Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Price starts at Rs. 16,400. This phone is available in 32 GB, 64 GB storage variants.
The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 has rather large shoes to fill, because the original Mi Max managed to wow even someone like me who usually hates large form factor phones. However, phablets as they are known are immensely popular in the Indian subcontinent, where people prefer a smartphone that can serve every possible role ranging from a phone to entertainment and media consumption device that has enough juice to last for several days.
The original Mi Max achieved all this while delivering a butter smooth performance in all expected applications and lasting several days on a single battery charge. Everything from the design to nigh perfect optimisation makes it the phone to beat in this segment. It's for this reason that I decided to use the Mi Max 2 longer and check how the latest avatar of Xiaomi's cut-price phablet has what it takes to dethrone its overachieving predecessor.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2: Design and Build Quality
If there's one thing I can't deny outright, it's the fact that Xiaomi has done a stellar job on the design, engineering, and aesthetic side of the Mi Max 2. The new phablet is every bit of an improvement over the original Mi Max in every conceivable aspect. While that may sound like a hyperbole, but it just beggars belief how Xiaomi has managed to deliver a true unibody aluminium construction in such a feature-packed phone costing a mere ₹16,000. This is all the more significant when you factor in the brilliant 6.44-inch display, competent Qualcomm SoC, fast fingerprint scanner, and massive 5300mAh battery.
Having said that, the Mi Max 2 proved itself quite durable during the three odd months that I used and, I must admit, abused the phone. I have dropped the phone several times from the bed onto the hard granite flooring and often times from the pocket height as well. The phone, remarkably has been unharmed saved for a few inconspicuous scratches and one tiny dent along two of the corners. And the phone has been dropped enough times to assure me that it's resilience isn't some freak coincidence. Full marks to Xiaomi in this department.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2: Display
Xiaomi Mi Max 2: Camera
On paper, it seems Xiaomi has compromised the camera to fund the improvements elsewhere, with the new rear camera sporting fewer pixels at 12MP as opposed to the 16MP primary camera of the erstwhile model. A higher f stop number also means that the sensor has to work with less light and is potentially slower. The front camera thankfully is unchanged, so there's neither any improvement nor compromise in that department.
Specifications might give a general idea, but it's not the final word. The real-world performance is what matters and the Mi Max 2's camera surprisingly delivers crisper images with an improved colour saturation in bright daylight conditions. The improvement isn't significant, but it's evident when you do an A/B comparison of photographs. The focusing in good lighting is fast and the HDR feature works well to highlight the darker areas even when a part of the frame is brightly lit.
Having said that, the 12MP primary camera of the Mi Max 2 pales in comparison to that of the Redmi Note 4. This snapper is noticeably better than the Mi Max 2's snapper in every conceivable aspect. Most notable of which is lowlight photography. And that's not a good sign because the Redmi Note 4 itself is strictly average when the ambient light is lacking. The Mi Max 2 loses colour accuracy and introduces noise with night shots, but what's worse is how focusing takes too long and sometimes the camera just can't get objects into focus.
While the original Mi Max had these low light issues as well and was actually worse off, Xiaomi still hasn't made a major improvement and the Mi Max 2 still sucks at low-light photography. Video capture again is acceptable and can go up to 2160p at 30fps – just like the original Mi Max. The camera software continues to be excellent, with great UI and a good selection of filters and modes that make for interesting snaps.
Overall, the camera is a disappointment and bested by the unit found in the company's own lower priced Redmi Note 4. While the Mi Max 2's camera is slightly better than that of the original Mi Max, the better performance of the Redmi Note 4 in this department shows that Xiaomi could definitely have improved the Mi Max 2's camera.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2: Hardware, Connectivity, and Performance
This sentiment of disappointment continues with the performance. On paper itself, the Snapdragon 625 SoC of the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 looks inferior compared to the Snapdragon 650 found in the base version of the original Mi Max. This gives the predecessor a definite edge in the single core performance stakes thanks to the presence of two powerful ARM Cortex-A72 cores, which the Mi Max 2 woefully lacks. However, the newer and more efficient Snapdragon 625 SoC on the Mi Max 2 should give it better multi-core performance and improved battery life.
The last bit is moot because power efficiency was never an issue with the Mi Max or the Mi Max 2 due to their car battery levels of backup. Moreover, in the real world, the multi-core advantage doesn't hold true because the Mi Max 2 feels decidedly more slower and lag prone than its predecessor. This could be down to optimisation, but I have already spent nearly four months with the phone and there have been many performance-enhancing updates, which have mitigated the performance issues to a fair extent. However, the Mi Max 2 still feels slower and decidedly unoptimised compared to the original Mi Max, which performed flawlessly with nary a lag or stutter.
Both the phones are nigh identical in the connectivity front, with the only difference being that the Mi Max 2 has embraced the times and upgraded to the universal USB Type-C connector. Overall, the performance of the Mi Max 2 leaves a lot to be desired and although it isn't bad by any stretch of imagination, you still can't forgive Xiaomi for failing to achieve the same level of polish and optimisation it did with the original Mi Max.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2: Software
The Mi Max 2 ships with Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) and is now equipped with the latest MIUI 9. This includes the much-awaited split screen mode that makes perfect sense in a phone as large as this one. The newer and better designed notification shade and faster app launch along with more system optimisations also helped mitigate some of the optimisation issues with the Mi Max 2. However, let's not forget that the original Mi Max never had these performance/optimisation issues to begin with. The support for stickers and better photo editing tools such as the capability to erase elements from the photos is a welcome addition too. The video app too has been overhauled. For more information on the rest of the MIUI features, you can refer to my Xiaomi Mi Max 2 review.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2: Battery Life
The real star of this show is the battery. The massive 5300mAh Li-ion battery is no joke and is only rendered even more ridiculously powerful thanks to the power efficiency of the Snapdragon 625 SoC. The original Mi Max gave me a screen-on time upwards of 10 hours with rigorous usage. With similar punishing battery utilisation involving lots of 4G data usage, web browsing performance heavy websites (serving HTML5 video), substantial gaming and video consumption, and consistent social media app usage, the Mi Max 2 still delivered a whopping 12 hours of screen-on time, with nearly two days of heavy usage until the battery ran out.
Mind you, this is some crazy amount of phone utilisation where I was glued to it almost nonstop. However, with regular usage over the course of nearly four months, I would charge the phone only a couple of times a week. In fact, the enormous battery backup had made me so complacent that I would often forget to recharge the phone until the low battery warning popped up. Even then, the phone would last several hours more and still making it back home for a recharge. Battery backup wise, this is undoubtedly one of the best phones out in the market.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2: Verdict
The Mi Max 2 is a brilliant phone. It's built stronger and with better more expensive materials, with a unibody aluminium design that's not only modern, but also gorgeous despite its massive heft. The battery life is unparalleled and incredibly an improvement over its already over-performing predecessor. It's the same story with the display, which is orders of magnitudes better the unit on the original Mi Max. Unfortunately, the phone has its share of issues.
Primary of these issues is the poorly optimised Snapdragon 625 SoC. It simply cannot match the performance and optimisation of the more powerful Snapdragon 650 found on the original Mi Max. If you had asked me a month or two earlier, this would have been a deal breaker. But Xiaomi has mitigated the performance and optimisation issues through regular updates and the optimisation in MIUI 9. The performance situation is much better now, but it still doesn't match the buttery smoothness of the original Mi Max.
If you can live with that fact, and believe me you can, provided you haven't used the original Mi Max, the Mi Max 2 still is a solid phone. Not to mention the only great choice in its price segment, where it absolutely decimates the competition with its exacting quality and impressive feature set.
|Processor||Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625|
|Display||6.4 inches (16.26 cm)|
|Display Type||IPS LCD|
|Screen Size||6.4 inches (16.26 cm)|
|Pixel Density||342 pixels per inch (ppi)|
|Color Reproduction||16M Colors|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Screen to body percentage||74.0 %|
|Expandable||microSD, Upto 256GB (Hybrid Slot)|
|Launch Date||27 July 2017|
|Dimensions||6.8 x 3.4 x 0.3 inches (174.1 x 88.7 x 7.6 mm)|
|Weight||211 grams (7.44 oz)|
|Colors||Gold, Matte Black|
|Operating System||Android v7.0 (Nougat)|
|Rear Camera Features||Dual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, panorama|
|Physical Aperture||Rear (f/2.2), Front (f/2.0)|
|Video||2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, 720p@120fps|
|Fast Charging||Yes, Quick Charge 3.0|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS|
|Bluetooth||v4.2 with A2DP, LE|
|Wi-Fi||Yes with dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot|
|Network||4G VoLTE, 4G|
|USB||Type-C 1.0 reversible connector|
|Voice Over LTE (VoLTE)||Yes|
|SIM Configuration||Dual SIM, Nano-SIM/ Micro-SIM (Hybrid Slo)|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625|
|CPU||2.0 GHz Cortex-A53|
|No of Cores||8 (Octa Core)|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes, Rear- mounted|
|Other Sensors||Proximity Sensor|