Edited by Abhyk at 2016-08-02 08:42 AM |
The Mi Max is Xiaomi's latest product to hit markets worldwide capitalising on the big screen craze that is going on in developing countries. Be that as it may, there is no denying that this is a beast of a phone, quite literally infact. My review for this phone will be compact and to the point and will consist of the following main topics, as seen from the average consumer viewpoint:
I will not be going into all the technicalities as there are lots of those available on the web, but focussing more on what the target demographic is looking for when buying a phone (phablet?) of this calibre.
To start things off, let us unbox the device. In typical Xiaomi fashion, it comes in a plain white box that is barely a few millimetres taller and wider than the Mi Max itself. Although quite sturdy, if you're unlucky and the box gets damaged during transit, there is a good chance the phone will suffer from scratches/dents as well, but that is a very rare occurence. Inside, you will find a bit of paperwork, a sim ejector tool, the standard travel sized adaptor and a USB to micro-USB cable along with the device itself.
The phone itself is covered in a very matt looking screen protector of sorts, which I will recommend removing as soon as possible because it does not do justice to the gorgeous screen beneath it, with which we move on to our first topic of review, the screen.
1) Picking up the phone, you immediately take notice of the gigantic proportions of this phone. Just a few years ago, when 5" was considered too big and 4.7" was considered to be the perfect size, you realise how far we've come when a 5.5" phone seems perfect (for me, the Redmi Note 3),and this seems simply overkill. First impressions, you either love the device,or you hate it. There is no inbetween. This is one of those phones, which was built around its screen, and I am not exaggerating.
Coming to screen quality, unless you have used iPhones and Samsung's flagship super AMOLEDs, this is quite simply very close to the next best thing. 1080p at 6.44" might seem like its being stretched too far but it works perfectly. The screen is sharp, sunlight legibility is awesome, viewing angles are great and colour reproduction makes things pop, all the while staying sufficiently bright in any given condition. At full brightness though, it falls just the slightest bit short of the RN3. You can also set the screen to be warmer or cooler if you dont like the default setting.
The screen also goes extremely dim so you dont have any trouble viewing content even in pitch black darkness. Lastly, theres a dedicated read mode for text in dark environments.
2) Moving on to the hardware, the build quality seems to be really premium at first glance, but as you keep using the phone it becomes apparent that some corners had to be cut. The metal unibody and 2.5D curved gl** gives a decidedly expensive 'in-hand' feel but the metal used seems to be of aquality lower than more expensive metal clad offerings (say the HTC m10). Maybe that's just because the phone is so ridiculously thin, but it does feel fragile at times and using a case is recommended. the camera module is ever so slightly protruding and the fingerprint scanner could have been located a bit lower than it is but thats just nitpicking. All in all, people are guaranteed to be impressed by it.
The user interface is typical MIUI affair and if you've used a MIUI device before, go ahead and skip this part. As all chinese offerings, no app drawer, heavily skinned android (it is ram heavy as well; 1.8GB free out of 3GB after a factory reset), fully customisable from icons to boot animation for free(unlike Flyme which costs money for a majority of the themes), you get the gist. A few points I'd like to mention, its got an inbuilt file hiding systemin the Explorer itself where you just pull down till you can get to the hidden folders section, which is again locked by fingerprint or pattern, it DOES HAVE the tap to wake feature which is very annoyingly missing on the RN3, it's running on Marshmellow but I couldn't find any notable differences from my RN3 which is running Lollipop and lastly, I personally dislike the individual permission manager which is enabled by default and causes some apps to malfunction like AnTuTu, although you can disable it if you so wish.
3) I really like how the base version of the Max comes with 3GB of ram because I honestly made a mistake getting the 2GB version of the RN3. Even with MIUI ram optimisations and force close processes turned off from developer options, my RN3 seems to always close my Wynk music app even when i have 400mb of free ram and no other apps running. Getting back on topic, I'm happy to saythat the Max has no such issues, 3GB ram is more than enough for apps to open quickly and be retrieved quickly as well as they are often kept in memory and not phased out. I'm not gonna post individual benchmark scores because there are SO many of them everywhere, but app performance was almost always snappy,except for a few cases where I firmly believe that it's the apps fault for being badly optimised rather than the phone.
Gaming was a breeze as well, the 650 chipset is amazing at the performance it delivers on a budget, coupled with the ~5000 mah battery, you can continue trying to beat your highscore on temple run or keep on raiding other villages in clash of clans for hours on end. I've felt no lags while playing GTA: San Andreas, NFS Most Wanted, CoC, Temple Run, Nonstop Knight, Mekorama, Crossy Road. Go ahead and get this if you're a 'hardcore' mobile-gamer.
4) Coming to the camera quality, which is what almost 70% of the people look for while buying a phone, the camera is GOOD. My categories are Poor, Average, Good, Outstanding. I'll talk about how it performs under various conditions and then attach pictures so you can judge for yourself. Outdoors, in natural daylight, its right up there with the best cameras in its range, although the colours are a little bit muted, but then again i think almost everyone edits their pictures before posting anywhere so that shouldn't be a problem as long as all the details are present, which they are. Indoors during daylight, I'd recommend the HDR mode ifyou can hold your hands steady enoough as I like a certain bit of 'pop' to my pictures and HDR brings out just that. Be warned though, this is about the time that noise starts creeping in, but only if you're looking for it. As the lights go down, so does the quality, but not by much. It fairs fairly well under fluorescent lighting without flash and with flash (if the subject is within 6-8 feet). Another thing I feel the need to mention is the manual mode; its got controls for all 4 major settings - white balance, ISO, focus and shutter speed which s a great option to have. It even has focus peaking! All in all, it's good, it should satisfy most users provided you learn how to use your camera and not expect the phone to perform miracles everytime you press the shutter button. Note: the camera has a wider angle lens than theRN3.
Moving onto the selfie cam, its great. That's it. There are three settings to smoothen your face or you can turn it off if you prefer to look realistic (wink). The detail is clear and sharp and performs adequately in low light indoors as well provided you have some light falling towards your face.
Daylight (outdoors) - Normal
Daylight (outdoors) - HDR
Daylight (indoors) - Normal
Daylight (indoors) - HDR
Low light (indoors)
Low light (indoors) - Flash
Macro + Bokeh
5) Ah, how the times have changed. In a review for a device used for making calls, call quality is a topic that takes second last place. Nevermind though, call quality is awesome. There are two factors contributing to this,the noise cancellation microphone at the top and due to the sheer size of the phone resulting in the bottom mic being very near to your mouth while talking. Reception gave me no problems either, with me being able to regularly find strong 3g signal even in remote areas of **am. No issues here, thumbs up from my side.
6) Ay, the battery. Okay you if you havent used a high capacity battery before, you're in for a treat. I'll describe my typical usage, then tell youhow much battery life I get. I use my phone for browsing the internet, watchingyoutube, whatsapp BIG time, play the occ**ional game when I'm bored, take lots of pictures and very rarely calling. On a typical day, with this usage and WiFi turned on all the time, manual brightness, vibration and haptic feedback turnedon, GPS turned off, I'm getting 10 hours of screen on time, and on 3g, it goes downslightly to 9 hours. If i don't game and only do whatsapp and browsing and watching movies, I can push 12 hours of SOT with 30-32 hours of standby (from the time the battery is fully charged). It is safe to say your battery woes are at an end.
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A few helpful tips:
That's it people, this is a new genre of phones in itself. It aces almost every department its target demograhic is looking for while maintaining an extremely competetive price tag. Only nitpick I have with this is I wish the build quality had been more robust. Other than that, like I said before, you either love it or you hate it. This is a phone of extremes and there is no in-between. A good camera, great screen and chipset and phenomenal battery life make this a must have option if you're phone hunting at the moment. Have a nice day!