Xiaomi made a big move when they announced the Mi Max back in May. They didn’t only tip the scale of their own personal records as with the biggest Android early this year, but they also managed to put a good price into a mid-ranger package. We find out in this in-depth review if the Xiaomi Mi Max is more than just a budget Android in a massive size.
More reviews and comparisons
- Xiaomi Mi Max vs Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro Review
- Xiaomi Mi 5 Review
- Mi Max vs Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra vs Sony Xperia X Ultra
Design and build
Built with a metal back, the Mi Max and Mi 5 shares the same form while the former taking some resemblance to Redmi Note 3 with the metal accent. The back of the phablet curves towards the edges while retaining a sleek and hefty profile, which is still barely manageable with a one-handed usage–thanks to the thin bezels.
The front flaunts responsive and none-backlit capacitive navigation keys. These are positioned more in the center to reach easier with your thumb. On top of the screen are an earpiece, secondary selfie camera, and lighting sensor.
Going around the device, there are two speaker grills flanking the microUSB port on the bottom. Only one hole works as a speaker while the other adds symmetry. The rest are typical arrangements with the volume rocker and power button conveniently located on the right side. The top houses the 3.5mm audio jack and hybrid dual SIM and microSD card slots found on the left side.
The fingerprint at the back works convincingly fast and accurate but not as great on reading sweaty fingers.
Despite the familiar design, the Mi Max felt unique because of its massive size and efficient packaging. The Mi Max will be available in Gold, Silver or White, and Black.
Display and viewing experience
The real highlight of the phone’s exterior hardware is the 6.44-inch Full HD 1080p IPS LCD real estate screen backed by Gorilla Glass 4. The wide display combined with FHD resolution results to modest 342ppi while the slightly curved edges provide a seamless experience.
For the quality, the display is really good for viewing videos and other multimedia. It’s sharp and with pleasing colors. Like most Xiaomi mid-rangers, the display has some overcast reddish tint but not noticeable unless compared to other LCDs.
Another thing we noticed is the measly max brightness level in outside scenarios, though it still retained a legible viewing experience.
Taking care of the photography section is a 16MP f2.0 main camera that shoots up to 4K video and handles manual HDR. The quality in still photos possesses good level of contrast and color reproduction but mediocre detail preservation and noise handling.
Sharpness control gets worse in low light destroying the details by oversharpening and apparent noise level. For a mid-ranger phone, however, the quality is understandably middling.
The 5MP front-facing selfie camera produces pleasing shots while keeping the natural colors and mild toning.
The lack of OIS in the camera is one of the reasons of blurry shots though this greatly affects the video shooting. The 4K video resolution makes up for the lack of proper stabilization.
Software and UI
Making the first plunge into Marshmallow is the Mi Max with MI UI 8.0 on top of Android. There’s not much added on visual side as the changes and improvements were seen more behind UI including the security side of the system.
Unlike on the feature-rich features on Android phablets of LG and Samsung, Xiaomi chose to keep the overall system light by limiting the features. For the record, Xiaomi should have at least made some decent split screen for its phablet series.
Performance and benchmark
There will be two variants of the device mainly separated by memory and chipset. But Xiaomi will likely focus on the 3GB RAM with hexacore Snapdragon 650 chipset rather on the octa-core model.
In terms of speed, experience on Mi Max is smooth and fast in opening or running apps and games at the same time. There’s rare stuttering when multitasking but this is barely noticeable. The hardware is able to run graphic intensive games like Asphalt 8 and NBA 2k16 on moderate settings.
Battery and charging
The large footprint of the Xiaomi Mi Max comes with a hefty battery package. With a 4850mAh non-removable cell, the phone easily lasted until the second day with a single charge. This also makes the phablet nailed its second spot place with the longest endurance rating in our test with up to 7 hours screen-on time.
Perhaps the only frustrating battery feature is the slow charging time. There’s no fast or quick charging bundled with the massive battery thus resulting to 3.5 hours charging time.
Battery life and charging time
Speaker and audio
The large screen real estate is not properly utilized as the phablet comes equipped with a middling bottom-firing mono speaker. The loudness is so so with quite modest audio bass and vocal output. The same goes for the internal audio with lacking high-res support for headphone or headset.
Pricing and Verdict
Coming in with a budget pricing (P13,800 or $300 US), surely the Xiaomi Mi Max has its shortcomings. Nonetheless, the overall package is a great deal if you’re up for a large Android smartphone and wanted to combine the comfort of having a tablet and a phone at the same time.
Xiaomi is trying to prove that the alternative to people intimidated by the unwieldy size of the tablets is the Xiaomi Mi Max. We’ll only know the result on this on the future numbers. But right now, you already know which to pick up if you’re looking for a capable extra-large smartphone.
+ Sleek design
+ Great battery life
+ Selfie camera
+ Attractive price
– Pain to use with one hand
– Missing stabilization
– Slow charging time
Xiaomi Mi Max Official price, full specs, release date in the Philippines
Display: 6.4-inches 1080p Full HD IPS LCD, 343 ppi
Design: Metal, Curved 2.5D Glass, Gorilla Glass 4
Size: 7.5mm thick, 203g weight
Chip: Snapdragon 650 hexacore
CPU: Hexacore Cortex A72 (x2) + A53 (x4) processor
GPU: Adreno 510 graphics
Memory: 32GB internal + 258GB max microSD card (hybrid)
Camera: 16MP f2.0, phase detection LED flash, 2160p or 4K video
Selfie: 5MP f2.0 front-facing, 1080p video
Connectivity: WiFi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, 4G LTE, dual-SIM (hybrid slot)
Sensor: Fingerprint scanner
Port: microUSB 2.0
Battery: 4850 mAh
Color: Gold, White, Black
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow, up to Android 7.0 Nutella
Release date: June 2016 in the Philippines
Price: Php 13,800 pesos /$300 in online, purchased from WidgetCity