Before you dismiss this review thinking large phones like the 6.44-inch Mi Max 2 which blur the line between a phone and a tablet are impractical for use in daily life, think again. Apart from the expensive Galaxy Note series from Samsung, phablets are all but dead. Xiaomi, however, seems to have proven everyone wrong with their Mi Max series.
Initially launched last year, the Mi Max was a huge success in China and did surprisingly well in India too. This year, the company is back with the Mi Max 2 which builds on the strengths of its predecessor. And before you dismiss the Mi Max 2 for its huge size, you’d be surprised to know that it is surprisingly not that impractical to use in daily life.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review
Like the Mi Max from 2016, the Mi Max 2 also comes with a 6.44-inch Full HD display. The handset does not come with the fancy new taller 18:9 aspect ratio display found on the likes of the LG G6 or the Galaxy S8. This means that you get a screen that is 6.44-inch wide when measured diagonally — that’s huge! Yet, the curved corners and the supremely refined build quality of the Mi Max 2 make it a pleasure to hold. While the Mi Max had a very blocky design with various components just glued together, the Mi Max 2 feels like it has been made from a single piece of aluminium. And rightfully so. The rear design of the device is a blatant rip-off of the iPhone 7 with the antenna lines located at the top and bottom edges and colored in a dark shade of grey to make them less visible.
When you first pick the Max 2 up, you’ll be in awe of its size and just how big the display is. Then, you switch on the display and you’ll be surprised at just how good it is. We are still talking about a 1080p Full HD IPS panel here but Xiaomi has ensured it sourced the darn best LCD panel available in the market. Just to give you an idea of its size, even the Galaxy S8+ with its 6.2-inch QHD+ display feels tiny in front of the Mi Max 2.
The size of the display is what makes and breaks the Mi Max 2 for many. If you want a device that can act as both a tablet and a phone, go for the Mi Max 2. And then there are people who cannot imagine using a device like the Mi Max 2 due to its huge size on a regular basis. It’s the latter kind of people who really need to try the Mi Max 2.
Once you get over the size of the Mi Max 2, you will realise just how handy the huge display on the device is. Browsing, watching videos, reading etc are all an experience that no other device on the market can match. You really need to experience using a device like the Mi Max 2 first to know its benefits.
The stereo speakers on the Mi Max 2 perfectly compliment the huge display and make this device a multimedia powerhouse. The stereo speakers are automatically activated when you watch a video in landscape mode, which is more than good enough for the majority of users.
There’s another benefit of the huge screen: an equally huge battery life. Thanks to the combination of a 5300mAh battery and Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 625 chipset, the Mi Max 2 offers a battery life that is simply unmatched by any other device. While I have frequently managed to get a screen-on time of over 5-6 hours with most mid-range devices, the Mi Max 2 is a league of its own.
For over two weeks that I used the device with a single SIM, I was consistently getting upwards of 8 hours of screen-on time. And I ensured that I had disabled all of Xiaomi’s power saving modes and tricks since they end up affecting some of the apps that I use. I have managed to go through one full weekend with the device on a single charge twice with over 30% battery still left.
The Mi Max 2 is the kind of device you wish to have when you go on a road trip or for trekking since you will not have to worry about hunting for a power bank at the end of the second day. Even better, since the Mi Max 2 comes with a USB-C port, you can use the device to charge other smartphones. Nothing like showing off the battery prowess of the Max 2 by charging your friend’s phone and still going strong the next day. And since the device features Quick Charge 3.0, it can be charged to 70%+ in just an hour as well.
Like with almost every other mid-range device released this year, the Mi Max 2 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 chipset which helps it deliver unfathomable battery life. The chipset also does a great job of handling whatever you throw at it without overheating or skipping a beat.
Additionally, since the MIUI 8 build on the Mi Max 2 is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, it feels smoother and faster to use compared to other devices from Xiaomi featuring the same chipset. Things are only going to improve once the Mi Max 2 gets the MIUI 9 update which comes with its own share of performance improvements.
The Mi Max 2 comes with a 12MP f/2.2 Sony IMX386 shooter at its rear featuring 1.25um large pixels. The camera specs are not impressive by any means but the Max 2 still does a good job in most conditions. Photos taken from the device in daylight turn out to be just fine with Xiaomi’s color processing nailing the scene in most cases. It is in low-light scenarios where the camera shows its weakness but even then for its price, the Mi Max 2 does a fairly good job. When compared to the Redmi Note 4, the Mi Max 2 camera does a far better job. It even comes with Auto HDR and 4K video recording capabilities — something which the Redmi Note 4 lacks despite coming with the same chipset.
Not all is perfect with the Mi Max 2 though. For a device of its size which should be a multimedia and multitasking prowess, the device only comes with multi-window multitasking. Even that feature is not available out of the box and Xiaomi will roll out a software update in August to enable the functionality. The Mi Max 2 badly needs multitasking features found on Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S devices like floating apps, being able to run apps in windowed mode, and more. It is then that the Max 2’s true potential can be utilised by a power user.
Finally, despite singing praises of the Mi Max 2 size, I am not going to lie: the device does feel a bit too big sometimes. It is a struggle to take the phone out of my pocket while I am driving. And if you have small hands, you are going to struggle to use the Max 2 properly.
In the end though, for the price that Xiaomi commands for the Mi Max 2 — Rs 16,999, it is almost impossible to ignore just how much of a value for money the device offers, especially since you are getting 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM for that price. If you want a device that bridges the gap between a phone and a tablet, go for the Mi Max 2 with your eyes closed — you will not regret your decision.
The Mi Max 2 is available on Xiaomi’s own Mi.com store, Flipkart and Amazon for Rs 16,999 in black color.