750mAh battery with fast charging, compared to the Samsung’s 3300mAh battery. There is no fast charging available for the J4 Plus.

You can read our Camon X review.

As far as comparisons go, the Samsung struggles to hold its ground against the TECNO in terms of raw numbers. Pound-for-pound, the Camon X is the better specified smartphone.

Note though that higher specifications numbers do not necessarily translate to better results, so the Camon X will not necessarily take better photos or run smoother.

Still, it is easy to see why Samsung is struggling against TECNO, Infinix and itel in Africa, as well as struggling against Xiaomi, Huawei and other Chinese brands in Asia. Raw numbers and features are great for marketing.

Are there any reasons to buy the Galaxy J4 Plus instead of the competition? Yes, and I will list them:

  1. Better build quality,
  2. Samsung makes more durable phones,
  3. The cool brand factor.
  4. 24 month warranty.

If you are in the market for a lower mid-range smartphone, the Samsung J4 Plus is a decent one, if the lack of a fingerprint scanner is not a deal-breaker for you.

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