Xiaomi's Mi Max was one of the many 'Max-sized' smartphones that were launch last year. The device went to the max with everything, including that powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 chipset (652 on the Prime model). It was overwhelmingly large, but at the same time catered to a phablet audience, ones that like to watch movies, play games and more.
Come early 2017 and the Mi Max was trumped by Xiaomi's own Redmi Note 4. While it packed in a slightly slower (yet battery-happy) chipset in the form of the Snapdragon 625, it also featured a 4,100 mAh battery that was slightly smaller than the 4,850 mAh unit in the Mi Max. With not too may users interested in holding a large smartphone, despite the large Full HD display, we are pretty sure, the Redmi Note 4 may have eaten into the Mi Max and the Mi Max Prime sales eventually.
Just yesterday, Xiaomi launched the Mix Max's successor in China called the Mi Max 2. While Chinese smartphone maker has not confirmed any India plans just yet, we can be pretty sure, that this one just like its successor, will arrive in India, thanks to the demand for large-screened smartphones. But how does it compare to the previous model and how well does it distinguish itself from the Redmi Note 4? Let's find out!
Starting off with design, it is easy to spot the differences between the Max 2 and its predecessor. The Mi Max featured a metal back plate that hosted the fingerprint reader high up towards the top. There were plastic caps at the top and bottom, but the fit and finish could have done with some polish.
This time around, the Mi Max 2 certainly came prepared. The Mi Max 2 now features an all-metal body. There are no plastic bits anywhere for the antenna gap inserts and the smartphone looks refined and polished, with a curved edge back. However, it comes at a price, as the metal unibody does add a few grams to its weight.
The overall design is a bit more rounded than before but it does look slimmer thanks to the curved edges on the back. The antenna design has changed as well, thanks to the metal unibody, they now stretch around the top and bottom edges of the smartphone allowing for a cleaner look.
The front largely remains the same with the addition of 2.5D glass, that lends to the premium look and feel. All-in-all the design is a big jump from the budget-friendly Mi Max and will certainly attract some more fans this time around.
While the previous Mi Max came with just one speaker, despite its large form factor, Xiaomi has included two on this one. The move makes plenty of sense with one speaker placed under the bottom right grille while the other sits under the receiver of the device just above the display. Both speakers are apparently active when the device is held in landscape mode. This makes plenty of sense as many will choose this phablet to watch movies and play games. The dual speakers should allow for a great stereo audio experience.
Indeed this is one of the areas where the Mi Max 2 seems to be a bit of a downgrade. The Mix Max 2 steps down from a 16MP f/2.0 camera to a 12MP f/2.2 unit. Xiaomi at the event however pointed out that the pixels are slightly larger (from 1.0um to 1.25um) that should provide better quality imagery thanks to a 56 percent increase in light intake by each pixel.
The Mi Max too certainly did not fall short of battery life. It had a massive 4,850 mAh battery to bank on. In the case of the Mix Max 2 there is good news as Xiaomi has bumped up the battery capacity by quite a large margin to 5,300mAh. Indeed it now appears like Xiaomi has taken advantage of that large phablet-sized body and will clearly help it deliver better battery life even when compared to the Redmi Note 4. Add to this some much needed relief with Quick Charge 3.0 and parallel charging, and you should be able to 68 percent of the battery charged in one hour (that is a big deal). Xiaomi also compared the Mi Max 2 to a power bank being able to keep the smartphone up and running for a whole two days. We will surely put these claims to test when the unit arrives in India.
If there was one area I had no complaints about in my Mi Max review, it would have to be the chipset. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 was a powerhouse given the budget and price tag of the handset. Things got even better with the Prime model with a Snapdragon 652 inside paired with 4GB RAM.
But Xiaomi fans just like the Redmi Note 4 will be a little disappointed this time around. That's because Xiaomi has gone in for the Snapdragon 625 chipset. It is certainly not as powerful as the 650, but its strong points include 14nm manufacturing process and better thermal efficiency. Expect the Mi Max 2 to not be as powerful as the Mi Max, so 3D games may take a slight hit with lack of those Cortex-A73 cores, but nonetheless the 2.0GHz clock speed will keep things running quick enough and more importantly, for a longer duration. The GPU again takes a hit from an Adreno 510 to a slower Adreno 506, indeed there's a lot of give and take here.
NFC, USB Type C and more
While the fingerprint reader is still mounted at an odd location (because of the massive display on the front) you do get NFC on the new model along with a Type C reversible port unlike the previous model.
Software and Pricing
Unlike every other Xiaomi smartphone out there, you surprisingly get Android 7.1.1 onboard the Xiaomi Mi Max 2. Xiaomi has been promising updates on its recently launched handsets, but they have yet to arrive. So for those who want the latest software version, the Mi Max 2 when launched will be a great choice.
The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 has been launched in just a Gold variant and will be available in two storage options. Both models pack in the same specifications with 4 GB RAM but offer 64 GB and 128 GB of storage. This will matter to those who plan to use it as PMP and is a good move, provided both models arrive in India.
All-in-all the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a worthy upgrade, considering that it is targeted as a portable media player with massive battery, a big display and chipset that does not sip power quickly. Let's hope this one makes it to India.