Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review!

 

Remember the Xiaomi Mi Max with the huge screen and crazy battery life? Well the successor to that is here, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2. It has some upgraded features like the even larger battery, increased to 5300mAh from 4850mAh. The Snapdragon 625 however, seems like it’s a downgrade from the Snapdragon 650. We’ll see how it fares in real life usage.

 

Design and Build Quality

Xiaomi is slowly ditching the flat sides and chamfered edges design, opting for rounded sides instead. Similar to the Xiaomi 5C and Xiaomi Mi 6. The body is made out of aluminum and with such a huge size, it’s very difficult to use one handed since the back is quite slippery. At 211g, it’s quite hefty but does help in handling a little.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 rounded sides

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 rounded sides

The antenna bands does resemble a lot like the iPhone 7.It does keep the lines out of sight, keeping the back very clean looking. The whole body feels sturdy and doesn’t flex despite its size.

The display comes with 2.5D glass edge. It’s curved towards the chassis but it’s mounted on another plastic that separates the chassis and glass. There are tiny gaps on some sides if you look at it closely.

It’s great to see that the bezels are thin, but the black border is pretty obvious if the content on the screen is bright.

Like the previous Mi Max, I felt the placement of the fingerprint sensor is too high due to the large footprint. Likewise for the power and volume rocker, I needed to shift the phone to access them. Both buttons are tactile and very clicky.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 fingerprint

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 fingerprint

One very welcomed addition is the Dual Stereo speakers. It’s at the earpiece and the bottom of the phone, It’s sounds really punchy and loud, definitely a lot better than single speakers. There is a headphone jack at the top and you can change the sounds to your liking with the equalizer and sound enhancer.

The LED lights are located on the right of the camera, also with no color customization options. It wasn’t on the Mi 6 so I doubt this would have it either. The camera module is also flushed with the back.

The phone is definitely for 2 handed usage and will be difficult to use for those with smaller hands. If you like big screens but want to use it one handed, One Handed mode should help a lot.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 one handed mode

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 one handed mode

 

Hardware and Display

If are wondering that 1080p resolution on a 6.44 inch device will have pixelated screen, it does not. 342 PPI doesn’t seem high but the display still looks pretty sharp in my opinion. The Mi Max 2 is a midrange device so I don’t think we will see 2k resolution anytime soon.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 and Mi 6

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 and Mi 6

Viewing angles are pretty good with little loss of detail but it loses some brightness. The capacitive buttons are backlit with settings like long press behavior and disable buttons for certain apps.

The display is bright at the maximum with no problems using it in the sun. Personally I feel that colors on Xiaomi phones are vibrant and saturated and the Mi Max 2 is no exception. The colors and contrast setting for adjusting the display seems like the norm too.

The fingerprint sensor unlock speed is very quick and almost instantaneous. It’s always active and will work when the screen is off.

There are 2 variants of the Mi Max 2, 64/128GB storage and 4GB of RAM. It has 54.35GB free from the box for my 64GB version. It also supports USB OTG with a Type C thumbdrive.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 USB OTG

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 USB OTG

It has support for dual SIM 4G + 3G. Only 1 SIM can be LTE at any one time. You can also change the default dial and internet. VoLTE is also missing for this phone. There is support for micro SD card but it’s integrated with SIM card slot 2, so you have to choose either dual SIM or single SIM with micro SD card. The footprint of this phone is huge, it’s like a waste of space not fitting the micro SD card somewhere else.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 sim slot

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 sim slot

Other specs are WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, Type C Port, 5300mAh battery, GPS, Compass and FM Radio.

 

Software and Performance

It’s powered by the Snapdragon 625 and Adreno 506. Antutu scored 63105 compared to 70-80k score on the original Mi Max. Geekbench scored 863 on single core and 4155 on multi core. It might seem like a step down from the original Mi Max for some. From what I have read, the 625 is more power efficient thus better battery life and 650 is more for performance.

For gaming, the Mi Max 2 handled most games in the app store pretty well. But for Dawn of Titans, it lags quite a bit when loading screens. It could be how the game is coded but it’s not so apparent on the Mi 6. Other than that, games like Dead Effect 2 on maximum settings has pretty good frame rate and no lag at all.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 gaming

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 gaming

Day to day usage will not be a problem at all with the 4GB of RAM. It will be more than sufficient for your multitasking needs. Rarely I had to close apps except for housekeeping. The UI had some occasional lags when launching apps or typing quickly at the settings pages. It could be the OS optimization or the ROM that my set is running on.

Reception bars hovered close to max most of the time but it depends on your location and network strength. There were no drop calls and both sides sounded clear. Cellular speeds is good for websurfing and social media on the go. I also tested WiFi speeds on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz near the router to get close to accurate speeds.

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is running Android 7.1.1 with MIUI 8 on top. The current ROM that is pre-loaded seems like it’s a modified China ROM made to ‘Global’ ROM. After checking online, some mentioned it’s a leaked image of the official global ROM. I am currently using it and works fine for me. As of now, there is no official global ROM.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Nougat

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Nougat

The Themes app in this ROM looks different from the Chinese ROM. But this is the place to change the phone’s look and feel.

The Security app is a one stop place for maintenance of the phone. It has tools like Cleaner to remove unwanted junk files, check and assign app permissions, virus scanning and blocking calls or SMS. There is an option to include shortcuts to those functions on the homescreen and notification shade.

Scanner app is also different from the China ROM. It’s missing Shopping, Translate and Study mode. The Mi Remote app is for controlling home devices with the IR blaster at the top.

The dropdown shade layout can be toggled separately or together. App notifications can also be changed as you like. The quick settings position can also be changed as well.

For privacy purposes, App lock uses a password to lock your app so it requires a password to open. There isn’t any Child mode in this ROM.

Dual App duplicates compatible apps where it runs independently from each other. 2nd space allows to have 2 workspace in 1 phone. Documents, photos and apps can be shared between each other and it’s like having 2 different devices in 1 phone.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Dual App

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Dual App

Other common but useful functions are Do Not Disturb, Reading Mode, Double tap to wake and Quick Ball.

 

Battery

If you are expecting great battery life, you won’t be disappointed. The 5300mAh battery is more than enough to last a full day. It can last probably 2 days with more moderate use. Screen on time varied between 6-8 hours. This changes depending on the apps you are using.

My usage is around 10-12 hours a day, 75% brightness, connected to 4G outside and WiFi at home. Each day I would have around 25-45% battery left depending on how I use it. My usage is usually calls, lots of messaging and web surfing, social media apps, YouTube and some gaming.

The supplied charger supports Quick Charge and the Mi Max 2 supports it. It makes sense as the battery is huge and will be too slow for a normal rated charger. It took around 2-3 hours to charge from 0% – 100%.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 charger

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 charger

For those who want to maximize battery life, there is the Battery Saver mode with the option to create schedule. Here you can check the temperature, set battery drain and heating notifications and such.

 

Camera

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 comes with a 12MP back camera and 5MP front camera. For camera filters, tap on the triple circle icon to access them. The stock camera has the standard modes like Panorama, Tilt Shift, HHT (Hand Held Twilight) for night shots and Beautify. To launch the camera quickly, tap the volume down twice.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 camera modes

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 camera modes

Focusing speeds for both Manual and Auto are both equally fast. Macro shots need to be at least 20cm to be able to focus. If not it will be difficult to keep the object clear. Optical zoom is up to 8X but gets grainy at this level.

HDR can be easily toggled with the HDR logo and it makes the colors in the photo brighter. HDR night photos will be quite blur with a slight movement as it takes a little longer to process.

Night shots with ‘Enhance lowlight photos automatically’ will turn on HHT. I see a very slight difference when it’s off, so I left it on to do its job. Photos turned out grainy but still acceptable with lighting.

In Manual mode, you can change options like White Balance, Focus, Exposure Time and ISO.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 manual mode

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 manual mode

In video mode, Time Lapse and Slowmotion are available. Video can be recorded up to 4K resolution but there is no OIS on the Mi Max 2.

Front facing camera is good for selfies with the Beautify tool set to on.

 

Conclusion

The notable features of the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 are dual stereo speakers, Type C port and the larger battery. As for performance, I didn’t notice much difference when I was using the original Mi Max. The Snapdragon 625 is said to be more power efficient, but the battery in itself is already great given the  large battery capacity.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2

Xiaomi Mi Max 2

If you currently don’t own a huge phone and don’t mind its size, this phone will be great for multimedia entertainment. If you do have the original Mi Max already, I think you can just skip this as the previous version is still a very capable device. Personally I really like the dual stereo speakers so I will use the Mi Max 2 instead.

Richard

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