ZTE Axon 7-18

ZTE surprised us all last year with the launch of the Axon Pro. A high-end, premium smartphone at a competitive price tag wasn’t necessarily a new concept, but up until then we weren’t used to seeing that from ZTE… especially in the United States.

Now the company is back with a successor to last year’s Axon Pro. The all-new ZTE Axon 7 sports many of the same design cues and features as its predecessor, but also comes with a few notable enhancements that you’ll definitely want to check out. Want to know the details? Let’s get right to it.

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Axon 7 design

ZTE Axon 7-7

It’s pretty clear that most of our readers are partial to a smartphone made of aluminum as opposed to glass or plastic, and thankfully that’s exactly what we’re seeing here. The Axon 7 sports a full metal aluminum unibody and comes in two different color options – Ion Gold and Quartz Grey. Looking at the front, the first thing you’ll notice is the big 5.5-inch AMOLED display flanked by two front-facing speaker grills at the top and bottom. You’ll also find a front-facing camera sensor sitting to the left of the top speaker grill.

The top edge features a 3.5mm headphone jack and the left side is completely bare. On the right you’ll find the volume rocker and power/standby key, and the USB Type-C port is sitting at the bottom of the phone.

Moving around back, the Axon 7’s 20MP main camera sensor sits right above the dual LED flash and rear-facing fingerprint sensor. That’s right — ZTE has brought a fingerprint sensor to its Axon line this time around, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Just about every other major flagship on the market has a fingerprint sensor, and we’re glad ZTE chose to include one on the Axon 7.

Axon specifications and features

 ZTE Axon 7
Display5.5-inch AMOLED display
2560 x 1440 resolution, 538ppi
Gorilla Glass 4
Processor2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
GPUAdreno 530
RAM4/6GB
Storage64/128GB
MicroSDYes, up to 128GB
CamerasRear: 20MP Samsung ISOCELL sensor with sapphire lens, OIS, EIS, PDAF, f/1.8 aperture, dual LED flash
Front: 8MP
Dual SIMYes
SIM typeNano SIM
SIM 2 also supports microSD card expansion
USB TypeUSB Type-C
USB 3.0
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.2
NFC
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2.4 GHz/ 5 GHz
NetworksGSM/EDGE:B2/3/5/8
CDMA BC0/1/10
UMTS/HSPA: B2/B5/B4/B1/B8
LTE: B2/B4/B5/B12/B13/B17/B7/B3/B1/B20/B29/B30/B25/B26/B41
2CA: B2+B4,B2/4+B12,B2/4+B29, B2/4+B5, B41+B41, B25+B25
Fingerprint sensorYes
SoftwareAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow with MiFavor UI 4.0
BatteryNon-removable 3,140mAh battery
Quick Charge 3.0
Dimensions and weight151.8 x 75 x 7.9 mm
185 grams
ColorsIon Gold, Quartz Grey

Taking a quick glance at the specifications, you’ll see that the Axon 7 is clearly a high-end flagship through and through. It comes with a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display that’s covered in a panel of Gorilla Glass 4. The pixel density of 538ppi should be plenty clear enough for folks who are concerned about display resolution, as well.

The Axon 7 is no slouch under the hood, either. It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor clocked at 2.2GHz and backed by either 4 or 6GB of RAM. As you’re probably already aware, this is the same processor that’s included in the LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC 10, so the Axon 7 should be quite capable at handling just about anything you throw at it. You also get the choice between two storage options here – 64GB of on-board storage with 4GB of RAM, or a massive 128GB of on-board storage and 6GB of RAM. Both variants come with microSD expansion up to 128GB, so you’ll probably have a hard time running out of storage space on this phone.

The Axon 7 includes a non-removable 3,140mAh battery. This is also a Quick Charge 3.0-compatible device, and ZTE says you’ll be able to achieve a 50% charge in just 30 minutes.

ZTE Axon 7-16

The camera is where things get interesting. The handset comes with a 20MP rear-facing camera with a Samsung ISOCELL sensor and sapphire lens. It boasts OIS (optical image stabilization), EIS, phase-detection auto-focus, and an f/1.8 aperture. There are plenty of different modes and settings to play around with in the camera app as well, such as Super Auto mode, Auto HDR, Automatic Scene Optimization and a few others. The Axon 7 also comes with manual, slow motion and long exposure modes that will help you take even better pictures.

On the front, you’ll find an 8MP camera sensor that should be more than enough for all your selfie-taking needs.

The Axon 7 is running ZTE’s MiFavor UI 4.0 interface atop Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. This software experience doesn’t stray too far away from vanilla Android, nor is it completely bare bones. We’ll have more details about the software in our hands-on post.

Axon 7 pricing and availability

ZTE Axon 7-2

The ZTE Axon 7 will be available in China starting today, with other markets to follow “very soon.” As for the US launch, we know it will be priced competitively compared to other flagships on the market, and will be sold unlocked with support for all four major U.S. carriers. ZTE would not reveal an actual price, but said that the device would cost under $500 in the US. We’ll be sure to let you know all the details once we learn more.

So what are your thoughts? If the price is right, will the Axon 7 be your next phone? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Jimmy Westenberg
Lover of all things Android, Star Wars, dogs, coffee, and music.