The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) is equipped with a 5-inch display which, like it or not, is set to becoming the new compact. Yes, the J-series even has a 4.5-incher in the J1 (2016), but that one is really an entry-level model.
The screen is of the Super AMOLED variety, obviously being made available to even smartphones as low in the pecking order as our J3 (2016) here. It's pleasingly sharp (294ppi), with rich colors and superb contrast - pretty much the screen alone justifies the handset's higher-than-average price tag, considering some of the direct competition.
We would choose the excellent contrast that the J3 (2016) has to offer over a lower-midrange LCD any day of the week. And, with a brightness of 331 nits, the panel is perfectly adequate even in bright light.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
In Outdoor mode, the display gets even brighter at 468 nits. This means that you shouldn't have any issues using the Galaxy J3 (2016) in any conditions. It is bright enough and has a 3.523 ratio. Yet, one thing that gives away the budget nature of the J3 (2016) is the lack of auto brightness mode.
As for color reproduction, it would be both naive and unnecessary to expect sRGB calibration from the budget handset. Still, it maintains a fairly low average deltaE of 7.3. There are also a few Samsung display modes to choose from. In Basic mode, colors are most accurate, whereas AMOLED cinema notably oversaturates things. The middle ground is AMOLED photo.
The standard DeltaE 2000 deviation is used to describe the accuracy of the screen's color rendition. We test the screen with a set of over 100 different color and grayscale patterns to determine the accuracy of the color reproduction.
Even when a phone's screen color reproduction is off, you would still have a hard time noticing a color cast without a reference as the human eye is quite quick to adjust and normalize colors.
Also, the display colors are a matter of personal taste and perception so consider this test data only if you are concerned about presenting color-critical content on the mobile screen.
Any deviation above DeltaE 2000 of 10 is considered a highly visible error in color reproduction on the display. A DeltaE 2000 deviation between 4 and 10 is considered okay or acceptable color performance. A DeltaE 2000 deviation below 4 is considered good, but professional color calibration requires a deviation between 1 and 2.
In a predictable Samsung fashion, the Galaxy J3 (2016) is available in single-SIM and dual-SIM variants, so you can get some flexibility in terms of carriers and plans. It is also worth noting that opting for a dual SIM option doesn't limit the use of a microSD card, as it has a dedicated slot of its own - another merit quickly being lost to slim unibody designs.
Now, let's try and get the chipset situation straight, as it has important implications on connectivity. Some units are powered by Spreadtrum SC8830 or SC9830. They have practically no difference in performance, but the former is only 3G, while the latter supports 4G LTE. If you get an Exynos 3475 unit, it will also have 4G support and the same goes for the alleged Snapdragon 410 variant. We weren't able to conclusively prove or disprove its existence, despite our best efforts, but it might very well be a reality on certain markets.
Naturally, you get Wi-Fi, but it only operates on the 2.4GHz band, so needless to say there's no Wi-Fi ac support. There's GPS with A-GPS and BDS on some markets, Bluetooth v.4.1, and an FM radio receiver. Sadly, unlike the J5 (2016) and J7 (2016), there is no NFC in the J3 (2016).
It is also worth noting that the Galaxy J3 (2016) only has an accelerometer and a proximity sensor on board. That means no magnetometer or gyroscope - both essential for some apps. However, we can't imagine too many prospective buyers will be looking to use it with Google Cardboard.
The Galaxy J3 (2016) is powered by a 2600mAh battery and we can't really complain about the capacity all that much, as the battery on the Galaxy J3 (2016) is removable - you can just pop the back cover and replace it. This, of course, means no need for bulky power banks, just pack an extra battery for the peace of mind.
The Galaxy J3 (2016) managed an endurance rating of 66 hours. There's a lot to be desired from the video playback performance.
We do measure standby battery drain, and even though it's not included explicitly in the scorecard, it has its influence on the overall rating.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.