Galaxy On7 Prime: Hands-on with Samsung’s new budget smartphone
Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime takes on Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Mi A1 and Moto G5s Plus. Check out our detailed first impressions of the phone.
While Xiaomi may have hogged all the limelight with its Redmi series in the budget segment, rival Samsung does have a strong suite of affordable smartphones under its Galaxy On and J series. Its latest offering under this lineup is Galaxy On7 Prime.
At ₹14,990 (for the 4GB RAM+64GB model), Galaxy On7 Prime takes on the likes of Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Mi A1 and Moto G5S Plus. There's also the 3GB RAM+32GB version which comes at ₹12,990.
Samsung's Galaxy On7 Prime not only comes with an aggressive price tag but also top-of-the-line specifications, a norm in the budget Android smartphone market. The phone has a 5.5-inch full HD screen with 2.5D Gorilla glass in an 8-mm full metal unibody design. The smartphone sports 13-megapixel rear and front cameras is powered by a 1.6GHz Exynos octa-core processor.
Samsung's Galaxy On7 Prime borrows a few aspects from other phones under Galaxy On and Galaxy J series. Featuring a metal unibody design, On7 Prime is quite slim at 8mm.
The front is dominated by the display, with the top bezel featuring the speaker, front camera and Samsung branding. The bottom bezel has capacitive touch buttons for navigation and a clickable fingerprint scanner sandwiched between the two. The scanner also doubles up as the home button.
Both the USB and 3.5mm audio ports are located at the base. The volume buttons and SIM slot are placed on the left top edge whereas the right edge houses the power/lock/unlock button, and speaker grille — an odd location which we previously saw in some older Samsung phones including Galaxy A8+.
The back features the camera module along with the flash and another Samsung branding. Unlike other Android phones, the camera module sits flat, rendering the back panel a neater look and feel.
Even though Galaxy On7 Prime has pretty much a standard budget Android look and feel, it looks pretty decent for its price. If just looks were the criteria, I'd rate Xiaomi Mi A1 and Nokia 6 higher than the Samsung phone.
Since Galaxy On7 Prime is a relatively big-screen phone and with traditional 16:9 screen aspect, it felt slight bigger in palms initially, considering I was switching from Moto X4, a more compact smartphone. Also, I find the location of volume buttons on the left top a bit of a stretch, especially when trying to operate the phone with a single hand.
Display, UI & Software features
Sporting a full HD resolution, the display on Galaxy On7 Prime is quite impressive, even though I have used the phone only for a short time. Auto brightness works pretty fast delivering pretty satisfactory display indoors and outdoors. There's also an outdoor mode which makes the screen brighter for outdoor viewing. After 15 minutes, the mode will turn off automatically unless you're still using the phone.
As far as UI goes, Samsung's On7 Prime runs on TouchWiz UI which is based on Android 7.1.1. The dated software is a bit of bummer considering most of the new Android smartphones are running Oreo out-of-the-box, and could have been a big USP of the budget phone. That said, TouchWiz looks as colourful as it has always been and now appears pretty much uniform across all categories including Note 8 and Galaxy A8+.
There's a fair bit of customisation and then there's bloatware (preloaded apps). While installing the phone, Samsung alerts you more than once to sign in with the company to access its various services, including the newly introduced Samsung Mall. It also comes with other popular Samsung applications such as Bike mode and Samsung Pay Mini. A widget on the home screen displays apps available under My Galaxy store.
Looking at the number of pre-installed applications, I believe the 4GB RAM and 64GB model will make more sense for users, though it will cost ₹2,000 extra.
While we will refrain from giving any verdict on the camera performance, here are a few things you should know about the cameras on On7 Prime. The smartphone comes with a bunch AR-stickers, which are available on newer Samsung phones.
For selfie enthusiasts, it has a selfie focus feature which aims to deliver DSLR-like bokeh (shallow depth-of-field) effect. The selfie focus is a good novelty but I am not really sure about its accuracy. The selfie camera is accompanied by a screen flash which essentially brightens up the screen in low light conditions. You can shoot full HD videos from the front camera.
The camera UI comes with a Samsung Mall shortcut which essentially uses object recognition to let you purchase a similar product you want to, just by clicking a photo of it. This is quite similar to the object recognition feature available on Moto X4.
The use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on a budget smartphone is certainly a welcome move, but we'd like to see more and better use cases for the technology just than product purchasing.
There's another shortcut that lets you click a photo and instantly share on social networking platforms and instant messaging platforms. The rear camera also shoots videos in up to full HD resolution.
Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime looks like a promising budget Android smartphone. But is it a Xiaomi Mi A1 or Redmi Note 4 killer? Well, we will soon find out that in our detailed review. Until then stay tuned.