When it comes to the smartphone with big displays, several smartphones have recently been introduced including Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra, LeEco Le Max 2 etc. To compete with all the odds, Xiaomi has recently launch its Mi Max phablet with a massive 6.44-inch display at an affordable price. The specs of the Mi Max surely won’t compete with the likes of the LeEco’s Le Max 2 and Asus’ Zenfone 3 Ultra, but it still promises to offer the great phablet experience. Xiaomi has also launched the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone.
The Xiaomi Mi Max has an all aluminium body that gives it a sturdy and premium look. There is nothing exciting about this design, though there are a few design aspects of Mi Max that makes it quite comfortable to hold. The side tapers are on the back of the device. The power button and the fingerprint scanner are positioned perfectly.
The Mi Max is fairly slim at 7.5 mm and there are chamfered edges along the metal body. The volume and power buttons are placed on the right and work well, with good tactile feedback. The hybrid SIM tray sits on the left. You can either have two SIM cards or one SIM and a micro-SD card (up to 128 GB).
The mono-speaker is placed at the bottom, along with the Micro-USB port, while the headphones socket and infrared emitter are on the top. Around back, we have the primary camera, dual-tone LED flash, and fingerprint sensor. The metal rim around the camera juts out a bit. The Mi Max is a heavy phone at 203 grams. Single-handed use for typing is quite difficult as you have to juggle the phone around.
The Xiaomi Mi Max features a 6.44-inch display with 1080p resolution.The display itself looks pretty good; it has good viewing angles and accurate color reproduction. The 1080p resolution seems a bit low at this size as we would have liked to see Quad HD, even if it meant for a slightly higher price. Sunlight readability could have been better and while the reduced contrast sunlight mode does help, the screen on the Mi Max can still be difficult to read outdoors. Also, thanks to Xiaomi for including Corning Gorilla Glass 4, something that we don’t often see at this price point.
The Mi Max runs on a customized version of Android Marshmallow called MIUI 7, which is similar to what we’ve seen before on the Mi 5. Some features of Marshmallow like Now on Tap aren’t currently present but Xiaomi tells us that it is the works and will be added soon. In the coming months, the phone will also be upgraded to MIUI 8.
In order to make it easier to perform simple tasks like typing, the Mi Max comes with a ‘One-handed mode’ in the settings menu, which shrinks the contents of the display down to either 4.5-inches, 4-inches or 3.5-inches. You can perform this action by simply swiping left or right on the capacitive buttons for shrinking it down or resetting it back to normal.
Another feature called ‘Shortcut menu’ or ‘Quick ball’ lets you assign five shortcuts to either a function or an app to a floating onscreen ball, which can be accessed anywhere including the home screen. It looks similar to the iPhone’s Assitive-Touch feature and can be placed anywhere along the edge of the display. You can prevent it from showing up in certain apps too if you wish.
Hardware and Performance
The Xiaomi Mi Max is powered by hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 SoC that comes with 3 GB RAM, and 32 GB internal storage. The company plans to launch a higher-end variant soon which will have an octa-core Snapdragon 652 SoC, 4 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage. Other specifications include dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, USB OTG, 4G with VoLTE, and FM radio. NFC isn’t present.
The operating system works smoothly and so does multitasking. On any given day, you’ll likely have about 800 MB of free RAM available, which is a decent amount. We found the earpiece volume a bit lower than what we’d have liked, but clarity was good. The size of the phone does make it difficult to hold when on long calls. The Snapdragon 650 SoC offers plenty of grunt for most apps and games. As an indication of gaming performance, we got a healthy 32 fps in GFXbench and 18,044 points in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited.
The Xiaomi Mi Max is equipped with a very capable 16 mega-pixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture. The camera comes with a dual-LED flash. After taking a closer look at the sample images, it seems that the Mi Max’s camera is one of the best we’ve seen at this price point. Images came out sharp and detailed with visually pleasing color reproduction and great dynamic range.
The rear camera also gets phase detection auto-focus (PDAF), which works well under most lighting conditions. Landscapes and macro shots captured in daylight exhibit good detail, but the app tends to over-sharpen objects in focus which causes slight jagged edges. This is more noticeable once you crop or zoom in to a photo.
The 5 mega-pixel camera in the front can record up to 720p video and can pull off some decent selfies, provided the lighting is good.
Battery life with the Mi Max is excellent, thanks to its very large 4,850 mAh non-removable battery. Screen on time did vary considerably depending on the usage. Primarily, we noticed that it did significantly better on Wi-Fi than it did cellular data, but even the heaviest usage was not enough to kill the Mi Max in a single day. In our video loop test, we managed to go 21 hours and 11 minutes before the phone powered itself down, which is excellent.
The Xiaomi Mi Max also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 but the company has not included a Quick Charge 3.0 charger in the box which is quite disappointing.
Also Read: Xiaomi Mi 5 Review
The Xiaomi Mi Max is available for purchase in a number of different models globally. Pricing starts at 1499 RMB in China, or about $228 (approx INR 16,000). The pricing will vary based on region. Each model is available in either silver, gold, or dark grey.
The Xiaomi Mi Max has very good build quality, a good display, excellent battery life and snappy performance. Camera quality isn’t the best and we would really have liked stereo speakers on a device geared for media consumption. Also, the lack of Quick Charger 3.0 in the box will surely frustrate the buyers. This isn’t going to be the easiest device to live with for many people, but if you like the idea of tablet-sized smartphones, the Mi Max is currently the best option in its price class.