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Samsung Galaxy J3 2016 with S bike mode: Hands-on and first impressions

Samsung launched the J3 2016 smartphone today. The smartphone comes equipped with S bike mode. Here's our first impression of the S bike mode.

samsung-galaxy-j3-s-bike-mode

Samsung today launched its Galaxy J3 (2016) smartphone in India. Like the previous smartphones in its J series, the latest J3 is targeted at youth, and comes with an unique S bike mode. The smartphone is priced at Rs 8,999 and will go on sale on Snapdeal starting March 31, 2016. We spent some time with the Galaxy J3 at the launch today and here are our first impressions.

The Samsung Galaxy J3 will go head to head with the likes of the K5 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and other smartphones in the vicinity of Rs 10,000. Contrary to the trend of high specced budget smartphones, Samsung Galaxy J3 doesn’t really go big on specs with the J3.  It has a 5-inch Super AMOLED HD display. It is powered by quad-core 1.5 GHz processor and 1.5GB of RAM. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera. Connectivity options include NFC (that also powers the S bike mode), and 4G LTE with a data saving mode.

In terms of look and feel, the smartphone is very identical to the Galaxy On5 launched last year. It has removable back panel with faux leather finish, while sides are metallic. During our brief usage, the smartphone worked just fine. The TouchWiz UI felt fluid while the camera an auto mode was snappy. But we will like to reserve our final verdict on its performance and other features until we have thoroughly reviewed the smartphone.

That said, the main highlight and most advertised feature of the smartphone is the S bike mode, which is aimed at helping you have an unhindered experience while riding the bike.

Here’s how the S bike mode works on Samsung Galaxy J3

The S bike mode is essentially a refined version of the Do Not Disturb mode on Android. To begin with you need to scroll down the Settings menu from the home screen. Tap on the bike mode. You can also do so via a NFC tag, which comes bundled with the smartphone, and can be stuck on your bike as well. After you have switched on the S bike mode, callers will be notified that you are currently riding a bike and can’t take calls.

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The mode will also prompt the caller to proceed with the call if it is important. The caller can do so by pressing 1 on his smartphone. While you will receive only urgent calls, the app comes with auto motion lock enabled that bars you from receiving call when riding the bike. The motion lock will be disabled once you have parked your bike.

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Other key features include a Smart Reply for sending automatic text responses when you are riding a bike. The app also a notification panel that shows all the missed calls when you had been riding.

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The S Bike app also has a My Rides section which shows details such as trips and distance total covered. The mode comes with pre-recorded messages in 14 languages including Marathi, Gujarati, Nepali and Hindi among others.

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Our take

The S bike mode is really an interesting proposition considering that a lot of youth travel on bikes. Samsung says 70 percent of entry level smartphone users are using two wheelers, and spend 90 minutes per day while riding. Samsung is focusing on this demographic with this feature.

The purpose of this feature is to ensure you have an unhindered bike riding experience, and that the you aren’t distracted by notifications. Also, the feature will help ensure road safety.

While the feature is interesting, but we are not really sure how much compelling this feature is for all the buyers other than bike riders.

That being said, the Rs 10,000 segment is highly crowded with a variety of Android smartphones with better or similar specs and features. Samsung has a strong offline presence but with the J and On series it is competing in the online-exclusive segment where Motorola, Lenovo and Xiaomi are quite popular. Samsung had a decent run with On7 and J7 smartphones, and now it will be looking to replicate the same with the new J3.

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Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)

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Android 5.1 Lollipop
1.5GHz quad-core processor
8 MP with f2.2, LED Flash
  • Published Date: March 31, 2016 3:10 PM IST
  • Updated Date: May 28, 2016 10:07 AM IST