ZTE isn’t always the name you think of when someone mentions “high-end smartphone,” but they’re finally looking to change that. After beating around the bush about their involvement with a certain Axon Phone, they’re finally ready to come clean. The ZTE Axon is now officially out of the bag and it actually boasts some pretty nice hardware. Well, on paper anyway.
The ZTE Axon features an interesting all-metal design with cross hatched speaker grills along the front. Only the bottom is an actual loud speaker, so don’t go expecting stereo front facing speakers. That same diamond pattern is carried around to the back where the phone’s dual-camera setup can be found. Similar to the HTC One M8, the Axon uses a lesser camera to help with auto-focusing and there’s even a dedicated camera button to quickly launch it/take photos.
As for the rest of the specs, we’ll just go ahead and list the pertinent ones below.
ZTE Axon Specs
- 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440p) display, Gorilla Glass 3
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (2GHz) v2.1
- 4GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage
- 13MP f/1.8 + 2MP rear camera / 8MP front facing
- 3,000mAh non-removable battery (Quick Charge 2.0 compatible)
- Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with “Z Tray” UI
Another big selling point is the Axon’s support for Hi-Fi audio playback and recording, something only audiophile will likely be pleased with. We’ll admit, the phone sounds like a home run for the most part, with the only real items missing are a micro SD card slot (if you’re even into that sort of thing), OIS, and wireless charging — something they likely had to forgo in order to keep that solid metal construction.
But no matter how many big numbers ZTE throws at you, the Axon feels like a gamble. ZTE just doesn’t have much of a track record here in the US where they remain relatively unknown (despite being huge back in their homeland of China). For added piece of mind, ZTE says they’re committed to keeping the Axon running the latest versions of Android, something that’s always easy to promise, but harder to put in practice.
Because breaking into the US market is tough as it is, the Axon is available unlocked and supports both AT&T and T-Mobile’s LTE networks. Priced at $449.98, the ZTE Axon comes in 3 color choices: “Phthalo Blue,” “Ion Gold,” and “Chromium Silver” with JBL E-13 earbuds bundled inside. ZTE is also introducing something they’re calling the Axon Passport 1.0 program which provides the phone with a 2-year warranty and free shipping for 1 year on repairs. If that’s still not enough, it’s even got a 30-days buyer’s remorse policy, so if you don’t like, simply return it for a refund. The phone is available for pre-order right now and will launch on August 1st. Oh, and ZTE is throwing in a TPU case as a free gift for pre-orders.
Still, until we get some extensive hands-on time with the Axon, it’s hard to recommend a smartphone like this on hardware alone, as enticing as that pricing is. It’s a looker for sure, we’re just not sure what kind. For more on the ZTE Axon, check out their promo video below and if you’re sold, you can pre-order the phone right now from their site right here.
Buy on Amazon: ZTE Axon