Xiaomi's Mi Max is a good, cheap large-screen phone, but its 6.4-inch screen makes it hard to use..
If the phrase "too big" never made it into your vocabulary, then the 6.4-inch Xiaomi Mi Max was made for people like you. The display is bright and the battery lasts for a good, long time, but the question for any phone this large will always come back to size: is it too much for you, or can you work with it?
I'm personally not a fan. Phones don't need to be small, but they also shouldn't be hard to use one-handed. And let's be clear here, the Max is a strictly two-handed affair if you want to use it without difficulty (unless you have really large hands). I found it hard to reach apps, and it's just a pain to keep adjusting my grip to reach stuff at the top of the phone. Still, I guess the Mi Max is really useful to shade your face on a sunny day, and I do really like how the metal chassis feels in my hands.
Of course, the real reason you're buying this phone is to watch video and read -- e-books, articles, Facebook, whatever -- and the Mi Max is perfect for this. The large 6.4-inch full-HD (1,920x1,080 pixels) is sharp and vibrant, and Xiaomi's Sunlight Display technology makes details like words and images clearer under bright sunlight. Gaming on the phone was great. Asphalt 8 ran smoothly on High settings, and I actually liked having a bigger screen here.
Retailing at 1,499 yuan ($230, £160 or AU$315, converted) for the cheapest model with 32GB of storage, this big screen phone does offer a lot of value.
The Mi Max runs a custom Android version called MIUI, and it boasts a few features not found in stock Android. For example, you can quickly turn on the flashlight by holding the home button down; and a feature similar to the iPhone's Assistive Touch that gives you quick access to the phone's home, menu and back buttons while also adding other features such as taking a screenshot. While I suppose it does help make the Mi Max less awkward to use, I found that I had to move the button to the top so it wouldn't get in my thumb's way.
The Mi Max's bigger size does give it one big advantage over other phones -- room for a super-large 4,850mAh battery. While it's nonremovable, I pretty much never ran out of juice during a full day of use. In our CNET Labs video test, the phone, like the fabled Energizer battery, lasted a crazy-long 22 hours. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 hexa-core processor also did great in both benchmarks and real life use, I was able to play Asphalt 8 on High graphics with nary a stutter. The 16-megapixel camera also did well generally -- you'll have no issues there.
If you just want a phone that lets you watch Netflix and chill together with a friend, perhaps the large screen will work out. I do like just how ridiculously long the battery lasts, and heavy users will definitely appreciate it as well. The phone is currently available only in China, but expect this to launch in India next and other markets in Southeast Asia where Xiaomi has a presence. You'll likely only be able get one in the US, UK and Australia online through third-party sellers. If you fancy other big-screen phones, there's always the Huawei 6.8-inch P8 Max or the recently announced Asus ZenFone 3 Ultra.
|" "||Xiaomi Mi Max||Asus ZenFone 3 Ultra|
|Display size, resolution||6.4-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels||6.8-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels|
|Pixel density||342 ppi||324 ppi|
|Dimensions (inches)||6.81 x 3.48 x 0.3 inches||7.34 x 3.7 x 0.27 inches|
|Dimensions (millimeters)||173.1 x 88.3 x 7.5||186.4 x 93.9 x 6.8mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||7.16 oz (203g)||8.22 oz (233g)|
|Mobile software||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 6.01 Marshmallow|
|Processor||1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652||1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652|
|RAM||3GB or 4GB||3GB or 4GB|
|Expandable storage||Up to 256GB||Up to 256GB|
|Battery||4,850mAh (nonremovable)||4,600mAh (nonremovable)|
|Fingerprint sensor||Back cover||Home button|
|Special features||Dual-SIM, Assistive Touch software button||Double speakers|
|Price off-contract (USD)||Converts to $230 (base model)||$479|
|Price (GBP)||Converts to £160||£330|
|Price (AUD)||Converts to AU$315||AU$670|