tech4xmas Review: Xiaomi Mi Max entry-level Android phablet

There’s been much excitement surrounding the launch of the entry-level Xiaomi Mi Max phablet some six months ago. Oliver Ong Chor Yew bought one online to review it below.

Editor’s note

Xiaomi’s reputation for selling well-spec’ed phones at super low prices manifests itself in the Mi Max, offering huge value to the consumer.

I tried out the phablet too and found it was indeed slightly unwieldy to use one-handed.

But its huge and bright screen is great for reading ebooks, watching videos and surfing the Web.

And the battery life is the longest I’ve encountered – only the ASUS Zenfone Max is comparable.

You won’t get the same quality and feature set of the Samsung’s unfortunate flagship Galaxy Note7 – but at only a fraction of the price, Xiaomi’s Mi Max presents itself as an extremely value-for-money alternative to grab part of the market share vacated by the Note7.

Hence, I’ve included the Xiaomi Mi Max in the tech4xmas gift list.

Read Oliver Ong Chor Yew’s review below.

The Xiaomi Mi Max fresh out of the box (left), and the home screen (right).

The Xiaomi Mi Max fresh out of the box (left), and the home screen (right).

My Mi Max is a 6.44inch large-screen phablet with android 6.0 and MIUI 8.0 interface.

Overall verdict

With the $259 price tag and the huge screen size, the Mi Max is a good budget phone for every use.

The camera image quality is quite good.

Fingerprint sensor is extremely responsive and the device build quality makes this phone worth buying.

It is powered by a 4850mAh non-removable Li-Ion battery which is a standard for mid-range to high end phone nowadays.

The Mi Max has a Qualcomm snapdragon 650 chipset with Hexa-core processor (4 x 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 & 2 x 1.8GHz Cortex-A72) and 3GB RAM.

This model I am reviewing is the 32GB variant which costed me S$259 on Qoo10 at the time of this review was written.

There is a 64GB variant with Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Octa-Core processor.

First impressions

The device is quite huge and it is quite difficult to use with one hand.

The build quality is quite sturdy and it feels like I am holding a premium device.

Sample shot of the cloudy blue sky, taken using the Xiaomi Mi Max.

Sample shot of the cloudy blue sky, taken using the Xiaomi Mi Max.

However, it doesn’t fit well in some of my jeans pockets.

The hybrid SIM Tray can accept either two SIM cards, or a SIM and microSD card.

At first it was difficult to install my 2 SIM cards in the hybrid SIM tray, but eventually I still managed to insert them.

Battery life

With its huge 4850mAh battery it can easily last up to a day of use.

Quick shot of my bento over lunch. The auto-white balance rendered the colours accurately despite the difficult fluorescent lighting.

Quick shot of my bento over lunch. The auto-white balance rendered the colours accurately despite the difficult fluorescent lighting.

I left Wi-Fi and 4G on with 2 SIM cards on active, and screen at auto brightness – with moderate usage, the phone was still at 35 percent after 7 hours of use.

I find the battery life is overall great for my usage.

Camera

The 13-megapixel rear camera and 5MP front camera offer great quality pictures.

So far I am impressed with the camera quality for the back camera.

Age detection and beautify filter.

Age detection and beautify filter.

It offer many controls in the manual mode.

However only thing I am disappointed with is that the maximum exposure time is only 1 second.

I would like longer exposure times for certain situations such as light painting.

The front camera has the beautify feature which detects the age of the subject and applies a beautification filter.

Overall I find it very useful.

Ladies can find this feature very useful to enhance their looks for social media posting.

Fingerprint sensor

The Mi Max came with a fingerprint sensor on its back.

I find the fingerprint feature useful and unlocks almost pretty much most of the time.

Connectivity

The Mi Max came with Dual SIM 4G+3G which is useful with the impending 2G shutdown which will render current dual SIM 4G+2G devices into as single SIM devices after the shutdown in April 2017.

It has Wi-Fi 2.4GHZ & 5GHZ and Bluetooth 4.2.

This Mi Max unit have CDMA support which can be useful while traveling to certain CDMA countries such as China (China Telecom).

You can insert CDMA UIM cards to access CDMA networks overseas.

It can also use both GSM and CDMA networks at the same time via dual SIM although I haven’t tried it as I did not visit any of those countries with CDMA network during my review.

Performance of the device and software

The device performance is overall smooth despite being the entry-level.

Editor's favourite: dual apps feature.

Editor’s favourite: dual apps feature.

The Hexa Core processor enables smooth performance during my daily usage – watching videos, listening to music, messaging on Whatsapp and etc.

The phablet came with a dual apps feature which allowed me to use two different Whatsapp accounts as I was using 2 numbers.

Display

The screen of the Mi Max measures 6.44 inches with a Full HD (1920×1080) display.

It was quite bright even under sunlight.

The display has a black border around the edge which I do not mind.

The display is quite impressive and even my mother was impressed by it when she used it to watch drama.

The quality of the display is super sharp and crystal clear despite the $259 price tag.

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