Gimme: Xiaomi Mi Max - Kate Ferreira

An Article from Financial Mail ( - Kate Ferreira.


First impressions of the Mi Max, Xiaomi’s new release smartphone? That’s a whole lotta phone! Naturally, there have been phablets up for review before, but this one really makes an impression.

The Max’s 16.4 cm (6.44 inches) HD display is arguably its unique selling point. This screen real estate must be why much of the marketing materials focus on improved and immersive experiences of gaming, watching movies, and reading. It offers — Xiaomi is quick to point out — as much viewing area as a 6-inch Kindle.

An even more astonishing selling point for me is the price: just R4,699 for this much phablet (and one that seems to incorporate all the standard features that you might expect from a higher-end smartphone in 2016) puts me at risk of seeming one-track minded about Xiaomi. This price includes the fingerprint sensor, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and a full metal body in gold and silver variations.


The Mi Max provides Xiaomi’s biggest battery to date, and one of the biggest across the manufacturers. But the large screen means that it will need it. The Mi Max promises up to 14 hours video playback. Storage-wise, there are two options, a generous 32GB and a very nice 128GB, plus a microSD card for up to a further 128GB. The rear camera is 16MP, and takes nice pics with quick focus and good — but not the best — low light handling. It has a dual-tone LED flash too.

If there is anything to really critique it would be the choice of processor, a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor and its 3GB of RAM. It’s not a disaster by any stretch, but it is underpowered when compared to flagship devices. Then again, it does not have a flagship price tag ... for a very small compromise on specs.

It is an Android (6 or Marshmallow) device with the Xiaomi MIUI overlay. Finally, despite the size of the screen, the phone has nice balance and doesn’t look bulky or unwieldy. It’s slim in profile, which makes it easier to hold in one hand, and it won’t weigh down your pockets either — as long as they’re wide enough to accommodate it.


Xiaomi Mi Max
Cool factor: ***
Usability: ****
Value for money: *****