Best mid range phablets: 7 big-screen smartphones for the budget conscious

When shopping for a new smartphone, you may be asking yourself “do I really need to spend this much money on so much power just to meet my daily requirements from a mobile device?” It’s easy to be suckered into getting the hottest phone on the market but it’s usually best to start with taking a hard look at what you plan on doing the most with your handset.

Don’t let the name fool you, a “mid-range” smartphone in 2017 could easily stand up against almost any flagship from 2014, as these big screen phones are very capable of handling almost anything you could throw at it in your daily routine. Many people tend to overlook the mid range market in this regard…

The key here is simple: maximum screen real estate combined with performance that can make easy work of your daily life, while offering a pleasant multimedia experience for when it’s time to take a load off and catch up on what matters most. Saving money on the front end means extra cash for accessories down the line.

With that said, here is our roundup of the best affordable smartphones with big screens you can buy in 2017:

Top mid range smartphones with large screens

  1. Xiaomi Mi Max 2
  2. Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
  3. LG Stylus 3
  4. Maze Alpha
  5. Gionee A1 Plus
  6. Lenovo Phab2 Plus
  7. ZTE Grand X Max 2

Xiaomi Mi Max 2

best mid range big screen phablet smartphones xiaomi mi max 2
The Mi Max 2 is targeted at users that consume a lot of multimedia on their phones.

Starting with its 6.44-inch Full HD screen and massive 5300 mAh battery, Xiaomi’s latest Mi Max phablet is a behemoth of a phone. It’s a great mid-range smartphone that features an immersive large screen for media consumption and enough juice to keep you going for two days between charges – so the company claims.

Xiaomi also says than an hour of charging will get this phone to 68% battery, which should be enough to ensure the Mi Max 2 stays powered for more than a day. To be specific, that 5300mAh cell is said to be capable of delivering 18 hours of video content and 57 hours of call time.

If there is one complaint to be had about the Mi Max 2, it would be the announcement of its Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 chipset (652 on the Prime model), which is better than a Snapdragon 630, but we were expecting the more powerful Snapdragon 660.

Other than that, you get some really high-end features for a much lower price. Unibody, metal build, nice camera, stereo speakers, quick charge 3, high screen-to-body ratio, and a USB type-c port make the Mi Max 2 a strong contender in the mid-range market.

Price: $299.99

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 full technical specifications


Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra

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This mid range smartphone by Sony features an impressive camera setup and feature set.

This outstandingly huge handset by Sony packs a whopping 6-inch display and a premium 16-megapixel selfie camera with optical image stabilization, a front-facing flash, and enough RAM to make your head spin. Moreover, unlike the smaller Xperia XA1 that ships with a disappointing 720 panel, the XA1 Ultra features a bright, pixel packed Full HD 1080p display that can please the snobbiest of pixel-peepers.

Considering this isn’t a high-end flagship device, it seems that Sony is trying to separate itself in the highly contested mid-range space by outfitting its phones with impressive cameras. On the rear of this device, you have the very same sensor that impressed in the Xperia Z5 a couple of years back.

Sporting a 23-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor, an f/2.0 aperture and phase-detection autofocus primary shooter, you may find that the front-facing camera on the XA1 Ultra is even more interesting. The 16-megapixel sensor up front is on par with the Samsung Galaxy A5 and OnePlus 3T, but Sony went one-step further by adding OIS and a front-facing flash.

Optical image stabilization means those late-night party photos should be much clearer. Meanwhile, keeping the phone chugging along is a MediaTek Helio P20 CPU and 4GB of RAM, which seems excessive.

It’s always nice to have more RAM, but 4GB seems like a bit much for a mid-range phablet. How much the X1A Ultra will benefit is yet to be seen. There’s also 32GB of internal storage, which can be expanded via the microSD card slot.

Price: $299.99

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra full technical specifications


LG Stylus 3

cheapest best android phone 2017 lg stylus 3
The LG Stylus 3 is a mid range Android phone with a stylus that offers an inexpensive alternative to the Galaxy Note.

If you’ve been searching for a phone with a stylus that won’t break the bank like the Samsung Galaxy Note series, look no further than the LG Stylus 3. Announced ahead of CES 2017, the Stylus 3 is the third rendition of the South Korean tech giant’s affordable stylus range.

The LG Stylus 3 has a fairly impressive feature list, most notably sporting a removable battery, expandable storage, fingerprint scanner and Android 7.0. LG managed to cram a massive 5.7-inch screen on to front of the Stylus 3 with a disappointing resolution of 1280 x 720.

Most users will find the HD display does offer nice graphics and text, but compare this to anything with a Quad HD or even Full HD display, and you’ll quickly notice how much of a difference pixel density can make. Just to compare, the Sony Xperia X1A Ultra has a pixel density of 367 ppi over 257 ppi found on the Stylus 3, despite having a considerably larger 6 inch screen.

Another downside to the Stylus 3, this phablet is made completely out of plastic, and while makes for a lightweight package at just 149-grams, it offers a less premium feel than what you will find on the Xiaomi Mi Max 2.

Aside from the display resolution, the stylus itself comes with some new upgrades, like a more sensitive tip that gives it a more “real pen like” feel and finer point of contact and a proximity sensor to warn you if your phone strays too far from the stylus. Screen-off note-taking and automatic memo apps are also new features that make the built-in stylus more useful.

Price: $179.99

LG Stylus 3 full technical specifications


Maze Alpha

best big screen mid range smartphones maze alpha 6-inch phablet
Powered by Helio P25 Octa Core 2.5GHz chipset, the Maze Alpha sports a dual camera setup featuring 13 MP and 5 MP sensors around back.

Chances are you haven’t heard of smartphone maker Maze before. They are a relatively new manufacturer who made their debut with their first Android phone, the Maze Blade, which hit the market with no attention thanks to a boring design and huge bezels.

Now it seems the young Chinese company has learned from its mistakes by coming out with a new 6-inch bezel-less phablet that can be easily managed with one hand. The Maze Alpha sports a Helio P25 Octa Core 2.5GHz chipset with a dual camera setup featuring 13 MP and 5 MP f/2.2 sensors on the rear.

Perhaps one of the most interesting features of the Alpha is its massive 4000 mAh battery, which is much larger than what you will find on the latest flagship devices from big manufacturers such as Samsung, LG or Apple. Thanks to a true edge-to-edge design, using this phone with one hand makes for an extremely comfortable experience despite the large screen size.

Price: $219.99

Maze Alpha full technical specifications


Gionee A1 Plus

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This 6-inch mid ranger is an excellent choice for mobile photographers.

At first glance, the 6-inch Gionee A1 Plus is no doubt an eye-catching phablet – and it sports some impressive specs for a mid-range smartphone, including a Full HD display, exceptional performance, a pro camera, and excellent battery life.

One of the major highlights of the A1 Plus is its battery. Its 4550 mAh power pack is capable of supplying enough juice to last a full day, even with heavy usage like gaming and photography. Using it strictly for lightweight tasks can give you almost two days between charges, which takes less than two hours.

The Gionee A1 features a dual camera setup on the back, utilizing a combination of 13 MP and 5 MP lenses that produce high-quality images with selective focusing. There’s also a Professional mode, where you can play around with ISO, White Balance, Shutter Speed, and Exposure to capture your desired effect.

The Gionee A1 Plus weighs 226 grams and has a curved body that makes it easy to hold. The metal jacket gives it a premium feel for the price of a mid-ranger. Under the hood, its powered by MediaTek’s Octa-Core Helio P25 Chipset clocked at 2.5Ghz and is coupled with 4GB of RAM.

Price: $399.99

Gionee A1 Plus full technical specifications


Lenovo Phab2 Plus

best smartphone for your money lenovo phab 2 plus
The Lenovo Phab 2 plus sports a superb dual-camera setup with the same image processing software found in Leica cameras.

This is another jumbo-screen phone with dual rear cameras. The Phab 2 plus comes with a 6.4-inch screen with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels which keeps everything on-screen sharp as a tack.

The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus scores well in terms of build quality, and features a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner for security, but the main feature here is two rear 13-megapixel cameras with f/1.8 aperture that feature Fujitsu Milbeaut – the same advanced image processing software found in Leica cameras.

Hardware on the Phab 2 Plus includes octa core Mediatek 8, 783 processor, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage and 4,050 mAh battery. Memory can be expanded via microSD up to 128GB and the phone features sound technology from Dolby Atmos, promising a pleasant surround-sound experience.

Price: $219.99

Lenovo Phab 2 Plus full technical specifications


ZTE Grand X Max 2

best value for money smartphone zte grand x max 2
This Cricket Wireless exclusive from ZTE has a capable Snapdragon 617 processor clocked at 1.5GHz and 2GB of RAM.

This phone from ZTE is an attractive phablet that offers solid performance and cutting edge software for at a low price. The Max 2 has a sleek glass-and-metal build that houses a big 6-inch Full HD display and a solid midrange chipset that can handle your day to day applications with ease.

The Grand X Max 2 has a capable Snapdragon 617 processor clocked at 1.5GHz and 2GB of RAM. The display is not as sharp as the Quad HD panels you’ll find on high-end phones like the LG G6 but it is noticeably better than the 720p display of the Stylo 2. With a pixel density of 367ppi, the Max 2 makes for crisp text and excellent video quality.

Yet another mid-range phone with a unique dual-camera setup, the Max 2 sports a primary 13-megapixel sensor with a secondary 2-megapixel sensor underneath for increased depth and sharpness in your pictures.

Other nice features on the Max 2 include a USB-C charging port and dual speakers on the bottom of the device. Exclusive to Cricket Wireless, The Max 2 supports GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), WCDMA (850/1900/2100MHz), and LTE bands (2/4/5/12).

Price: $149.99

ZTE Grand X Max 2 full technical specifications


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