Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has unveiled its latest high-end smartphone, the massive Mi Max 2. The phone dwarfs many of its competitors with its enormous display and battery capacity. It runs Android and is aimed at heavy multimedia consumers.
The Mi Max 2 was announced during an event in China today and then detailed on Xiaomi's official MIUI forum. The company said the phone is meant to "max out" your experience of entertainment on mobile devices. It's built to be an on-the-go media viewer that lets you catch up on shows you've missed while you're away from home.
The headline feature of the phone is its 6.44-inch Full HD display. While the resolution is comparatively low next to the Quad HD displays of contemporary flagship rivals, the enormous size pits the device against many small tablets. It uses a full metal unibody design and is supposedly optimised for one-handed use. As with previous gigantic phablets, you're unlikely to want to hold the handset to your ear for long though.
Underneath, the Mi Max 2 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor that's built on the company's 14nm architecture. While the chip isn't the fastest available, it's a popular mid-range option that's snappy enough for the average user while keeping costs down. It's paired with an ample 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of expandable storage.
Around the back, Xiaomi has included a 12-megapixel Sony camera which supports HDR video and Phase Detection Autofocus. As with the processor, the camera isn't the best available but comfortably holds its own against competitor mid-range devices. The front of the phone has a 5-megapixel camera for clear selfies.
Powering the entire package is an exceptionally large 5,300mAh battery which shames many of the year's most expensive devices. In Xiaomi's words, the capacity is "like a power bank," apparently sufficient for 18 hours of video playback or 57 hours of phone calls. When it eventually starts to run low, Xiaomi claims that Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 will recharge to 68 percent in just one hour.
The rest of the phone's hardware is fairly typical of Android phones this year. There's a fingerprint sensor on the back and dual stereo speakers around the display, improving the audio experience when watching films. The phone runs Android 7.0 Nougat, the latest major version of the operating system.
Xiaomi is one of several Chinese smartphone brands that's steadily building a name for itself and growing its audience by focusing on strong mid-range devices. The Mi Max 2 looks set to be the latest phone to continue the brand mission. The company said it used customer feedback on the original Mi Max to expand the most-loved features of the first device and make them "even better."
"Mi Max series is the biggest smartphone in Xiaomi's line-up in terms of screen size," the company said in translated English on its forums. "We aim to max our your experience on movies and shows, productivity, gaming and more with the large display with a surprising lightness."
By focusing on the features that are most important to buyers in developing regions, Xiaomi has ensured it can rapidly grow its sales. In India, companies like Apple and Samsung take a backseat to budget-oriented manufacturers where value and battery life are key. In areas where the power grid is unreliable, an all-day battery life can sell a phone.
As with other Xiaomi phones, the Mi Max 2 won't officially be offered in the U.S. It's targeting buyers in China and India who want a multimedia-focused endurance champion without having to pay for a high-end device. As Android Central reported, pricing will start at just ¥1,699 (around $250), rising to ¥1,999 ($290) for the model with 128GB of storage. At this price, the Mi Max 2 is also a good contender for one of the best value phones available.
Xiaomi hasn't officially stated when the handset will go on sale. However, a tweet from Manu Kumar Jain, the company's head of sales in India, suggests it should be available from July 23. With a compelling set of features and a phablet-sized form factor, the Mi Max 2 could become a popular mid-range phone. You can get more details at Xiaomi's launch page on its forums.[Featured Image by Xiaomi]