“Xiaomi’s Mi Max 2 is the company’s second smartphone in its phablet series and comes with a 6.44-inch full HD display”
[Update: July 18th]: The Mi Max 2 has been launched in India, and will go on sale starting July 27th for Rs 16,999.
Large-screened smartphones, or phablets as they’re called, have found many takers, especially in India. Clearly, we love the idea of a device that blurs the line between what constitutes a smartphone and a tablet, giving us the combined functionality of the two segments in a single device. And while there are quite a few options if one’s out hunting for a phablet, the one that stands tall, both literally as well as figuratively, is the Xiaomi Mi Max (review). Launched last year, the device was hailed for its well-rounded performance, battery life and the solid value for money it offered. And now the Mi Max has a successor, aptly called the Mi Max 2 (first impressions). The device was launched in China not too long ago, and is slated to reach our shores soon. MWC Shanghai gave us the opportunity to acquire one for ourselves, so we seized the chance and bought one in China. Without further ado, here’s a lowdown of how it fares as a daily driver.
Specs at a glance
|Resolution||Full HD (1080 x 1920 pixels)|
|CPU||Octa core, 2 GHz, Snapdragon 625|
|Internal memory||64 GB|
|External memory||Up to 256 GB|
|Capacity||5300 mAH, Li-ion, Non removable|
|Primary camera||12 MP|
|Secondary camera||5 MP|
|Network support||Dual SIM 4G|
|Other options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS|
|Operating system||Android 7.0 Nougat|
Design and display: flaunt those curvesStaying true to its moniker, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a massive phone and buyers migrating from smaller devices are in for a huge surprise (quite literally). Having said that, you might get a sense of déjà vu if you’re upgrading from the original Mi Max, as the Mi Max 2 takes most of its design cues from its predecessor. There are some differences here and there, but the core design is consistent across the two models. With the Mi Max 2, you’ll get a smartphone that’s made entirely out of metal unlike its predecessor, which had bits of plastic at the top and the bottom to house the antenna bands. Naturally, the Mi Max 2 is heavier than its predecessor and tips the scales at 211g. Here are a few shots that show how the two differ – the new model has been placed on the right.
Cameras: a sharpshooterCarrying a dedicated point and shoot camera along with your smartphone to click pictures is always a hassle. While premium smartphones can shoot pictures which are on par with some cameras, the same is not the case with a majority of affordable handsets. Thankfully, the cameras on the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 are very capable and while its predecessor left us wanting for more, the Mi Max 2 does a great job at clicking stills. But before we get into that, let’s look at the camera’s specifications first. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 ships with a 12MP f/2.2 primary sensor which at first might seem as a downgrade from the 16MP sensor on the Mi Max. However, Xiaomi has equipped the camera on the Mi Max 2 with the same sensor which is present on the primary camera of Xiaomi’s flagship, the Mi 6. Up front, buyers will be smiling at a 5MP f/2.0 aperture sensor. The camera UI on the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is nothing out of the ordinary and is the same MIUI camera app we’ve seen before. You’ll get a bunch of modes for the primary camera such as Panorama, GroupShot as well as a Manual mode. Since the company is strong on Beauty modes too, there’s a preset for the same present for both the primary and the secondary cameras. Here are a few samples.
Software: You, me and MIUI
Performance: not all good things start with an 8Underneath the metal chassis of the Xiaomi Mi Max 2, you’ll find a Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor which works in tandem with 4GB of RAM. The unit we bought from China ships with 64GB of onboard storage, but there is another variant which comes with 128GB of storage. It remains to be seen whether Xiaomi will launch both variants in India. As far as the performance is concerned, the Snapdragon 625 chip on board the Mi Max 2 is quite capable of handling everyday tasks and gaming too. Bear in mind that this is the same processor which powers smartphones like the Moto G5 Plus (review) and despite the feature-loaded MIUI platform it runs, the performance on the Mi Max 2 is on par with the competition. I’d also like to point out that since the unit I reviewed came from China, I couldn’t install Google Play store on the smartphone and therefore, I resorted to downloading some APKs which don’t require Google Play sign-in. In my daily usage, I didn’t come across any instances of lag while jumping in and out of some heavy apps like Chrome or Snapchat. The smartphone didn’t break into sweat when I played Clash Royale on it and besides the occasional frame drop, was able to handle some intensive gaming titles like Riptide GP2 and Unkilled too. While metal adds to the build quality and the good looks of a smartphone, these benefits often come at a price which is too hot to handle (pun intended). A majority of unibody metal smartphones suffer from poor thermal management when the processor is stressed. However, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 gets warm only to a certain extent and I never had to put the smartphone or stop gaming on it for it to cool down. Xiaomi’s Mi Max 2 is a lot like a department store – you go in shopping for a phablet smartphone and come out with a device which is both a phablet and a battery monster. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is fuelled by a 5,300mAh battery which is a huge bump from the 4,850mAh battery toting Mi Max. Coupled with the battery efficient Snapdragon 625 chip, the Mi Max 2 should last you for days off a single charge. And it does. In terms of daily usage, I found myself searching for a wall charger after almost a day and a half of heavy usage which included browsing various social media feeds and some casual gaming too. Suffice it to say, you’ll be hard-pressed to drain the smartphone in a day and since it features Quick Charge 3.0, the large battery juices up pretty quickly too – taking just about a couple of hours to charge fully.
VerdictThe Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a really good smartphone for the price and over the course of my review period, I never felt short-changed in any area. The smartphone has a vivid display, offers excellent battery life, is a good performer and has a good camera configuration too. Therefore, if you’re in the market for a large-screened smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a no-brainer, especially if we take its China price into consideration which pegs it below Rs 20,000. What’s better is that the company is expected to bring the phablet to India shortly and therefore, if you are impressed with the smartphone as much I am, you won’t have to wait for long to pick it up.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Excellent battery life
- Capable cameras
- Good performer
- Low-light camera performance could be better
- Ugly black bezel around the display