ZTE, one of the largest smartphone makers on the planet, needs no further introduction when it comes to the smartphone game. We usually talk about the ZTE’s sub-brand Nubia and its smartphones but this time around we are looking at the just announced ZTE Axon Chinese model, meaning that it has a fingerprint scanner and some other minor differences than the international variant.
We wanted to say thanks for GIZTOP.com for sending the ZTE Axon for a review.
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: VIDEO
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: SPECS
|Display||5.5″ 1080p, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with the antimicrobial coating|
|Processor||Snapdragon 810, 2.5GHz, octa-core, 64-bit|
|Camera||8MP Front/13MP and 2MP (duo camera setup) back|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, GPS, WIFI, NFC, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+|
|Battery||3.000 mAh (non-removable)|
|Dimensions||154.5 x 75.3 x 9.7 mm/ 168g|
|Storage||32GB (expandable via microSD card slot up to 200GB)|
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: UNBOXING
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: DESIGN and DISPLAY
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: USER INTERFACE
The ZTE Axon runs MiFavor UI 3.2, which is company’s own take on the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. The user interface has preserved the aesthetics of the stock Android but ZTE added quite a lot of its own by offering some extra features, nicely looking icons and tons of customisation options. As usual to the Chinese phones, there is no app drawer and all the apps sit on the home screens.
ZTE added some functionality with the gesture controls and various interesting apps like a Karaoke. However, some of these apps are designed for the Chinese users as we have a Chinese version as a review unit.
The system ROM takes a hefty amount of 7.5GB. Fortunately enough, the device comes with the microSD card slot.
The ZTE Axon comes with the iris scanner! The company did not really advertise it but this may be a neat feature for some. It was quite interesting to test it out since I have recently reviewed a much cheaper Umi Iron phone, which has the same feature.
The setup was really easy as I just needed to scan my eyes a few times. How does it work? It actually works pretty good. I was able to unlock the phone using a retina security option most of the times and I believe this is one of the better iris scanner implementations I’ve used.
Overall, I am very pleased with how the UI works. It is fast, fluid and very responsive. Also, it has lots of customisation options and some neat features but it is not overblown with gimmicky functionality, which we would never use.
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: BENCHMARKS
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: PERFORMANCE
Graphically intensive tasks like gaming (tested with Asphalt 8 and Mortal Combat X) just fly on the ZTE Axon and the graphics look stunning. A flagship-grade performance.
Snapdragon 810 = Overheating? No, not this time. The device gets warm a bit but it does not heat up to uncomfortable levels even after extended periods of gaming. It may feel a bit warmer than usual due to a natural heat dispersion on metal surfaces, though.
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: MULTIMEDIA
The ZTE Axon is being advertised as the “First Hi-Fi smartphone in North America”. It may be true but we have already seen a lot of phones carrying Hi-Fi audio chips.
The sound via headphones is indeed very good, which has a very loud volume output, rich tones and a lot of depth. It is undoubtedly one of the best music phones out there.
The sound via loudspeaker, which is located on the bottom right of the device is also very good. It is loud and has a lot of depth and bass for a tiny speaker. Also, the placement on the front side of the device is the best you can possibly think of. A dual stereo speakers would have been nice but hey, you are getting a really good speaker.
Other multimedia options like 1080p or 4k video playback work flawlessly.
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: CAMERA
The camera app is fast and responsive, and it has tons of controls, shooting modes and features. You may take pictures using the auto-mode and choose the “SLR mode” to take a full manual control of the camera. A neat feature is that you can play with the aperture number as well.
In addition, the “SLR mode” allows you to use the secondary 2MP camera sensor and change the focus point and level of it after taking the picture. I was actually really pleased with the results you can achieve with the extra camera sensor. Well, sometimes pictures may look a bit artificial but other times you can get some really professional looking images.
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: IMAGE QUALITY
The daylight images look great as they have plenty of details, colours look nice and pictures look sharp overall. Sometimes the dynamic range can be off, though. Keep in mind that all the images where shot at 10MP as it was a default setting due to wide screen (16:9) ratio. If you want to take 13MP images, the ratio changes to the old-school 4:3.
The images taken indoors can sometimes can look good but with a bit less lighting a visible noise kicks in and the amount of details goes down significantly.
The night shots are just okay as I expected a bit more from this device considering a great specs sheet of the camera it carries. It may be a software related issue as noise levels could be lower. I tried to play with the aperture and set it to the lowest – f/1.0 to see if it works. The image quality may be a tad better but there is no major improvement here.
I tried to play with the bokeh effect using the “SLR mode” to see what the secondary 2MP camera sensor is capable of. What I can say is that you can achieve some professional looking images but it will not happen all the time. Sometimes some objects may look a bit artificially. Still, this is one of the better implementations of duo camera setup I’ve tested (HTC One M8).
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: VIDEO QUALITY
ZTE Axon Fingerprint Model Review: CONCLUSIONS
So there you have, the ZTE Axon smartphone. To be honest, I don’t have any major complaints about this device and I believe that ZTE nailed it this time considering the price tag of $449.99 via third-party resellers.
It all starts with a beautiful design and a great choice of premium materials, which include metal, plastic and glass. No one will make a mistake this is a flagship quality smartphone.
Also, the device has a great display, fast and fluid UI and awesome overall performance.
In addition, the ZTE Axon has plenty of really nice features that work great like a fingerprint and retina scanners, tons of customisation options and the state of the art Hi-Fi audio experience, and much more.
The 13MP/2MP camera combo on the back works great in the daylight and its rich camera app allows you to play with lots of settings and shooting modes. The extra 2MP sensor not only looks nice on the back and makes other people think that the ZTE Axon is a killer camera phone, but also allows you to take some great looking images with the bokeh effect. However, the night shots could be better as a visible noise may ruin some images.
Finally, this is a great device that does not have any disadvantages that could be a deal breaker. For the price of $449.99 you are getting a phone that may not have the best battery life or the best low-light camera, but it is definitely a looker, performs great and will provide you with an amazing multimedia experience.