“The Mi Max 3 comes across as a significant upgrade over its predecessor”

While Samsung’s Galaxy Note series is credited with creating the ‘phablet’ segment, Xiaomi’s Mi Max series took that to the next level. The brand’s first Mi Max smartphone featured a large 6.4-inch display. Now, in its third generation, the smartphone borders on tablet territory as it sports a humongous 6.9-inch screen. But is the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 just a super-sized smartphone, or there’s more to it? I spent some time with the handset at the Mi Home in Hong Kong and here’s how my experience went.

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Right off the bat, it’s better to consider the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 a tablet than a smartphone. With a gargantuan display, the device is one of the largest phones I’ve ever come across. It’s also quite wide at 87.4mm. What this means is that you might be able to hold the handset in a single hand, but it’ll require finger gymnastics to use the phone single-handedly. Even reaching the corners of the screen is quite a task. What’s commendable though is that the phone is quite slim at 7.9mm, and the curved edges help in ergonomics. That said, the Mi Max 3 has a metallic finish, which makes the device quite slippery. Along with the usual black and gold hues, the mobile is also available in a blue colour.

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The 6.9-inch IPS panel on Xiaomi’s Mi Max 3 is a 1080p affair. If not for its adoption of the 18:9 screen aspect ratio that shaves some bezels, it’d have been unwieldy to handle. The screen seems sharp and offers vibrant colours. In terms of the placement of ports and buttons, the Mi Max 3 follows the conventional layout. Although due to its size, the fingerprint scanner at the rear may not be easy to reach.

Not just externally, the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 seems to be a huge upgrade over its predecessor, the Mi Max 2 (review) in terms of internals as well. Unlike the SD625 processor, the newer smartphone draws power from Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 636 chipset, which is paired with 4GB of RAM. The device comes with 64GB storage onboard. You can also opt for the higher-end model that features 6GB RAM and 128GB built-in memory. And if you chose to forego the dual-SIM functionality, then you can extend the storage further up to 256GB with the use of a microSD card. 

Related read: Xiaomi Mi Max 3 vs Mi Max 2

For imaging, the Mi Max 3 flaunts dual shooters on the back, using a 12-megapixel primary snapper with an aperture of f/1.9, paired with a 5MP depth-sensing unit. The main camera comes with PDAF support to lock the focus quickly and is capable of shooting 4K videos. To take care of selfie requirements, the handset sports an 8MP f/2.0 sensor at the front.

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Considering the smartphone is aimed at multimedia aficionados, it’s not surprising to see the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 shipping with a capacious 5,500mAh battery. It also comes with Quick Charge 3.0 tech to juice up quickly. On the software side of things, the device boots MIUI running atop Android 8.1 Oreo.

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The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 has been priced at RMB 1,699 (~Rs 18,000) for the base model, and RMB 1,999 (~ Rs 21,000) for the top-end variant. While the handset does seem to be a worthy option for those who want a smartphone that can replace a tablet as well, it remains to be seen if the Mi Max 3 will be coming to the subcontinent. Looking at the previous timeline, the Mi Max 2 was launched in India in July last year, so it seems unlikely that the successor will land on our shores now…