The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) is available in either a single-SIM or a dual-SIM version and we have the former. We'll take another chance to note, however, that on the dual SIM variant there's a dedicated microSD expansion slot accompanying the two SIM slots, as opposed to the hybrid compromise.
The new Samsung UX design has soaked through to the core features of the J5 as well. There are some notable differences, though, from the likes of the S8 and S8+ we recently reviewed. Some are surely dictated by hardware limitations, but then there are things like the omission of the new Places tab in the Phone app. Shame really, the local directory it provided was kind of neat.
Still, you get the familiar dialer, which can be summoned from any tab by tapping on the green button in the bottom right corner. And Contacts in the adjacent tab.
The Do Not Disturb mode can be put on an automated schedule. When it's on, only priority notifications can get through and you decide what counts as "priority" - it can be anything from calls by select contacts to reminders from key apps.
The Galaxy J5 (2017) is equipped with a single speaker located in a rather unusual spot high on the right side of the phone. Unusual, that is, unless you're familiar with Samsung's latest entries in the A and J series, all of which are designed that way.
The speaker is a massive improvement over the J5 of last year in terms of loudness, and pumps out enough decibels for a Very Good rating in our three-prong test - just like the J7 (2017). We didn't experience any distortion at maximum volume either.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
The Galaxy J5 (2017) uses the Samsung Keyboard, which long-time Samsung users swear by. It's quite feature-packed, with a dedicated numbers row, a row above that for word suggestions and additional characters on each key (accessible via long-press).
If that seems too tall, you can scale the keyboard down (or up, if you want bigger keys). We don't like that the Space bar can end up quite short in some instances, though. Additional typing tools include swipe input, My Hot Keys (predefined phrases that can be typed by long-pressing a number key) and voice dictation.
Samsung continues to bundle the Microsoft app package that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and Skype.
The Samsung-customized web browser makes use of the Samsung Pass service and features Web sign in - a password manager secured by your fingerprint. This makes logins as simple as unlocking the phone, and people can't peek over your shoulder to see your password.
S Health has been renamed to Samsung Health, but it's the same thing - it can fully utilize the heart rate and blood oxygen sensors. It also tracks walking/running/cycling, and you can manually input water and coffee intake and so on.
The My Files app is the default file browser. It features Google Drive and Samsung Cloud integration. You can ZIP folders to make them easier to share as a single file, and you can do batch actions.
All the other basics are covered as well and all executed in a consistent visual style. Clock, Calendar and Calculator are about as straight-forward and approachable as possible. Samsung Notes (formerly S Note) is a bit more feature-rich, but still pretty simple to use.
If you do find something essential missing, Samsung still maintains its own aptly named "Galaxy Essentials" app store. It is a good place to find great tools (like Kids Mode), but for general app shopping, you would probably be better off with Google Play.