wFrom the looks of it, there is no stopping Samsung. Their Galaxy S7 has been such a great success, and so has every other Galaxy S handset in the past. Can a manufacturer like ZTE really compete with such a giant? Maybe not in sales, but they are trying to hit the flagships with the new Axon 7.

Today we are putting the ZTE Axon 7 right up against the Samsung Galaxy S7. Which one deserves to live in your pocket? More importantly, which is more worthy of your hard-earned cash? Let’s find out!

ZTE Axon 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 129

Design and build quality

These smartphones look completely different. The ZTE Axon 7 goes for the unibody, full metal approach. It looks really nice and feels quite substantial in the hand. There is no doubt this was a significant upgrade over last year’s design; we definitely like the way it looks and feels.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S7 also goes for a premium edge (see what I did there?). It might not feel as solid as ZTE’s smartphone, but it’s glass and metal combination make for a very nice look and feel. At the same time, the Galaxy S7 is much easier to handle with one hand.

ZTE Axon 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 128

Something we should note is that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of the very few flagship devices to feature a water resistant body. This may very well give Sammy’s handset an advantage, depending on your lifestyle.

Display

Taking a quick look at the screens we can find both are amazing here. These smartphones have AMOLED screens, with the only main difference being their sizes.

There’s a 5.1-inch panel in the Samsung Galaxy S7, versus the much larger 5.5-inch screen in the ZTE Axon 7. Both have a QHD (2560×1440) resolution. They are exceptionally vibrant, detailed and sport great viewing angles. It’s hard to say which one is better, as they are nearly identical. The ZTE’s phone screen does come from Samsung, after all.

ZTE Axon 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 127

Software

Software is a bit of a gamble here, as these phones sport such different UI skins. It just depends on your preference. With the Galaxy S7 you will have TouchWiz, of course. You may like it or not, but no one can deny it has an ample set of features.

Whereas Samsung took the approach of customising almost all the Android interface, ZTE have adopted a more stock-like experience on the Axon 7. Unlike previous Axon devices which featured a heavily customised interface, the Axon 7 UI is clean, sharp and only features a small amount of customisation.

Both interfaces are full of functionality and which smartphone you pick will really depend on which interface appeals to you more. Whichever you pick, you’re definitely getting a premium experience either way.

ZTE Axon 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 120

Hardware

The ZTE Axon 7 runs pretty fast as it is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, which is backed by teh Adreno 530 GPU with 4 GB of RAM. This is just the standard version however, as a premium version comes equipped with a whopping 6GB of RAM, which makes the Axon 7 one of the first smartphones to offer 6GB RAM!

The Galaxy S7 has a couple versions; one with the Snapdragon 820 and another with the Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa processor. Both Samsung versions also come with 4 GB of RAM and the GPU depends on which processing package you get; the Snapdragon version comes with an Adreno 530 GPU while the Exynos variant sports a Mali GPU.

ZTE Axon 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 122

The Axon 7 comes with either 64GB or 128GB storage – with the latter offering 6GB RAM – and both can be expanded by up to 128GB using a microSD card. In comparison, the Galaxy S7 offers 32GB or 64GB storage; both of these can be expanded using a microSD but the 64GB variant is scarcely available.

Like any flagship, both handsets come with fingerprint sensors, with the Axon 7 sporting it on the back and the Galaxy S7 offering it on the front beneath the display. The Axon 7 also comes with a pressure sensitive display, which is only available on the premium version (with 6GB RAM / 128GB storage) of the handset.

ZTE Axon 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 115

The Axon 7 is equipped with Doby Atmos surround sound features, while the Galaxy S7 has an average speaker but does offer water and dust resistance. Both handsets have large batteries, with the Axon 7 offering a 3,140 mAh battery while the Galaxy S7 battery is slightly smaller at 3,000 mAh. Both handsets also support fast charging so if you do run low, they can be topped up pretty quickly.

These handsets are equally fast and responsive, so it’s pretty hard to say which one will be better in the long run. Whichever you pick, you can expect a premium experience that is worthy of a flagship name and price tag.

ZTE Axon 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 124

Camera

By now, Samsung has built up a reputation for being one of the best when it comes to smartphone camera quality. This time around they are using a 12 MP camera with an f/1.7 aperture, along with dual pixel technology which provides super fast autofocus. It’s fast, takes sharp images and does very well in low light.

See also:

Results are in – the best smartphone camera is..

May 3, 2016

The ZTE Axon 7 carries a 20 MP sensor with an f/1.8 aperture lens. It also has OIS, face detection, auto-focus and ZTE also claims it will perform well in darker environments. We can’t say which one has a better camera yet, but we are very curious to run our tests so stay tuned for more on which of these cameras is actually the best.

ZTE Axon 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 125

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is the phone to beat this year. It is rich in features and performs very well, as well as being quite unique. It has all the bells and whistles, like wireless charging, water resistance and even a heart rate monitor.

With that said, we also know the ZTE Axon 7 shouldn’t be ignored. It will probably come in at a lower price point and is still an amazing handset. Not to mention it is unlocked and will have support for all 4 major carriers here in the USA.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned to Android Authority for more coverage on the ZTE Axon 7, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S7. For now, hit the comments and let us know which phone you prefer!

John Velasco
Storyteller, ongoing health nut, persistent complainer of running, & religious flosser.
  • this device appears pretty impressive.. interested to know about real world battery performance

    • David Martrano

      Seems to be a good phone for the price range. If you can’t afford the s7 could be a nice option. Alot of these companies are helping people that cannot pay up for a pricey flagship I don’t think I would mind owning one of these cheaper phones. Maybe give it a try!!!!

  • Replicant Jason Booth

    Hey John, I’ve watched so many of your videos over the years that I don’t even need to see your face or name, I see your hands and I’m like oh it’s John V! LOL the axon looks seriously promising.

  • raffr

    This phone offers specs on par with the htc 10, for $200 less. I feel for htc, they can’t compete at these prices.

    • David Martrano

      You got that right. The 10 is very overpriced at 699.00. No marketing doesn’t help the cause!!

  • Howard Stern ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    way to give the middle finger to HTC haha. HTC cannot get the pricing part of selling phones right. ZTE is really coming on strong with this device IMO. Great video, I give the edge to the proven S7. Although the ZTE is literally nipping at the heals of Samsung here.

    • Daggett Beaver

      I have to agree. Even though it’s not for me, the ZTE looks like a fantastic deal. I give it extra props for using AMOLED.

      • David Martrano

        Agreed, ZTE has come along way with this phone. For people who can’t afford 800.00 big ones this phone is great. Thumbs up to the axon 7!!

  • DeLeon629

    S7 edge comparison in 5…4…3…2…

    • Daggett Beaver

      That would have been the appropriate comparison, since the S7 Edge has a 5.5″ display.

      • DeLeon629

        I wanted to be nice and hint on it, at least lol

      • RacerRick55

        very much agree S7 EDGE was the phone to put up against the ZTE here.

      • Technobro

        Lol, so fair at twice the price.

    • InfDaMarvel

      Id rather see a Note 5 comparison lol. I considering the size differentiation.

  • Daggett Beaver

    Strictly my subjective preferences:

    ZTE advantages

    1. 5.5″ flat display (I like a big display, and on the ZTE, no space is lost to the edges)

    S7/Edge advantages

    1. Wireless charging
    2. Fast wireless charging
    3. MST and Samsung Pay for payments at any swipe-style magnetic strip reading terminal
    4. Edge features for the S7 Edge
    5. Water/dust resistance

    Your list will no doubt be different (for example, I don’t care about front-facing speakers, but some people do). But for me, the S7 Edge is by far the better choice.

    • arbocorp

      Have you configured adoptable storage on the S7 Edge? 32gb is not enough for me so that’s what’s mostly keeping me away from the the S7 Edge.

      • 1213 1213

        How is 32gb not enough though? And you can still move the data of apps into external storage, you just can’t install them onto the external storage.

        • InfDaMarvel

          32gb is the new 16gb. I dont have a S7 but I have a S6 and I have 26GB remaining of my 64GB. My remaining space would be even more limited if I didn’t utilize Dropbox.

          • 1213 1213

            But if you’re talking about dropbox you’re already talking about stuff that can go in the micro SD card. And then all your pictures and media can too. And even most of the data for apps can be transferred into the SD card. They just need to be installed on to the internal storage.

          • InfDaMarvel

            My comment is about your first question. Yes you can use a SD card, albeit slower. I utilize Dropbox for file synchronization on each of my device (not just phones). Your statement is true though. I just don’t think 32gb is enough for anyone.

      • David Martrano

        You can purchase a 64 gb s/d card on Amazon for 19.00. Then you have plenty of storage….

        • arbocorp

          yes, but unless you configure adoptable storage you’re stuck with less than 32gb to install apps. 64gb should be the minimum

    • Technobro

      You missed some ZTE advantages:

      2.5D glass (like HTC 10 and iPhone 6s)
      Force touch
      6 GB RAM
      Higher Antutu score
      Lithium-Polymer battery (lasts longer, doesn’t explode or swell, higher capacity); Stronger frame (Google it)
      Dual Hi-fi DAC, dual microphone, dual front facing speaker
      Dolby atmos digital surround sound (superior audio)
      Dual sim/microsd hybrid tray
      Assisted by BMW Designworks
      Fingerprint sensor on back (easier to access)
      Larger display in a similar size body
      USB C
      Fast Charging
      Google Daydream VR ready

      May I go on? Oh, yeah. I forgot it’s about $200 cheaper.

      Strictly MY preferences.

      • publicelement

        There are few more noteworthy advantages of Axon 7,
        – Passport 2.0, 2 yrs Full warranty (screen break etc covered)
        – Comes with screen protector and a case
        – Very strong metal body which cannot be bent

      • Isn’t Force Touch on a supposed future model, and NOT there yet?

        “Dual sim/microsd hybrid tray”

        The S7 does this.

        “USB C”

        Right now it means buying expensive rare chargers or tons of dongles. I think it’s a wash at this time if the year 2016 if USB-C is a better thing to have.

        “Fast Charging”

        The S7’s have this: it is even in a previous comment.

        • Technobro

          The Axon 7 has a micro USB to USB C adapter, and comes WITH the “rare charger”. And you’re missing the whole point: the Axon 7 does all this for $400 less (MSRP) than the s7, and comes with an unlocked bootloader. Not to mention it isn’t carrier locked.

          • If you leave the rare charger at one place, you are hosed if you are at another place and the Axon dies due to its poor battery life (the Axon follows the fad, unfortunately, of pathetic weak batteries due to the phone being too think to have an adequate one: a bad idea copied from Samsung and Apple.

            I am actually looking forward to real reviews of this thing, It COULD be a game changer due to the price difference.

          • Igor Sloboda

            Actually you can get the s7 unlocked. That’s how I got mine.

      • Awesome Bryner

        Tinny sound is not superior audio. Not better than a tinny HD TV tinny sound. The device is a heck a lot smaller, So no way this has premium sound out of 3.5 watt speakers.

    • wow

      Axon 7 has one of the best speakers out of any phone out there too

  • Jade Bryan Jardinico

    Just here for John, nothing ele.

  • arbocorp

    I don’t know why everyone favors metal so much and equates it with premium. If that phone was butt ugly sporting a metal case, would you still be ooohhing about it? Compared to the Samsung, as far as design, Samsung is elegant, and better looking hands down. The Axon 7 has a good looking generic design. How many of you thought of HTC, Apple, Samsung, Haweii, Honor, etc? Yes design is important but I’ve always purchased cases so what’s inside is more important. I’m looking at at upgrading from my OnePlus One and this phone has most of the features I’m looking for in a smartphone. I’m going to hold off so I can compare it to the OnePlus 3 and maybe this years Nexus large phone option. I’ve read comments ZTE isn’t great with customer service, anyone hear otherwise? Yes I want a good phone but customer support, accessores and updates should be factors too.

    • Michael Monroe

      I hear you about the design, but I can say this…I purchased the S7 Edge for my son and the S6 Edge Plus for my daughter, and both are BEAUTIFUL phones…….UNTIL you touch them. I personally don’t like to put on a case every day, so I found out that with the Samsung phones, they develop a greasy film from dust and body oils/fingerprints that takes the phone not only EXTREMELY slippery, but also takes all of the beauty out of the looks. Maybe that’s why they made it water resistant…so you can bathe it.

      And the wireless fast charger cost $65. That’s on top of the already $800 for the S7 Edge. WOOOOW

      I was looking at getting the S7 Edge until I noticed what was happening with my kids phones. Then I wanted the HTC 10, but now, this ZTE is looking really good to me right now….but that DAC on the HTC 10 is a strong selling point for me.

      • Josh

        I’ve got the Note 5 and the Edge + and I was about to say the same thing. They look phenomenal ….when they are clean. And handling is decent…until they get just a bit of dirt/grease (I work in the trades so this one is common for me)/ and or fingerprints at which point they become greased lightning and nearly impossible to hold without a case on them.

        • David Martrano

          I have the edge since it’s release. The performance is the best I’ve ever used. Display, camera & battery are unmatched. Touch-Wiz is vastly improved and I’ve never had a lag problem! To me it’s just a great all around performer. Plus outside in the sun the display is very legible. I would always run & hide from bright sun light with other phones but not with this guy! I personally think it’s one of the best ever produced!!

    • InfDaMarvel

      To put it simple, I like the solidarity of a metal phone in comparison to other materials. I tend to keep a tight grip on my phones, and I can certainly see the difference.

    • Technobro

      They replace your phone for normal wear and tear once within 2 years. That’s better than anyone. And here’s a list of (current) advantages:

      2.5D glass (like HTC 10 and iPhone 6s)
      Force touch
      6 GB RAM
      Higher Antutu score
      Lithium-Polymer battery (lasts longer, doesn’t explode or swell, higher capacity); Stronger frame (Google it)
      Dual Hi-fi DAC, dual microphone, dual front facing speaker
      Dolby atmos digital surround sound (superior audio)
      Dual sim/microsd hybrid tray
      Assisted by BMW Designworks
      Fingerprint sensor on back (easier to access)
      Larger display in a similar size body
      USB C
      Fast Charging
      Google Daydream VR ready

      May I go on? Oh, yeah. I forgot it’s about $200 cheaper.

  • droidtomtom

    Great specs but way more important to me is how fast the memory is? Both flash storage and RAM. Even the fastest phones feel sluggish with E-books if they have slow memory.

  • stfu

    yes let’s see its battery performance. although the axon 7 indeed is a serious competition to the bigger names. although, imo, there’s the rub. zte itself doesn’t have a big name, and questions on reliability and after-sales are going to be an obstacle.

  • 1213 1213

    I know it has front facing speakers but the bezels are too big. Just look how high the virtual keys are, and then remember that the s7 has off screen keys. Looks decent though. Loads of good Chinese phones nowadays. Comes down to price and what sort of concessions they had to make in terms of structural integrity and software optimisation.

  • #Note5 IsBoss

    S7 wins period that’s very easy.

    • squiddy20

      Says the Samsung fanboy. Shocker.

    • David Martrano

      There’s no phone on the market that compares to the s7 edge. Close but no cigars. I think it will get phone of the year. Will be watching!!!

      • Technobro

        Ahem. I listed the advantages of the Axon 7 here you go you’re welcome:

        2.5D glass (like HTC 10 and iPhone 6s)
        Force touch
        6 GB RAM
        Higher Antutu score
        Lithium-Polymer battery (lasts longer, doesn’t explode or swell, higher capacity); Stronger frame (Google it)
        Dual Hi-fi DAC, dual microphone, dual front facing speaker
        Dolby atmos digital surround sound (superior audio)
        Dual sim/microsd hybrid tray
        Assisted by BMW Designworks
        Fingerprint sensor on back (easier to access)
        Larger display in a similar size body
        USB C
        Fast Charging
        Google Daydream VR ready

        May I go on? Oh, yeah. I forgot it’s about $200 cheaper.

        • Part of your list is wrong. Please correct before cut and paste:)

      • But even a $20 7-11 burner is better than a Samsung S7 Edge that has been dropped 2 feet and shattered.

    • RacerRick55

      looks? no ZTE wins. speakers? no, ZTE wins. screen size? no, ZTE wins.
      not so easy when things are subjective……

    • Technobro

      Thanks #Note5 IsBoss for your strictly unbiased comment.

      • I don’t know about you, but #Axon7IsDaBomb said the ZTE phone was better. I trust him as a journalist of impeccable integrity. What do you think?

  • Ronald Sims

    Seems like ZTE is getting serious with the flagship this year. Front firing speakers that sounds great. This is what the Moto X should have been this year, but I digress. This might my next phone if the updates are frequent. Also like the stock with nice customization. Sure the S7 has water resistance and looks just as nice, but the Axon 7 is more of my style, and if we get the 6gb model, then I might actually spend 600+ for that (if the review is good, which I expect it to be). I often bash on ZTE for making under-whelming phones and being plain with their hardware and software, but they are stepping their game this year.

    • Technobro

      If enough people get this phone, cyanogenmod and AOSP will follow. Updates aren’t an issue with popular phones. There’s always a way.

  • Jesus

    I mean… Why get a ZTE phone? Lol…

    • RacerRick55

      price, performance, looks, dual speakers ON THE FRONT OF THE PHONE WHERE THEY BELONG, fingerprint sensor ON THE BACK OF THE PHONE WHERE IT BELONGS, microSD card slot, unlocked, support for ALL 4 US CARRIERS, do I need to say more?

      • You really only need AT&T and Verizon support.

        Sprint and T-Mobile are poor choices that only cover a small part of the country.

        • J

          Jon

    • Dylan Clark

      I mean…why get a Samsung phone?. The axon is on par with the samsung in every department and has way better speakers and for few hundred less dollars. If you’re worried about waterproofing, you can just buy a waterproof case with the money you have from not buying an s7.

      • The Samsung camera is a lot better.

        • David Martrano

          That’s a good point. Duel pixal camera the fastest focus and the low light shooter is about the best but their alot more money! Still I have the edge but for the dollar the axon 7 is a great purchase. You can’t knock a phone with the specs it incorporates. And not everyone can afford 800.00 for a premium flagship!! For 400.00 it should not be passed up!!

    • Technobro

      2.5D glass (like HTC 10 and iPhone 6s)
      Force touch
      6 GB RAM
      Higher Antutu score
      Lithium-Polymer battery (lasts longer, doesn’t explode or swell, higher capacity); Stronger frame (Google it)
      Dual Hi-fi DAC, dual microphone, dual front facing speaker
      Dolby atmos digital surround sound (superior audio)
      Dual sim/microsd hybrid tray
      Assisted by BMW Designworks
      Fingerprint sensor on back (easier to access)
      Larger display in a similar size body
      USB C
      Fast Charging
      Google Daydream VR ready

      May I go on? Oh, yeah. I forgot it’s about $200 cheaper.

  • DBS93

    the thing that most gets me worried about the axon is the update thing, as they are not well seen from that stand point

    • Technobro

      Cyanogenmod. AOSP Roms. People actually use official updates nowadays?

  • vision33r

    No physical home button, no buy. The reason people buy Samsung is because on-screen keys are a complete waste of screen space.

    • Technobro

      … You know that this phone has more screen in the same dimensions because it uses have keys, right? And you can’t change your home button look on Samsung. No nav bar, no buy. But to each their own.

    • entropyk

      The Axon 7 HAS capacitive, off screen back, home and previous (ALL) recent apps, at least mine does, so I suppose they all do…(and choice of STOCK Android, or slightly skinned MIUI..

  • 4KJ

    I Haven’t seen real world use but I’m picking A7 over the S7. My reasons being wireless charging not serious and neither is Samsung pay that’s what android pay is for. I’m off contract so spending 800 vs 450 dollars for a product that is showing very few cons is a no brainier. Its essentially the S7 edge with out the edges, wireless charging and Samsung pay. Im also not a fan of the all glass design. I know someone personally who droped the S7 edge from less than 3ft and ended up with a shattered phone. I’m just saying being a well known company doesn’t always mean the best. One last point type-C usb was obviously a purposely omitted addition. Got to have some reason to buy the S8 right.

  • Technobro

    I love how the Galaxy S7 has all the “bells and whistles” that the S5 had/has, “like wireless charging, water resistance and even a heart rate monitor”. Funny how things work nowadays. Maybe the S8 will even have a removable battery!

  • chinna

    hello, do u have any information from ZTE weather it will be released in india and if so, when it will be available?

  • dwp4you

    This is not really much of a comparison expect listing the specs of each device. Using the term VS in the title insinuates that there is a battle of sorts… Not here! How about writing this AFTER you compare each device’s camera, battery life, sound, speed, etc. ONE VS the OTHER like your title insinuates???

  • arbocorp

    Thanks but how does it perform? Does the card slow down the phone? Are you experiencing any restarts? At this point I’m looking at the LG V20 or the Nexus larger phone.

    • ntotrr

      I returned the G5 after four weeks, it just working one day, it just died. While it was working, I didn’t notice any slow-down or restarts with the phone.

  • Awesome Bryner

    There is a reason the price is way lower on Axon 7 compared to Galaxy S7 and it is obvious without a review. Missing the scratch resistance and water resistance. Quite a bit missing. So $399 is right. If you want all that, that is missing from Axon 7 get the S7. The two front speakers even at Dolby are tin sound. My mother had a HD television with Dolby and was loud but all tinny. That had more than 3.5 watts per speaker than a Axon 7. So that right there says how tinny those speakers would sound, and the television had 4, two speakers and tweeters. Plus, ZTE should not be number 3 in the smartphone market. They should be in 10. Cheaper devices do not make better. You get what you pay for.

    • David Martrano

      I agree at 400.00 there is a trade-off. Yes flagship specs. The s7 has a duel pixel camera and the fastest auto focus on the market. I think their display is the best. Well it’s just a matter of choice and the money you can save on the axon 7. All in all the axon 7 is a very good offering for the bucks!!

  • Awesome Bryner

    I think this should been Axon 7 vs the S7 Edge review. The S7 is nice but the lower end of the Edge. Still think the S7 though is even better. Where is the fingerprint scanner on the S7? No where on the back.

    • Borta Maga

      The S7 is already expensive enough.

  • VegabondX

    Gonna buy a Axon 7. The stereo speakers sold me and now that I know that both the displays are amoled (with Samsung technology), I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Plus, since I’m coming from the note 7, I have a ton of usb-c cables that I bought and it would be a waste not to use them.