Xiaomi Mi Max 2 first impressions: The return of the supersized smartphone

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Xiaomi is back with its latest big-screen smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2. But is it good enough to continue to capture the attention of the small segment of buyers who want a large smartphone?

The Xiaomi Mi Max and Mi Max Prime were definitely not the start of the idea of the oversized phone, but they have contributed to the success of the concept greatly. While most buyers tend to stick to the safe and easier to handle sizes, media-centric buyers and users who need to read a lot on their phones will prefer the advantage that a big screen has to offer, even if it means having to use an often unwieldy and inconvenient phone.

Not one to lose out on an opportunity, Xiaomi has now launched the Mi Max 2, priced at Rs 16,999. With competitive pricing and a specification sheet that mirrors the successful Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, the Mi Max 2 looks like an impressive device on paper. We’ve given it a quick go, and here are our first impressions.

Big, but tries not to be

There’s no doubt that the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a large phone, and feels considerably larger than your typical 5.5-inch smartphone. However, Xiaomi’s designers have worked hard to ensure it feels as much like a smartphone, and as little like a tablet as possible. This is done by minimizing non-screen space, keeping the phone slim at 7.6mm, and keeping the weight at 211g, which is fairly light and slim for a phone with a 6.44-inch screen. It’s definitely too big for your pocket, unless you have large pockets. But the advantages could outweigh the disadvantages depending on your needs.

xiaomi-mi-max-2-hands-on-2The biggest advantage is of course the size of the screen itself. The 6.44-inch full-HD IPS LCD display is detailed, sharp, clean and excellent for media consumption. Watching videos on Netflix and YouTube is about as cinematic as it can get for a smartphone, and the dual-speaker system helps if you aren’t using headphones. While the primary speaker is at the bottom of the phone, the earpiece doubles up as the second speaker to give you true stereo sound.

The phone is built particularly well, thanks to a metal unibody build, and the black color of our sample unit helps it feel classy and beautiful in all ways. With slight curves at the edges and a slim feel, the phone definitely feels like a high-end smartphone, and less like a tablet. And while Xiaomi’s IR blaster makes its appearance, a key change is the use of the USB Type-C connector at the bottom. You also get a fast charger in the box, with up to 18W power output to quickly charge the phone.

Big battery

Apart from the screen, there is one other key feature that gives the Mi Max 2 its ‘Max’ moniker. With a massive 5,300mAh battery, the Mi Max 2 has enough juice to keep going for two full days on a full charge even with heavy use, and moderate to light use could get you even more battery life. Of course, powering the 6.44-inch screen does need more power than usual, but despite that you do get enough battery to keep you going for a while.

This is of course helped along by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 under the hood, a SoC known for its power efficiency and reliable performance. During my time with the phone, I didn’t face any performance issues, and while it doesn’t quite perform at the same level as a Snapdragon 821 or Snapdragon 835-powered smartphone, you do get fantastic mid-range performance. The phone runs on Android Nougat 7.1.1, with MIUI 8.5 on top, and this helps with keeping the phone snappy and efficient.

Final thoughts

xiaomi-mi-max-2-hands-on-3There’s no doubt that this is a large phone, but that is exactly what makes this appealing to so many buyers. The ability to watch movies and stream video on the large screen in the age of affordable mobile data is a big factor to buyers today, and the big battery and long-lasting screen time will appeal to buyers who use their phones heavily.

With its strong price of Rs 16,999, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is essentially a big-screen, big-battery version of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, and improvements in design, software and charging make it as current as it gets. Stay tuned for our review of the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 for our complete impressions of the phone.

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