Dedicated microSD card slot
The software is feature rich.
Lack of Auto Brightness Sensor
Poor low-light camera
Performance is not very impressive
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Samsung with every flagship launch proves why it is in the top in the worldwide smartphone market; the brand is literally killing it in the high-end price segment thanks to the recent launches like the S8, S8+, Note 8. It is only Apple that comes close to Samsung in the premium segment which is yet indication how strong and successful the brand is. Though the Note 7 hit the company badly, the reception of S8 and Note 8 proved Samsung’s strength and the loyal fan base. However, the problem with Samsung is that while it does a fantastic job in pricey range, it is the budget segment that is taking a severe beating in the recent times. In fact, for the first time in years, the company is pushed back to the second spot by Xiaomi in India.
It is high time Samsung realizes where it is losing before the Chinese completely dominate the company in its own game. To be fair, Samsung’s budget offering like the On and the J-series phones are decent value for money, but with Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei offering more, the Korean company has no other choice except raising its bar. With the same aim in mind, Samsung recently launched the On7 Prime in India pricing it at Rs. 12,990 which is very competitive. However, in our today’s review, we shall check if it is worth the asking price.
The Galaxy On7 Prime sports a 5.5-inches Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) 2.5D curved glass display. It is powered by the Exynos 7870 SoC clocked at 1.6GHz Octa-Core processor with ARM Mali-T830 GPU. There is 4GB RAM with 64GB storage that is expandable up to 256GB with microSD. It runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box.
In the camera department, there is a 13MP rear camera with LED flash, f/1.9 aperture and the same 13-megapixel on the front with the same f/1.9 aperture. It also comes with a Fingerprint sensor. Connectivity features include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, and GPS. A 3300mAh battery.
Over the years, Samsung has faced constant blame for stuffing the mid-range and budget segment phones with plastic builds and conventional designs. Since 2016-17, the brand has taken a drastic U-turn and has been launching phones with metal builds. Now the Galaxy On7 Prime is no different; it packs a robust metal unibody design which feels quite sturdy. At 8mm thickness, the On7 Prime is also pretty comfortable to hold in hands. The back panel has a smooth matte finish and doesn’t attract fingerprints, but makes it slippery if you are not holding correctly. Though the looks of Galaxy On7 Prime are no different from recent launches, we wouldn’t complain much as we feel the design is quite modern, if not premium.
Thanks to the 2.5D curved glass on the front, the phone looks like a good and also offers decent in-hand feel. While phones from Huawei, LG, Gionee have 18:9 aspect ratios, Samsung sticking to the traditional 16:9 aspect which is a bummer. Thankfully, the 5.5-inches doesn’t feel bulky and is easy to use even with one-hand. Moving to placements, the front houses a 13-megapixel selfie camera, usual set of sensors, main earpiece, Samsung branding. Down below the screen is the physical home button with a fingerprint sensor embedded and it is accompanied by the two capacitive keys for back and menu. Like always, these buttons aren’t backlit. On the left, you find the volume rockers, dual SIM tray, and microSD card slot. It's good to see a dedicated microSD in a market that is flooded with the Hybrid arrangement. The power button and the speaker grill sit on the right. The 3.5 mm audio jack, a microUSB port, and the primary microphone are present on the bottom. And there is nothing on top. The rear has the 13-megapixel primary camera, LED flash and Samsung branding. The back panel is not removable. Overall, the design, build, and the placement of buttons are perfectly fine leaving nothing to complain.
The Galaxy On7 Prime sports a 5.5-inches Full HD (1920 X 1080) PLS TFT LCD display with 2.5D curved glass. It doesn’t come with any additional protected glass on top. Though there is no 18:9 wow factor here, the Full HD display offers sharp and crisp text and images. The colors are well represented, and since it is an LCD panel, they don’t look over saturated or grainy. The viewing angles are perfect, so are the brightness levels. We never had issues accessing content outdoors or under direct sunlight.
However, Samsung didn’t include the auto brightness sensor which was the first thing we wanted to see on first boot. Skipping on features like NFC, or dual band WiFi is understandable, but it very surprising to see a brand like Samsung ignoring the essential user requirements. This move might have been a cost-cutting act, but the end of the day it becomes annoying to adjust the brightness every time manually. Moving along, since there is a large 5.5-inches display, the screen real-estate is suitable for both media consumption and gaming. The touch response is smooth too.
Overall, barring the fact it misses out on auto brightness sensor, the display of the On7 Prime doesn’t disappoint.
The Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime is powered by the Exynos 7870 SoC clocked at 1.6GHz Octa-Core processor with ARM Mali-T830 GPU with 4GB RAM. The performance in day-to-day usage is quite good. Though there are minor hiccups here and there, but we are not complaining much. The interface is fluid, apps open up fine, and they also load almost instantly. There is a bit of sluggishness while switching between apps, and shifting view from portrait to landscape. Touch response is excellent but as we said above, scrolling on Chrome browser, Facebook Feed acts up by responding a bit slow. These were not consistent issues; they only occur if you have too many apps or during heavy multitasking in the background. Another good thing is that we never noticed the On7 Prime heating up. Even while gaming, the phone gets slightly warm but nothing to put it as a con.
As we mentioned, it can handle slight heavy multitasking duties also, but slightly drops when the usage goes overboard. Moving to gaming, we ran games ranging from Asphalt 8, Nova 3, Need for Speed and more. While the gaming in highest graphics setting wasn’t the smoothest, it did a better job once we change the graphics to medium. It also comes with a Fingerprint sensor on board, and it can register up to 5 fingers. The finger detection is very accurate, but the unlock animation is a bit slow. Overall, the performance of the On7 Prime is again not the best we have in this segment but can get the job done if you are a light user.
The Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime packs a single 13-megapixel rear camera and a 13MP shooter on the front for selfies. The interface is filled with features and modes like Pro mode, HDR mode, social sharing, and more. The social sharing feature quickly lets you share the picture on platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger. Given in good lighting and outdoors conditions, the Galaxy On7 Prime can click decent images that are rich in colors and details. However, we found the autofocus to be quite sluggish even in daylight conditions. You need to wait for the camera to lock focus steadily. This makes it slightly harder to click sharp shots of moving objects. On the other hand, the landscape images are moderately good with rich colors and details.
However, in the low-light conditions, the camera struggles to in getting right exposure hence resulting in faded out images and washed out colors. The photos are full of noise and grainy. The HDR mode helps in brightening the image to a certain extent, but the results aren’t that impressive. On the front, there is the same 13MP shooter, and unlike the rear, the front does a decent job in outdoors and a mediocre in low-light. The rear camera can record 1080p videos, and the quality is pretty good. Overall, the camera performance of the On7 Prime is not exceptional, at the same it isn’t terrible either. It hangs in the middle ground that can get right only in favouring conditions.
Samsung is bundling a pair of earphones within the box, and they are of not in-ear style. The quality of the wire is good, but since they are not in-ear, our ears started hurting on extended usage. The loudspeaker is present on the right, and it isn’t very loud even at maximum volumes. Since the placement is on the right, the audio doesn’t get muffled when placed on a flat surface. The sound quality via the earphones is great, and there is also equalizer support, you can tinker around with the audio profiles.
In the video department, the On7 Prime was capable of playing 1080p videos smoothly. There is no lag or heating while streaming Full HD videos. Overall, the audio and video department of the On7 Prime does a good job.
The Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime packs a moderate 3300mAh battery with no support for fast charging just as you would expect. The 3300mAh battery managed to last us an entire day on casual to light usage. We didn’t notice any drastic battery drain when the phone is left idle or while running heavy apps. Since there are no heating issues, we didn’t have to worry about rapid battery dips either. Our regular working day usage includes calls, text messages, checking social media updates, occasional GPS navigation, and listen to music. This kind of usage didn’t disappoint us, and it did a commendable job by lasting one single day without sweating a drop. Few battery management settings can be found in the system settings, and these can be really helpful when the battery is on the edge of dying.
The software drops the brightness level of the screen to a minimum when the battery hits about 5%, and there is no way you can increase it even if you wish to. Since there is no fast charge support, the phone took nearly 3 hours to reach 100% from 1%. On heavy usage, you might expect slightly less backup making you charge back again before you end the day. Overall, a battery of the Galaxy On7 Prime isn’t the best we have seen in the segment but does a fair job.
The Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat with company’s Experience U.I on top. Gone are the days where we used to hate the TouchWiz U.I which not just looks bloated, but also made the interface and the experience laggy and annoying. With the new Experience U.I that was introduced with the Galaxy S8 last year, Samsung has made the interface feature-rich, yet keeping it smoother. There are tons of customizations available that will never make you bored of the U.I. It has a dedicated theme store application where you have access to change icon pack, wallpapers, system theme and more. There are a large number of themes some of which are paid, while most of them are free.
There is no default app drawer icon present, but it is a two-level interface, and the apps can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom. However, you can still enable the app drawer icon from the launcher settings. Swiping from the right brings the Bixby screen, and if you are not aware, Bixby is Samsung’s virtual assistant. The Bixby screen presents you with cards for the weather, your schedule, reminders, and notifications from your social feed. Apart from the regular stuff, the company is heavily promoting the new Samsung Mall which is making its debut with this phone. Samsung Mall is basically an online shopping aggregator with Bixby’s visual search. E-commerce sites like Amazon, Jabong, Shopclues, and Tata Cliq are on board as Mall partners. You will need a Samsung account to make purchases via the Samsung Mall service.
Samsung just acts as an interface between the e-commerce and customer. So, if you wish to purchase any product, you will be redirected to respective seller's web portal not storing any of your delivery or payment details. Since it is the debut, Mall doesn’t offer many features, and we can expect it to widen its features in the coming days gradually. The On7 Prime also has support for Samsung Pay Mini since there is no NFC. Samsung Pay is a blessing, and Pay Mini is no less. It lets you make transactions using UPI and online wallets like Paytm. Apart from Google apps, few Samsung apps such as Health, Notes, Galaxy Apps, Samsung Members and Microsoft apps come by default. There is support for one-handed mode an SOS mode, and Dual Apps.
It comes in two variants; the 3GB RAM and 32GB storage and 4GB RAM with 64GB storage. If you were to pick the On7 Prime, we suggest you go with the high-end model since extra storage and the additional 1GB of RAM are always better to have. Since the U.I is so heavily themed, we wouldn’t have minded jitters here and there, but the On7 interface and animations were great. We never noticed any lag or frame drops while scrolling or casually using the phone. The 4GB RAM ensured smooth multitasking even when we were running 5-6 apps at a time. Overall, the software experience of the On7 Prime is exceptional.
The Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime started off on a positive note, but as we kept using the phone we felt like we were using a phone from 2017. The design is nothing new, the performance on heavy usage gets sluggish, and the camera performance, especially in low-light, is very poor. The biggest let-down for us is the lack of an Auto brightness sensor and dual rear cameras. Make a note we are talking about a phone launched in 2018. If it were up to us, we would go with the Moto G5s Plus, Honor 7X, or the Mi A1 in this price segment.
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