Xiaomi Mi Max 2 – The Best SD625 Phone from Xiaomi?


Will the real Snapdragon 625 lovers please stand up? Technically I would have stood up, but not for the Mi Max 2. That’s not to say the Snapdragon 625 is not a good SoC, but Xiaomi set our expectations way too high with the Mi Max 1 so anything less seems like a disappointment (Opinion Piece here).

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review

The previous generation of phones (Redmi Note 3 Pro, Redmi 3, Mi Max 1) all utilized different processors that aided in product differentiation. However with this new generation of phones, what we see are three different sizes of what looks to be almost the same device; the Redmi 4 Prime (5” version), the Redmi Note 4X (5.5” version), and now the Mi Max 2 (6.44” version).

Apart from the massive screen, the crowning feature for the Mi Max 2 is definitely the 5300mAh battery. Even as a battery fanatic, I did not look forward to testing the battery in this phone as it would probably take forever, and it did. There is also a potent and secret weapon this unassuming Mi Max 2 holds, which could be the extra bit needed to fight in this crowded smartphone market.

The largest SD625 phone from Xiaomi

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Specifications

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Display 6.44” 1920×1080 IPS LCD
RAM 4GB
Storage 64/128GB eMMC
Operating System Android 7.0, MIUI 8.0
Cameras 12MP, 5MP front
Battery 5300mAh
Physical Dimensions 211g, 17.41 x 8.87 x 0.76 cm

Big thanks to Gearbest for providing this review unit.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Hardware

The excellent build we see on the Mi Max 2 is what we’ve come to expect on Xiaomi’s higher end phones. The metal unibody is very well finished and while it lacks that extra polish an HTC phone would otherwise have, none but the most nitpicky will have issues with the quality of the body.Apart from the premium build, this phone is obviously massive, with a 6.44” screen. The amount of bezels don’t seem to be lessened from the previous Mi Max, as there are significant but not overly large bezels surrounding the screen. What irks me the most is the prominent black bar surrounding the screen; it’s plenty visible when the front of the phone is white, and is less and less acceptable as the starting price for this phone is so high.The Mi Max 2 is an entirely two handed affair with little to no opportunity to (safely) use the phone with one hand. The rear mounted fingerprint sensor is definitely a reach for me as well, so unlocking it through the sensor is a bit of a chore at times.
The Mi Max 2 is well built, very large, but also rather nondescript.

Boringly decent

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Display

Xiaomi seems very reluctant to bump up any of its phones to a resolution of 2K, and whether that is due to design, pricing, or battery reasons, I applaud this decision. In my opinion, the resolution war is a game of diminishing returns; colour gamut, brightness, and contrast are just some of the other areas where displays could be improved.
The 1080p screen here is good, it reproduces the relatively pastel colour palette of MIUI well, and when looking at colourful stock photos or video, the screen still holds its own. The screen gets bright enough to put up a decent fight in direct sunlight but still gets overpowered on a hot, sunny day at noon. Minimum brightness is predictably good as well. Xiaomi has chosen to protect this phone using Gorilla Glass 4, so there’s no need to worry about scratches.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Audio

The speakers are one of the areas of this phone that gave me a huge surprise. I was expecting an OK speaker, but what I got was a separate tweeter/subwoofer system, the tweeter on the top and the mid/sub driver on the bottom. Combined, they pump out some very loud sound and very good quality also, there is an “Oomph” that this Mi Max 2 that other phones, even the Mi6 don’t have.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Battery

As a battery fanatic, this is the first time I’ve (rightfully) dreaded testing a phone for its battery. We here at Gizchina do plan to test the Oukitel K10000 Pro with a 10000mAh battery, and I really do pity the colleague who has to perform those battery tests. If my battery predictions are correct, the amount of time I spent testing this battery actually isn’t too far off from what my dear colleague will spend testing the K10000 Pro.
And my pain is your gain. The Xiaomi Mi Max 2 managed a whopping 23 hours and 4 minutes of local video playback before conking out. A more real world example is this:

  • Start the Wednesday at 6am
  • Bluetooth podcasts for an hour
  • Watch YouTube videos for 6 hours
  • Bluetooth podcast for another hour
  • Take pictures and video for ½ an hour
  • Play intense games for 2 hours
  • An hour of miscellaneous news, social media, and Reddit
  • Bed at 10 with 34% battery left

Redmi phones remove the term “battery anxiety” from our dictionary, and the Mi Max 2 does exactly that. It obviously does this better than the Redmi devices due to a 1200mAh increase in capacity, but the 6.44” screen does suck up a little more juice. The phone is also Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 capable, so topping up that massive 5300mAh takes a rather normal two and a half hours.

What is Battery Anxiety?

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Software

The Snapdragon 625 paired with 4GB of RAM is able to push MIUI very quickly and fluidly. I did not see any slowdowns when interfacing with MIUI, but I did see very slight hesitation when launching apps when compared to my well used Zuk Z2. 4GB of RAM is plenty for multitasking, and filling up that much RAM at this point in Android’s evolution is more difficult than it looks under normal circumstances, meaning you won’t have any issues with multitasking unless doing something unusual. Performance is as one would expect from a Snapdragon 625 phone, within spitting distance of the Redmi 4 Prime and Note 4X. The Snapdragon 625 performs admirably in gaming, no slowdowns detected.

The fingerprint sensor is fairly fast. The phone would be unlocked by the time I took the phone out of my pocket. To be fair, I did struggle taking the phone out of certain pant pockets that were too tight for my girth. Do note that the fingerprint sensor is hard to reach which results in awkward finger placement on the sensor. This resulted in lower than usual accuracy when tapping the sensor, I usually had to tap it a second time to successfully unlock the phone. However, when using this phone two handed, this allowed me to position my hand much more freely, cutting down on virtually all fingerprint errors.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Connectivity

The international version of the Mi Max 2 supports both TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE bands, meaning it will work almost anywhere. I was able to get 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE on my carrier here in Canada. I never have issues with network speeds on this phone as evidenced by the speedtest performed here. I was able to connect to every single Bluetooth device I owned, and GPS performance is accurate and fast as well.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Camera

The camera is the secret weapon I was talking about in the introduction. While the battery life might be the crowning achievement, the camera is why you’ll buy this phone over the other Snapdragon 625 Redmis. The Mi Max 2 uses the same IMX386 sensor found in the Xiaomi Mi6. Software is just as important as hardware when creating a high quality picture; and the Mi Max 2 does quite a good job.In daylight with perfect lighting conditions and no camera shake (this is important), the difference in detail between the Mi6 and Mi Max 2 is negligible. There is still a slight but visible difference when zoomed in all the way, but it’s the same for all normal intents and purposes. The Mi6 does capture brighter, more vibrant colours while the Mi Max 2 settles with deeper, darker, and more accurate shades. I have a feeling that most individuals will prefer the vibrant colours from the Mi6 over the Mi Max 2, but this comes down to personal preference.Taking the previous situation with perfect lighting, let’s add in some camera shake. This is where we start seeing quality take a large deviation. Whereas the Mi6’s 4 axis OIS kicks in to stabilize the camera, the Mi Max 2 takes blurrier shots. Do note that the blur is actually hard to detect if seen on a phone screen, but it is more apparent on a computer monitor.
The gap in quality widens even more in low light conditions. The Mi Max 2 starts blowing out ISO to get the pictures bright enough and you do see more noise and grain in the Mi Max 2 compared to the Mi6. That’s not to say the Mi Max 2’s low light performance is horrible though. It’s still miles ahead of many other phones, and outpaces the Redmi Note 4X by quite a margin as well.The front camera is actually pretty typical for a Redmi device, meaning that it’s passable but quality isn’t great.

You can capture up to 4K video on the phone, and footage is crispy, colours are still somewhat deep and dark, but footage is nevertheless great.

I should say this though, comparing the Mi Max 2 to the Mi6 might have somewhat overshadowed how good the Mi Max 2’s camera is. To be frank, the Mi Max 2 has one of the best cameras I’ve seen on a non flagship device so far, once the hype for the Mi Max 2 dies down and the price drops to somewhat normal levels, this is going to be one of the best camera phones you can get for the price.

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Camera Gallery

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Verdict

The current iteration of the Mi Max 2 is the most intriguing Snapdragon 625 phone I’ve tested because of two reasons; its crowning achievement and its secret weapon. Its crowning achievement is battery life so unreasonably good that even the Redmi 4 Prime and Redmi Note 4X have trouble keeping up. Second, its secret weapon, the camera, takes some amazing shots in daylight, keeping up with the flagship Xiaomi Mi6. On the other hand, its weaknesses are quite nondescript, mostly.It still has a black bar around the screen, the fingerprint sensor is difficult to reach, and the front facing camera is nothing to write home about (unlike the rear camera). I won’t spend any time ranting about Xiaomi using a Snapdragon 625 in yet another one of their phones as I’ve discussed that at length here in this opinion piece. All in all, the Mi Max 2 is another great device from Xiaomi. My recommendations? Phablet lovers should buy this, Snapdragon 625 haters should not, and if you’re looking for a great camera in a non flagship device? Definitely.

The Best Xiaomi SD625 phone so far!

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Video Review

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Gallery

 

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26 Comments

  1. Muhammad Yasir
    June 12, 2017

    you’re too soft on the camera ..

    where are the strict gizchina reviewers ?!

    Andi is MIA since when ? his take on cams was the BEST !

    • goodwill
      June 13, 2017

      I thought it was just me who think that, Yazir. haha. Zi, Just my own opinion, you’re a lil too nice and easily impressed in your reviews tho. Like you rated this camera 4.5 out of 5. What’s your standard of a 5 star rating tho? I mean if phones like S8 gives out 5 star then this Mi Max2 to have 4.5 must be incredibly good. Your ratings are not consistent tho. it’s actually confusing..

      • Flipp0
        June 13, 2017

        The ratings must be relative to other phones in the same class. I.e. 5 would be the best smartphone camera you can get for £300.

        • goodwill
          June 13, 2017

          Then maybe colour coded stars should be used to indicate the segment of rating perhaps? gold being flagships, silver mid-tier and bronze being budget series. The old percentage gauge that was used was more consistent tho.

          • lildwell
            June 16, 2017

            Or maybe we can just read the review. Stars are useless. its what’s written that actually matters. He clearly States that this is a great camera phone for a NON FLAGSHIP device.

            • Mr.Flying Zoom3rz
              June 28, 2017

              This. Who cares the stars? I even don’t look at them. Just read carefully.

      • Muhammad Yasir
        June 15, 2017

        exactly

  2. Guest
    June 12, 2017

    you’re too soft on the camera ..

    where are the strict gizchina reviewers ?!

    Andi is MIA since when ? his take on cams was the BEST !

    • goodwill
      June 13, 2017

      I thought it was just me who think that, Yazir. haha. Zi, Just my own opinion, you’re a lil too nice and easily impressed in your reviews tho. Like you rated this camera 4.5 out of 5. What’s your standard of a 5 star rating tho? I mean if phones like S8 gives out 5 star then this Mi Max2 to have 4.5 must be incredibly good. it’s actually confusing.. based on the rating, 5 stars being perfect I suppose since it’s the highest, I guess Mi Max 2 camera is almost perfect?? Really?

    • Flipp0
      June 13, 2017

      The ratings must be relative to other phones in the same class. I.e. 5 would be the best smartphone camera you can get for £300.

    • goodwill
      June 13, 2017

      Then maybe colour coded stars should be used to indicate the segment of rating perhaps? gold being flagships, silver mid-tier and bronze being budget series. The old percentage gauge that was used was more consistent tho.

    • Guest
      June 15, 2017

      exactly

    • lildwell
      June 16, 2017

      Or maybe we can just read the review. Stars are useless. its what’s written that actually matters. He clearly States that this is a great camera phone for a NON FLAGSHIP device.

    • Mr.Flying Zoom3rz
      June 28, 2017

      This. Who cares the stars? I even don’t look at them. Just read carefully.

  3. mimimo
    June 12, 2017

    Proper camera review: Snap more landscape/street/lowlight/indoor. Pls, any cheap crappy camera phone can take good close up picture or flower/toy/pet etc.
    Your camera review rating 3/10. Buck up!

  4. Guest
    June 13, 2017

    Proper camera review: Snap more landscape/street/lowlight/indoor. Pls, any cheap crappy camera phone can take good close up picture or flower/toy/pet etc.
    Your camera review rating 3/10. Buck up!

  5. Jh1
    June 13, 2017

    Hoping xiaomi use this camera sensor in the redmi 5 and note 5

  6. Jh1
    June 13, 2017

    Hoping xiaomi use this camera sensor in the redmi 5 and note 5

  7. mac231us
    June 14, 2017

    Hello thanks for the good review. Am curious about connectivity.- you mentioned “I was able to get 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE on my carrier here in Canada. ” I am surprised as connectivity (4g/lte) is holding me back on this one for the USA. Understand the bands are not the same across the border but since it is missing all of the major network LTE bands in the U.S (2, 4, 12, 17 and secondarily 29 and 30), am wondering how this performed in Canada. Thanks again.

  8. mac231us
    June 14, 2017

    Hello thanks for the good review. Am curious about connectivity.- you mentioned “I was able to get 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE on my carrier here in Canada. ” I am surprised as connectivity (4g/lte) is holding me back on this one for the USA. Understand the bands are not the same across the border but since it is missing all of the major network LTE bands in the U.S (2, 4, 12, 17 and secondarily 29 and 30), am wondering how this performed in Canada. Thanks again.

    Edit in looking over the bands in Canada (they appear similar to the U.S) and it does not seem the international version of the mi max 2 has these (or any of these?)…unless the published/available specs are all wrong about this device.

    Rogers Band 12 (700Mhz), Band 4 (AWS), Band 7 (2600Mhz)
    Band 13 (700Mhz)
    Bell Band 17 (700Mhz), Band 7 (2600MHz), Band 4 (AWS)
    Band 2 (1900Mhz), Band 5 (850Mhz), Band 29 (700Mhz), Band 13 (700Mhz)
    Telus Band 17 (700Mhz), Band 7 (2600MHz), Band 4 (AWS)
    Band 2 (1900Mhz), Band 5 (850Mhz), Band 29 (700Mhz), Band 13 (700Mhz)
    Videotron Band 4 (AWS), Band 13 (700Mhz)
    MTS Band 4 (AWS), Band 13 (700Mhz)
    SaskTel Band 4 (AWS), Band 13 (700Mhz)
    Eastlink Band 4 (AWS), Band 13 (700Mhz)

  9. Nilzie
    June 16, 2017

    How difficult is it to get used to such a big phone? I now use 5.5 and I’m fine with they. 5.8 too even. But I’m scared I won’t get used to 6.44

  10. Nilzie
    June 16, 2017

    How difficult is it to get used to such a big phone? I now use 5.5 and I’m fine with they. 5.8 too even. But I’m scared I won’t get used to 6.44

  11. Mr.Flying Zoom3rz
    June 22, 2017

    Nice battery result. Now imagine what a joy is to use Lenovo P2 (5.5″ SD625, SAMOLED , 5100mah) for those calling themselves battery paranoids. 13-14h SOT on average with a standby time of more than 4 days. This is the current battery king. As a owner of P2 the Mi Max 2 is the next phone I’m looking for considered the battery, the 4X is also good for battery of course. K6000 Plus and Power 2 are 6000mah on paper, but the shitty MTK cpu is ruining the SOT. Nothing interesting this year in the battery department, 2016 was the year of big batteries, now it’s all about dual cams.

  12. Mr.Flying Zoom3rz
    June 22, 2017

    Nice battery result. Now imagine what a joy is to use Lenovo P2 (5.5″ SD625, SAMOLED , 5100mah) for those calling themselves battery paranoids. 13-14h SOT on average with a standby time of more than 4 days. This is the current battery king. As a owner of P2 the Mi Max 2 is the next phone I’m looking for considered the battery, the 4X is also good for battery of course. K6000 Plus and Power 2 are 6000mah on paper, but the shitty MTK cpu is ruining the SOT. Nothing interesting this year in the battery department, 2016 was the year of big batteries, now it’s all about dual cams. The real winner is SD625 which turned to be amazing chip: 14nm efficient battery friendly build, but still powerful enough for the most games.

  13. Yeti hand
    July 11, 2017

    In he end I bought one for my girlfriend, despite already having the first one. The huge difference are the build quality and the speakerS yeah there are 2 big speaker on the 2, it’s night and day.
    Overall the I’m a happy camper. 🙂

  14. Yeti hand
    July 12, 2017

    In the end I bought one for my girlfriend, despite already having the first one. The huge difference are the build quality and the speakerS yeah there are 2 big speaker on the 2, it’s night and day.
    Overall the I’m a happy camper. 🙂