Xiaomi's new Mi Max is a huge smartphone with near bezel-less design

Xiaomi Mi Max front back

Xiaomi today unveiled a new high-end smartphone, featuring a massive, "edgeless" display and cutting-edge internals. It is called the Mi Max and although it is labeled as a concept, likely due to its futuristic design, it will be available on the market, with prices starting at around $515 (CNY3,499).

With a Xiaomi smartphone, especially a high-end one, the focus is always on specs, more specifically ticking all the right boxes while keeping the price in check. The Mi Max is a bit different in the sense that Xiaomi has gone a bit further, offering some things that we do not normally see from other manufacturers.

The edgeless, or border-less, display -- which measures 6.4-inches in diagonal and has a resolution of 1,080 by 2,040 and a 17:9 aspect ratio -- is one of them. Xiaomi's Hugo Barra says that the screen to body ratio comes in at 91.3 percent, which is very high for a smartphone. In fact, Barra claims it is the highest of any smartphone that we have seen so far.

The reason why the Mi Max has a 17:9 display is so that it can use on-screen buttons and have the viewing area maintain a 16:9 aspect ratio. With videos at least it means that, if the on-screen buttons stay on the short side when the smartphone is rotated, you will not get black bands on the top and bottom.

Another thing that is interesting about the Mi Max is the fact that there is no visible proximity sensor on the front. That's because Xiaomi has opted for an ultrasonic sensor, which is installed behind the screen. And not having a sensor to take up space on the front panel is a good way to increase the available space for the display.

Next up, we have "cantilever piezoelectric ceramic acoustic technology". What this does is allow the smartphone to produce sound without having a standard speaker.

Xiaomi has used ceramic for the front and rear panels of the device as well as the frame and buttons, claiming 8MoHs on the scale of mineral hardness. Xiaomi is also proud of the fact that the phone has "seamless connectors". The back cover basically clips in place, instead of being held by glue or screws.

These are the cooler things about the Mi Max. Now let's talk about the rest of the specs. Starting with the processor, it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 running at 2.35GHz, that is backed by either 4GB or 6GB of RAM and a 4,400mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support.

On the back, there is a 16MP camera with phase-detection autofocus, while on the front Xiaomi has used a "compact" sensor that takes 50 percent less space than a "traditional" one. The front camera is positioned at the bottom of the panel.

In terms of connectivity, we are looking at NFC, 4G LTE support, and Wi-Fi 802.11ac, as the highlights. The Mi Max will support Mi Pay, Xiaomi's mobile payments service.

When it comes to storage there will be two options available, one with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and the other with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage -- storage is UFS 2.0 so it should enable very fast transfer speeds. The latter has "18k gold rims around camera and fingerprint sensor". The fingerprint sensor is below the rear camera module.

I already mentioned the price of the base version at the beginning of this article, so now's the time to reveal how much the top model costs. The difference is not substantial, as it will be offered for around $590 (CNY3,999). That is really good value for money, considering that you also get a leather case in the box.

As usual, it will be available first in China, but given that retailers are likely to offer it internationally too, interested buyers will be able to get their hands on it in other markets as well.

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