Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review – Battery life to the Max

Xiaomi has a broad mobile phone lineup. From the Xiaomi Redmi 4a all the way up to the Xiaomi Mi 6, all Xiaomi phones have one thing in common – value for money. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 takes that and pushes it to extremes. With an emphasis on the massive display and a colossal battery, the Xiaomi Mi 6 is for the entertainment junkies. While the processor and GPU aren’t the most powerful, the Xiaomi Mi 6 is one of the largest phones on the market, with an ultra-long endurance and a low price of just $388 on Gearbest. It’s not on the bleeding edge, and it doesn’t have a plethora of features, but it’s a decent all-around phone, with a tried-and-true design and good internals.

Design

For the Xiaomi Mi Max 2, Xiaomi has decided to keep design costs to a minimum by piggybacking off of other phone manufacturers, namely the iPhone 7 Plus and the OnePlus 5. It still manages to keep its Xiaomi look, but it does bear a striking resemblance to both the OnePlus 5 and the iPhone 7 Plus, especially with its matte-black color and large size. The antenna bands are also placed in the exact same place as they are on the iPhone u7 Plus and the OnePlus 5, and although it’s a sensible placement, it gives it a “fake iPhone” feel. Even so, it’s a good looking phone, and it’s impressively large display will turn heads. It’s a vast improvement over the original Mi Max, which didn’t look premium at all. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 now looks like a $400+ phone, even though it isn’t one.

Across the front of the phone is the huge 6.44″ display, which is one of the largest displays Xiaomi has ever put on a phone. The Xiaomi Mi Mix comes close, with a 6.4″ display, but it’s both smaller and more expensive than the Xiaomi Mi Max 2, though it’s also far more powerful. The display on the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is big and beautiful, but it’s not as detailed as we’re used to, at just full HD 1920×1080. Although it’s still 342 PPI, it’s not as detailed as a lot of displays on other phones, like the 4K display on the Samsung Galaxy S8. Also on the front of the phone is the front facing camera at the top, and the three capacitive buttons at the bottom. Overall, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a great looking phone, and it holds up well against its competitors.

Fingerprint Scanner

Interestingly, instead of placing the fingerprint scanner behind the home button on the front as usual, Xiaomi has opted to put the fingerprint scanner at the back, possibly to save costs. Although it’s convenient to have it on the back when holding the phone, it’s a pain to have to type in the password when the phone is lying on a table. However, the fingerprint scanner itself is very good, and unlocks quickly. It’s also extremely accurate, and I haven’t encountered any problems with it not registering my fingerprint.


Features

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2’s main features are its massive screen and large battery. At 6.4″ and 5300mAh respectively, there aren’t any phones which come even close, especially with this form factor. The Xiaomi Mi Mix and Samsung Galaxy S8+ have similar screen sizes and somewhat large batteries, but they’re in a completely different price bracket, and even the Xiaomi Mi Mix’s 4400mAh battery can’t hold a flame to the monstrous 5300mAh on the Xiaomi Mi Max 2. Even at this price range with such outrageously large screens and batteries, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 retains a few key features present on most phones today. The phone has a fingerprint sensor, and although it’s at the back, it’s very fast and accurate.

Since the battery is so large, Xiaomi has also implemented fast charging on the Xiaomi Mi Max 2, in the form of Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. It’s able to charge from 0-60% in just one hour, which is incredibly quick, considering just how large the battery is, at 5300mAh. It’s nice to see that Xiaomi has included Qualcomm Quick Charge, instead of the normal 5V/2A charging, which is considerably slower, and implemented in some of Xiaomi’s cheaper devices.

Build Quality

Xiaomi has a brilliant track record for the build quality of their phones, and the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 upholds that track record. It has absolutely no build quality problems, and it feels solid in the hand. The design is reminiscent of the iPhone 7 Plus, and so is the build. It’s made primarily of metal, and it’s also well put together. However, since it is made of a smooth metal, it’s incredibly slippery when wet, the effect of which is amplified due to it’s sheer size and unwieldiness. Overall, though it isn’t an expensive phone, it still looks and feels the part.

Display

The display on the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is absolutely huge. It’s 6.4″ when measured diagonally, and it’s a rather good looking display too. However, it’s only a Full HD display, at 1920×1080, which means it can’t compare to the 4k displays of many flagship phones today. It 342PPI, it’s above “Retina”, but with the increased use of phones for VR, it may not be clear enough when using it as a VR headset. Although it’s not the most detailed display, it’s still high quality. It’s an IPS display, so it’s decently bright at 450 nits, and it has great viewing angles. Colors and tones are also vibrant and accurate. It’s not night and day, but the display is a definite improvement over previous phones from Xiaomi.

Hardware

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is one of the biggest phones Xiaomi makes, but it isn’t the most expensive nor the most impressive, especially in terms of hardware. The heart of the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is the Snapdragon 625 SoC, which is the same SoC found on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. However, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 pairs the Snapdragon 625 with a much more generous 4GB of RAM, instead of the 2GB of RAM present on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. That should give it a significant performance advantage over the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, which is much needed at it’s vastly higher price range. The Snapdragon 625 isn’t slow, but it’s not as fast as the 821, and 835 chips found on today’s flagship devices, as well as the Exynos chips found on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+.

What the Snapdragon 625 is, however, is efficient. It’s one of the most power-efficient chips around, and combined with the huge 5300mAh battery, I’m excited to see just how long the Mi Max 2 can last. On the hardware side of things, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is similar to the Venme Thor E in many ways, which also has a huge battery, large display, and mid-range hardware. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 unfortunately uses EMMC storage, with a choice of either 64 or 128GB of storage. It’s not as fast as UFS technology, but it’s more cost-effective, and also saves physical space. Overall, the Xiaomi Mi Max shines in endurance, but not in performance, though it’ll do fine as a mid-range phone.

Hardware – Camera

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 comes with an outstanding rear-facing camera. It’s the same shooter that’s present on the Xiaomi Mi 6, Xiaomi’s flagship phone. It’s the Sony IMX386 sensor, and it really does take some brilliant shots. In broad daylight, or under any good lighting conditions, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a superb shooter, but things can turn out just a little over-sharpened, due to the image signal processing. It’s large pixels are supposed to gibe the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 excellent low-light performance, but in practice, it’s not as astounding as I’d hoped. The ISP utilised in the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is far too aggressive, and turns otherwise normal photos into blurry, smoothed over messes. It seems to be a trend with chinese phones that the low light performance is lacking, and it’s definitely apparent here.

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 also takes photos, and it does a great job of that too. Thanks to the high-quality sensor, the Xiaomi MI Max 2 is capable of taking 4K video at 30fps, or 720p video at 120fps, presumably for slow motion video. The video quality is very much similar to photos, in that videos taken in good lighting turn out excellently, with natural, accurate colors, but completely fall over under bad lighting. Overall, the Xiaomi Max 2 takes decent photos and videos, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a phone with a better camera at this price range.

Connectivity

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 comes with the usual array of connectivity options, including, but not limited to WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS. However, the lack of NFC is a glaring omission, and also rather odd, since the Snapdragon 625 SoC supports NFC. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a Dual SIM phone, so you can use it for both work and home. If you don’t need the Dual SIM, you can also use the idle SIM slot as a micro SD slot, which can fit up to a 256GB SD card slot. Combined with the maximum 128GB of internal storage, you can upgrade the phone to a total of 384GB of storage, more than enough for any mobile phone user.

Performance

From the hardware section, it’s clear that performance isn’t the main selling point of the Xiaomi Mi Max 2, since it’s aimed at those who need the biggest screen and the longest lasting battery at the minimum price. Still, it’s no slouch, and the Snapdragon 625 keep the phone quick and snappy throughout day to day use. If you play very intensive 3D games, it can choke a little, but otherwise, it’s fairly unnoticeable that the phone isn’t a flagship. The tradeoff for this less-than-flagship performance is the immense battery life.

Even though it’s not the fastest phone on the market, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 still performs admirably, and it should stay snappy for a good year or two. After that, you may notice slowdowns coming from each consecutive software update, but it shouldn’t be too noticeable. The Xiaomi Mi Max is a great phone, you’ll just need to lower your expectations a little lower – it can’t keep up with the likes of the OnePlus 5 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Operating System

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2, like all Android phones from Xiaomi, runs MIUI on top of Android OS. It’s very popular in the east, thanks to it’s iPhone-like look and feel, as well as it’s ease of use, but it isn’t as good as stock Android in my opinion. While there are a few awesome features Xiaomi has included with MIUI; the entire UI looks rather hideous – it looks like it’s been designed by Fischer Price when compared to the likes of iOS 10 and stock Android. Still, if you’re coming directly from an iPhone or dumb phone, you might find the simple layouts and bright colors easier to use. If you’re a seasoned Android veteran, you should consider downloading a third party launcher, such as Google Now Launcher, or Nova Launcher. Unfortunately, changing the launcher only does just that, and doesn’t help with the Xiaomi tainted apps.

Headphone Jack

Being such a large phone, I couldn’t imagine there was any hesitation to put a headphone jack in it. Most smartphone manufacturers have opted to take the headphone jack, blaming a lack of space, but that simply can’t be true with the Xiaomi Mi Max 2. If you’re buying a cheaper phone such as this one, it’s unlikely you’d want to shell out the extra cash for a wireless or USB Type-C headset, so it’s awesome that the 3.5mm jack is still present on the Xiaomi Mi Max 2.

Battery Life

As I’ve been mentioning all throughout this review, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 has absolutely out-of-this world battery life. The amount of time which it stays alive is astounding, and it absolutely makes my two days. Yep, it lasts a full two days under medium-heavy usage, which is something almost no other phone is capable of doing. The Venme Thor E is a solid contender, but it’s battery life isn’t quite as good as the legendary battery life of the Xiaomi Mi Max 2. Unfortunately, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2’s battery life could be short-lived – the battery is non-removable, so you’ll notice a slow decrease in battery life, which will become especially noticeable after a few years. You might need to get the battery replaced, which could be hard for a phone which isn’t that popular.

Options

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 comes in a variety of different configurations and colors. You can buy the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 in either a (RAM|ROM) 4GB|64GB version, or a 4GB|128GB version. Personally, I’d go for the 64GB version, since it’s cheaper, and I’m not sure many users would require the full 128GB version. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 also comes in a few different colors: Black, White, Gray, Gold, and Silver. I prefer the Black version, but it does give it a very similar look to the OnePlus 5 and iPhone 7 Plus. Unfortunately, there aren’t any different options for RAM, but the 4GB is generous enough – it’s the same amount as you’d find on the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Wrap Up

The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a great phone, with absolutely phenomenal battery life, and a huge, beautiful screen. It’s not the most powerful phone, and it certainly has a few compromises, but as a multimedia device, or semi-tablet, the Xiaomi Max 2 is perfect. The battery life is far and away the best battery life I’ve ever seen, and I can only wish other phone manufacturers will follow suit. It’s large screen, ample RAM, and great camera make it excellent value for money, and I’d recommend it to anyone who needs a huge phone at a small price.