Axon 7by ZTE

  • Axon 7
  • Axon 7
  • Axon 7
  • Axon 7
TECHWALLA
VERDICT
Clearly above average. Only a couple of issues keep this from being best in class.
84%
TECHWALLA SCORE
based on the following sites

PROS

  • The Axon 7 goes toe-to-toe with just about any phone on the market, but it's priced much more affordably than bigger name brands.
  • The 20-megapixel camera can capture 4K video and includes OIS and EIS to keep videos smooth and stutter-free.
  • Unlocked, it can work with major GSM carriers; a future software update opens the door to CDMA networks such as Verizon and Sprint.

CONS

  • The ZTE brand faces an uphill battle against the likes of Samsung, LG, and Motorola.
  • The phone isn't offered through wireless carriers, so it requires customers to buy it direct.
  • Non-removable battery may turn some users away.
Launched in mid 2016, the ZTE Axon 7 boasts flagship-like hardware but carries only a $400 price tag. The 5.5-inch display packs a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution and is protected by 4th generation Corning Gorilla Glass. Under the hood is an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor bolstered by 4GB RAM. The Azon 7 comes with 64GB of internal space and a microSD card slot for up another 128GB. The phone packs a 20-megapixel rear shooter with a whole host of bells and whistles, while the front camera provides an 8-megapixel sensor for selfies. Powered by Android 6.0 Marshmallow, a capacious 3,250 mAh battery ensures the fun lasts all day.
NameAxon 7Galaxy S7iPhone 6SNexus 6POnePlus 3
ManufacturerZTESamsungAppleGoogleOnePlus
Techwalla Score
84%
95%
92%
88%
86%
List Price$400$695$650$500$399
90%

While it technically has enough bands to support all US phone networks, it only works with AT&T and T-Mobile nano SIM cards for now. Verizon…

While it technically has enough bands to support all US phone networks, it only works with AT&T and T-Mobile nano SIM cards for now. Verizon and Sprint compatibility is due "possibly later in the year," resting in the hands of the two CDMA carriers to flip a switch. All of the antennas are inside - this isn't just a GSM phone.

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90%

Camera performance is good, but it didn't blow me away. The 20-megapixel rear camera takes crisp, clear shots outdoors with lots of detail. …

Camera performance is good, but it didn't blow me away. The 20-megapixel rear camera takes crisp, clear shots outdoors with lots of detail. Colors are accurate, though Auto HDR mode (which is on by default) tends to oversaturate things a bit. 4K video at 30fps is smooth and stable thanks to both optical and digital image stabilization.

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89%

Although I really like the Axon 7’s design overall, I do wish that the phone wasn’t so slippery in the hand. The Axon 7’s size, smooth metal…

Although I really like the Axon 7’s design overall, I do wish that the phone wasn’t so slippery in the hand. The Axon 7’s size, smooth metal, and curved side edges combined certainly do not help make the device easier to grip.

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80%

Rounding out the Axon 7's luxurious design is a circular fingerprint reader just below the camera on the back panel. Reaching the scanner wi…

Rounding out the Axon 7's luxurious design is a circular fingerprint reader just below the camera on the back panel. Reaching the scanner with my pointer finger was a breeze, and after registering a print, I was able to unlock the phone instantly with just my finger. You can also hold down on the reader to snap photos and answer calls, with both features working well for me.

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70%

Solidly built, with an unbroken metal unibody chassis, the Axon 7 is ZTE's best-looking phone ever. Its 5.5-inch display has a sharp 2,560x1…

Solidly built, with an unbroken metal unibody chassis, the Axon 7 is ZTE's best-looking phone ever. Its 5.5-inch display has a sharp 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution and the screen is bright enough (when cranked up) to easily see details in the sunlight. Given its luxe looks though, I was surprised at how heavy it felt.

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The Axon 7 has front-facing stereo speakers, and they're really good. The volume is excellent and the overall quality is there, as long as y…

The Axon 7 has front-facing stereo speakers, and they're really good. The volume is excellent and the overall quality is there, as long as you engage the Dolby Atmos setting. This is basically a built-in EQ that makes the audio sound less tinny and controls distortion at high volume. Compared to the OnePlus 3, the Axon 7 is the clear winner in audio quality.

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ZTE also thankfully decided to keep its own layer of software that runs on top of Android relatively light. That means that the version of A…

ZTE also thankfully decided to keep its own layer of software that runs on top of Android relatively light. That means that the version of Android running on the Axon 7 looks and feels mostly like the pure, raw Android operating system.

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The Axon's dual front-facing stereo speakers pumped out distinct, clear sound that drowned out my laptop's speakers while both devices were …

The Axon's dual front-facing stereo speakers pumped out distinct, clear sound that drowned out my laptop's speakers while both devices were set to their maximum volumes. The phone's speakers were so clear, in fact, that I could easily hear the crinkling of wrapping paper in the background of a scene over dialogue and overlapping music.

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The Axon 7, despite having no carrier bloatware to speak of, does come with a couple of non-essential apps that purport to offer value, but …

The Axon 7, despite having no carrier bloatware to speak of, does come with a couple of non-essential apps that purport to offer value, but really don't. The most egregious is ZTE Rewards, which asks you to download a number of apps from Perk, a loyalty company that offers free stuff in exchange for a bunch of personal information.

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WOULD YOU BUY THIS AGAIN?
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