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Samsung Galaxy J tests the waters for a metal-clad Galaxy S5

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The newly-announced Galaxy J is a metal smartphone from Samsung. A metal smartphone. From Samsung.

The company has been long-rumoured to ditch its Hyperglaze plastic legacy in favour of a more streamlined (read: higher-quality) metal construction for its next-generation flagship, and the Galaxy J, announced for Japan and Taiwan, is a good indicator of that move.



With a 5-inch 1080p display, a 2.3Ghz Snapdragon 800 SoC, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, a 13MP camera, and a design that looks remarkably like a mashup between the Galaxy S4 and the Note 3. The latter device already eschewed the glossy plastic backing of its predecessors for a faux leather look, but the Galaxy J goes one step further. In moving to a metal frame, Samsung arrests one of the major concerns against its dominance in the smartphone space: that its high-margin devices don’t match the exterior quality of an Apple, HTC or Sony product.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is rumoured to be announced early next year, likely sometime in March or April, and will likely push the specs envelope once again. But the company needs to look deeper at its strategy and figure how to differentiate itself in terms of software, too.

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  • iphoneee’s bro

    If they make a unibody S5, that would be amazing. Bye bye iphone.

    • RoboBonobo

      Touchwiz is the suck. Vanilla Android much better.

    • KiwiBri

      is touchwiz that bad? I’m used to Sense 5.0 right now on my HTC one.

    • RoboBonobo

      I also don’t like Sense. Vanilla all the way.

    • hyperhyper

      I strongly dislike Touchwiz but like the new version of Sense (though it is a bit limiting – they’ve been slowly making it more customizable with their updates). But as RoboBonobo says Vanilla is pretty darn sweet.

    • Bri

      Nah I think it’s fine. I won’t say that it stands out or anything but it does what it needs to do. Never tried the 4.4 Kitkat on stock android but I felt that 4.3 needed more features but I still like the stock android, it’s simple and refined. Curious how good Sense UI is though.

    • Aiden

      Touchwiz is perfectly fine. I’ve never had a complaint with it.

    • HatInTheRing

      I’m on the fence about this. Moving from a Samsung Galaxy S3 to the Nexus 5 I would have to say I miss some of the features.

  • Tom J

    As long as I can remove the battery and have an SD card. If not there is no reason for me to choose Samsung and have to deal with touch whiz. I would rather have HTC sence or a moto x 2 with a good camera.

    Sent from my nexus 5 32gb

    • MatroXX

      If you already have a Nexus 5 and don’t want touchwiz, why would you even consider this (or the others).

    • treefrog

      probably because he doesn’t have a removable battery or an external sd card.

    • Bri

      true, especially when N5 is known to have poor battery life. I’d definitely get N5 if it had better battery life..

    • Tom J

      I actually love the battery life on my n5, but in a year when its starting to wear out what do I do? I can also ”manage” with 32 GB, but if my phone falls and cracks to the point USB doesn’t work how do I retrieve my pics and other stuff?

      Those are my only concerns. Now I have to backup my pics every week at least. And yes I am well aware that SD cards fail to buy in my experience not as often as a phone.

    • Bri

      You should definitely consider using Google+. It automatically backs up your photos and videos on your account.

  • danbob999

    Damn it. I hope they keep plastic. It is light, durable, shock-absorbant, and do not block wireless signal. Why change it?

    • J-Ro

      They should give a choice. One phone of the exact same specs in metal and one in plastic. That is a true test. The market will decide which one it favors.

    • danbob999

      If you want metal you can chose HTC.
      Samsung already have too many phones. They shouldn’t waste time in designing two different Galaxy S5. And if they do, the choice should be about something more important than the outside material.

    • J-Ro

      Design is important. With the rumored specs, anything software related can be added in an update. Design is something they can’t send OTA.

    • RoboBonobo

      I agree. The market shouldn’t be what decides the better materials. They should do proper R&D and choose the superior build. It would cut down on costs, and improve customer satisfaction if they only have one build. If they have 2 builds, then some people will wrongly prefer the inferior build and then blame the company when it doesn’t live up to expectations.

    • J-Ro

      Giving them a choice means they can’t complain. Making a limited amount of “high end metal Galaxies” will be for those that complain that the plastic ruins the phone experience. The tested and true plastic will be for consumers that didn’t mind to begin with. Similar to what Apple did with the 5s and 5c but keeping the specs the same and making people choose material.

      Making one of something doesn’t really give the consumer a choice, unless the choice is “buy now or buy later”.

    • Bri

      This kind of experiment sounds very unlikely to happen and even if it were to happen, us Canadians are most likely excluded

    • J-Ro

      That is always the case for us Canadians. This experiment is likely happening in Korea or the two countries chosen above.

    • danbob999

      I agree, that’s why they should design with the best material: plastic.
      What isn’t important is the look or the “feel” of a phone.

    • J-Ro

      If design wasn’t important, the iPhone wouldn’t do so well. The phone is great in plastic but if they can make it just as well in metal, go for it.

    • barrist

      So if not outside then what? Software? Because Touchwiz is awful as well.

    • Nikesh Patel

      i too enjoy the plasti’d be complaining if the plastic they were using was low quality, but the material they have on the S3/4 is really nice and durable imo.

    • RedBeaVeR

      It’s not as hipster as hipsters would like it.
      Yknow, hipsters. The folks with enough cash to splurge on the latest and greatest phones everytime…

  • Nachotech

    I prefer the lighter weight and cheaper price that the good quality plastic brings to the table. I guess I’m one of those oddballs who doesn’t use his phone as a fashion accessory.

    • pwnasaurus11

      Cheaper price? The Galaxy S series are as expensive as any other phone on the market including the iPhone 5s and the HTC One, both of which are built in a different league of quality.

    • danbob999

      The Galaxy S4 has more features however. The build quality is as good on the Galaxy S4 as any other phone you mentioned. You might think it doesn’t look as good, but that’s another issue.

  • Guest

    I just would like a good quality device. Good specs (ie. Camera) and easy to use software and decent Battery life.
    This new Samsung ‘knox’ stuff is interesting though.

  • marorun1982

    Finally a samsung phone i would like to get!

  • KiwiBri

    btw – this Galaxy J *still* has that damn physical home button.

    • Bri

      I love the physical home button…

    • KiwiBri

      does the button have the tendency to be pressed in pants pockets?

    • RoboBonobo

      shouldn’t matter if the device is locked.

    • KiwiBri

      ah ok cool. Havent had a “home” button since I left iPhone 4. (nexus and htc one since then)

      My bet is the Galaxy 5S most likely will be a variation of this “J” device.. with bigger camera

    • RoboBonobo

      I’m assuming S5 will have 2560×1440 pixels on 5″ screen, and Snapdragon 805 SOC.

    • Bri

      I’ve never had such experience.. It’s dented inward a little.
      Pretty much like iPhone’s button.

    • loginatnine

      +1, love the physical home button too!

    • hyperhyper

      Agreed – not a fan of the physical home button. Nor do I think it is intuitive to put the back button on the right hand side. If Samsung built a web browser, would they reverse the forward and back buttons as well?

  • J-Ro

    I owned an S3 and nothing was really wrong with the build materials. I wouldn’t mind a different looking design. The plastic is fine but a new look is needed.

  • AReid

    Come on Samsung, if I wanted a metal phone, I’d get an iPhone or a HTC.

    • Stimulator

      You mean you enjoy the plastic look?

    • truepopo

      Who cares… I put my note 2 in a case.. I wouldn’t know if it’s metal or plastic because it’s protected by armour

    • AReid

      I enjoy the durability…google “HTC One dent” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

  • Gerhardt

    SHAMEsung stop with this nonsense – how many crap phones are you flooding into the market!?!?!

    • hyperhyper

      Your argument would be so much stronger if you did not use the fanboy language. Using iSheep, Shamesung and other variants can be okay if it’s a funny jab but to use it in an argument usually signifies that the person is pretty one sided in their views.

  • dernbiebs

    Why does Samsung feel the need to make so many variants of phones? I applaud Motorola for shifting their strategy to fewer devices. By doing so they were able to push 4.4 to the Moto X before most Nexus devices.

  • Bri

    I think I’d like it more if Samsung had put more effort to bring better quality plastic, more ceramic-like plastic like iPhone 5C. When I first heard about iPhone 5C made in plastic, I was like wth is Apple crazy? but then when I first had the chance to play around with the phone, I was blown off by its quality. it feels so much better than Samsung’s plastic phones and this is ridiculous when Samsung had spent years making all their phones in plastic…

    • Zed

      I actually prefer the plastic on the Lumia or the HTC Desire 601 better than that of the 5C, but hey, to each their own.

  • rd0t

    Finally good to see Samsung go for higher quality build. The S4 has a good feel to it but holding it compared to an HTC One, Z30 or iPhone 5S just made it feel cheap imo.

    • danbob999

      Who cares if it “feels” cheap? The S4 is as durable as any of these phones, if not more.

    • rd0t

      Believe it or not, some people want premium materials when they pay premium prices. I would argue against any smartphone being durable nowadays. Even with the S4′s plastic build I have seen a ton of broken S4 screens from basic drops.

  • Jordan Boston

    I got a brushed metal back cover on my galaxy s4 and I really like the feeling of it. I also like the feel of leather, I had a few blackberry bolds, and wouldn’t mind seeing either on the next galaxy s4

  • IJustGotaTan

    I bet Apple is getting their lawyers ready to sue because this thing looks like an iPhone.

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