Larger Than Life: Xiaomi’s Mi Max

The Apple of China, Xiaomi, have launched their latest smartphone. Here is our first impression of the Xiaomi’s Mi Max.
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Published: Friday, September 30th 2016
General
Known as the Apple of China, Xiaomi is a Chinese technology company which primarily manufactures smartphones. A global disruptor in the technology industry, Xiaomi has set its eye on the South African market. With its low-cost smartphones, high-end build quality and keen focus on their customer, the company has everything it takes to become a dominant force in South Africa. Xiaomi's handsets consist of the Mi range and the lower cost, Redmi range. Both ranges are comprised of multiple phones, not all of which are currently available locally. Those that are can be purchased directly from the local distributor, Mobile In Africa, on their website or through select partners. The newest addition to the Xiaomi family in South Africa is the Mi Max. Featuring a mammoth 6.44 inch display, this is not a small phone by any stretch of the imagination.

Design

Gold_FrontSide_Background The Mi Max features a 6.44 inch, 1080p IPS LCD touchscreen display, capacitive buttons, an earphone, light sensor and front-facing camera on the front of the device. The left-hand side of the device has a dual SIM card tray with the volume and power buttons on the right-hand side. The top consists of an IR blaster and a 3.5mm headphone jack with dual speaker grilles and a micro-USB port on the bottom. We received the gold version of the Mi Max and, thanks to the metal back, it has a pleasant premium feeling with the gold colouring appearing more rose gold than regular gold. The back of the handset has a circular fingerprint scanner, 16MP rear facing camera, dual LED flash and the Xiaomi "Mi" logo at the bottom.

Display

Gold_FrontAngleHand_Background This phone is all about the display, as it should be. Xiaomi touts the Mi Max as the perfect phone for reading e-books, watching movies and pretty much any visual medium consumption that you can think of. The display is 1080p meaning that it is full high definition and not 2K quad HD like other handsets. This is not a limiting factor at all. In fact, combining a full HD display with the massive 4850mAh battery was one of the smartest moves that Xiaomi could have made here. The display is bright and has great viewing angles and colour reproduction. When it comes to watching videos on the go, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better display at this price point.

Camera

Gold_Front&Back2 Smartphone cameras have improved in leaps and bounds and while they can't quite rival DSLRs just yet, they've certainly reached the point where they are the new point-and-shoot camera. It's not just high-end smartphones which have these great cameras, mid-range handsets have also improved their camera quality. So much so, in fact, that many 2016 mid-range handsets have cameras that rival 2015 flagship devices. The Mi Max has a 16MP, f2.0 rear facing camera with phase detection auto focus and a 5MP front facing camera. This is not a smartphone camera that is going to make Samsung, Huawei or Apple shake in their boots but it is a pretty solid camera at this price range. The biggest issue that the camera on this phone suffers from is the same issue that many sub R5000 phones suffer from, low-light shots are somewhat grainy. Outdoor, full-light conditions provide good shots, but they are not as detailed as images shot on higher-end mid-range handsets such as Huawei's Nova Plus. It's not a bad camera, by any means, but it's not the greatest camera found on a mid-range phone. At a sub R5000 price point though, there's really not much to complain about.

Battery

Gold_BackAngled We live in an age where connectivity is everything. We're constantly on our phones checking messages, emails, social media, hopping online for directions, Googling something or requesting an Uber. With so much of our lives being lived online, a long-lasting battery is pretty much a basic necessity. According to Xiaomi, the 4850mAh battery on the Mi Max will last up to 14 hours on a single charge. Those are pretty impressive claims and definitely something we'll be testing.

Overview

All 3 together Our first impressions of the Mi Max are all positive. The biggest concern is the sheer size of the handset. It's too large to comfortably fit in your pocket and you will struggle to reach all your apps on the display, unless you have really big hands. Xiaomi has included a one-handed mode on the Mi Max which minimises the active screen area down to either a 4.5 inch, 4 inch or 3 inch display area. Even at 4.5 inches,however, it felt more awkward than utilising the full 6.44 inch display. If bigger is always better in your world, and you love watching videos while on the go, then this is definitely the phone for you and the odds are that you won't be phased by its sheer hugeness. Xiaomi makes great phones with wonderful build quality, and always at a lower cost than the high-end phone manufacturers do. If you have R4699 to spare, then this is definitely a phone to consider getting. After all, which other handset offers you that much for such a low cost? 2016 might just be the time to go big or go home and we think that you should go big.

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