It's a big box, but slender. It fits the Xiaomi Mi Max itself and the two vital accessories - a charger (5V @ 2A) and a microUSB cable. There's also an ejector tool tucked into the small manual.
We didn't receive a headset and the box doesn't seem designed to fit one either. Still, getting this hardware at this price, we're willing to let it slide.
If this was a movie, the Xiaomi Mi Max could have been seen climbing the Empire State Building with a hot blonde in his paw. Snap back to reality, the phone measures 173.1mm tall and 88.3mm wide, but only just 7.5mm thick.
The height and especially the width makes one-handed use pretty much impossible. You can hold it, it's even fairly comfortable, but anything but the most basic actions with the screen requires both hands.
Then there's the weight. At 203g, it's a lot, but given the size, the Mi Max doesn't feel overweight.
Even with all that, the Mi Max is not the largest phone we've ever seen (even when you skip the voicecall-enabled tablets), but even seasoned phablet users find it gargantuan. So you've been warned. The Mi Max is not a one-handed device and we've made our peace with that.
With the screen off, the bezel that runs along the screen looks impressively thin. When the screen comes on, however, you see a black double border around the screen, which form a second border.
The Mi Max is a well-crafted device. The front is Gorilla Glass 4 with a slight bevel at the edge. From here, the transition to the beveled metal sides of the phone is not perfectly smooth, but it offers plenty of grip.
The sides of the back are more rounded, which improves comfort in the hand. There's subtle texture on the back that's just enough to improve traction (as metal phones tend to be slippery).
The front of the big phone is very symmetrical. Around the earpiece are two circles - a 5MP selfie camera on the right and a proximity sensor on the left. The notification light is invisible when it's off.
Below the screen are three capacitive buttons: the App Switcher, Home and Back. Yes, even at this screen size, Xiaomi didn't go for on-screen buttons. This may be a good or a bad thing depending on your preferences.
Where's the fingerprint button if not part of the Home key? On the back, of course. Even at this size, the round, recessed sensor is easy to reach. It can automatically unlock the phone, so you don't need to use the Power key once you set up a fingerprint.
Speaking of the power key, that's on the right, below the Volume rocker. Both are fairly narrow and have a shallow press. Depending on your grip, it's quite possible to reach them one-handed (yes, even volume up).
On the left side, we find the card tray. You need an ejector tool to access it and you can place up to two cards - two SIMs (nano + micro) or one SIM and a microSD card. It's unusual that the microSD replaces SIM1 (it usually shares a compartment with the second SIM).
Xiaomi wasn't stingy with storage. The base model gets 32GB, but you can also double it to 64GB. Then there's the top model with 128GB, which also comes with an extra gig of RAM and a faster chipset.
Let's turn back for a moment. The 16MP camera is almost flush with the back (it doesn't protrude enough to cause a wobble). Next to it is the dual-LED, dual-tone flash.
Note that the camera/flash pair are on a separate plastic panel (a similar panel is on the bottom). The plastic (a window for the antennas) matches the texture of the metal, though the color is slightly off.
At the top of the Xiaomi Mi Max are the 3.5mm audio jack, the secondary mic and an IR blaster. At the bottom are a regular microUSB 2.0 port and two grilles. Only one of them hides an actual speaker.