I’ve been a champion of bezelless devices long before the Xiaomi Mi Mix came out, and now that I actually have one in my hand, it’s… underwhelming to say the least. It definitely has that wow factor that pretty much all bezelless phones have, but that’s about it.

Maze Alpha Review

If the Maze Alpha wasn’t bezelless, it would be instantly lost in the sea of midrange MediaTek devices sporting a Helio P series chipset, a minimum of 4GB of RAM, and a large battery. However, the bezelless nature of the hardware easily catches the eye of the consumer, and deservedly so, bezelless phones are harder to manufacture.


Maze Alpha Specifications

Processor MediaTek Helio P25 Processor
Display 6″ 1920×1080 IPS LCD
Storage 64 ROM
Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat
Cameras 13MP/5MP, 5MP Camera
Battery 4000mAh
Physical Dimensions 225g, 15.98 x 8.25 x 0.81 cm

Big thanks to Gearbest for providing this review unit.

Maze Alpha Hardware

The Maze Alpha is not very bezelless. There, I said it. While this phone might look bezelless from afar, the more you use the phone the faster you realize that the side bezels are actually quite large, a far cry from what you find on the Mi Mix or even the Galaxy S8+. However, the top bezel is definitely small compared to normal phones, measuring slightly larger than the side bezels. While the bezels are not small, it does give a “floating screen” effect that is quite entrancing to stare at. The bottom bezel is quite large, housing the fingerprint sensor and the selfie camera.The rest of the phone is non descript, its a rectangular slab of glass and metal, making it very fragile and combined with the size of the phone the Maze Alpha is the epitome of “droppability”.


Maze Alpha Display

The Maze Alpha’s display is boringly good. Good enough to avoid widespread hate and complaints, but not good enough to wow in any way. Colour saturation is good enough and so is brightness, its easy to see in sunlight.

Maze Alpha Audio

The speaker is slightly sub-par. While it outputs decent volume, audio quality lacks in bass and speaker quality overall isn’t crisp. That being said, its still good enough for general use such as movies, TV, and music.

Maze Alpha Battery

One of the biggest surprises here is the battery life. 5 hours of 1080p YouTube playback and an hour of photos, gaming, and news dropped the battery to 38%, making it incredibly difficult to completely kill the phone here. While these numbers still do not match up to Snapdragon 625 devices, they still are more than sufficient for even the heaviest of users.

Great battery life

Maze Alpha Software

Maze still has some work to do to optimize their software well. While they didn’t do a bad job, I still found the user experience to be slower as a whole versus UMiDiGi, Elephone, and Vernee (phones with comparable specs). There seemed to be a microsecond of hesitation on the Maze Alpha not found on the other companies that were just mentioned. This is only Maze’s second phone so they still have time to improve, and I have high hopes for now. The 4GB of RAM makes multitasking a breeze, however, the bottleneck is still the processor, not the RAM.

I could play all games with no problem, and the fingerprint sensor works as well but not very fast or accurately. The sensor feels as slow as an entry-level device, and just about as inaccurate as well.

Maze Alpha Connectivity

The Maze Alpha has one of the highest 4G speeds I’ve seen on a device which is impressive, with reception being slightly less stellar. I found Bluetooth and GPS reception to both be rather average.

WiFi fails to impress, with WiFi speeds being sufficient until you move 12 feet away from the router, where WiFi speeds seem to drop to dial-up speeds. Any sort of solid door decreases range even further.

Maze Alpha Camera

The photos here are not the greatest quality, but I think Maze did a stellar job hiding that fact at times. Macro shots (close up shots) actually look very nice, until you blow it up on a larger screen where you start seeing quite a bit of background noise and oversharpening. Normal shots fare less well, with average detail and unflatteringly oversaturated shots. Moving objects prove a challenge for the Maze to capture, resulting in mostly blurry shots. Low light yields mostly unusable photos.

The front facing camera requires you to flip the phone around to take a photo although you can take a photo right side up, that results in a rather Dell XPS 13 ‘esque webcam angle.

The video tops out at 1080p and detail is not present, it’s challenging to take good video with this phone.

Maze Alpha Camera Gallery

Maze Alpha Verdict

The Maze Alpha is a rather average midrange MediaTek device with no bezels and fails to impress. If this phone wasn’t bezelless, I have no doubt this device would have fallen by the wayside rather quickly with many other better midrange devices to choose from. However, midrange bezelless devices (and bezelless devices in general) are few and far between, and if you want to get in on the bezelless craze, this is one of the only two options so far. If you do buy this because of the bezels, this is a rather average and uninspiring midrange device that will get the job done, but not well.

An average phone with some bezels

Maze Alpha Video Review

Maze Alpha Gallery

  • Build Quality
  • Display
  • Audio
  • Battery
  • Software & Performance
  • Connectivity
  • Camera

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  • Faress ElFarissi

    Those mi mix clones , fall one by one and the vkword will follow

    • Keeping an eye on that one

    • balcobomber25

      They are all realizing why the Mi Mix was one of the most expensive phones to ever produce. You can’t just cheap out on everything and have it work the same.

      • Agreed. However my biggest problem with these bezelless phones is that they aren’t actually bezelless. The side bezels are usually untouched, with the top bezel either slightly reduced or moved to the bottom to give the illusion people are looking for.

        The goal of bezelless phones should be reduction of body size while keeping the same screen size, not to imitate the Mi Mix.

  • Rattrap

    Nice to see a more critical review. Too many phones are in the 4+ bracket.

  • Wolvie

    Nice to see a non-biased review. Bravo bro.

    Actually mobile phone is like a computer nowadays. If the vendor cannot build a good software then why not they just use a pure android without any modification. Then they can relocate their research resources to improve their hardware specs.

    • Maze still has a ways to go optimizing their software

  • balcobomber25

    This brand seemed promising, hopefully this is the exception and not a sign of things to come. Would hate to see them become the next UMi or Elephone.

    • Don’t lose faith yet. I don’t think they failed big time here, in my opinion they are still in the process of refining their smartphone, this is only their second phone after all

      • balcobomber25

        I am more than willing to give a new brand plenty of chances to win me over. It took 2 or 3 phones but Ulefone and Oukitel are both “good” budget options in my view. The other two I have been burned one to many times haha.

    • Tim

      Promising? Is just because its long “jaw”? or its ugly appearance? You just like a joke! I can guess you even do not have one of this phone, if you have one, you will know whether it’s worthy.

      • balcobomber25

        I have read enough reviews to know it’s not worthy. Their first phone was, this one is not.

  • Sam

    A good review should maintain an objective attitude and offer the reference opinions, not hate speech. From the title and many other sentences in this review, the reviewer judged unjustly too much for his personal opinions.
    As a Maze Alpha owner who has used the phone for weeks, I’m really amazed. If you want to know how the Maze Alpha is, better check those reviews at digitaltrends, XDA, forbes or any other websites.

    • I have two objective problems with this phone, the bezels are big, and the phone is objectively slower than pretty much all other Helio P25 phones I’ve tested.

    • balcobomber25

      I don’t look at it as hate speech, I look at it as a phone that didn’t meet his expectations. Zi has had mostly good things to say about Maze in the past, why would he start hating them now?

      XDA is an excellent source for people when it comes to phones but a review should never focus on what is possible at XDA. A review should focus on the actual phone itself and the software it runs from the company. That is what every user who buys it is going to deal with. And finally, Forbes is great for a lot of things, reviewing Chinese phones isn’t one of them.

  • inkflow

    1. I own a Maze Alpha and I use it every day.
    2. It isn’t a top tier phone.
    3. But, and this is a big BUT, there isn’t a single Chinese phone which cost up to $180 (the price of the Alpha) which is of better quality! The Maze Alpha isn’t slow, it has almost stock android with no Chinese bloatware, it receives regular OTA updates and it sports a very good 6″ screen. It is far from being perfect, but it is as good as you’ll get for $180 if you wish to receive any kind of updates for your phone.

    • I think you forget about the Redmi Note 4X, its better in every way except it has a top bezel.

      • inkflow

        The Note 4X is only 5.5″ it’s not a stock android and only this month it received an update to android 7.0. So no, it’s not better in every way!

        • Bigger doesn’t mean better, in fact sometimes it is worse.
          The only valid argument you have there is stock Android, where I agree with you that I like stock better than MIUI. Then again, I’ve gotten a lot of hate from people who like MIUI the best.

          Let me rephrase, the Note 4X is better WHERE IT COUNTS. Its faster, longer battery life, better camera, better worldwide connectivity.

          • inkflow

            1. A bigger screen while keeping the overall size about the same – is a better thing. That’s the whole idea behind bezel-less phones.
            2. Regarding speed i suggest that you’ll take a look at “ben’s gadgets” comparison of the Alpha with the Galaxy S8. If the Note 4X has any kind of performance advantage over the Alpha I bet no one can really detect it in normal usage.
            3. Suggesting that the battery of the Alpha isn’t good is simply ridiculous. It can easily last over a day and more than likely it will outlast any phone which is priced $600+ If there is an aspect that doesn’t need an improvement – it is the battery life of the Alpha.

            • 1. That did not happen with this Alpha. The Mi Mix is a true bezelless phone. The Alpha is a regular phone with a shorter top bezel and regular side bezels, hardly bezelless.

              2. I have seen Ben Sin’s video on that, and that sequence is long and too variable, he should have broken it down into individual pieces, e.g. just launching instagram, just launching youtube. But yes, I’ll agree with you on the performance advantage in normal use.

              3. No where have I suggested that, let me repeat, the Redmi Note 4X has LONGER battery life than the Maze Alpha. Yes, the battery life doesn’t need improvement for regular people which seems to be your main thrust, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Note 4X lasts significantly longer than the Maze Alpha for those who need that extra battery life.

              Even if you did not agree with me on any of these points, the difference in camera quality is worth the price difference alone. Oh actually that doesn’t apply because the Note 4X is cheaper than the Maze.

              Oh, and the WiFi, there’s something wrong with that, I’ve gotten multiple messages on Youtube telling me they are experiencing the same problem.

        • lildwell

          All you need for the note 4x to be stock android is an SD card. Tue aftermarket is oversaturated with 7.1 ROMs and will be for 8.0 ROMs when its released as well. With mediatek devices’ hietory of android version updates and community support, good luck getting stock 8.0 on this… I’d rather have a redmi note 3 pro or a mi max than this…

          • inkflow

            Last time I bought a Xiaomi phone it bricked after one week for no special reason. Are you trying to convince to buy another Xiaomi phone and brick it on purpose?

            BTW, good luck getting regular OTA security updates for your non official 8.0 Note 4x (whenever such ROM will be available). That said, I do agree that it’s unlikely that Maze will provide an 8.0 ROM – but this is true for almost all Chinese vendors which simply disrespect their customers (and Xiaomi is certainly not an exception).

            • lildwell

              I’ve had my redmi note 2 for 3+ years now. This is after a multitude of ROM switches and root apps. And its the only phone to survive my punishment for over a year. Overall the redmi series has been continuously voted as the pinnacle of devices in this price range by both consumers and professional critics. But you being an anomaly, an outlier discredits all of the praise and proven reliability among millions of people across millions of devices. You do realize that relying purely on anecdotal evidence as outright proof of anything is a common yet fairly dangerous logical fallacy right? To each his own though… And yes. I do get my official security updates. Android is based on a free GPL license. Google releases sources to AOSP android that include security updates, plus different ROMs often have their own security patches that fly over googles head. Lastly, android versions don’t have much to do with security. My sister has a redmi note 3 pro with miui and receives constant updates. She also loves mini over stock android so the whole stock android overall is merely a personal opinion. Objectively, the redmi series are the better phones based on battery life, build quality, community ROM and update support, company ROM support, and overall rankings amongst reviewers…

  • Krishnamurthy Subbian

    Good review Zi. I am using the Maze Alpha for the last 20days. Overall it is good for the price. They could have done better on the bezels, audio quality and camera. Anyway, no regrets. I have already received three OTAs, hope they continue the good work updating to new android versions! To much to expect from Chinese phones though.

  • Muhammad Yasir

    so it SUCKS