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Phone Reviews : ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings

Update: ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings

The ZTE Axon 7 is a lot of phone for a lot less money than the competition. For $400 you get a premium metal design, a top-of-the-line processor, a Quad HD display, and support for all the major US carriers. There is no other phone on the market that brings together this array of features at this price. The OnePlus 3, for instance, has a lower resolution 1080p display, while the Idol 4S has a slower processor. The Moto G4 Plus also has a slower processor, not to mention a plastic build. If you're looking for something more affordable, the Blu Life One X$149.99 at Amazon gets you a good mix of features at a much lower price point. But if you want flagship-level features and performance in an unlocked phone at a midrange price, the Axon 7 is the one to get, and an Editors' Choice.

ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings: DESIGN

ZTE Axon 7 is the grown up version of last year's ZTE Axon Pro thanks to its all-metal design and considerably less chunk. It's ready to compete with Samsung, LG and Apple.

Phone Reviews : ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings

I can hold it in one hand, but with dimensions of 151.8mm x 75mm x 7.8mm and a slippery aluminum design, I found myself struggling to reach for the corners without resorting to two. Luckily, a clear silicone case is included in the box along with a earbuds and a USB-C-to-micro-USB adapter.

What ZTE did nicely on the front is it maximized the real estate for its 5.5-inch display thanks to an edge-to-edge screen and overall minimalist look. Besides the 2K display, it limits the phone face to awesome-sounding dual-front facing speakers and a small front-facing camera.

You won't find a fingerprint-sensing home button taking up space on the front. Instead, the home button is on-screen (just like Google and LG do it), while the biometric sensor is elegantly embossed on back.

Update: ZTE Axon 7 may be changing over to capacitive buttons and away from on-screen buttons. I like this change, personally, although I haven't tested out the new buttons on the updated prototype. My first chance will likely come in my final review in a matter of days. Stay tuned.

It's easy to reach the fingerprint sensor on a phone of this size (easier than I found it to be on the taller Nexus 6P) and it's as just fast and accurate as its top competition, likely using the same Swedish sensor supplier, Fingerprint Cards.

Phone Reviews : ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings

ZTE also resisted the temptation of stamping its logo on the front of the device, favoring the back. It creates an undeniably cleaner look all around.

So far, I've been able to play with the ZTE Axon 7 in an Ion Gold color, and the included earbuds take on matching gold trim. In the future, the company plans to launch a Quartz Silver color, too, but it's not available at launch.

ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings: FEATURES

The Ion Gold ZTE Axon 7 64GB Smartphone offers a vibrant display, powerful performance, and high-quality optics in a sleek design. This smartphone incorporates 64GB of storage and is powered by the Snapdragon 820 chipset, which consists of 2.15 and 1.6 GHz dual-core CPUs. Thanks to its integrated microSD expansion slot, users have the option of inserting microSDXC cards up to 256GB. For robust multi-tasking performance, this device also features 4GB of RAM, which allows it to efficiently run multiple apps simultaneously.

Phone Reviews : ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings

The Axon 7 features built-in dual SIM card slots, which give you the ability to have two separate phone numbers on the same device. One of the SIM card slots functions as a hybrid slot that accepts microSDXC cards up to 256GB-however, because it's a hybrid slot, you won't be able to have a microSD card installed if you're using the Axon 7 as a dual-SIM device.

ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings: PERFORMANCE

Under the hood, the Axon 7 is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, with two of the cores running at 2.15GHz and the other two running at 1.6GHz. The Snapdragon 820 has been used in every major flagship smartphone this year, and for good reason, as it is an absolute beast of a processor, offering up some of the best performance to date. It’s a notable step forward from last year’s Snapdragon 810, which was plagued by overheating rumors.

In addition to a Snapdragon 820, however, the Axon 7 includes 4 GB of RAM, which is enough for even the heaviest of multitasking. Day-to-day performance was absolutely wonderful and the overall experience is remarkably smooth. The Adreno 530 GPU is also more than enough for mobile gaming.

Phone Reviews : ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings

Although benchmark scores aren’t everything, it is clear that ZTE’s software optimization and selective component choices have paid off. The ludicrous 140,393 score in Antutu is undoubtedly incredible as it reflects actual performance quite well.

ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings: CAMERA

Phone Reviews : ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings

The Axon 7 comes with a 20 MP rear shooter with a f/1.8 aperture, OIS and EIS, and phase detection auto focus, and should allow for good low-light photography, and is coupled with an 8 MP front-facing camera. The camera app comes with a slew of features and modes, including a manual mode, various selfie modes, slow motion capture, multi exposure and long exposure modes, and a Super Auto mode. Previous Axon smartphones featured impressive cameras, and we can’t wait to put this camera through its paces.

ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings: BATTERY

The Axon does beat the OnePlus 3 when it comes to battery life, but not by a wide margin. Its battery is a little larger—3,250 vs. 3,000mAh. The Axon 7 with heavy use including frequent messaging, some phone calls, games, and web browsing has been getting me a little over five hours of screen time (the OP3 gets just shy of five hours) over the course of 17-18 hours. It's actually a little hard to track screen time on this phone because ZTE chose to hide the standard battery use screen in the settings. I had to use third-party apps to measure this, so your mileage may vary.

ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings: SPEAKER AND AUDIO

ZTE also packed in a dedicated audio chipset, which allows for Hi-Fi audio playback and enhancements. The two microphones can also record audio from up to 23 feet away, which is good for when you’re on speakerphone or just trying to record a conversation. It’s also got two stereo speakers on the front of the device, which blast out pretty powerful audio from the distinctive triangular cutouts of the speaker grills. In a demo, ZTE showed us how the phone uses Dolby Atmos technology to give directionality to sound.

Phone Reviews : ZTE Axon 7 Reviews and Ratings

Most smartphones fall short in audio performance, but the Axon 7 is the exception to the rule. Even the HTC 10, which boasts BoomSound no longer has front-facing speakers, resulting in a flatter audio experience. Of course, it’ll take a true audiophile to appreciate what ZTE’s done with Hi-Fi audio in the Axon 7, but we were impressed during our brief hands on with the device.

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