Review Xiaomi Mi Max 3: Giant smartphone with 6.9″ display for $177.57

Big, bigger, Mi Max 3. That still applies in 2019, at least for Xiaomi smartphones. The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 is still the solution for everyone who wants a real Phablet, especially since this year probably no successor will appear.

For display sizes of smartphones there are two camps. One likes it to be as compact as possible, for the others it can’t be big enough. Those who consider themselves part of the second camp should be pleased about the new offshoot of the Max series from Xiaomi. The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 appears with a large 6.9 inch display and is positioned in the upper middle class. But is this still a mobile phone at all?

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Smartphone

Technical Specifications

Display 6.9 inch 18:9 Full-HD+ (2160 x 1080 pixels) LC Display with @ 350 PPI
Processor Snapdragon 636 @ 1.8 & 1.6 GHz, 8 Qualcomm Kyro 260 cores
Graphics chip Qualcomm Adreno 509 @ 720 MHz
RAM 4 / 6 GB LPDDR4X @ 1.333 MHz
Internal Memory 64 / 128 GB eMMC 5.1
Camera 12 MP with ƒ/1.9 aperture + 5 MP f/2.0 dual camera
Front camera 8 megapixel
Battery 5.500 mAh with 9V/2A-Quick Charge
Connectivity AC WLAN, Bluetooth 5.0,USB Type C, Hybrid SIM, GPS, LTE
Features fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock, 3.5 mm jack
Operating system Android 8.1 Oreo with MIUI 9.5 interface
Dimensions 176.15 x 87.4 x 7.99
Weight 221 g

The biggest Xiaomi smartphone

Big, bigger, Xiaomi Mi Max 3 – that’s the motto of the new smartphone. At first glance, it looks like all the devices of this year’s Xiaomi Redmi generation. However, due to the very large 6.9 inch display it is enormous. The predecessor already managed with an amazing 6.44 inch screen diagonal. Since the manufacturer is increasingly relying on very thin screen edges, its dimensions of 176.15 x 87.4 x 7.99 mm are barely larger than those of the predecessor. However, at 221 g, it also weighs accordingly much; the Mi 8, for example, weighs in at only 175 g.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Smartphone

The back is probably the most comparable with the Mi 6X or Xiaomi Mi A2. The matt black aluminium unibody looks chic and offers more than enough space for the dual camera, fingerprint sensor and Mi logo. The housing is really very pleasantly shaped and due to the design there is no separate housing frame and therefore a smooth transition. This ends at the display panel including glass front, which is placed on the unibody. The workmanship is again excellent and I like it even better than with the typical Redmi devices.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 back side

But the back offers two points of criticism. The camera is again so far out of the case that the mobile phone is not lying flat on the table. We already know this from the Mi 6X, but it’s a bit annoying but just justifiable. I see the positioning of the fingerprint sensor much more critical. With my typical smartphone position, I can’t reach the fingerprint sensor, or only with difficulty. This means that you have to learn a new way to hold your smartphone. Either you could have positioned the sensor a little lower or even put the fingerprint sensor back on the front.

Aren’t 6.9 inches too big?

Let’s get to the subject of handling, after all, this is a 6.9-inch smartphone. And even though the screen edges are quite thin, the Mi Max 3 is just big, you can’t deny that. But in my eyes it’s too big. The already mentioned workmanship can score with good ergonomics, so that the device width is even still acceptable. But in the height a one-handed operation is simply not possible. The two-handed operation is actually more towards the tablet than towards the smartphone.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Smartphone in Hand
I guess my hands aren’t big enough for the Mi Max 3.

From a personal point of view, the Mi Max 3 would have failed here already. This aspect is at the same time the biggest unique selling point, but now the spirits are also divided. It only just fits in my trouser pockets when they are a bit casual. This display size is only completely accessible to me if you would use a stylus, as you know it from the Samsung Galaxy Note series. Even after several days I couldn’t get used to the Mi Max 3.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 with 6.9 inch display

The screen of the Mi Max 3 is probably the biggest unique selling point of the new smartphone. The 6.9 inch screen appears in an 18:9 aspect ratio, as you would expect from any current Xiaomi smartphone. The resolution is 2160 x 1080 pixels. This results in a relatively low pixel density of 350 ppi, i.e. pixels per inch. However, Xiaomi has refined the brightness and the contrast, which in contrast to its predecessor is even almost 50% higher.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Smartphone 2

However, it is well known that size is not the only factor. The IPS Panel also does a good to very good job in this dimension. Compared to its little brother, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, the colours are a bit warmer, as the Note 5 also tends to have a minimal blue cast. The lateral viewing angle stability is excellent, but if you look from below or above from such an angle, the stability is also good!

Thanks to the size, features such as the split screen or picture-in-picture come into their own here.

Something for the gamers too?

Even if the design was as good as clear in advance, the choice of processor was still the biggest uncertainty. Xiaomi chose the Snapdragon 636 processor from Qualcomm. You know it and we already know it from the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. The CPU works with eight Kryo 260 cores, which offer a clock frequency of 1.8 GHz. The high energy efficiency is further enhanced by the 14 nm manufacturing process.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Benchmarks
The benchmark results are almost identical to those of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5.

With the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 you have to deal with the same performance as with the current best China phone under $200. In everyday life, the Max 3 runs absolutely smoothly, whereby you notice a difference if the opened app is already in the cache. Opening and closing takes slightly longer and doesn’t happen as fast as with the Snapdragon 710 in the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE.

Nevertheless you can play with the Mi Max 3 if you want. PUBG runs smoothly on medium settings, here and there there there were minimal frame rate drops. If you’re more of a casual gamer, it’s fully justifiable and doesn’t affect the gaming fun. However, the Mi Max 3 benefits greatly from the display when gambling, because at almost 7 inches it’s a lot of fun.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Horizontal
In the horizontal plane games but also videos come really good!

The fact that the smartphone is in a somewhat higher price range can be seen from the fact that there is no 3/32 GB memory configuration. The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 only comes with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB memory or with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB internal memory. The RAM is fortunately LPDDR4X memory. Our test version is the 4/64 GB version, with which we couldn’t find any problems even in more demanding multitasking. If you want to pay attention to the money, this version is sufficient in my eyes.

Same camera as Redmi Note 5?

The dual camera consists of a 12 megapixel sensor and a 5 megapixel sensor and thus seems to be the same camera as in the Redmi Note 5. The camera has a ƒ/1.9 aperture and is therefore quite fast. In addition, there are also AI functions, as we know them from Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, for example. On the front side, however, the camera varies. This time we have an 8 megapixel sensor.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Camera

Overall, the camera of the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 is average in my eyes in the smartphone squad of Xiaomi, compared to the competition of UMIDIGI, Ulefone & Co. even good. To speak of a reasonably good camera would not do the camera justice, but in these situations the camera shines especially. Fast shutter release time, good sharpness and accurate colors – just like you’ve come to expect from Xiaomi. Low-light photos are just about as useful, but you notice a strong image noise and a rather high loss of detail.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 test photo main camera person

The secondary sensor is used if you want to take portrait photos, for example. They also work pretty well so far and deliver the desired effect. Especially the border detection works well, but understandably it has problems with very fine lines, as with our succulent. Nevertheless, it’s all within the scope and it’s gratifying that Xiaomi has reached such a good level in the meantime.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 test photo plant portrait comparison

The same can be said about the front camera, which shoots perfectly satisfying Selfies. However, the Selfies disappointed me in poor lighting conditions, the results are quite “muddy”. However, the Portrait mode is also to be emphasized positively again, as it really manages to separate the object from the background and produce a nice bokeh.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Test Photo Selfie Portrait Comparison

Overall I am satisfied with the camera, it is on a very similar level to the Redmi Note 5, differences are really marginal. If you want better camera results, the Xiaomi Mi A2 is probably the best alternative in this price range.

Giant Display – Giant Battery

Now, of course, it is clear what kind of battery is under the hood. With such a large display, the capacity has to be correspondingly high. The previously published information has proved to be correct. The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 works with a 5,500 mAh battery, which is slightly larger than the previous model. Xiaomi relies on the Quick Charge 3.0 standard so that the battery can be recharged relatively quickly. This speaks for 18 W maximum input power. This should allow 70% charging in one hour. Without Quick Charge, a complete charge takes almost exactly 3 hours.

Even if we expected it before, if you set a high value on a good battery life, you will be very happy with the Xiaomi Mi Max 3! A screen-on time of approx. 12 hours is a very strong result, which Xiaomi shows here. You can forget to recharge your smartphone and probably save yourself through the day. Interestingly, the Max 3 even supports OTG, which allows you to charge other smartphones or peripherals with your mobile phone!

Global ROM vs. Global Version

With the exception of the Mi A series, all Xiaomi smartphones are equipped with the in-house MIUI operating system. This is now based on Android 8.1 and is far away from a “pure” stock Android. In the optics alone there are strong differences, MIUI works with its own icon pack and some own apps. Especially on the China-ROM there is a lot of bloatware, i.e. useless apps, which you don’t need or can’t use in Europe. With the Global ROM there is not so much bloatware on the internal memory.

MIUI V9.6.6 is stable on delivery, but during the test an update to V9.6.9 was already available. MIUI 10 is still in the beta version, as soon as an update is available, we will inform you of course.

A global version is already available. Here you have to look for the shop, some have the China version with Global ROM, there is a small but fine difference. Then you have multilingual and with the necessary LTE bands, but no CE-mark and no english manual and you have to use an adapter for the CN-plug. If you can still wait, we recommend to order the Global Version.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S Google Play Store Install

If you have the China version and can live with the English language, it is now also very easy to install the Google services at MIUI (see photo above). Open the Mi App-Store, search for Google, scroll down to the Baidu-Logo (blue paw), click on it and you will find the Google Installer. Download and install it, the Google Play Store is already installed. There you can download your desired apps as usual. However, you should give the Play Store the necessary permissions in the settings under Permissions.

If you want to use the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 in another language, but are in possession of the China version, you can also flash the phablet, at your own risk.

Master of Connectivity

Let’s start with the most important news: the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 is directly equipped with LTE. On the wireless side, we have Bluetooth 5.0, Dual Band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, GPS, A-GPS and GLONASS. Since the smartphone offers a lot of space, there is also room for a USB Type C port and a 3.5 mm jack port – what more could you ask for? A real dual SIM slot is not available, it is probably just a hybrid SIM slot. An expansion of up to 256 GB per microSD is possible.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 headphone jack

On the underside there is a USB Type-C slot and a speaker, which is mainly responsible for the sound of the Xiaomi Mi Max 3. In fact, we also have a speaker on the top of the phone, which is why it’s called a stereo speaker. However, the sound from the front speaker is very quiet overall and makes up maybe 15% of the total volume.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 USB Type-C Slot

I would even call the audio quality of the loudspeakers very good, the sound is balanced and quite clear, of course there is a little bit of bass and a little bit of volume missing. Nevertheless you can listen to music with the Mi Max 3 and YouTube videos are no problem either. Especially for a China smartphone the audio quality is above average in my eyes.

The problem is that the Xiaomi Mi Max 3, like the Xiaomi Mi Pad 4, is only equipped with DRM Level 3. Video content from streaming platforms like Netflix & Amazon Prime Video can only be played back in 480p.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 DRM Level 3

Conclusion: Xiaomi proves size

One can say that the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 is simply a big version of the Redmi Note 5. So we’re not dealing with a flagship here, but with a very good mid-range smartphone. The highlight is of course the huge display. It’s also the Xiaomi smartphone with the largest battery of the current generation. If you like really big smartphones, the Mi Max 3 is also a very interesting option in terms of price. It’s also pleasing that Xiaomi rounds off the overall package well: LTE, USB-C and 3.5 mm jack connection are small but important features!

The Mi Max 3 is too big for me personally, so I wouldn’t use it privately. But you certainly know in advance what you’re getting into with the phone. And for everyone who wants such a large display, I can highly recommend it. If you have the same budget as the Mi Max 3, then the Mi A2 would be the better alternatives.

What do you think of the Xiaomi Mi Max 3? Is a 7 inch display too big for you?

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Profile picture from Thorben

Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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Comments (8)

  • Profile picture from Sir Kool
    21.06.18 um 07:33

    Sir Kool

    Please put me first on the list for information about this phone when it comes out. Whatever you sell it for, I'll buy it!

  • Profile picture from savvy
    23.07.18 um 15:30

    savvy

    Need this phone please advise how to order

  • Profile picture from Ansar
    25.07.18 um 12:06

    Ansar

    Go online and buy it when it comes out. Simple. I have the original Xiaomi mi max. I love it. It's 18 months of old

  • Profile picture from David 1
    27.07.18 um 04:39

    David 1

    Can it be used in USA?

  • Profile picture from David 1
    02.08.18 um 06:06

    David 1

    @David 1: Global version, yes or no?

    • Profile picture from Maike
      02.08.18 um 09:33

      Maike CG team

      @David 1, there is a whole paragraph in the text saying that there is no global version yet.

  • Profile picture from Mark Mark
    19.08.19 um 07:47

    Mark Mark

    I have had the max 3 for more than a year and the camera on the backside of the cell phone makes no difference whatsoever. The quality of the phone the quality of the camera and the quality of all the functions AR much better and many of the phones that I've had in the past, especially at this price..

  • Profile picture from Mark Mark
    19.08.19 um 07:47

    Mark Mark

    It can be used anywhere around the world

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