- Kyle Wiggers , Digital Trends
The ZTE Axon 7 delivers top-of-the-line hardware at an incredible price.
- Cherlynn Low , Engadget
A sharper display, superior sound and more attractive body could help this $399 phone take down its top rival.
- Fast performance
- Beautiful display
- Front-facing dual speakers
- Excellent sound processing
- All-day battery life
- microSD support
- USB Type C with Quick Charge 3.0 support
- MiFavor UI is cluttered
- Camera performance is inconsistent
- Fingerprint scanner is inconsistent
- Voice controls are inconsistent
- Cramped navigational controls
ZTE has long touted their “affordable flagship” devices. Yet, they have not made a device that really captured the market. With the release of the ZTE Axon 7, they’re trying once again to take on an increasingly competitive mid-tier field of phones.
While the spec sheets might look nice and the price is amazing, does the experience add up? Let’s see what reviewers around the Internet are saying!
ZTE worked with BMW Designworks to style their latest phone and reviewers seem to feel that the pairing worked great. In typical fashion for recent phones, the fingerprint scanner is on the rear of the phone making for easy access and a natural feel. Reviewers all noted that the phone was heavy--though this is a bit relative at only 175g. Some also noted delays in the responsiveness of the fingerprint scanner as well.
Heading around to the front of the phone, you’ll find a 5.5-inch AMOLED panel. The 2560-by-1440 resolution screen was a hit with reviewers. Android Authority called it, “One of the very best displays I have seen on a smartphone.”
However, to keep the size of the phone down while including the large display, ZTE had to shave the bezels. Add in the need for capacitive buttons and you have an issue that all the reviewers pointed out quickly--the navigation buttons at the bottom of the phone are very small. Even worse, they’re not backlit.
The phone is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM. Performance reviews are generally positive. Android Police said, “Opening apps, multitasking, loading web pages, and all the other general smartphone tasks are very snappy.” PC Magazine agreed, saying, “Even with games and numerous apps open in the background, I wasn't able to get the phone to stutter.”
You’ll find 64GB of internal storage to keep all of your apps, media and other goodies at hand. Should you need more space, the phone supports microSD cards as well.
One area of contention on the phone’s performance is the MiFavor 4 interface ZTE paired with Android Marshmallow 6.0.1. Many reviewers had issues with menu placement and configuration. Android Police summed up opinions well, saying, “MiFavor 4.0 doesn't look bad. It's just overloaded with buggy features that probably don't need to exist. It feels cluttered.”
Photography was a similarly mixed bag. While the 20MP rear camera with dual flash and optical image stabilization looks great on paper, reviewers found it struggled in low light and provided inconsistent results. Reviews noted that while the 8MP front-facing lens takes great shots, the “beauty” mode on the phone tends to over process photos.
Fortunately, reviewers all agreed on battery life--it’s great. With a 3,250mAh battery and Quick Charge 3.0 support you can enjoy all-day battery life with rapid top-ups if needed. Android Central noted, “It lasted from the time I woke up until I went to bed. And I get up early and go to bed late.”
Audiophiles and media fans will find a lot to love about the Axon 7 as well. The phone includes 32-bit HiFi Dolby Atmos sound processing, a premium amplifier and dual front-facing speakers. Reviewers raved about both the clarity and loudness of music and movies from the phone’s speakers and were similarly pleased when hooking up headphones. Mobile Syrup said, “The sound quality lives up to the hype, providing a level of excellence that I have previously never experienced with a mobile phone.”
Reviews for the phone were positive overall. While the competition at this price point is heavy, most of the flaws noted in reviews had nothing to do with hardware and everything to do with software issues that ZTE will hopefully fix in the future. Engadget summed up opinions well, saying, “Those who prefer a great multimedia experience and a distinct aesthetic will find a more suitable companion in the Axon 7.”
Reviews (7.5/10 Avg. rating)
A high-end smartphone at a reasonable price
Seeks to undermine existing powerhouses
Feels like overpriced, out-dated mediocrity by comparison
The flagship killer to buy
A worthy opponent for high-end smartphones
The brightest sound
The ZTE Axon 7 isn't a perfect phone, but a perfect phone is quite hard to come by, even today as we're nearing the end of 2016. The Axon 7 has its shortcomings, but they're quite agreeable when you consider the phone's price of USD $400. What's more, you can easily check it out in brick-in-mortar stores across the US like BestBuy or Walmart unlike the other mentioned Chinese brands, which only sell their products online. In other words, giving this phone a consideration is certainly a must if you're in search of a solid all-around device. It almost reminds us of a Swiss army knife - it's a... Full review
Outstanding with a few faults
Can’t quite kill the flagship killer
Mostly good hardware, but bad software
Incredible hardware, dicey software
Darn, there are no reviews yet for this phone.