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.
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE|
|LAUNCH||Announced||2016, May. Released 2016, June|
|BODY||Dimensions||151.7 x 75 x 7.9 mm (5.97 x 2.95 x 0.31 in)|
|Weight||175 g (6.17 oz)|
|Build||Glass front (Gorilla Glass 4), aluminum back, aluminum frame|
|SIM||Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Size||5.5 inches, 82.2 cm2 (~72.2% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1440 x 2560 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~538 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 4|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow), upgradable to Android 8.0 (Oreo), MiFavor 5.2|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 (14 nm)|
|CPU||Quad-core (2x2.15 GHz Kryo & 2x1.6 GHz Kryo)|
|MEMORY||Card slot||microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot)|
|Internal||64GB 4GB RAM|
|MAIN CAMERA||Single||20 MP, f/1.8, 1/2.6", 1.1µm, PDAF, OIS|
|Features||Dual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, panorama|
|Video||4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps, 720p@240fps|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Single||8 MP, f/2.2, 1/4", 1.12µm|
|SOUND||Loudspeaker||Yes, with Dolby Atmos stereo speakers (2 dedicated amplifiers)|
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS/ BDS (region dependent)|
|USB||USB Type-C 3.0|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|BATTERY||Type||Li-Ion 3250 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||Fast charging 18W
Quick Charge 3.0
|Stand-by||Up to 360 h (3G)|
|Talk time||Up to 16 h (3G)|
|MISC||Colors||Ion Gold, Quartz Grey, Chromium Silver|
|Models||A2017G, A2017U, A2017, A2017X|
|Price||About 240 EUR|
|TESTS||Performance||Basemark OS II 2.0: 2346
Basemark X: 32243
|Camera||Photo / Video|
|Loudspeaker||Voice 66dB / Noise 72dB / Ring 84dB|
Endurance rating 70h
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.
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.
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.