Samsung has been ahead of the competition when it comes to capturing the market with its line of smartphones. The company over the years has built a really good name for itself, so much so that the Samsung brand is one of the pre-requisites to buy a phone for many. This year Samsung has introduced yet another series to its fairly crowded portfolio called the On series. And today we have the two phones that represent what this series is all about. The Samsung Galaxy On7 and the Samsung Galaxy On5.
The On series is Samsung’s whole new approach to the sub Rs. 10,000 market. As of now the only devices sold by them in this segment were the Core & Grand series. These devices aim to break the monotony and breath some fresh air into this Samsung lineup. The phones are Flipkart exclusive and won’t be available at a brick and mortar store near you.
Let's take a look at these devices one by one.
If you looks from a distance, you may confuse the bigger On7 for one from the Note series. The phone is huge and the gold cover may confuse a few people to think so. Hold it in hand and it is a whole lot different. The phone does look good and a few friends and colleagues did perceive the value of the phone to be higher than it actually is (this one costs Rs. 10,990).
Design-wise both phones are similar with size being the only differentiating factor. The design of the On series tips more towards the modern appeal of newer J & E series of Samsung smartphones, thereby making them better than the curvy, plasticky design of the Grand series.
This phone is bigger among the two and comes with a 5.5 inch display and a resolution of 1280x720 pixels. The display is an LCD panel and is pleasant to look at. It does tend to be a little reflective outdoors and it is mainly because of the huge size. You’ll have to adjust the brightness manually because the phone misses an ambient light sensor.
While the omission of the sensor isn’t a big deal, I hate the feeling of fumbling to find the brightness setting time and again. Samsung has given ‘outdoor mode’ in the brightness settings that bumps it up to full brightness for 15 minutes.
The Galaxy On5 is the smaller one, has a 5 inch display but gets the same resolution of 1280x720 pixels. The small screen, big resolution setup helps it push more pixels per inch and the display looks much sharper than the On7. The brightness sensor story remains the same here as well. I felt that both the phones were easy to hold and pocket but that may not be the case with everyone else.
Everything similar with these two phones end right here. The internals on both these phones are completely different. The bigger Galaxy On7 has a Snapdragon 410 Processor which is a Quad Core chip clocked at 1.2GHz. This is the same processor as the Moto G 3rd Gen that we really love. To aid the processor the phone has got 1.5GB of RAM and that might serve as a bottleneck when using a lot of apps. I occasionally saw the free RAM drop down to as low as 200MB when using the phone. The On5 on the other hand sports an Exynos 3475 Quad Core Processor clocked at 1.2GHz and the same 1.5GB of RAM. Samsung’s own home made chip functions well for the price.
Benchmarks suggest that the On7 with its Qualcomm chip is marginally better than Samsung’s homegrown Exynos on the smaller On5.
Both the phones have a removable back cover and battery. Both of them are Dual SIM devices and have a MicroSD card slot for storage expansion and supports card upto 128GB. Lastly, the two also support Indian 4G network bands.
Coming to what drives these devices — the phones run on Android Lollipop with Samsung’s TouchWiz skin on top of it. Samsung has reduced the number of bloatware that goes into the phone and it shows.
The phone has a clean near stock look; the only apps I found other than Samsung Apps were the Opera Max browser and MixRadio that Samsung has been promoting. MixRadio is a music streaming service just like Saavn and Gaana that lets you stream music off the internet for free (using ads to sustain this service). There even an option to save these songs and playlists offline in this service that doesn’t demand a subscription.
Both the devices have 8GB of internal storage that may cause an issue, considering only 4.5GB is available to the user. The devices have a MicroSD card slot that takes cards up to 128GB. Samsung has given the One-Handed Mode in the 5.5-inch On7 that helps using the phone with one hand easily.
While the entire interface shifts to one handed mode in other phones. Samsung only switches some elements to this mode, namely the dialer, keyboard and lock pattern to name a few. The On5 does not need this as it sits comfortably in the hand at 5.0 inches.
The camera sensors are different on both the phones. The bigger On7 gets a 13 megapixel sensor at the back while the On5 has a 8-megapixel camera, and both devices get a single LED flash. In terms of image quality the bigger sensor in the Galaxy On7 performs better. The detail is no doubt better but so is the colour saturation in the images clicked. The On5 isn’t really bad but if I had to choose between the two, purely based on the camera I’d pick up the On7. While the image resolution is different, both the phones are capable of recording video at 1080p. The camera app has limited options to choose from. Double tap the home button and both phones are quick to launch the camera app or there is the usual camera shortcut on the lockscreen.
The front camera on both the devices are the same — the 5-megapixel sensor clicks good selfies. I was pleasantly surprised to see the output, as the colours were accurate. I would like to add that clicking Selfies from the On7 wasn’t easy as I had to constantly adjust my grip to prevent the phone from falling. There is a hand gesture to click selfies that improves the experience immensely when used for group selfies. The gesture isn’t all that useful when clicking closeups but the hitting the volume button gets the job done. If you are curious about video outputs, both the devices can record video in 1080p from their front cameras.
Coming to the one thing that everyone really cares about — Battery Life. This is where the Galaxy On7 gets a major bump thanks to its bigger dimensions. The phone houses a bigger 3000mAh battery under the back cover. The big battery capacity helps the phone last for one whole day with ease.
I managed to get a SOT (Screen On Time) of over 6 hours with medium use, mainly being on messaging apps, surfing Reddit and Facebook. The On5 isn’t far behind but due to its petite size is limited to a 2600mAh battery, which is still decent for a 5 inch phone. With my limited usage of the On5, I found it to last for 1 working day if not more. But it didn’t lose a lot of battery when it was lying idle while I was using the On7.
The On Series is Samsung’s attempt to take on the competition at the sub Rs.10,000 segment. While the market is heavily saturated, these phones make a decent attempt to stand out from the rest. The components used on both the phones are good for the price and I can say that both of them are fairly equipped. If I were to nitpick the RAM could’ve been more. For the same price as the Galaxy On5, the Coolpad Note 3 has 3GB of RAM and a fingerprint scanner at the back. What you really get with the On series is acceptable specs and the Samsung brand name. These devices aren’t the best you’ll get for your money but you won’t go wrong with them.
This article has been contributed by Aditya Shenoy, Deputy Editor at Pricebaba