After being criticized for releasing such an extensive portfolio with devices that had a first, middle and last name, Samsung decided to cut off the excess and stick to just three phone series: J, A and S - entry-level, mid-range and premium, respectively. Still, there are quite a few options to choose from, and we're here today to help you decide which one is the best one for you.
Some devices from 2015 and 2016 are still available on the shelves, but we’re only going consider smartphones launched in 2017. It's always best to look at the latest option, especially when you’re dealing with entry- and mid- level models. Last year’s top-of-the-line models are usually a solid bargain since their prices typically drop quite a bit, and that’s especially true with the S series from Samsung. We’ll touch on that later.
In 2017, the J series got just two upgrades: the J5 Pro and the J7 Neo. It isn't by accident that these are the top sellers in the J series. They’re very similar devices, although the J5 Pro is a bit more expensive, it’s still a more attractive phone.
The display on the J5 Pro is smaller, 5.2 inches, both the front and rear cameras are 13 MP, and it comes with 32 GB storage. It also comes with a 3,000 mAh battery, Exynos 7870 octa-core, with 3 GB of RAM, just like the J7 Neo. If you’re someone who likes to watch TV, however, the J7 Neo has the upper hand.
Launch event for the J5 Pro / © AndroidPIT
From 2016, both the J5 and J7 have Metal and Prime versions, the Metal version being the cheaper of the two. Of these four devices, the J5 Metal is the most popular, as its one of the easiest on the pocketbook, around $200. It’s a bit more entry-level though, with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, Snapdragon 410 processor, 3,100 mAh battery with a 13 MP back camera and 5-megapixel front all on a 5.2-inch display. The J7 versions are more expensive, but they do come with a bigger screen, 5.5-inches.
Even more entry-level than those, for less than $150, are the J1, J1 Mini and J2 Prime, the last one being the best of the three. It comes with 1.5 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, 8 MP and 5 MP cameras, 2,600 mAh battery and an MT6737T processor.
This year, the mid-range models, A5 and A7, got some upgrades. Their setups are very similar: Exynos 7 Octa 7880, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB Internal storage and both the front and back cameras are 16 MP. What sets them apart is the battery and screen. The A5 has a 5.2-inch display and a 3,000 mAh battery, while the A7 comes with a 5.7-inch display and 3,600 mAh battery. Personally, I prefer smaller screens, so I tend to lean toward the A5, but honestly, you won't go wrong with either one.
In the A series, the big difference is with the display and battery, which are usually proportional. You can still easily find the two devices from 2016 on the market: A9 and A5 2016. If you’re someone who loves a big screen, the Galaxy A9 may be your best choice. It comes with a 6-inch display and a massive 5,000 mAh battery.
Although it doesn’t have the S in the name, the Note is usually considered a close cousin to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, and part of the S line. Since the Note 8 is still a niche product and more of a phablet than a true smartphone, the S8 and S8+ remain the premium options for your main phone. Once again, it’s all a question of display size (and the battery) more than hardware features.
They both come with Snapdragon 835, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Both have 12 MP cameras on the back and 8 MP on the front. However, if you’re really looking for something powerful, it might be worth it to go for the 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of Storage in the S8+ with a 6.2-inch display. Oh, and you’ll need to have more than $800 to spend on a smartphone of course.
Last year’s top-of-the-line models can still be found on the market as well, such as the S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, which offer an attractive set of hardware at more affordable prices. With Snapdragon 820, 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, they’re differentiated by the curved border on the Edge, and that one would be my choice. Not just for the curve though. It’s also a decent size display at 5.5 inches, and it comes with more battery power at 3,600 mAh.
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