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ZTE Axon 7 mini Review – Premium Hi-Fi Midranger!

by Linus 2

ZTE’s Axon lineup has been quite successful as these phones bring a lot of value for the price. Back in September of 2016, I was at IFA Berlin when the Axon 7 mini was launched but I managed to get the phone for the review just now. I think it’s a pretty solid phone for the price but if you want to learn more, check out our full review.

VIDEO REVIEW

UNBOXING

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The phone ships with all the usual stuff and some extras include a soft TPU case and a pair of earphones.

DESIGN and DISPLAY

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If you have ever held the ZTE Axon 7 in your hand, you will notice that the mini version looks almost exactly the same with just a few minor differences.

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It has the same premium look and feel thanks to the all-metal design and tactile metal buttons. Also, the Axon 7 mini has dual front-facing speakers that are just fantastic and they are easily the best in this price range.

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If you plug in the earphones, things get even better. The built-in Hi-Fi audio chip delivers a crisp, clear and rich sound, and there are no distortions at the highest volume settings, just like on the loudspeaker.

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Obviously, the mini is a bit smaller than the Axon 7 due to its 5.2” 1080p Amoled display, which is sharp and vibrant both for indoor and outdoor use and it is covered with the Gorilla Glass 4.

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Just above the display, we have an 8MP selfie shooter and a multi-color LED notification light.

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On the bottom, you can find customizable on-screen navigation keys.

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When it comes to optics, there is a 16MP camera with f/1.9 aperture and a single LED flash. The fingerprint scanner is fast, accurate and it unlocks the phone straight from the standby mode.

HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

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The ZTE Axon 7 mini is midrange phone as it has an octa-core Snapdragon 617 chip, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage.

These specs don’t look impressive at all but in reality, I have no complaints with the phone’s performance. It handles even the most demanding 3D games without any issues, with just a few skipped frames but I can’t really complain about that.

USER INTERFACE

When it comes to user interface, the phone runs on the MiFavor 4.0, which is built on top of Android 6.0.

As usual to the ZTE phones, there is no app tray and there are quite a few design touches. I mean the icons look kind of cartoonish to me. Also, you can customize the phone in a lot of different ways. Just to name a few, you can select from different themes, use the Mi Pop button or tweak the display settings.

You can also play with different motion and gesture controls or use the fingerprint scanner to open up apps or take pictures. Even though I’m not a huge fan of the redesigned icons and I don’t really use all those extra features, I have no complaints with the phone’s daily performance.

CAMERA

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The built-in camera app allows you to take pictures quite fast. Also, you can select from a few shooting modes like a pro mode if you want to adjust the image settings manually.

IMAGE QUALITY

IT IS HIGHLY-RECOMMENDED TO DOWNLOAD FULL RESOLUTION CAMERA SAMPLES TO SEE THE ACTUAL IMAGE QUALITY. THE PICTURES UPLOADED ON THE WEBSITE ARE 50% SMALLER IN RESOLUTION.

I could only test the camera on the cloudy day and we may see a bit better results under better lighting conditions. In general, the image quality is decent but I expected to see a bit more detail and sharpness. Also, some shots came out underexposed, meaning that the auto dynamic range adjustment is mediocre.

The night images look okay but not really impressive. As usual, the level of detail is much lower and there is quite a bit of noise.

The 1080p video looks pretty good but there could be more detail and the auto-focus is jumping quite a lot.

The selfies could look a bit sharper but they will do the trick for social media.

Download full resolution camera samples

CONNECTIVITY

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When it comes to connectivity, the phone supports 4G and it can take either 2 SIM cards or a combo of 1 SIM and the microSD card.

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I’ve used the Axon 7 mini in various locations to thoroughly test all the connectivity options. The phone performed well all the time whether I needed to make a call or use the GPS to find my way home.

BATTERY LIFE

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2705 mAh battery will usually get you through the day if you are a moderate user. I was able to get about 4-5 hours of SOT when using the phone mainly for social media, web browsing, a bit of gaming and taking some pictures.

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The supplied charger can fully charge the phone in about 1h and 15 mins, thanks to the Quick Charge tech.

CONCLUSIONS

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The ZTE Axon 7 mini may not be the most powerful smartphone for the price of about $300 if you only care about the sheer specs but it is a pretty solid midrange smartphone nevertheless.

It is definitely a looker thanks to the excellent all-metal build, the Amoled display is really sharp and vibrant and the Hi-Fi audio quality is one of the best you can find on any phone. Also, the front-facing speakers simply blow any other phone out of the water in this price category.

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Even though the specs may not impress you, the phone performs well when it comes to daily performance and even gaming.

However, the camera can definitely take good pictures for the price of the phone but I would love to see more detail in some of the shots. Also, there is no 4k video recording. Finally, the MiFavor UI may not be for everyone’s taste due to a bit cartoonish look.

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Other than that, the ZTE Axon 7 mini is a pretty solid mid-ranger. Even though it is not the most powerful phone on paper (if you are a specshead), it performs great in real life and most importantly, it has Hi-Fi audio setup that is not only the best in class but also one of the best on any phone.

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4.4

ZTE Axon 7 mini is a pretty solid mid-ranger. Even though it is not the most powerful phone on paper (if you are a specs head), it performs great in real life and most importantly, it has Hi-Fi audio setup that is not only the best in class but also one of the best on any phone.

Design and Build
Display
Hardware
User Interface
Camera
Connectivity
Battery Life
Overall Performance
Value for Money
Buy Chuwi Surbook
  • Great looking phone, shame about the puny battery. Why not follow lead of Xiaomi and put in a 4000 mAh battery, or at least 3000??

  • jimberkas

    great review, Linus.
    noticed this phone can be had for $200 at
    newegg. Says sale ends in 17 hours. If I wasn’t already swimming in
    phones, I’d jump on this. I think 5.2″ is the perfect size and find it
    funny that its called “Mini”

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