Samsung Galaxy J2 review: Just a pretty face?
Boost's exclusive Galaxy J2 is an affordable phone for Samsung enthusiasts, but a rather superficial update to the already disappointing J1.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Its bright and colourful display and prolonged battery life make for a clean day-to-day experience.
- Cheap, uncluttered Samsung experience
- Surprisingly sound battery life
- Vivid display
Could be better
- Locked to the Telstra network
- Processor lacks punch
From Ace to Prime to the J series, I've never been a fan of Samsung's cheaper outings and went into this review with a cautious mind. Silently hoping that Samsung could pull off a mid-range handset, but realistically figuring that it was likely to be disappointing. Unfortunately, the J2 didn't do a whole lot to swing that view either way. The J2 is not an unbearable handset, it just does nothing to separate itself in the growing market of quality mid-range handsets and it really is, it seems, for a lack of trying.
Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime from Kogan AU
Designed to expand your world of entertainment and gaming even further for the ultimate experience. Pick up your new Samsung Galaxy J2 from Kogan today.View details
When it launched at the beginning of the year, 2016's J1 was a disappointment. A $229 handset that would have made for a decent deal had it been released two years earlier. Aside from its premium sheen (the J2 looks a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S5), the same can be said for the J2, because it's a nearly identical handset to the J1, with its two defining factors being its higher resolution display and its cheaper price tag (thanks to Boost's contribution).
|Specs||Samsung J1||Samsung J2|
|Processor||Exynos 3475 Quad, Quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex-A7||Exynos 3475 Quad, Quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex-A7|
Upsides: Why you'd want the Samsung Galaxy J2
- Cheap, uncluttered Samsung experience: Picking up a cheap, prepaid handset from Optus or Telstra usually comes with lots of unwanted junkware (apps provided by your carrier that can't be removed). Luckily, the J2 is mostly free of this. There is the Boost Mobile app, which isn't a complete waste of your time as a Boost customer as it can be used to check your balance and recharge, but otherwise the J2 comes out of the box looking like any other Samsung handset.
- Surprisingly sound battery life: The Samsung Galaxy J2 gains points for its surprising battery life. It lasted a solid 10 hours and 5 minutes when we ran it through Geekbench's battery test.
|Handset||Geekbench 3 Battery Test Duration||Geekbench 3 Battery Score|
|Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge||11:55:00||7150|
|Samsung Galaxy J2||10:05:20||2689|
|Samsung Galaxy S7||10:01:20||6013|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 5||9:18:00||5580|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+||8:24:10||5041|
|Apple iPhone 6S Plus||7:48:10||4681|
|Alcatel Go Play||7:21:10||2941|
|Google Nexus 5X||7:14:20||4062|
|Samsung Galaxy S6||6:51:30||4115|
|Google Nexus 6P||6:39:20||3754|
|Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3||5:42:00||2276|
|Sony Xperia Z5||5:41:30||3414|
|Huawei P8 Lite||4:39:40||2768|
|Apple iPhone SE||4:27:10||2671|
|Apple iPhone 6s||3:52:10||2321|
|iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case||7:21:10||4407|
|LG Stylus DAB+||8:11:40||3278|
|Huawei Mate 8||11:14:40||6659|
While 10 hours is a respectable score for any handset, it is worth pointing out that its battery score is also comparable to handsets that lasted nowhere near as long. Essentially, Galaxy J2 did roughly the same amount of heavy lifting during the test as other mid-range phones, like the Huawei P8 Lite and the Alcatel One Touch, but managed to last nearly twice as long.
- Vivid display: The J2's display is easily the most immediately attractive feature of the handset. Although the 540x960 resolution is fairly standard at that price tag, the eye-popping Super AMOLED is not. Even the Huawei P8 Lite's 720x1080 LCD display looks somewhat dull in comparison, which is more of testament to the inherent edge AMOLED displays have over LCD screens.
Downsides: Why you might not want a Samsung Galaxy J2
- Locked to the Telstra network: Considering the Galaxy J2 is sold exclusively through Boost Mobile, this handset is locked to the Telstra network. This is not unusual for a prepaid mobile sold through a telco, but it's worth knowing if you're attached to another carrier. You dohave the option to unlock a prepaid handset from Boost but that comes at a cost.
- Processor lacks punch: You would expect a mid-range handset to have some inferior hardware under the hood, but the Galaxy J2's processor takes the bigger hit than we'd like. Out of all the handsets reviewed by finder (including the similarly priced Huawei P8 Lite and Oppo F1), the Galaxy J2 performed the worst in the Geekbench 3's single and multi core tests.
|Handset||Geekbench 3 Single Core (higher is better)||Geekbench 3 Multi Core (higher is better)|
|Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge||2169||6446|
|Samsung Galaxy S7||2156||6240|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+||1492||4893|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge||1324||4626|
|Google Nexus 6P||1251||4597|
|Samsung Galaxy S6||1347||4569|
|Apple iPhone SE||2538||4455|
|Apple iPhone 6S||2540||4410|
|Apple iPhone 6S Plus||2491||4391|
|Sony Xperia Z5||1358||4134|
|Google Nexus 5X||1188||3198|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 5||1111||3686|
|Alcatel Go Play||453||1368|
|Huawei Mate 8||1738||6092|
|LG Stylus DAB+||470||1418|
|Samsung Galaxy J2||315||1044|
While benchmark tests are decent general indicator of a phone's performance, it's always best to take these numbers with a grain of salt. During our time with the J2, it performed all its basic functions smoothly fresh out of the box. However, it did slow noticeably when the internal memory became clogged with photos and apps. The subpar processor could also have something to do with the enduring battery.
Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?
If you're a Samsung fan maxing your budget out at $200, the Galaxy J2 is not the worst decision you could make. Its bright and colourful display and prolonged battery life make for a clean day-to-day experience. However, it seems Samsung are relying on brand recognition to sell this one because there just isn't enough to make it the preferential choice over similar priced handsets. There are handsets that blow the J2 out of the water for less than $100 more and even if you are on the Telstra network, you can pick up the more impressive HTC 610 for the exact same price as the J2.
As the benchmark test and specs above prove, the Galaxy J2 simply doesn't compare to other mid-tier handsets. While the $199 price tag is desirable for a smartphone with decent battery life, it's hard to ignore the fact that an extra $100 can get you 13MP camera, a much better processor and a HD screen.
It's also worth noting that die-hard Samsung fans can now get their hands on the Galaxy J3 for an additional $130.
Where can I get it?
Currently, the Samsung Galaxy J2 is sold through Kogan.
More guides on Finder
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review: Samsung’s Pro sounding headphones
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro are its best headphones yet, but they’re best suited to existing Samsung Galaxy phone owners.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G Review: Android flagship brilliance
If you can stand the price point, there’s an awful lot to like about Samsung’s highest tier Galaxy S21 handset.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Review: Pocket rocket (with a few misfires)
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 delivers a more affordable flagship experience in a very nice form, although the lack of a charger, microSD expansion and Qualcomm’s best chips do mean it’s not quite the perfect smaller flagship phone Samsung says it is.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: Features | Specifications | Pricing
Samsung’s mid-range 2021 flagship phone combines some serious camera zoom and a powerful processor.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Features | Specifications | Pricing
Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S phone combines impressive telephoto muscle and a few tricks borrowed from the Samsung Galaxy Note line.
Nokia 3.4 review
The Nokia 3.4 is an affordable Android phone, and the inclusion of Android One means it has the potential to improve over the years. We hope it does, because at launch, the Nokia 3.4 is mediocre.
Vivo Y20s review
The Vivo Y20s is a decent value budget phone, but once you get past the design, there's not that much to get excited about.
Oppo Reno4 5G review
Oppo’s latest affordable 5G handset provides an impressive combination of performance, battery life and camera features.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review
Samsung's Galaxy S20 FE is, surprisingly, its best phone of 2020.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Review
The iPhone 12 Pro brings a number of quality of life improvements to Apple's iPhone family
Ask an Expert