Samsung knows its way around the mid-range just as well as it dominates the top-end market. Maybe that's why we had such high hopes for the Galaxy J7 (2017) and we wanted to find good reasons to like it.
Samsung did get quite a few things right- the all-metal design, the main and selfie camera upgrades, the ample battery, and the modern software.
We are just not sure if those are enough to make up for the dated hardware left in charge of an even more demanding phone. We noticed the occasional hiccups in arcade games, while lag and low frame rate are common things in more complex 3D titles. Not to mention that the measly amount of storage available to the user out of the box on the 16GB version is almost insulting.
The bottom line - the Galaxy J7 (2017) is an excellent mid-range smartphone with above average specs. If the old chip is not an issue, it didn't ruin the overall experience, after all, then the new J7 has everything to become the new headliner for the series.
The Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) is priced about 20% higher than the 2016 iteration of the Galaxy J7 back when it launched. It's not unusual for the prices to be hiked this way nowadays. And the best way to find out if the J7 (2017) is worth the extra cash is to check out the competition.
The Galaxy A5 (2017) is probably what we expected from the J7 in terms of performance. In addition to the water-proof design, it got the more powerful Exynos 7880 chip, double the storage, and higher camera resolution. Today, the A5 costs between 30 and 50 extra over the J7 depending on the market, so it will be a tough call unless you absolutely want the bigger 5.5-inch screen.
The Nokia 6 is hot on the Galaxy J7 (2017)'s heels when it comes to price and features, but it has an edge when it comes to the overall sentiment towards the brand. The Nokia 6 lacks an AMOLED matrix and is no selfie master either, but is arguably prettier, it offers more storage, and there are those stereo speakers, too.
The Sony Xperia XA1 has a smaller and low-res display, but it relies on a stylish design and high-end camera to impress at first look. Instead of AMOLED and selfie flash, you'll get a much better main camera, faster performance, and more storage, so the XA1 might be a deal worth considering. Oh, and it's cheaper.
The Moto G5 Plus design is ordinary looking but it's splash resistant while its chip is snappier. The phone supports fast charging, has double the storage and features a clean version of Android Nougat, but it's inferior to the J7 in the camera department.
The Honor 8 was expensive at launch and now, a year later, it costs almost the same as the J7 (2017). The Huawei-made phone is not only prettier, but also way more powerful. It may lack an AMOLED screen, but the dual-camera on its back is something that Samsung is still contemplating on even for its flagships.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 may not be as fancy-looking as the Galaxy J7 (2017) but is ready to offer more horsepower for less money. If indeed performance-per-buck is what's most important to you, the Snapdragon version of the Redmi Note 4 won't disappoint. Even better, the Note 4 offers a good 1080p screen wrapped in a metal unibody, as well as a capable camera. The battery endurance is great, too. And the best part - the Redmi Note 4's price is half that of the Galaxy J7 (2017).
It all boils down to performance - gaming is subpar on the Galaxy J7 (2017). If this is an issue, the competition has plenty of better offers. But if smooth 3D performance is not on the checklist, the Galaxy J7 (2017) is probably the best-suited device in the class for everything else - video, camera, web, even design and style. That seems like a fair deal, doesn't it?