Back in the day, Samsung led the entry-level Android smartphone segment in India. This was despite the fact that its smartphones lagged in performance and were marred by poor build quality. Consumers would put up with below par phones from the company because they did not have better options in the entry-level segment. However, as Chinese smartphone makers such as Xiaomi and Honor entered India and saturated the market with well-built, fast-performing, and feature-packed entry-level smartphones. Not surprisingly, Samsung began losing ground to the Chinese invasion.
Since then, Samsung has been trying to recapture the market with new and improved entry-level smartphones. The the Samsung Galaxy J6 is the latest addition to its lineup. We had a chance to test it out for a couple of weeks. Let us find out how the Galaxy J6 performs, or more specifically how the design and build quality holds up.
Samsung Galaxy J6: Metal Body Feels Strong
Unlike the other entry-level smartphones, the Galaxy J6 comes with a metal body. Although the device feels strong, other smartphones in the segment have already moved onto rear glass design. The Galaxy J6 is still left playing catch up and stuck with an old-fashioned metal back. The lack of glass on the back makes the device look and feel less premium, especially compared to its peers, but that also eliminates the risk of ending up with a broken or scratched glass back after a drop.
Catching-up with the bezel-less smartphone era, the device sports a rather unimpressive 75.6% screen-to-body ratio, which is pretty underwhelming by today’s standards. Then again, we have already established that Samsung is still playing catch up, and not doing a very good job at it. Thanks to relatively thinner bezels around the screen, the phone is compact and feels comfortable to hold.
Samsung Galaxy J6: Issues With Fingerprint Reader, Volume Buttons, Loudspeaker Placement
Moving onto the fingerprint reader, the placement and design are not well-thought out at all. The all-important biometric scanner is placed on the back just below the camera sensor, with inadequate spacing between them. It’s not uncommon to end-up placing your finger on the camera module rather than the fingerprint scanner, smudging the camera sensor as a result. This is made worse by the size of the fingerprint scanner, which is woefully small. If that wasn’t bad by itself, Samsung’s designers took it a step further by shaping it similar to the camera module. It’s like they’re trying to trick you into smudging the camera lens.
The Galaxy J6 has the power button on the right-hand side and volume buttons on left. While the positioning of the power button is perfect, the volume buttons are set at a higher-than-usual position, making it harder to reach during single-handed usage. Another flaw with the design is the placement of the speaker. The speaker is placed on the right-hand side of the device, above the power button. While the device is being held in the landscape mode, the loudspeaker grille gets blocked by your fingers, which results in a muffled sound. If you thought that was bad, well, the same issue prevents you from even hearing the phone ringing while it is in the pocket.
Although the build quality of the Galaxy J6 is excellent for its price, the device has multiple design flaws, which makes it frustrating to use. As far as I can recall, no modern smartphone (in this segment or below it) exhibits such basic design issues, which shows that Samsung’s design is woefully lacking. That being said, Samsung has come a long way from its cheap-feeling entry-level smartphones with plastic bodies. Nevertheless, the J6 still doesn’t compare with its modern competitors when it comes of design.