Samsung Max is a mobile tool designed to provide data optimization and VPN services for Samsung devices. Originally Opera Max (Opera’s mobile browser) the app was bought by Samsung and developed as part of its "Make for India'' program. It’s also preloaded on Samsung phones in several countries where data saving is a big priority for citizens — giving it a surprisingly large user base.
Given its apparent popularity, I wanted to find out how Samsung Max compares to other VPNs on the market. So I tested its speeds, streaming, and security, along with ease of use and customer support.
The most obvious downfall is that Samsung Max only works on, well, Samsung. Although it excelled in my speed tests, the VPN is very limited and potentially unsafe to use. Read on to find out if this app’s “Privacy Protection” mode really does anything.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
Samsung Max Privacy VPN and Data Saver Features — Updated in February 2023
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Number of devices per license
Streaming — Mediocre Unblocking Performance
Samsung Max only managed to access 3 of the streaming platforms I tested. This was disappointing, as the speeds were more than fast enough for HD and even 4k streaming on its US locations.
Unblocked: US Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video
I got straight into Netflix using the VPN’s US servers. Since I didn’t experience any connection issues and I had fast speeds on its US servers, I could watch Criminal Minds in HD, without interruptions.
I watched 3 shows back-to-back without interruptions
Samsung Max bypassed HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video’s geoblocks as well. A Place of Safety loaded immediately.
It just took a few seconds and I had access to APV’s libraries on the available server locations
Blocked by: Hulu, and Disney+
Samsung Max couldn’t bypass Hulu’s geoblocks though. When I tried to gain access, the streaming service knew I was using a VPN and blocked me at my login attempt. This was a little weird, as I had no problems watching HBO Max.
The VPN couldn’t get past Hulu’s geoblocks
None of the servers I tried could access Disney+ either. I tested the Netherlands, UK, and US servers, but Disney gave me a blank screen every time. This is what happens when Disney’s technology knows you are using a VPN or other proxy, so it completely blocks you out.
Samsung Max’s ability to unblock some streaming platforms was quite impressive considering it's really meant for data privacy. Although it struggled with a few of the major streaming providers, it could easily unblock Netflix and other popular sites using servers around the world. However, if you need a good VPN for streaming on any device, check out my top recommended choices.
Speeds — Great Download Speeds, Poor Upload Speeds
Samsung Max's download speeds were fantastic — I had outstanding results in all my tests but one. However, the upload speeds dropped considerably, making my connection unusable in some cases.
During my tests, I looked at:
- Download speed — this indicates the amount of data transferred from the internet to your device per second. Faster download speeds mean you get less buffering while you stream.
- Upload speed — shows how much data you can send through your connection at any given time.
- Ping — how long it takes for your device’s data to reach its destination and come back again. Unlike speed readings, the higher your ping, the more lag you’re likely to experience.
My tests began with a base reading of 68.4 Mbps, an upload speed of 56.8 Mbps, and ping of 5 ms. A base reading means the speeds I had without a VPN being connected.
I then tested servers in different locations, to see what effect the VPN would have on my base speeds. Pretty much all VPNs will slow you down somewhat, as they work by rerouting your traffic through a new server. But good VPNs are fast enough that you shouldn’t lose more than 10-20% of your speed.
I was pleased to find that my download speed hardly changed at all when I connected to a local server in the Netherlands. It dropped from 68.4 Mbps to 67 Mbps — a fractional decrease that didn’t impact my experience at all.
The UK server was even more surprising. Samsung Max’s UK server actually increased my speeds by 65%. This is very rare and extremely impressive. The bad part is that my upload speed dropped to 19.5 Mbps, which is a 65% decrease. Since I had a fast connection to begin with, this didn’t affect me too much. However, it would make video calling impossible on a standard 20 Mbps connection.
The VPN’s local servers gave me great download speeds, but the upload dropped too much
When I tested the US and Brazil servers, I was blown away to find more speed increases of up to 5%. Since South America is over 9,000km from where I am, an increase in speed was an unexpected surprise. On the US server my upload speed dropped by 90%, however.
The ping reading on the US server I tested reached 170 ms, which is a normal result for a server that’s so far away. However, this ping makes gaming impossible.
I am thousands of miles away from the US and Brazil, so the increase in speed is shocking
Samsung Max’s servers in India were slow on both download and upload speeds though. My download speeds dropped to 14.8 Mbps, which is a 78% decrease. Upload decreased to 12 Mbps. This might be down to the fact that the app is partially designed for Indian users, so the servers in India might experience overcrowding.
Here is a rundown of all of my server tests:
||51.9 Mbps (24% decrease)
||5.54 Mbps (90% decrease)
||113 Mbps (65% increase)
||19.5 Mbps (65% decrease)
||71.8 Mbps (5% increase)
||4.10 Mbps (92% decrease)
||14.8 Mbps (78% decrease)
||12 Mbps (78% decrease)
Overall, I can’t recommend Samsung Max for its speed. While I had good results on some local servers, I experienced huge upload speed drops on long-distance ones.
If you just want to stream, the download speeds are great – you can watch all your favorite titles in HD. But other internet activities like torrenting and video calls would be severely affected by these upload speeds. Plus, ping stood over 170 ms on its US, Brazil, and India server, so gaming would be impossible.
If you’re looking for a superfast VPN, I recommend one of these services instead.
Server Network — Extremely Small
Samsung Max has a very small network. If you use the free plan, you only get access to one server in your home country. The paid plan gives you access to 8 locations in Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the US. I was never able to connect to the German server, although the other locations worked okay.
Because I like to have a broad list of countries to choose from, I recommend using a VPN that has more servers around the globe.
Security — Uncertain, But my IP Address Was Hidden
Samsung Max kept my IP address hidden during my tests. However, the VPN is not transparent about its encryption level and security protocols.
Encryption and Protocols
I had no way of finding out what encryption and protocols Samsung Max uses. There is no customer support to contact, and no information online. The app could be using a secure tunneling protocol like OpenVPN, or it could be using an out-of-date and unsafe protocol like PPTP.
The best VPNs also protect your data with AES encryption, at banking-grade standards of either 128 or 256-bit. This means that any information that is intercepted would be impossible to decipher, and would take even the most seasoned hacker over a hundred years to work out. But, because there is no way of finding out which encryption Samsung Max uses, I just can’t confirm that it’s safe.
IP, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 Leaks
Samsung Max passed my DNS and IP leak test. Using an online testing tool, I found there were no leaks on any of the servers I tried.
This VPN protected my identity when I was using it
This is important as a DNS leak allows your ISP to see your internet activity. Plus, if there was a cyberattack during an IP leak, your personal IP address would be revealed — putting your data and devices at risk.
No Kill Switch, Port Forwarding, or Split Tunneling Features
This VPN is pretty basic, and there are none of the additional security features I’d expect to find in a good VPN.
A kill switch instantly cuts your internet if you lose connection to a VPN, preventing your real location and identity from being exposed. Not having one means you’re lacking a crucial layer of online protection. If the VPN ever fails, your internet connection will revert to your ISP — revealing your online activity to snoops.
Port forwarding allows a direct connection between a server and your device. It’s great if you need a VPN to bypass a NAT router or firewall (like at work or school). Most VPN users employ port forwarding for torrenting and gaming, as it allows you to connect directly to a P2P or gaming server — removing lag and delays. It can also boost your overall speeds.
Split tunneling is another handy feature missing from Samsung Max. It lets you choose which of your traffic is routed through a VPN, and which goes through your ISP as normal. Splitting your traffic in this way means you can unblock and access geo-restricted streaming content with your VPN, while simultaneously accessing local services with your regular connection. It’s also useful if you use online banking, as connecting to banking apps with a VPN can trigger safety alerts.
Samsung Max VPN is plagued with pop-ups. If you choose the basic plan, you have to watch an ad before you even get started. Pop-up ads can be very harmful to your device, carrying trackers and other malware. If you’re going to pay to use a VPN, I suggest you try one of these VPNs, that I guarantee for safety. They also have no pop-up ads whatsoever!
Because of its unknown protocol and encryption, pop-up ads, and lack of advanced features, I can’t recommend Samsung Max for its security.
Privacy — Logs All Your Data
Samsung Max VPN logs and stores all of your user data. This was surprising considering Samsung Max VPN was launched to offer users “enhanced privacy features.”
So, what does it actually mean by this statement? As far as I can tell, this claim relates to the VPN’s two different modes:
Data Saving Mode — This helps you to use less data and potentially save money in the process. The technology detects when an app is using a lot of data and will compress its images, video, and music files. Be aware that you get no security with the Data Saving Mode; you have to enable the Privacy Protection mode first.
Privacy Protection Mode — With Privacy Protection enabled, if you connect to public access WiFi or any sites that are found to be unreliable, a one-time pad encryption (OTP) will be engaged which gives you a unique password that can only be used once. A DNS masking system will also be triggered which works to replace the domain name of the website you’re accessing with a different URL. If you’re using the free plan, you have to watch a pop-up ad to get 4 hours of protection.
I was surprised to realise that the VPN’s “privacy protection” only kicks in if it believes your connection to be dangerous — and only for 4 hours at a time if you’re on the free plan. I’m used to my VPN protecting me at all times with high quality encryption that makes my data undecipherable.
It’s hard to find something they don’t log
All of this information can be used to identify you and monitor what you do online while connected to the VPN, meaning you have zero online privacy.
Samsung Max is based in South Korea, which is technically outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. However, South Korea is known to collaborate with the 5 Eyes Alliance under pressure from China. This means that, if a government requested information about your internet usage, there is no guarantee that it wouldn’t be handed over (and Samsung Max stores plenty of your data to give away).
Because Samsung Max has no respect for user privacy, stores just about every scrap of data it possibly could, and is based in South Korea, I recommend you use one of my top VPNs that are guaranteed to keep your information private instead.
Torrenting — Allowed, but Unsafe
You are allowed to torrent using Samsung Max’s servers, but I strongly advise against it. Since Samsung stores all of your data, doesn’t have strong security features (such as a kill switch), and has uncertain encryption and protocols, it would be very unsafe to torrent with this VPN.
Because of the risk to your privacy, I’d advise you to use a safe and secure VPN for P2P traffic instead.
Does Samsung Max Work in China? Probably Not
Samsung Max’s server network is very limited, so it is highly unlikely that it would work in China. It also struggled to unblock streaming sites, so would probably struggle with the Great Firewall.
I would have liked to have been able to contact a representative to confirm this, but this VPN does not offer any customer support.
Instead, I recommend choosing one of these VPNs that have been proven to work in China.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Only 1
Samsung Max offers just 1 device connection under its paid and free plans. The app comes with your Samsung phone, so you are limited to use it on that one device. My usual VPN (ExpressVPN) allows me to connect up to 5 devices at the same time — so Samsung Max feels very limiting.