Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review: The Bigger Got Better

Namrata Gogoi

The Indian market has seen a paradigm shift when it comes to phone sizes. Not so long ago, smaller and compact units made the mark of ‘ideal phones’, but not for long. Soon it was followed by big tablets. Despite the fact that these tablets were a tad difficult to use, Indian consumers vehemently used them as primary smartphones.

Though the market has shifted again to smaller devices, there’s still a certain percentage of Indian consumers who are smitten by large screen phones. And Xiaomi has attempted to cash into this opportunity with the Xiaomi Mi Max 2.

The Mi Max 2 is the refined version of the first generation Mi Max, with its polished design, humongous battery life and a focus on multi media tech. But what sets it apart is its pricing.

Priced at only Rs. 16,999, not many smartphones in India can compete against the huge screen and battery combination.

So, does the new Xiaomi Mi Max 2 live up to its promise of being a true multimedia smartphone or is it just another big and bulky device? Let’s find out.

Design

The first generation Mi Max was a big boxy phone, with none of its design aspect coming close to be described as premium. But with the Mi Max 2, Xiaomi has made significant improvements.

Instead of sharp corners and borders, you’ll find smooth and tapered edges, beautifully rounded corners with 2.5D curved screen glass. The full metal unibody build and the smooth finish on the rear brings a premium look to this device, despite its huge size.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review

In terms of layout, the power button and the volume rockers are on the right and the SIM tray is on the left. Infrared sensors are a highlight in most of the Xiaomi phones and the Mi Max 2 is no different. The sensor is located at the top perimeter flanked on one side by the 3.5-mm headphone jack.

Aforesaid, the back is smooth and is broken only in two places by the camera and the fingerprint sensor. The camera is flush fitted with no edges jutting out. Plus, the antenna lines have also been moved to the perimeter similar to the design of the OnePlus 5.

Balancing the matte black color of the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is the matte fingerprint sensor. In terms of feedback, the turnaround time is impressive and I haven’t faced any authentication issues as yet. Another admirable feature is the fingerprint setup time, which merely takes a couple of seconds.

Moving on, up front you’ll find the hardware capacitive buttons which are backlit, thus making it easier to work even in the dark.

On the charging front, the Mi Max 2 has upgraded to the USB Type-C charging port which leads to faster data transfer. This makes it the first Xiaomi phone in the sub-Rs 20,000 price bracket to sport the USB Type-C port. If you recollect, the other budget offerings like the Redmi Note 4 or Redmi 4A supported the old micro USB port.

For a huge device, the Mi Max 2 packs in a beautiful and a sleek profile at just 7.6mm. However, owing to the big size, keeping it in the pocket or holding the Mi Max 2 can be a tad of a problem, especially, if you have switched from a smaller device.

In more than one occasions, I found myself keeping the Mi Max 2 safely in the car or in the safe confines of my backpack, while I was traveling. Better safe than sorry, right?

Display

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 flaunts a rich 6.44-inch full-HD IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 342 pixels-per-inch. Though the screen is not as bright and saturated as AMOLED screens seen in Samsung phones, the display yields crisp, sharp and vivid images with excellent viewing angles.

With the Mi Max 2, Xiaomi has shaved off the bezels, thus giving the already wide phone an illusion of a much wider screen. Thanks to the huge display and accurate color reproductions, watching videos and movies in the Mi Max 2 is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

The only drawback is when you switch to videos with a darker tinge.

Since the screen reflects light, you’ll be left seeing your own reflection instead of the actual glimpse of the video.

Moving on, colors and contrasts levels can be customized as per the need of the hour. Moreover, the Mi Max 2 effectively doubles up as an e-reader due to its screen size and the built-in Blue light filter mode.

However, it would have been more than apt had it been bundled with a built-in reading mode, similar to the OnePlus 5.

When it comes to the sunlight legibility of the Mi Max 2, it’s quite decent. In fact, switching from the OnePlus 5, I found the display holding its ground even under harsh and bright sunlight.

Performance and Hardware

Under the hood, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 625 which clocks at 2GHz and packs in 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. With the Mi Max 2, Xiaomi has gone a notch down the power ladder as it replaced the powerful Snapdragon 650 with the 625 chipset.

The 2GHz octa-core 625 chipset is built on the 14-nm FinFET technology thus making it more battery efficient with minimal heating. During regular usage, the switch to a less powerful processor isn’t much prominent since it races through the everyday task with ease.

However, with high-end gaming, the experience tends to get a tad sour with quite a few frame skips.

When it comes to measuring the performance of the Mi Max 2, the Antutu benchmarking tool clocked quite a decent score of 63217

Another area of improvement in the Mi Max 2 is the introduction of dual speakers. While the primary speakers are at their usual spot at the bottom of the device, the secondary speaker — a tweeter — is neatly tucked away at the earpiece.

The second speaker kicks into action whenever the phone is held in the landscape mode while it’s running any media files. The combination of the sharp and bright screen and the rich and powerful audio give a nice touch to the overall experience of the Mi Max 2, especially when it comes to binge-watching videos. .

If I were to compare it to the shrill sound of the OnePlus 5, the Mi Max 2 audio configuration is smooth and pleasing to the ears.

Software

The Mi Max 2 is one of the few devices from Xiaomi to run on Android 7.1.1. If you recall, even the Redmi Note 4 featured an older version of Android. Much like any Xiaomi phones, the Mi Max 2 runs its custom ROM — MIUI 8.5 — on top of Nougat.

However, the upgraded Android version can be at best be described as half-baked. Most of the typical Nougat functionalities like multi-window or notification controls are yet to make their way to the Nougat build of MIUI.

Given that the USP of the Mi Max 2 is its huge screen, it would be a shame not to utilize it for multitasking purposes.

However, with the launch of the official Xiaomi MIUI 9 last week, it won’t be long before the Mi Max 2 is also upgraded to flash the latest ROM.

Though handling the Mi Max 2 with a single hand can be an arduous task, it makes it up with the one-handed mode. It packs in three different configurations as per your convenience — 4.5-inches, 4-inches, and 3.5-inches.

  

Other than that, the Mi Max 2 packs in quite a handful of Mi apps and features like second space, dual apps, Mi Remote, scrolling screenshots, etc.

The only area where you might face a bit of an issue is during the setup. While most of the phones easily give you the option to restore apps using the Google account, the Mi Max 2 will let you restore apps only from the Mi cloud. While it’s all hale and hearty if your previous phone is from Xiaomi, but if you are switching over from a different make, restoring apps will eat away your time.

Camera

The Mi Max 2 sports a 12-megapixel primary camera with dual flash and aperture of f/2.2. A notable feature in the camera specs is the introduction of the Sony IMX386 sensor with larger 1.25-micron  pixels.

This is the same sensor that is used in the company flagship, Mi 6.

This sensor helps in churning out pictures that are crisp, sharp and vivid in normal lighting conditions. However, in low light conditions, the picture quality takes a serious hit with quite a noticeable amount of noise.

On the stability front, the rear camera lacks both OIS and EIS, eventually leading to videos which a shaky or wobbly.

The following samples are some of the pictures taken with the Mi Max 2.

When it came to the HDR mode, I did notice a slight issue. The HDR pictures are great only if you turn on the mode manually. But auto HDR in the Mi Max 2 doesn’t seem to kick in leading to overexposed pictures.

 Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review

Considering the price, the Mi Max 2 turns out great pictures which are sharp and vivid. However, this end result is solely dependent on the lighting conditions. If I were to speak strictly of daylight photography, the result is at above par with most of the phones.

Battery

The major highlight of the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is its whopping 5300mAh battery. Though the first generation Mi Max also supplied a great battery life, Xiaomi went ahead and crammed in even a bigger battery in the Mi Max 2.

In an ideal world, a huge chunk of battery usually means a bulky and heavy phone, however, it isn’t the scenario with the Mi Max 2. It tips the scales at just about 211 grams.

  

Coming back to the battery specs, the Mi Max 2 is touted to last you two days easily on a full charge. And it does beautifully. During my time with it, it was able to last 2 days with a screen-on percentage of 17%. This, despite the fact that the Mi Max 2 was charged under 80%.

Similarly, the standby time is excellent. On a typical night, I found the battery eating through only 2% of the available battery life — a feat which is nearly impossible both in the mid-tier phones or the bigger shots like Galaxy S8 or the OnePlus 5.

Another notable feature is the use of Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 over USB-C, which is designed to buy you a day’s battery life when charged for just under an hour. In my observations, the Mi Max 2 just took 1.5 hours to go from 8% to 85%, which is quite impressive given the huge battery size.

Verdict

Overall, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 packs in an impressive design, decent camera,  4G VoLTE support, and a great battery life. For the price for which the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is pitched for, the dual speakers set and the Gorilla Glass 3 is a cherry on top.

The 6.44-inch display can be a bit of an inconvenience if you are handling a big screen phone for the first time. But considering the fact that a major chunk of Indian consumers looks at the smartphone as a primary means of entertainment (thanks to great internet plans), the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a true multimedia focused device.

In the hindsight, if the 64GB of internal storage doesn’t seem sufficient, you can easily expand the memory via a microSD card. But hey, don’t forget to mount a protective armor, since Xiaomi isn’t really known for the sturdy built of its devices

See Next: 7 Cool Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Cases and Covers

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Namrata Gogoi

Written By

Namrata Gogoi

An engineer turned tech writer, Namrata used to write software codes before turning to a career in tech- writing. She is passionate about travelling, food and reading about cool new stuff. Apart from that, she holds a bachelors degree in I.T and hails from Guwahati.