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Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review: Big screen multimedia experience at pocket-friendly price point
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 sports a massive 6.44-inch FHD 1080p display and is backed by a big 5,300 mAh battery unit that can last for up to 2 days on a single charge
Xiaomi is quite well known for its Redmi series of affordable handsets in the Indian market. The company which started its journey in the year 2014 has managed to create a substantial base of handsets for price-conscious consumers, who at the same time don't want to compromise on the latest features.
- Great multimedia playback experience
- Good battery life
- Loud and clear audio
- Premium design
- Intuitive MIUI customized skin
- Sub-par camera performance
- Not built for one-hand use
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is clearly built on the very thought, offer more but charge less. It is company's second big screen device after the original Mi Max phablet. It is also the company's fourth handset for the year 2017 in India which unlike most of company's previous handsets will also sell offline to tap a larger user base.
Priced at Rs. 16,999 for 4GB+64GB variant, Mi Max 2 will be available on Mi.com and Mi Home stores. Following this, Mi Max 2 will also be available across all online and offline partners of Xiaomi that includes Croma, Reliance Digital, Vijay Sales, Poorvika mobile world, eZone, Sangeetha and Big C retial chains. This is big news for Xiaomi fans and interested buyers who often fail to grab company's handsets due to flash sale model.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is specially designed keeping in mind the users who want a big screen device to stream videos, watch movies and play games. It sports a massive 6.44-inch Full HD display that can deliver a great visual experience on a mobile device. The other specifications also complement the price-point of the handset.
However specs alone don't make a device successful and its true potential is find out once you start using it in everyday life. That said, we used the phablet for over a week to evaluate its everyday performance. Does it maximize the smartphone experience by focusing on multimedia playback and long-lasting battery backup? Read our review to find this out.
Not the perfect one-hand fit
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is not built for everyone. It's designed for users who are fond of big screen devices and love to stream videos, TV series, movies and playing games on their mobile phones. I say mobile because despite a massive 6.44-inch screen, you can still use the handset with one-hand and can carry it around in your pocket.
However, you will have to get use to its sheer size if this is your first big screen device. This is due to the fact that Mi Max 2 is considerably bigger than the standard 5.5-inch and 5.7-inch phones and it's not easy to fit this device in your jeans pocket without getting used to it.
The phablet also feels bulky as it weighs 211 grams which makes it a bit heavier than the previous Mi Max phablet. However if you are upgrading over the previous Mi Max, you will not feel any major difference as there's no drastic change in the overall size and weight of the phone.
Slim bezels and rounded edges
To maintain ergonomics, the phablet has been given a decent screen-to-body ratio. The side bezels are quite slim and the top and bottom bezels house the customary buttons and sensors. Mi Max 2 is 7.6mm thin and has rounded edges that helps in giving the handset a comfortable in-hand feel. The rear fingerprint scanner is placed in a way that your index finger can reach it without any trouble. And it is quite fast and reliable in unlocking the device.
Feels much polished and premium than the previous Mi Max
As far as look and feel is concerned, the new generation of Mi Max phablet feels much refined and polished. The full metal unibody design combined with the matt black finish on the rear panel makes Mi Max 2 a premium Android smartphone. Just like OnePlus 5, Mi Max 2 also has antenna lines settled on the top and bottom edges of the rear panel and similar gentle curves to give the big device a comfortable fit in hands.
To improve on audio, Xiaomi has also added two stereo speakers at bottom that deliver loud sound and makes it possible to enjoy a movie even if you are not carrying a pair of headphones. The phablet also has an IR blaster and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. The addition of Type C USB port is also much appreciated.
Overall, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 feels premium and much polished than the first generation Mi Max. The build quality is pretty good and the phablet feels more comfortable to use in everyday life. However you have to keep this thing in mind that it is not the best handset in the market for one-hand usage. It's pretty big and is best suited with two-hand operation.
Display: Pocket-sized TV
Display is undoubtedly the highlight feature of Xiaomi Mi Max 2. It might not come out as the most pixel packed screen but when it comes to size, the phablet simply dwarfs every other smartphone in the market with its massive 6.44-inch screen. The big display uses a full HD resolution and delivers a pixel density of 342 ppi. The pixel density is not the best in class but you will not be disappointed while watching movies or playing games. The screen is quite vibrant and touch response is also good. It also feels less reflective than the previous Xiaomi Mi Max phablet.
I mostly used the handset for watching movies and TV series and the viewing experience is a delight. The stereo speakers are a great addition and make the Mi Max 2 a worthy multimedia package. The audio produced by the speakers is loud and clear. You can watch a full movie even if you don't have a pair of earphones handy with you. Considering the mid-range price point, you get Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the handset with a 2.5D curved glass. However, the latest Gorilla Glass 5 would have made more sense.
Overall, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is engineered to offer an unmatched multimedia playback experience which is hard to attain from any other handset in sub Rs. 20,000 price-point.
Hardware: Great everyday performer
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 might not come out as the most powerful device but as far as everyday performance is concerned, the phablet is simply unstoppable and can handle everything you throw at it without any issues. It is backed by the popular Snapdragon 625 CPU, which is known for its power efficiency and reliable everyday performance. The processor is paired with 4GB of RAM that easily handles heavy dose of multitasking.
The phablet performed really well in everyday tasks and even the gameplay was pretty smooth while running some of the heaviest games in the Google Play Store. Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is also capable to maintain acceptable temperature levels even when pushed to its limits. Call quality is pretty solid on the handset.
On the storage part, you get 64GB internal memory and up to 128GB microSD expandable storage. As there's no dedicated microSD card slot, you have to compromise connectivity over storage if 64GB is not able to meet your memory requirements.
It would have made more sense to have a dedicated microSD card on Mi Max 2 as the phone is mainly designed to maximize your multimedia playback experience. A hybrid card slot restricts usability in everyday use. Personally, I expect every smartphone maker in the year 2017 to offer a dedicated microSD slot with their handsets as hybrid ones force users to choose one from two very important features- an extra SIM card or a microSD card.
Software: Intuitive MIUI 8 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Xiaomi MI Max 2 ships with MIUI 8 deployed on the latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat. While the user experience is smooth and the company's customized skin works very well, Xiaomi has also improved on the number of added software features to make the overall UI much more intuitive and user friendly.
The phablet has an inbuilt Reading mode to reduce display's background glare. The customized skin also includes tweaks such as double tap to wake the screen, an integrated system cleaner that can remove cache/trash files and run virus scans, DND mode, Battery saver, App locker, etc.
Mi Max 2 also comes with a special theme that allows you to set access to as much as 21 apps on the lock screen itself. Xiaomi has also added an iPhone like touch assistant (Quick ball) to offer some important shortcuts, One-handed mode to ease up the large screen user experience and a Separate space that makes it possible to have two separate full-fledged working spaces on one phone.
You can keep one for personal and the other for work or can restrict access from children at home. The only thing that seems missing for now is split screen mode which the company promised to add in the upcoming update of MIUI.
Camera: Not the best camera in its price-point
Xiaomi bragged a lot about the camera performance during the launch of the Mi Max 2. The camera in real life is decent performer but falls back from other handsets in the same price-point, for instance Nubia handsets that capture better overall images.
Surprisingly the aperture size and megapixel count has been reduced when compared to the last year's Mi Max. The phablet sports a 12MP rear camera that works on Sony IMX386 sensor and uses a f/2.2 aperture. The first iteration of Mi Max uses an f2.0 and a 16MP main sensor. However the company is betting on large pixel size of 1.25-micron pixels that is said to deliver bright images in favorable light and even when you are taking pictures in low-light scenarios.
The real-life shots captured in daylight have good detailing and colours also look quite accurate. Even the camera app is really fast and the sensor does not waste any time in capturing a shot. However, the results are not very pleasing when you fire up the camera in low-light. The pictures captured during low-light come out to be noisy and fails to impress. The camera algorithm adds a little bit extra sharpness that makes pictures look extra grainy and unreal.
The camera also has Phase detection Auto Focus (PDAF) and comes with the standard suite of Xiaomi's camera features such as HDR, slow motion, beautify, etc. You can also experiment with the inbuilt filters to give your pictures an artistic look. Check out the below sample for a better understanding.
For selfies you have a 5MP shooter that is a good performer. It captures good selfies that you can post on Snapchat, Facebook and other social networking sites.
Battery and Connectivity: A mini Power bank
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 packs in some serious battery power. The phablet is company's biggest battery handset as it is backed by a powerful 5,300 mAh battery unit. I managed to squeeze in a two day's backup on a single charge even with some pretty heavy usage that involved a lot of video playback sessions, gaming, audio streaming over Bluetooth, browsing, Facebook, camera usage, etc.
You also get Quick Charge 3.0 that can recharge the battery to up to 65% in almost one hour, which is pretty decent.
As far as connectivity is concerned, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, dual-SIM and an IR blaster that converts this phablet into a universal remote.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a great buy in sub Rs. 20k price-point, especially for users who enjoys big screen multimedia playback. The phablet is big in size and features and comes at a pocket friendly price-point. There's a massive 6.44-inch Full HD screen, ample RAM to support heavy multitasking and a swift CPU to make sure the handset does not lag in everyday performance.
The newly added stereo speakers are a big plus point and the large 5,300 mAh battery unit makes sure your video playback and gaming sessions last long and stay immersive. You also get the latest Android flavor with Xiaomi's in-house intuitive MIUI skin that also scores high on productivity and customization.
The only weak point seems to be the camera which is not the best in this price-point and leaves you wanting for more. If you can compromise on imaging part and can manage the bigger footprint, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 makes for a good sub Rs. 18k Android phone.
Other handsets that are worth considering in the same price-point are as follows- Honor 8 Lite, Moto G5 Plus, Lenovo Phab 2 Plus and Nokia 6.