Up to now, really big smartphones are quite rare to find in Europe. In China, however, phablets enjoy great popularity.
Therefore, it is not a surprise that Xiaomi, besides the Mi6, now launches a successor to Xiaomi Max. With its gigantic 6.4-inch display, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 was made for users who like it big. However, the Chinese smartphone does not only convince in terms of the display, the hardware also promises a lot of technology at a reasonable price, as it is typical for Xiaomi. Xiaomi Mi Max 2 houses a Snapdragon 625 processor, a 5300mAh battery, 4GB of RAM and – depending on the version – 64 or 128GB of storage. In addition, the smartphone offers the same camera sensor as Mi6. If Xiaomi Mi Max 2 can live up to its reputation you’ll find out in the following review.
Design and build quality
A 6.4-inch smartphone is surely something special and some are going to love it and some are going to hate it. As usual, the smartphone’s gigantic size has its advantages and disadvantages. You clearly feel the smartphone in your trouser pocket and you usually cannot operate it with only one hand. On the other hand you can enjoy a big and clear image, which is favourable for reading, writing or watching videos. In any case, using Xiaomi Mi Max 2 you will attract some attention. Fortunately, the phone has a nice appearance: compared to the predecessor, the plastic tops were replaced by two thin antenna lines, which are at the edge of the casing, similar to the IPhone. Build quality is on a high level. In comparison to the predecessor, the haptics was improved by the rounded-off edges and the smooth transition from front to rear. Of course, a 6.4-inch smartphone will always be a bit unwieldly, but considering the size, the phone feels nice while holding it in the hand. The phone’s dimensions are 174x88x7.6mm. Therefore, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a quite thin mobile phone, which surprises with the light weight of only 211g.
Besides the size the phone has a rather discreet design. Below the display, there are the three common Android soft touch buttons, which are illuminated by a white LED. Above the display, you can find the earpiece and a notification LED. Power button and volume control are located on the right and consist of metal, just like the frame. They have nice feedback and are firmly attached to the casing. Two SIM-cards (Nano and micro) or one Nano SIM and one micro-SD card can be inserted on the left side. Using storage expansion and dual-SIM at the same time is not possible, which is not a big problem since the phone provides a big enough internal storage.
The phone’s rear seems quite puristic. The fingerprint scanner is located in the middle and looks a bit lost in the huge casing. It unlocks the smartphone fast and with high accuracy. Some will not like this position; but it has also some advantages that you can unlock your phone while pulling it out of the trouser pocket. Camera and dual-LED flash are located in the top left corner. At the bottom, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 has a USB Type-C port between the stereo speakers.
In terms of design, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a really nicely built smartphone. The rounded-off casing feels well while holding it in the hand despite the huge size. Build quality is excellent to the core. If you didn’t knew the price, you could think that it is a 500$ device. Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is currently only available in gold!
Xiaomi Mi Max 2’s has a 6.4 inch display with a diagonal of 16cm. It is an IPS panel with a full-HD resolution of 1920*1080pixels, meaning the Max 2 has a pixel density of 342PPI. Even without 2K resolution it is below the so-called Retina value (eyes with normal visual acuity do not detect any single pixels from 300PPI on). Colour representation and display brightness are good as well. Contents appear lively and colours appear pleasantly strong. Colour temperature is quite warm on default setting. Those who prefer cooler colours can customize it in the display settings. The touch screen registers up to 10 points of contact simultaneously and works fast and precisely. The display glass is specially protected against scratches and it is slightly rounded off at the sides. Fingers glide well over the glass.
The big display convinces outside in bright sunlight as well as in a dark room. Xiaomi equipped Max 2 with a function which allows an automatic adjustment of the contrast depending on the ambient light. Not only display brightness is increased in bright sunlight, but contrast gets higher as well. In addition, a reading mode is available, in which the display’s blue light ratio is reduced. The reading mode is especially useful in the evening and helps you to sleep better after looking on your phone for a long time. Xiaomi Mi Max 2 also features a double-tap-to-wake function, with which the smartphone can be woken up from stand-by via tapping twice. The One-Hand mode can be activated via swiping over the soft touch buttons from right to left
Being a phablet, the display is especially important for Xiaomi Mi Max 2. Fortunately, Mi Max 2 fully convinces in this category. The display does not only provide strong colours and high brightness, but it also offers some useful software features such as a reading mode and an automatic adjustment of contrast.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 houses a Snapdragon 625 processor. Compared to its predecessor, the Max 2 offers slightly less performance, but it is more energy efficient and has a better heat management. The Snapdragon 625 is a popular Octa-core processor by leading manufacturer Qualcomm. The 8 Cortex A-53 cores clock at up to 2GHz (when needed) and are supported in both versions by an Adreno 506 GPU and 4GB of RAM. With these features, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 belongs to current middleclass smartphones, but it is not a performance miracle like Xiaomi Mi5s.
In daily use, the smartphone shines with high operation speed and low load times. Surfing the internet happens smoothly and without problems of rendering. Apps are opened fast and 4K videos can be perfectly watched on the phablet. Thanks to the 4GB RAM, you can use several apps at the same time. However, the RAM’s speed of 5.5GB/s is only mediocre. The internal storage on the other hand has a nice reading/writing speed of 220/150MB/s. The internal storage is quite big in the standard version (64GB), but you if you like, you can expand it via micro-SD or you buy the 128GB version.
In terms of gaming performance, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 cannot keep up with Snapdragon 820/821 devices like Mi5s or Le Pro 3. Despite the difference in performance, the smartphone is nevertheless suitable for gaming. All currently available 3D games can be played with medium to high graphics settings. You can play demanding games like NOVA or Modern Combat as well and even Asphalt 8 can be played with high graphics settings, but with small lags and jerks. Heat management during gaming is perfect and the phone does never get too hot.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 offers enough performance for the smooth and fast use of all types of application – from 4K videos to games. System, apps and websites run fluently and current games can be played as well. The Snapdragon 625 processor is not one of the most powerful processors and therefore cannot keep up with a Snapdragon 820/821, but in daily use (except for gaming), the difference is performance is barely noticeable.
Android 7 with MIUI V8
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 houses an up-to-date Android 7 system. The Android base was expanded by the popular MIUI system by Xiaomi, which offers a lot of settings and a strongly modified appearance. The possibilities of configuration and the features in the settings go way beyond the possibilities of Stock-Android. Users have thought-out administration settings for access or notification permissions at their disposal. In addition, there is a security center and you can download a multitude of themes, lock screens and wallpapers from the integrated Mi-Store.
With MIUI V8, you also have the possibility of cloning apps, so that you can use WhatsApp twice for example. Besides, you can create a second, completely independent system with the Second Space option, which gives you the possibility of sharing your phone with another person or creating a business and private system.
By now, Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is available with the official Global ROM. In online shops like Gearbest for instance it is preinstalled and includes Google Playstore and OTA updates.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 houses a Sony IMX386 sensor. The same sensor is also used in the new Xiaomi Mi6, but with dual-camera and optical image stabilization. In good lighting conditions, pictures taken by the main camera are sharp, balanced in terms of colours and rich in detail. Xiaomi Mi Max 2’s image quality is comparable to Mi6. In direct comparison, you notice that Mi6 takes slightly warmer pictures, but blue and green appear to be stronger on Mi Max 2. As soon as there is less light available, the Max 2’s ISO value increases and image noise occurs. Night and indoor shots are mostly not convincing.
The same holds true for the 5MP front camera. In good lighting conditions you can get nice and sharp pictures. However, as soon as there is less light available, strong image noise occurs.
You get used to the Xiaomi camera app really fast. The camera offers several filters and settings, which make it easy for photo amateurs to take good pictures. Those with advanced skills in photography can activate the manual mode, with which you can determine every parameter yourself.
You can record videos with 4K and 1080P with 30 FPS each. The front camera is able to record videos in HD resolution. In good light conditions you get nice videos with good sound, but in bad light conditions, the videos cannot convince. Compared to Mi6, which has optical image stabilization, you have to prove a steady hand recording videos with Mi Max 2, as jerks appear easily.
The quality of Xiaomi Mi Max 2’s camera is convincing, but it comes with some restrictions. In good lighting conditions you can take very nice pictures with the smartphone. Sharpness and colour representation are great and their level is way above average in this price section. Only with less light available quality deteriorates. Since the smartphone has a low aperture of f/2.2, it has no other choice but to increase the ISO value, which leads to image noise.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a dual-SIM phone, in which you can insert either two SIM cards or one SIM and one micro-SD card. Reception of both mobile telephone and data network is stronger than the average. The phone supports all 3G frequencies. During the test, we have never had problems with mobile data reception and the 3G network provided enough speed.
The GPS module determines the position within a few seconds and there is a compass for better pedestrian navigation available as well. Besides the standard sensors (brightness, proximity and acceleration sensor), Mi Max 2 provides a gyroscope and an IR remote control. However, NFC is not available.
In terms of further connectivity, the phone meets the requirements. Voice quality is excellent on both sides and the speaker can be used as well. Music and videos are played with nice sound via the integrated stereo speakers. Connecting headphones, the sound is just as full and nice. Wi-Fi reception is supported via a strong dual-band modulewith 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Bluetooth 4.2 is supported, too.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 houses a gigantic 5300mAh battery. Together with the thrifty processor and well-optimized MIUI system, the battery makes the smartphone a real battery monster. No matter how intesively you use the smartphone, you’ll definitely get one full day of battery time. With a display-on time of about 3 hours a day, Max 2 lasted for 3 days in a row. Those who do not use their phone constantly will not have to charge it every day. This brilliant achievement is also confirmed by the PC Mark battery test, in which Max 2 lasted incredible 15 hours. In order to play a one-hour YouTube video in full-HD resolution the phone only loses 7% of the capacity and hours of gaming are possible for a Max 2 user as well. All in all, the phablet does an awesome job in terms of battery life. The smartphone is fully charged in 2 ½ hours with Qualcomm Quick-charge 3.0.