Samsung says Galaxy J is its most popular series among buyers in India. In fact, it claims that one in every four Samsung smartphone sold in the country is a part of the Galaxy J series. Earlier today, the company added two new devices to the series — Galaxy J7 Pro and Galaxy J7 Max. Priced at Rs 20,900 and Rs 17,900 respectively, the smartphones will be going on sale later this month. At the launch event today, I spent sometime with both the smartphones, and here are my first impressions.
In a time of cut-throat competition in the smartphone space, Samsung is banking on two specific features to help the Galaxy J7 Pro and Galaxy J7 Max stand out. First is Samsung Pay. Initially restricted to flagship devices like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, the Galaxy J7 Pro is the first affordable device to get this payment feature. With the Galaxy J7 Max though, the company is introducing a new feature called Samsung Pay mini.
As the name suggests, this new feature is a toned down version of Samsung Pay, and it is designed to work with smartphones that do not have the NFC or MST chips. Unlike Samsung Pay though, the Pay mini will only let users conduct online transactions using UPI or virtual wallets. Going forward, Samsung will be rolling out this feature on its other devices via a software update. For a device to be eligible to get Pay mini however, it will need to have a fingerprint sensor. ALSO READ: Samsung Pay Mini vs Samsung Pay: What is the difference?
The other notable feature Samsung spent time talking about is social camera. In essence, this feature adds a social element to the native camera app. So you get selfie filters that you normally get on apps like Snapchat and Instagram, augmented reality stickers to paste on your photos, and the ability to instantly share the photos you click on different social media accounts or messaging apps. In the short time I spent using the feature, it came across as a tad gimmicky. That said, I would reserve my judgment until I have extensively tested the feature in our review.
These features apart, you get the standard Android experience from both the new devices. In terms of design, the Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro is a huge step above the Galaxy J7 Max. The smartphone is quite sleek with rounded edges, and despite the 5.5-inch display, it sits comfortably in your palms. The antenna bands get a distinct curved pattern on the top and bottom edges. The rear camera module too is a tad different from what we have seen on recent Samsung devices.
The Samsung Galaxy J7 Max, on the other hand, features a very generic candybar design. A similar design is seen on many of the smartphones we see in the market these days. With a 5.7-inch display, the device also felt a bit too big to hold comfortably — especially for someone with average-sized palms like me. The only standout feature in terms of design is the smart glow ring around the rear camera. This LED strip basically lights up when you get a notification. Up front, both devices have a physical home button flanked by capacitive navigation buttons. The home button also doubles up as a fingerprint sensor.
Both smartphones come with a full HD (1080p) resolution display, but only the Galaxy J7 Pro comes with a Super AMOLED panel. Under ambient lighting conditions at the launch event, the display of both the devices was bright enough, and text looked sharp as well. The 2.5D curved glass on both the devices not only add a layer of protection, but also a dash of premium-ness.
Under the hood, both devices are powered by an octa-core SoC. But where the Galaxy J7 Pro is powered by an Exynos SoC, the Galaxy J7 Max is powered by a MediaTek SoC. The Galaxy J7 Pro comes with 3GB of RAM and 64GB storage that can be expanded using a microSD card. The Galaxy J7 Max, on the other hand, comes with 4GB RAM, and 32GB expandable internal storage. A noteworthy point here is that both devices come with three different slots for SIM and microSD cards. This is any day the prefered choice over the hybrid setup, which has been increasingly opted by Chinese companies. ALSO READ: Top 5 Samsung smartphones you can buy under Rs 20,000
The two smartphones also share the same photographic capabilities. There is a 13-megapixel f/1.7 snapper at the back, and a 13-megapixel f/1.9 snapper at the front. There’s also a front-facing flash, which helps in clicking selfies in low light conditions. In the short time spent with the devices, I couldn’t really find anything to complain about. But we will reserve our final judgment until we have reviewed the devices.
The Galaxy J7 Pro comes with a 3,600mAh battery, while the Galaxy J7 Max comes with a 3,300mAh battery. Both the units are said to be good enough to last the day. The smartphones also run on Android Nougat out-of-the-box wrapped under Samsung’s custom UI. ALSO READ: 5 Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro alternatives you can buy
In the time I spent with the two devices, there was barely anything to complain about. Both are well built, boast a good design (Galaxy J7 Pro), and have a decent set of specifications and features. The Samsung Pay, and Pay mini options on both the devices is also a bonus. But at the end of the day, what lets the smartphones down is the relatively high price tag, especially when compared to the current standards. Whether you should buy the Galaxy J7 Pro or the Galaxy J7 Max, is a question that we will only be able to answer when we extensively review them. Until then, stay tuned.