ZTE Axon 7 first impressions: a plush phablet with loaded innards

“With its premium build, 2K display and dual Dolby speakers, the Axon 7 makes for a tempting offering”

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While it might not have aced the smartphone game in India, ZTE is an established player in its home country of China. Recently, the company showcased a bunch of its products including smartphones, wearables and IoT devices in the country, one of which was the premium flagship – the Axon 7. A plush metal build, 2K display, Snapdragon 820 processor and Dual ATMOS speakers, the Axon 7 definitely makes for a tempting offering. However, an expected pricing of Rs 40,000 might leave you questioning if it’s worth the wait. Here’s what we think.

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The ZTE Axon 7 sports a full metal body which looks dangerously similar to the OnePlus 3. The assortment of the primary camera module on the back, along with the fingerprint scanner, which is positioned skillfully in a slight groove is one of the things that sets the Axon 7 apart from the OnePlus flagship. Another feature would be the presence of dual front-firing Dolby ATMOS speakers. The phone felt plush in our hands with its solid build quality. Despite the large display, it was surprisingly easily to use the Axon 7 with a single hand due to the dual curves on the back, and the almost non-existent bezels in the front.

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The 2K display on the phone spans 5.5-inches. The screen looked stunning with sharp text and icons. The colours looked rich as well. While the brightness was adequate, the screen was extremely reflective, putting the sun legibility in question. But overall, the display looked like something which could make content consumption on the phone a delightful experience.

We played with a MediaTek powered variant at the event, which had 4-gigs of RAM. In our short usage session on the phone was buttery smooth. The company will be launching the Axon 7 in India with a Snapdragon 820 chip, which should only enhance the experience.

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You get 64GB of built-in storage on the Axon 7. Our unit was preloaded with a bunch of games for demonstration purposes, which is why we can’t tell you about the out-of-the-box storage the phone offers. Running Android Marshmallow with ZTE’s own custom skin on top, the Axon 7 offers a clean and minimal interface.

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In the shooting department, the phone gets a 20MP sensor at the back with optical image stabilisation, phase detection autofocus and a dual LED flash module. The selfie shooter is rated at 8 megapixels.

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The default camera application on the phone did have a lot to offer in terms of camera options modes and settings, but the interface was simple to use. We clicked a picture and found the autofocus and shutter speed to be fast. The output had impressive detail but we’ll have to test the shooters in different lighting conditions to put out our final say on the shooting prowess of the Axon 7.

Backed by a 3,250mAh battery, the Axon 7 comes with a few power saving options and should be able to last at least until evening on a single charge. Connectivity-wise the phone supports 4G LTE on both its SIM slots, apart from offering other standard connectivity options.

The expected price will have the ZTE Axon 7 duelling against the Huawei P9 (review) and the Moto Z (first impressions), both of which have a thing or two that are unique about them. While the former sports a monochrome sensor in its dual camera setup, the latter scores points for its modular setup. We’ll tell you how the Axon 7 fares against its competition and as a daily driver when we get a chance to review the device.

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An engineer by qualification and a writer by interest, Deeksha has been working on blending technology and words together ever since she completed her graduation. A crazy fashion enthusiast, you’ll find her creating the most curious analogies between the world of tech, and say…an haute couture shoe. You might want to look up a fashion glossary before reading her work. Personally a fan of Windows smartphones, Deeksha has developed a knack for Android-powered devices over her time here at 91mobiles, and is just starting to delve into the Macintosh world, while iOS remains on the list. When not writing reviews or features, she likes to read fiction novels, browse through the catalogues of all the brands that exist, shop enough to clothe a small town, discover a new food outlet at least twice a day, crib about being fat…and think of ways to take over the world while doing these things.