Xiaomi is a name to reckon with in the budget smartphone category. Ever since it made its entry in India, the Chinese tech firm has taken giant strides and flooded the market with a slew of smartphones – catered to varied audience. Last year, Xiaomi’s legion of fans – yes, they have a huge fan base – were introduced to a phablet, Mi Max, a device meant for entertainment purpose. It was a bold move as till the Mi Max, Xiaomi was a brand known to make pocket-friendly small screen smartphones. Xiaomi ventured into an unknown territory and has continued on the path with its next-gen Mi Max phablet, the Mi Max 2.
Mi Max 2, according to Xiaomi, is powerful, stylish and will enhance your multimedia experience considerably. The handset was already up for grabs in China since past few weeks and made its India debut last week at Rs 16,999.
So, what exactly makes Xiaomi place its Mi Max 2 at par from other offerings in the segment? What makes it one of the cheapest multimedia-centric handset around? We reviewed the ‘giant of a device’ for a few days and here’s what makes it different.
Design and Display
Despite facing enough claims of sharing similar handset designs with other smartphones, Xiaomi has managed to make itself popular among a wide swath of users. And the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is certainly a contender which could grow Xiaomi’s popularity. The device, just like its predecessor, has a heavy footprint as it measures 174.1×88.7×7.6mm, which makes it a massive device to hold. As compared to its predecessor, the Mi Max 2 is slightly more in terms of height, length and thickness, all of which makes it slightly heavy as well. While the Mi Max weighs 203 grams, the Mi Max 2 weighs Rs 211 grams.
As for the design, the build stays the same with an all-metal approach, giving an innuendo of its predecessor from certain angles. However, parsing through the design you’ll find several similarities with some of the available Xiaomi smartphones. The rear camera and flash positioning, side volume and power buttons, capacitive buttons at the front and the placement of sensors, and the front-facing camera all may seem familiar to a Xiaomi fan. However, the corners are now bolder and the rear panel is slightly curved on the sides instead of sharp cuts, delivering a better in-hand feel.
The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 has two speaker grilles at the bottom, of which one delivers the main audio output while the other one resonates the main speaker. There is a USB Type-C port in between the speakers, which is a step up from last year’s Micro-USB. The hybrid SIM card slot is on the upper-left while the 3.5mm headphone jack is on the top along with a microphone and an infrared sensor at the middle. The right side is home to the volume rocker and a power button. While the volume and power buttons are placed slightly on the upper side on the right, it’s placement could have got slightly more appreciation if it was at the middle or slightly lower than that.
At the back, you get the same old plain look across the panel with a circular fingerprint at the centre and the rear camera+LED flash on top corner. Looking closely will make you spot those discrete antennas running on top and bottom. The back panel and the battery are non-removable.
Aimed for two-handed use, the Mi Max 2 is definitely better than the Mi Max when it comes to design. Although it is taller, thicker, wider and heavier than the Mi Max, it still manages to impress us in looks and overall aesthetic appeal. The only drawback we saw is that the new looks makes the device feel less sturdy. Although it was launched in two colour variants in China, India for now has received only the Black colour variant.
Coming to the display, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 has become taller by a few decimals, it has retained the 6.44-inch screen size as before. This is understandable given the audience at which the phablet is aimed at. The ample screen size makes viewing videos immersive with less eye-strain.
The screen resolution and the pixel density also remain the same. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2’s 6.44-inch screen shows content in full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) resolution along with 342ppi. The 2.5D glass is coated with Corning Gorilla Glass and covers 72% NTSC colour gamut, which is wider than the sRGB colour ranges. As compared to the Mi Max, the Mi Max 2 has nearly the same colour vibrancy and saturation. There are negligible colour tone changes if you look at it from different angles.
Readability under sunlight is decent but not as bright as some of its competitors. That’s understood given the screen size is to resolution ratio and the low pixel density. The screen brightness and dimness range is just like other handsets. It also has its own Bluelight filter, called as the ‘Reading Mode’, which you can activate manually or automatically by setting a schedule. You can either activate it for all the apps or for selective apps only.
Many users may find the fingerprint sensor at the back annoying. However, they have the option to activate the ‘double tap screen to wake’ option. Other screen customisation options include tweaking with colour tones and contrast levels. There are not too many changes in the display of the phablet but it is still decent enough to view videos and play games. The colours are rich and adds to the immersiveness.
Performance and Camera
Besides the design and display, the young tech-savvy crowd is interested in what lies inside the device and what is its processing power. If you haven’t Googled it already, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 sports an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. The processor is made using 14nm process and was introduced more than a year ago, and has also been used in the popular Redmi Note 4 smartphone.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2
Xiaomi Mi Max
|Octa core||PERFORMANCE||Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 MSM8956Adreno 510Hexa Core (1.8 GHz, Dual core, Cortex A72 + 1.4 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A53)64 bit3 GB|
|6.4″ (16.26 cm)||DISPLAY||IPS LCD73.7 %344 ppiCorning Gorilla Glass v36.4 inches (16.26 cm)Full HD (1080 x 1920 pixels)Yes Capacitive Touchscreen, Multi-touch|
|64 GB||STORAGE||32 GBYes Up to 128 GBYes|
|12 MP||CAMERA||Exposure compensation, ISO control2.0 FDigital Zoom, Auto Flash, Digital image stabilization, Face detection, Touch to focus4616 x 3464 PixelsCMOS image sensorNoContinuos Shooting, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR)5 MP Front CameraNoNo1920x1080 @ 30 fps, 1280×720 @ 120 fps|
|5300 mAh||BATTERY||NoLi-Polymer4850 mAh|
|4 GB||RAM||3 GB|
The processor teams up with Adreno 506 GPU and 4GB RAM. These three combined deliver a smooth performance across the board. We tried some graphic-heavy apps like Mortal Kombat X, Asphalt Xtreme: Rally Racing and more. The handset was able to handle them without any glitches. We even tried these games along with some document editing apps and to much surprise, faced no stuttering at any point.
Being a multimedia-based handset, the Mi Max 2 comes with a decent amount of inbuilt storage space at 64GB, of which you will get 55GB as the rest is reserved for the OS. Furthermore, you also get a hybrid SIM card slot (Nano SIM+Micro SIM), which can take a microSD card as well with up to 128GB storage.
The phablet works like it should under 3G and 4G connectivity or with and without Wi-Fi. The call quality is decent and the network reception is good at many places such as underground parking lots and basement areas. The fingerprint sensor recognises fingers almost all the time, even when they’re moist. Setting it up is a cakewalk.
The wireless connectivity options remain the same with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Display, Bluetooth v4.2 and IR blaster, something which you don’t see in majority of the smartphones. Some of the sensors stuffed inside the Mi Max 2 are GPS, AGPS, Glonass, gyroscope, accelerometer, ambient light sensor and hall sensor.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 comes with MIUI 8 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The company has just announced MIUI 9 and its launch date. The UI comes with several features that aims to make you more productive than ever. Some of the MIUI 8 features include a new gallery, photo editor, video editor, redesigned Notes app and Dual Space, which virtually creates a new profile in the handset. There is also a ‘Quick Ball’ icon that overlays on the screen and lets users access different functions from any window.
Although some apps like WPS Office and SwiftKey will come pre-installed, they can be uninstalled from the phablet as well. Rest of the apps such as Mi Store, Mi Community, My Cloud, Updater, Recorder, Scanner, Compass stay untouched.
Like before, it is possible to adjust the icon layout, themes and more right from the home screen to personalise the device more. We ran the phablet through Antutu and Geekbench and the results found were satisfactory and somewhat expected from the Mi Max 2.
Handling the camera department is a single 12MP rear sensor with f/2.2 aperture and 1.25um pixels, which when combined together deliver comparatively brighter shots in low light as compared to the competitors in the same price range. The PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus) tech helps the camera focus on the subject rather quickly. Some of the camera features you will come across are HDR adjustment, Panorama Mode, Burst Mode, Face recognition and real-time camera filters.
The images in daylight are well saturated and give desired results without giving you a tough time. Although the low-light shots are snappy, they are more on the softer side when it comes to the noise and clarity. In auto mode, the camera tends to give an unwanted vignette-like effect in images. Camera Filters, Settings and the gallery are just a tap away as shortcuts for those are present on the screen. Selfie lovers too shouldn’t face any problem as the front-facing 5MP with Beautify mode, f/2.0 aperture, 85-degree wide-angle lens and real-time video chat filters deliver decent shots and are good enough to perform any video calling tasks.
Video recording is not the best in class as you will find a lot of grains when clicking in an artificial light. The stability is also nothing ground breaking. However, the Mi Max 2 gives you the option to shoot videos in 4K resolution. The camera user interface is fairly easy to operate and pretty straightforward. However, if we wanted a handset with a good camera performance, Mi Max 2 may end being the pride of its small pond.
Battery is an area where the Mi Max 2, like the Mi Max, stays an undisputed champion across the board. The phablet this time comes with 5300mah battery, a good bump over the Mi Max’s 4850mAh and can easily run for two days without plugging it in. In our day-to-day usage, even at times during heavy usage including video streaming, playing games, editing photos and more we were able to drag the battery to roughly 50% by the end of the day.
What comes as a cherry on top is the Mi Max 2’s support for Quick Charge 3.0. Xiaomi claims the phablet’s 5300mAh battery can deliver up to 57 hours of calling time, 18 hours of video playback, 9 hours of gameplay and 21 hours of navigation.
Just in case that much battery is not enough for you, Xiaomi has thrown in a Battery Saver feature as well that gives extra hours of life by shuttering the background sync. You can even schedule when to activate and deactivate the feature. There are certain functionalities as well that you can toggle off directly from the battery settings such as turning off mobile data, clear cache when the device is locked and much more.
The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is definitely a charmer in multiple ways. An impressive performance courtesy the processor and ample RAM, decent display and camera, all mashed in an elegant-looking shell is what an everyday user would want in the given price range of Rs 16,999. However, as the name clearly says, it is a ‘Max’ sized smartphone and definitely not meant for a single-handed use. It is for those media consuming lot who love to watch movies, TV series and play games on the move with a larger and more engaging experience.
Last year’s Mi Max also served the same purpose but the Mi Max 2 aims to make the experience better and more productive with the feature-rich MIUI 8. In the given segment, there seems to be no fair competitor of the Mi Max 2. However, if you are really looking for other value for money alternatives then smartphones like the Moto G5 Plus, Gionee A1, Redmi Note 4 are some of your options. If smartphone size is something you don’t care about then owning this ‘giant among dwarves’ is not a bad idea at all.