The new generation Samsung Galaxy J-series now features Infinity Display but is it any good and how does it compare between them. We take a look at the latest Samsung Galaxy J6 and J8 smartphones from Samsung’s budget J-series.
Samsung Galaxy J6 vs J8: Head-to-head comparison between two of the latest budget Samsung smartphones.
The new Galaxy J6 and J8 signals the departure of the J-series from offering the standard form factor favouring instead the new 18.5:9 aspect ratio display and minimal bezels, what Samsung likes to call Infinity Display.
The bigger and more expensive J8 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 while the smaller and cheaper J6 uses Samsung Exynos 7870 processor. Both processors are quad-core and are of the same class using 14nm process and based on ARM Cortex-A53 architecture. Both processors have 8 CPU threads and support 64-bit applications. This leaves us with only one difference, the clock speed. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 runs faster at 1.8GHz while the Samsung Exynos 7870 clocks in at 1.6GHz only. As a result, the Snapdragon 450 processor is 12.5% faster than the Exynos 7870. With more clock cycles from its higher frequency the Samsung Galaxy J8 is bound to cope better with demanding applications.
2. Memory & Storage
Depending on region and country, you may find that the Galaxy J8 is offered with a huge 4GB of RAM and a really generous 64GB of storage. Of the 64GB of storage, only around 51GB of space is available to the user. However, for the rest, the Galaxy J8 comes with only 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. And, from the 32GB of storage, only around 22.6GB is available to the end user due to operating system and pre-loaded apps. On the other hand, there is only one memory and storage configuration for the J6 and that is 3GB of RAM and 32GB or storage. In both cases, the phones support external memory in the form of microSD card up to 256GB with a dedicated microSD card reader. With enough processing power, sufficient memory and storage, the phones are capable of running most apps quickly, pushes a smooth UI experience and even support multiple apps running simultaneously in a multi-window style multi-tasking.
Samsung’s Super AMOLED display is still one of the best in the industry and is the budget J-series biggest selling point. It offers true to live, vivd colours making your images pop on the screen. This time however, with the new J8 and J6, they go much closer to the edge of the device. The result, a maximised screen to body ratio, bigger screen coverage and a more immersive viewing experience.
Both display spots the exact same HD+ resolution. The HD+ resolution is nothing to shout about. Coming in at 1480 x 720, it is nowhere near Full HD (1920 x 1080) or better known as 1080p. What this means is that images won’t be as sharp as on the Full HD or Full HD+ counterparts. However, for most applications, this would be sufficient. So the only difference here is screen size. The bigger J8 measures 6.0-inch diagonally while the J6 only measures 5.6-inch. Consequently, the screen area on the J8 would be 91.4cm2 compared to 79.6cm2 on the J6. This is nearly 15% bigger (14.8%).
Bottom line is, the Super AMOLED screen is what will sell the phones even when the displays have low resolution. If you are a fan of Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology, the J8 and J6 are possibly the cheapest ways to get your hands on one with Infinity Display. If you would like a display with higher resolution and the trendy rounded corners, check out the Galaxy A8.
It is also worth noting that the screen does not support always-on function as seen on Samsung’s own mid-range A-series.
Adopting the new aspect ratio and Infinity Display meant the J8 and J6 smartphones have a narrow and tall form factor. The phones have a full glass front with ultra slim side bezels and smallish top and bottom bezel. The narrow top bezel (or forehead) houses the 16-MP front facing camera, earpiece and LED flash. The Samsung symbol that typical sits beneath the camera, earpiece and LED flash has been removed to the back. We noticed that there are no light sensor so don’t expect automatic screen brightness setting.
The bottom bezel (or chin) is completely devoid of any physical button, fingerprint sensor or even space for soft touch buttons. The home and navigation buttons are now designed into the display so you can customise this somewhat. The fingerprint sensor, like all new Samsung mid-range A series flagships S series are moved to the back.
On the back of the phone, you get a non-removable plastic backplate. Yes, it’s a step back from the all-metal body on the J7 2017 and J5 2017 to keep the cost and weight down. Rear camera(s) and fingerprint sensor stacks are located on the polycarbonate back vertically at the top centre of the phone followed by the Samsung symbol. The difference between the phones here is the J8 has dual rear camera (16MP and 5MP) also stacked one above the other, while the J6 has a single shooter.
On the right side of the phone, you get the speaker above the power button. Similar to what we have seen on the A8. While most phones have downward firing speakers, Samsung has taken the bold move to relocate it’s speakers to the top. This unconventional move is not entirely fool’s errand. It means that the speaker is closer the ears whether held in portrait or landscape.
On the left, you get the volume rocker buttons, a single tray for Nano-SIM1 and a second tray for Nano SIM2 and dedicated microSD card slot. Finally, at the bottom you have a Micro-USB port for charging and a 3.5mm headphone combo socket. Like most budget smartphones, USB Type-C port is still a luxury so you will just have to figure out which way is up before inserting the cable, every time.
Apart from the screen size, the cameras on these phones are the key differentiator. On the front, the J8 gets a 16MP F1.9 shooter with flash for those all important selfies but the J6 gets only half that resolution with an 8MP F1.9 sensor.
As for the rear camera, the J8 gets a dual camera setup with a 16MP F1.7 and a 5MP F1.9. The 16MP F1.7 is great for low light photography, while with combination of both lenses you get to add a whole host of effects notably the Life Focus. Other camera shooting modes include Beauty, Night, Panorama and Sports as well as Pro mode.
Live Focus is a new camera feature from Samsung for its dual rear shooters (Samsung Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S9+). Samsung is using its second camera to capture depth of field, in J8’s case the 5MP F1.9 shooter. What this is is the ability to blur out the background during and after taking the shot. Something that is now available on Apple’s iPhone XS and XS Max, launched a month later. The serious bokeh trick emulates those of professional SLR cameras. Simply use the slider to introduce background blur around the subject.
In short, with the J8, you are getting the same camera effect as you would on a high-end flagship must the ridiculous price tag of course. But that is not all, other custom effects such as portrait backdrop, portrait dolly and background blur shape. The later turns blurred light sources into shapes of your choice such as hearts, butterflies or music notes.
The J8’s rear shooters auto focus function however is plagued by the problem we seen on the Galaxy A8, its ability to automatically fix its focus on smaller subjects. This meant the system loses focus and veered towards focusing on the background. You can easily overwrite this by tapping on the subject lock the focus manually.
While J6 may lack the Live Focus effect, you can still enjoy other camera features and creative filters namely the Selfie Focus, AR Sticker, Stamp, Colour Filter and Wide Selfie. When you have captured all those previous moments, both J8 and J6 helps you manage and edit them easily with new Gallery software. The Gallery is now smarter and lets you group your collection of photos and videos into stories or themes. It also automatically detects the subjects of the images by food type, people, location and more making for easy search and story creation.
Overall, the phones capture photos with good dynamic range, good low-lit images with sufficient details, good colour but sometimes oversaturated close-ups and has the ability to set HDR on auto for those who love a little tweak to their photos. As for video capture, both front and back cameras on both phones are only capable of recording up to 1080p videos at 30fps with the rear camera offering continuous autofocus. This is lower than expected but not uncommon.
Both phones have non-removable battery. The bigger J8 does have a higher capacity battery at 3500 mAh and the J6 has the standard 3000 mAh. The difference in battery life per full charge however is not far off. Samsung claims the J8 offers up to 12 hours of Internet usage on 3G, only 1 hour more than you get get on the J6. This is also true with Internet on LTE (13 hours vs 12 hours) and Internet on WiFi (14 hours vs 13 hours). Elsewhere, the J8 scores better video and audio playback time 20 and 112 hours respectively compared to J6’s 17 and 76 hours. There is also only a small difference in talk time, 23 on the J8 vs 21 on the J6.
7. Connectivity & Sensors
Both phones have pretty much the same set of connectivity options. You get your usual 3G and 4G LTE broadband connection for data, Bluetooth 4.2 and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz (single band) and WiFi Direct support. Both offers dual SIM card slot with the second tray also including a dedicated microSD card. Both phones uses USB 2.0 connectivity for data and charging with a microUSB interface. You get GPS, Glonass and Beidou support for location services but the phone falls flat when it comes to sensors. Apart from the lack of the ambient light sensor it also lacks magnetometer and gyroscope. This meant that the system does not support direction or heading when in navigation mode for apps like Google Maps and games and apps that tilt motion to drive.
The last and final thing to highlight about the phones are the improvements on the software. Samsung has added some nice touches to let users search, manage and share their memories easily with better Gallery app. You can use it to customise your own story and organise your images and videos by theme. The gallery now supports intelligent subject recognition so you can search by type of subject, people, location and more. Apart from that, you can also use the front facing camera to unlock your phone. So, you get a choice of using advanced facial recognition technology of swiping your finger on the scanner. Both phones supports this. Other features include, the Secure Folder to keep files, photos, documents and videos as well as audio recording locked up safely in an encrypted space. It even supports separate messenger with Dual Messenger so you can use two different chat accounts on the same device, one for family and the other for work.