Last year’s mid-range Xiaomi Mi Max looked like an immensely hard act to follow, what with a crazy large, decently sharp display in tow, fittingly huge battery, respectable cameras, processing power and RAM, and especially a more than sensible price point.

The only conceivable way to improve on that seemingly perfect balance between size, skill and affordability was, well, to give up on the latter. Or not, as it turns out, because the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is still exceptionally affordable, starting at 1,699 Yuan, which equates to less than $250.

That’s for an “entry-level” configuration providing a generous 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, while the same 4 gigs of memory combined with twice the digital hoarding room shall set you back the rough equivalent of $290 (RMB 1,999).

Both versions come with an identically gargantuan, “immersive” 6.44-inch Full HD screen, as well as a Snapdragon 625 SoC that merely sounds like a step down from the SD650 inside the original Mi Max. In reality, this is an octa rather than a hexa-core affair, based on 14, not 28nm architecture, enabling Quick Charge 3.0 support and a technology dubbed parallel charging for enhanced energy efficiency and 68 percent capacity after just one hour.

Speaking of battery life, Xiaomi touts two days of autonomy for the Mi Max 2, incredibly enough bumping the cell size up to 5300mAh. The 12MP Sony IMX386 “large-pixel” rear-facing camera is borrowed from the Mi 6 flagship, although it obviously flies solo here, and even the first-gen Mi Max’s design is made better, with a full metal unibody construction replacing the old “three-piece body.”

Last but not least, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 rocks stereo speakers, a familiar rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and an IR blaster for universal TV remote controls.

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