ZTE Axon Max hands-on

The naming scheme of ZTE’s Axon Mini may have raised some eyebrows at the CES 2016, as it denoted a handset with a 5.2" display, but there is no doubt that the ZTE Axon Max that we are previewing here deserves its "max" moniker. For now, the 6" phablet is present at Chinese carriers, but given ZTE's push for a pronounced US presence with the Axon line, it might pop up on this side of the pond in some shape or form, too, so let's grab this biggie, and check it out.


Тhe ZTE Axon Max is trying a bit too hard to induce a premium feeling when you look at it, with a metal exterior and fake stitched leather bands at both ends. Leaving apart the dubious aesthetics of this chassis design choice, it doesn't really feel all that premium in the hand, thanks tot he rough finish and cold, slippery metal grasp. The metal body is relatively slim, but with a 6-inch panel, there is no way this phone can be called compact by any stretch of the imagination - it is a giant flat slab that is almost impossible to handle with one hand, or carry comfortably around in your pocket.


The 6-inch LCD display has a 1080p Full HD resolution, and does the job fine, with wide viewing angles and colors that don't see, to be out of whack. It's a bit reflective under the show floor lights though, so we hope that it can push the brightness high enough to be visible well outside under a bright sunlight.

Processor, memory, and interface

The octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 CPU that the smartphone is powered by won't leave you longing for much more speed at first read, and the Axon Max is well-equipped on the memory side, too, with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of expandable storage, as well as a microSD card support. We were running around the interface with ease, encountering no animation stuttering or slowdowns. The Axon Max has the typical for Chinese phones homescreen-based interface without an app drawer, though if it lands in the US, that might change, like with other Axons before it.


ZTE didn't mince megapixels when it comes to the Axon Max's shooters. The front camera of the phone is a 13 MP one, while a 16 MP camera sits on the back alongside a fingerprint scanner. The standard feature set is on board, and the camera interface is pretty simplified and easy to change shooting modes or apply effects with.


If you are in the market for a big-screen phone that won't break the bank, the ZTE Axon Max delivers, as it offers all the features we mentioned above, as well as a dual SIM support and a generous 4150 mAh battery, for about $450. We still don't know if ZTE is planning to release it in other markets than China, though, but given its track record with the Axon line in the US, it just might.

Related phones

Axon Max
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 13 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, Octa-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4140 mAh



1. TrevorB1

Posts: 64; Member since: Dec 30, 2015

Eh, not too impressed, although the price does seem reasonable for a phone with expandable storage and 4150 mAh battery. That 6 in. screen is pretty impressive, though you would need big pockets to tuck that thing away :P The fake leather on the back also loses my attention quickly. Should of just kept those two spots off.Would not use this personally, but would be a good mid-range phone for someone who likes big screens, overall balanced processing and memory, and two great cameras.

2. boys.noize

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 03, 2016

Wow, this phone looks so much like the huawei mate 8 :O

3. Jason2k13

Posts: 1469; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

ZTE, huawei and LeTV... are these Chinese companies copying each other's phablet design?

4. iampun33t

Posts: 137; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

@PhoneArena: A suggestion. You should take an image of the front with a white background like open Chrome or something so that we get a better idea about the actual screen and bezels. Black backgrounds create a deceptive idea. (That is what the manufacturers are hoping, I guess)

5. Marslander

Posts: 160; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

I would give this serious consideration IF it came in another color besides gold. Seriously, China, enough with the gold!

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