Product Listing

Xiaomi Mi Max: As big as it gets

By Ian Chee - 23 Sep 2016
Launch SRP: RM999

Introduction, Design and Features

Remember when mobile phones first came around? They were the size of a bottle and the weighed as heavy as a brick, and this was clearly deemed a problem, as the trend went towards making phones as small and light as possible. Then came the smartphone that was all about a single screen taking up most of the space on the surface that small phones were thought to be undesirable, and the size trend of mobile phones went back to being as big as possible. And the embodiment of this trend – if there was one – would probably be represented by the Xiaomi Mi Max.

Design and features

While the trend of size is heading back to the progenitor of mobile phones, the design language has pretty much stayed true to that of a smartphone. You get your standard slate with the touchscreen on the front, three capacitive buttons below it, the earpiece up top, a 5MP camera and proximity sensor flaking it, and a notification LED that’s invisible when it’s off. On the right are the volume rocker and power buttons, the left is the dual Nano-SIM tray with one of them being a microSD hybrid.

As is getting more and more common recently, you get a second slot for either another nano-SIM or a microSD card.

On the top, we still have the 3.5mm audio port, a secondary mic and an IR blaster, while on the bottom there’s the MicroUSB 2.0 port flanked by speaker grilles. The back is where you’ll find the 16MP main camera with dual-tone flash. Lastly, a fingerprint sensor is added to the back. All in all, a pretty familiar setup for smartphones of today.

This is a very good, albeit standard, placement of the fingerprint sensor, and it's especially important considering the size of the Xiaomi Mi Max.

So what has Xiaomi tried to maximize with this phone? The one that most phone users will be glad to know is the battery – one that is rated with a capacity of 4,850 mAh. This leads to some impressive battery life figures, but more on that later in our tests. And to make things better, it charges quickly too. The other element that makes this phone deserve the Max name is – you guessed it – its size. It measures 6.44 inches diagonally, so this isn’t a phone to be used with only one hand, even with the biggest and most dexterous of hands plus the one-handed mode.

Despite the sheer surface area of the Mi Max, it fortunately remains pretty thin.

While we’re on the subject of the display, it actually is pretty good. You get good colors and detail, despite it being a Full HD display. We’re pretty glad that Xiaomi didn’t go for, say a QHD display as it would quite heavily impact its performance, but more on that when we get to the benchmarks. Brightness is also pretty great, but when you take the phone under the sun, it does struggle to show you what’s on screen, and the automatic brightness adjustment to compensate for this doesn’t work fast enough most of the time, and not at all sometimes.

On the software side of things, it’s the familiar Xiaomi interface – very iOS like. It ships with Android 6.0 and MIUI 7, but chances are when you boot the phone for the first time, you’ll be prompted to download the update to Android 6.0.1 and MIUI 8.0. There’s the usual suite of Google apps, as well as a few of Xiaomi’s own that serve the same function. The interface is generally really snappy, and we’ve yet to encounter any slowdowns with our relatively liberal use.

  • Design 8
  • Features 8.5
  • User-Friendliness 7.5
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Respectable performance
Display has good color and detail
Battery life deserving of the 'Max' moniker
The Bad
Size disallows for pocket storage or one-handed usage
Automatic screen brightness works intermittently