As far as the design is concerned the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) lays a solid foundation for the company's upcoming mid-range smartphones. There'll be few people to complain as the phone looks better than its price tag suggests and is rocking top-notch build quality.
However, in terms of hardware the Galaxy J5 (2016) feels like a pretty minor update. The bigger screen and battery are always a good way to lure customers in, but the chipset is feeling decidedly dated at this point. And the camera certainly can't live up to the promises that its specs make.
Running the latest available Android - Marshmallow 6.0 and having 2GB of RAM help keep things smooth, but we are left somewhat worried about things slowing down after longer usage. We'd say the Galaxy J5 (2016) polishes many of the rough edges of its predecessor, but simple refinement might not be enough to stay relevant in the fast developing mid-range market.
You see the Galaxy J5 (2016) faces tons of competition, including plenty of other nice-looking phones. Starting off, we have the Oppo F1, which for its cheaper price tag features a more modern Snapdragon 616 chipset with 3GB of RAM. The screen is a tad smaller at 5.0", but the cameras on that one are better.
Yet another Chinese contender is the Xiaomi Redmi 3. With a price tag lower than the Galaxy J5 (2016) it again delivers a Snapdragon 616 chipset, but with just 2GB of RAM. However, you get a lot more battery for your money at 4,100mAh.
The Sony Xperia M5 is an all around better device with waterproofing, scratch-resistant glass and Helio X10 chipset. The battery is a tad smaller, but we're okay to overlook that when we take into consideration the phone's 1080p 5" display and 21MP snapper.
Huawei offers the P9lite, featuring its in-house made Kirin 650 chipset, which is way more powerful than the S410. The 5.2" 1080p display is a noticeable jump over the 720p screen of the Galaxy J5, and the 13MP camera with 27mm lens offers better shots.
Finally, the Moto G (3gen) is a nice option, boasting IPX7 certification. Its Snapdragon 410 is similar to the Galaxy J5 (2016), but the almost vanilla Android experience might be the preferred option for many.
All in all we are pleased with the change in styling that the Galaxy J5 (2016) brings. The company has been refining the looks and build quality of its devices lately and it has been producing some pretty handsets across the board.
However, in the case of the Galaxy J5 (2016) that seems to come at too high a cost. A quick look around the competition is enough to convince you that the Galaxy J5 (2016) finds itself out of its league. With better screens, camera and chipsets easy to come by at this price point, the company will need to seriously consider a price cut if it is to give its smartphone a fighting chance.