Xiaomi is taking the Indian market very seriously. The last couple of months have seen one launch after another, and it seems more are in the pipeline. After the budget Redmi Note 3, and the premium Mi 5, Xiaomi now wants to tap a different market in the smartphone segment: the one where the lines between a tablet and phone are blurred.
While 5.5-inch displays on smartphones are now standard, Mi Max pushes the boundaries further with its 6.44-inch display. Is bigger always better? We don’t really know, but smartphone companies seem to be convinced. Perhaps that can explain the flood of 6GB RAM phones.
In case of Mi Max, this device is all about the display, and in India Xiaomi wants to tap a market that doesn’t quite exist yet. There aren’t too many options with a 6-inch plus display; Lenovo Phab Plus is one that comes to my mind.
Xiaomi Mi Max has been launched in India in two variants: One with 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM and Snapdragon 650 processor and the other with 4GB RAM + 128GB ROM and Snapdragon 652. The Mi Max that we got for review runs Snapdragon 650 processor and comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage.
So is the Mi Max a good enough smartphone that can fulfill your tablet and phone needs? Here’s my review
Specs: 6.44-inch full HD display (342ppi) | Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor at 1.4Ghz | 3GB RAM+ 32GB storage | 16MP camera + 5MP front camera | 4850 mAh battery | MIUI 7 on Android 6
Price: Rs 14,999
Xiaomi Mi Max
Till October last year, I was using an iPhone 5c, and in a weird way 4-inch screen smartphones appealed to me. But now that I’ve switched to 6s, handing me a 4-inch iPhone will be cause for much grumbling and annoyance. The truth is that most users, once they switch to a bigger device, can’t go back to a smaller screen. With the Mi Max, you are being asked to push your comfort zone of 5 or 5.5-inch screens to a 6.44-inch one. And that’s not an easy switch to make.
Xiaomi has managed to keep Mi Max look ultra-slim, which is commendable for a device this size. The 7.5-mm thickness means you can easily hold this device. Mi Max doesn’t have such a curved design as the Redmi Note 3, but the overall form factor is quite pleasing. For a phablet, I didn’t have much trouble holding this for long hours while I read books, edited docs, or watched videos, and that’s really what is important in a phablet.
The metal unibody design, fingerprint scanner on the back, Mi Max looks like a giant Redmi Note 3 with a flatter body.
This phone is all about display, and Xiaomi delivers on this front. Mi Max’s 6.44-inch screen is actually better suited for reading I felt, and since I like to read novellas, short stories on my phone, Mi Max worked out for this purpose. I had no trouble holding this phone for hours, while I finished some books on the phone itself.
Video-viewing is another plus on this display, which is sharp and crisp. Display has been a strong suit for Xiaomi, and the Mi Max makes for a great device to read and watch videos.
Mi Max has the internals of Redmi Note 3, which means it is well suited to most of your daily needs. Of course, a phablet like this I feel is better used for reading, typing and yes watching videos, rather than gaming. Where performance goes, it didn’t give me any cause for complaint, even though I felt this phone is not as fast as Redmi Note 3.
In India people like to carry several phones, ( I do myself) and many of them want a backup device that won’t die. Mi Max is that device. In the time I’ve had the phone, I’ve only had to charge it twice. The 4850 mAh battery doesn’t take forever to charge which is another plus, but it won’t die easily.
What’s not good?
While the camera delivers some decent shots in proper lighting conditions or when you are outdoors, it is not as impressive in low-light. Also some pictures appeared a little burnt, especially those taken out in the bright sun. Anyway I would not use such a big phone as my primary camera, so I would not term it as a deal-breaker.
I feel the audio could have been more powerful on this device, given entertainment will be a primary use case for this one.
I faced an issue running some apps, especially smartphone benchmark testing apps. The app said required permissions were not granted, MIUI 8’s Permission manager indicated it, and the confusing set-up meant I still can’t figure out how to run the app. I’ve already noted in my Mi 5 review, Xiaomi needs to sort how Permissions are dealt with on Android 6, because clearly this current set-up is too confusing for users.
At the end of the day, this is a phablet, a giant one at that. It might not be suited to everyone’s needs. But my biggest concern with a 6.44-inch phone, whether it will be impossible to use for someone like me, has been allayed. You do get used to it, and Mi Max is better suited for entertainment and reading needs.
Since India has a lot of people who use 8 inch tablets to make calls, we can’t say there is no market for the Mi Max. In fact, this Xiaomi phone might just fulfill that void in the market, but in a better form factor.