Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review: The big phone is now even better
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Smartphones with screen size of 6 inches generally don’t have many takers, because many users aren’t entirely convinced about the larger form factor of these big phones. However, they can be very addictive and hard to put away once you get used to the extra display real estate. Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is another attempt by the Chinese phonemaker to impress this niche segment of buyers.
Priced at Rs16,999, the smartphone has very few rivals which can match the screen size or the hardware that makes it tick at this price point. It will be available in a single black coloured variant through both online and offline stores from 27 July.
Design: Premium design, sleek form-factor
The Mi Max 2 looks more polished and expensive than the price tag it sports. The metal chassis feels premium. This gives it a solid feel and also gives the phone a clean and smudge-free look. It is 7.6mm, which makes it the slimmest big-battery smartphone in the market right now. It tips the scales at 203g and the weight has been evenly distributed so it doesn’t feel heavy at the top. This makes handling it with one-hand easy, but not as reassuring as the Samsung Galaxy S8+, which is a lot narrower and has practically no vertical bezels on the front. The rounded edges give it a nice comfortable feel in the hand. The fingerprint sensor does feel a bit on the higher side if you are holding the phone with one hand. It is accurate and fast, though. The volume button is a bit on the higher side and feels a bit stiff too.
The dual speakers are placed at the base next to the USB type- C connector.
Display: Looks good despite the low resolution
The 6.4-inch phone has a resolution of 1,920x1,080p. It provides plenty of space for typing comfortably, reading and playing games. Though it lacks the richness of an LG G6, for instance, the colours look bright. Xiaomi has added a number of colour customisation options and some of them can be quite effective. The option to enhance contrast can make the colours stand out and lift the overall gaming and video experience. The reading mode blocks out blue light and gives the screen a warm tone for a more relaxed reading experience at night. It comes with Gorilla glass 3 and we haven’t noticed any scratches so far, which is a good point. As in most Xiaomi smartphones, display tends to pick scratches soon.
Software: New Android, funky UI
It runs on the latest 7.1.1 version of Android Nougat, which is available on very few devices. What adds more value is the custom user interface known as MIUI 8. It has plenty of nice-looking themes, wallpapers and icons with the flexibility to apply any icons on any themes. The interface is a bit bloated and had plenty of preloaded apps from Xiaomi. It has some unique features too. There is a Dual apps feature which allows two versions of the same app. The Second space feature adds a hidden profile with a different set of apps on the same phone. You can unlock it from home screen straight away with a second fingerprint or PIN. The one-handed mode reduces the size of the interface so you can use it more comfortably.
Performance: Smooth, long lasting battery
The Mi Max 2 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core chipset with 4GB RAM. It is a 14nm chipset and has been used in the Redmi Note 4 (Rs12,999) and Moto G5 Plus (Rs16,999) too. Performance is smooth, and switching between apps or running more than 10 apps simultaneously doesn’t make it sluggish. Graphics-intensive games such as PES 2017 and Asphalt Xtreme played out without any noticeable frame drops or heating issues. It has 64GB internal storage which is a lot for saving offline movies, music and games. You can add up to 256GB more via microSD card. However, you can’t access it if both SIM slots are occupied, as its hybrid slot is built on one of the SIM slots.
The 5,300mAh battery can summon over two days of backup on modest use which is impressive for a big-screen phone. It also supports Qualcomm’s fast Charging 3.0 but you need to buy the power adapter that works with it. Xiaomi is bundling the regular adapter with the pack.
Camera: Impresses only in daylight
The Mi Max 2 packs in a 12-megapixel camera powered by Sony IMX386 sensor with aperture of f/2.2 and a dual tone LED flash. The camera is fast and can capture detail and colours well on a bright sunny day. It supports quick auto focus, but it is not always effective and manual focus yields much better results. Low-light performance is a bit inconsistent. In low light, it automatically lights up images using software, but the overall picture looks grainy.
It comes with a number of interesting modes such as straighten (takes a straight photo even if the phone is not held straight, beautify (irons out facial imperfections), tilt shift (blurs background), group shots (takes multiple shots to ensure you get the best shot where everyone is looking at the camera). The 5-megapxiel front camera also supports Beauty mode and group shot and can muster good-looking selfies even in indoor conditions.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is one of the few truly big-screen smartphones at this price point, which looks this good, can be used with one-hand occasionally and delivers two days of backup. If you are looking for a smaller screen, you can consider the Redmi Note 4. It runs on the same chipset, offers 64GB storage, has metal body and a slightly smaller but equally dependable 4,100mAh battery.