The Mi Max is unapologetically big. Xiaomi says it saw a segment of users who wanted a smartphone with a VERY large display. For whom regular 5.5-inch to 6-inch phablets are not good enough. I can imagine those users who use voice calling tablets as a sad excuse for a smartphone with a big battery. Xiaomi acknowledges that this segment is very small but it hopes it can make it popular and carve a new niche for itself.
If you are someone who isn’t interested in a smartphone with an obscenely large display, here’s the TL;DR version of the review: The Mi Max is an oversized Redmi Note 3 with a battery that easily lasts for two days and nearly 11 hours of screen on time. That’s about it. If you are open minded about using a smartphone that might be almost as big your face, read on.
Then there are others who look at the possibilities — I gave it to my colleague, who couldn’t let go of it because playing games on it was so much more fun. He used ‘immersive’ to describe the experience but that phrase is now reserved for VR, I guess. Another colleague found the Mi Max’s obvious use case to be for binge watching videos. There could be other use cases too, like for viewing and editing spreadsheets, documents and presentations. Or for anything else where being able to see things bigger would help.
The battery life on this monster smartphone is phenomenal. The Mi Max has the best battery I have encountered on anything that has fit in my pocket. Just to give you an idea, on a single charge, the Mi Max’s 4,850mAh battery has lasted me for over 30 hours that has included watching three hours of Netflix and nearly 11 hours of screen on time. Of course, I had 4G, Wi-Fi and GPS switched on all the time. And I was using it as my primary phone.
I used the Snapdragon 650 version of the Mi Max, which comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Like the Redmi Note 3 the performance is crisp – games run fine without any frame drops, there is no problem with multitasking and everything works fluidly. No complaints there either.
During my usage, I found it impossible to quickly whip the phone out of my pocket and click a photo. The sheer size makes the Mi Max quite unwieldy and doing anything with the phone while standing or in motion usually accompanies a lot of fumbling around.
Like the Redmi Note 3, the camera on the Mi Max is a mixed bag. Most of the photos lack sharpness. They manage to give a nice depth of field bokeh effect but the photos themselves are just average.