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ZTE goes big with 6-inch Android phone for $130 (hands-on)

The Max XL features Android Nougat and is available prepaid on Boost and Virgin.

Lynn La Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Lynn La
2 min read

ZTE announced a new mid-range Android phone today, and it packs an extra-large display with a small price tag. Known as the Max XL, it's a 6-inch handset available for $129.99 on Sprint's prepaid networks, Boost Mobile and Virgin.

Aside from the spacious screen, the phone features a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 1.4GHz eight-core processor and one of the latest versions of Android, Nougat 7.1.1. Other specs include:

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  • Fingerprint reader on the back
  • 3,990mAh battery
  • 5-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of built-in storage, with expandable storage up to 128GB

I've been checking out the Max XL these past few days and so far I can say it's pretty decent. Given its size, it's quite heavy in the hand and its design kind of reminds me of the Google Nexus 6. But the responsive and sharp display make web browsing and viewing video very comfortable.

ZTE's Max XL serves up big screen for cheap

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The camera can handle brightly lit environments well, but struggles with closeup, macro shots. (When I was taking a photo of a knitted footstool, images turned out a little blurry, and the lighting was way overblown). Also, I find the interface's requirement of having a minimum of four home screen pages baffling.

Then again, the phone is only $130, which is a great deal if you're looking for a big-screen phone for less than $200. The Samsung Galaxy J7, for example, retails for about $180. Though we haven't reviewed the J7 yet (and therefore can't determine if one is better than the other), on paper the J7 has a smaller 5.5-inch display, a 3,00mAh battery and runs an older version of Android (6.0).