The Galaxy J7 Max, recently launched in India as the successor to the Galaxy J7 Prime, isn’t the first Samsung phone to be powered by a MediaTek processor. That honor goes to the Galaxy J2 Prime, a much more affordable handset that was launched late last year. I didn’t get to use the Galaxy J2 Prime, so I cannot comment on how that handset performed in day-to-day usage. I have, however, been using the Galaxy J7 Max as my primary device for around three weeks, and I’m afraid this device simply cannot offer the level of performance that you expect from a similarly priced Android smartphone in this day and age.
To be honest, I’m not sure if the MediaTek chipset (the Helio P20, clocked at 2.3GHz, to be exact) is to blame, or if it’s the latest iteration of Samsung’s TouchWiz software that is taking a toll on the device. But in only three weeks, the Galaxy J7 Max has started behaving like a device that’s months old, with constant stutters and lags intermixed with moments of smooth and fast performance. Something as basic as going back from a website opened in Facebook’s inbuilt browser to my Facebook feed results in a black screen at times, and I’ve also seen this phone stutter when opening one of the app folders on the home screen.
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I don’t even want to talk about what happens when I try to switch between apps by tapping the recent apps key twice (a gesture that was introduced on Android 7.0 Nougat). I’ve waited as long as three seconds before the phone would understand what I was trying to do and actually switch to the last used app, and it just puts the kibosh on a feature that is designed to get you to do things quicker when you’re moving between different apps. In fact, the phone has also started acting up every time I get a call while the phone is in use, and you would be hard pressed to tell that the device has been in use for less than a month should you see it in action.
Samsung’s partnership with MediaTek is new, and it’s possible future devices powered by the latter’s chipsets will not suffer from this level of performance issues as Samsung gets around to properly optimizing its software for the MediaTek processors. Or maybe the Galaxy J7 Max is a device that hasn’t been given the same love as other devices and suffers from neglect (something also illustrated by the fact that Samsung missed out on building a blue light filter feature into this phone, despite it being a standard feature on Android Nougat). I’m not sure, but as it stands, the Galaxy J7 Max performs poorly for a device that is priced at nearly $300.
Our full review of the Galaxy J7 Max will be coming up shortly, but I can tell you right away that I won’t be giving the phone a thumbs-up. The poor software performance on this device would put many cheaper devices to shame, and it’s simply not worth putting your hard-earned money on a handset that starts stuttering and lagging as quickly as the J7 Max.