You can send texts and make calls with it. You can also take pictures with its 8MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. It’s also got a dictionary app, a calendar app, a calculator, and an FM Radio. But you can’t connect to WiFi or mobile data on it. Say hello the South Korean Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro – the smartphone that’s offline aka a dumbphone.

Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro - the useless smartphone (Image credits: The Verge)
Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro – the useless smartphone (Image credits: The Verge)

Digging deeper into the specs, you’ll find a 5-inch QHD AMOLED display on the outside. Dig deeper and you’ll find a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB RAM, and a 2,600 mAH battery. Currently, the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro comes in two colors: black and gold.

You might think this is a late April Fool’s joke, but this phone is very real. In fact, it was originally released in 2016 and you can buy it here in Sri Lanka. But the version you buy here in Sri Lanka can actually connect to the internet.

So why is Samsung removing internet connectivity for this phone in South Korea? Samsung stated that this phone is aimed at students and senior citizens. As such, the updated phone aims to help these students focus on their studies and offer a simple phone for senior citizens.

While the latter makes sense, the former can be confusing. That is unless you live in South Korea, which is the only market where the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro is currently available. Every year, high school seniors take a national college entrance exam. In the deeply hierarchical society of South Korea, it is considered as a determining factor of how successful these students will be in the future.

Nokia 3310 is a better deal than the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro
The Nokia 3310 is a better deal (Image credits: Nokia)

So how much does it cost? $190. At that price, there are better budget phones in the market today. In fact, you can even get a dumbphone like Nokia 3310 and still have money left over. But interestingly, Samsung is also running a promotion with the Galaxy J2 Pro.

The promotion is aimed at students that are facing the 2019 and 2020 college entrance exam. They can trade in the phone once their exams are done. Afterward, they can get a Galaxy S, Note, or an A-series smartphone released after 2018. Another option is they can get the cost of the J2 Pro reimbursed.

In a sense, Samsung is selling this phone for free. And that might be the only redeemable feature of this useless phone. Despite Samsung aiming to help students, taking internet access away during exams is probably detrimental. As distracting as YouTube can be, it’s also the place where you can learn Chemistry, Astronomy, and Computer Science.

The only redeemable feature of the Galaxy J2 Pro? Getting a better phone in the future (Image credits: CNET)
The only redeemable feature of the Galaxy J2 Pro? Getting a better phone in the future (Image credits: CNET)

Yet, with its promotion, one can also argue that the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro is a marketing ploy, that aims to get students to get students to adopt the upcoming flagship smartphones by the company. Ultimately, we in Sri Lanka wonder why this version of the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro is only sold in South Korea. After all, a lie saying we tell students here in Sri Lanka that A/L’s results determine one’s future.

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