Home > Personal Technology > Android > ZTE Axon 7 ($491) Review

The ZTE Axon 7 is built to be a Chinese flagship that seeks to undermine existing powerhouses such as the Samsung’s S7 Edge. With powerful processors and plenty of internal storage on-board the Axon 7, the ZTE flagship is a performance workhorse that is not to be underestimated. The Axon 7’s crystal clear camera on the rear further adds to its value as a world-class flagship, giving it all the criterias necessary for it to be dubbed an affordable alternative to branded smartphones in the market.

Design

The Axon 7’s design isn’t particularly stunning, but it does definitely feel premium, with its all-metal body that makes it cool to the touch.

It is a little large at 151.8mm x 75mm x 7.8mm, this makes the flagship a little hard to navigate single-handedly if you are a small-palmed person. At 175g, this metallic smartphone is slightly heavier than the average 5.5” smartphone, which is a price you have to pay for having a sturdy aluminium body.

The shade of the Axon 7’s Ion Gold exterior is actually pretty beautiful, which in my humble opinion, rivals the iPhone’s Rose Gold shell. The metallic rear has a matte texture, which makes the device less of a fingerprint magnet than devices such as the LG G6.

On the matte rear, you will also find a snappy fingerprint sensor, which utilises your index finger mainly to unlock. This is useful for users who are lazy to hit the lock button before unlocking the device since placing your finger on the rear automatically unlocks the device.

Display

Your Axon 7 has a 5.5” display that has a stunning QHD resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels with an incredible 538 ppi pixel density. This gives you a crystal clear display that is nearly unrivalled in the market. It also utilises an AMOLED display as opposed to an LCD display, which gives you deeper and darker true blacks to enhance the contrast on your display.

The display will truly shine when you use it with a VR device, that’s when you will notice how important your QHD resolution is, which is otherwise often underutilised in day-to-day productivity purposes.

Performance

The device has a power-packed Snapdragon 820 processor, which is what you will find in devices such as the Samsung S7 Edge. This processor is sufficient to give you a speed that will allow you nearly lag free performance when paired with its 4GB RAM. It is no longer the fastest processor anymore, since next-gen flagships are going to be armed with a slightly faster Snapdragon 821 processor and some even sporting a Snapdragon 835 processor, but these devices often cost nearly twice the Axon 7’s price, and frankly, such power if often unnecessary for most users.

Its top of the line Adreno 530 graphics unit is also more than capable of handling 3D gaming, so if that’s a concern, be rest assured that your Asphalt 8 racing will be as smooth as it gets.

The ZTE Axon 7 runs a ZTE MiFavor skin over the Android 6 Marshmallow OS, which will most likely be upgraded to Android 7 Nougat pretty soon. The MiFavor Skin is pretty decent and user-friendly, resembling closely to a stock Android appearance with little bloatware.

There are some useful features in the software of the Axon 7, namely the little things like the ability to answer calls just by putting your phone near your ear and the My Voice app that allows for easy voice commands to navigate through your phone hands-free.

Camera

The Axon 7’s camera is superb. Photo quality is crystal clear and colour reproduction is fantastic. Shots were neither oversaturated nor faded out. With its fast f/1.8 aperture and OIS, photos taken with a shaky hand actually do appear clearer than most other cameras.

Low light performance is alright, but it doesn’t match up to flagships like the Samsung S7, so its dramatically lowered cost does come at a small price. If you are a fan of night photography, then that’s a shortcoming you might want to be prepared for.

The 8MP front camera shoots decently for a selfie and has a higher resolution than traditional 5MP shooters, but more often than not, resolution on selfies don’t really need to be superb, so it’s not of too large a consequence.

Battery Life

The ZTE Axon 7 has a 3250mAh non-removable battery. This might seem rather average, especially considering how much power the Snapdragon 820 and high-res display will consume, but in reality, the Axon 7 actually has pretty decent battery life and it has managed to last around 10 hours of moderate usage, somewhat on par with devices such as the OnePlus 3T.

Conclusion

The ZTE Axon 7 is a great device for its price. It is built with top-of-the-line specifications and materials that make it look and function like a premium smartphone, except for a much lower price. The extremely fast processor and high-resolution camera makes the device an attractive buy for anyone looking for a premium smartphone at an incredible price.

You can purchase the ZTE Axon 7 here.

Zayne Seah
A tech geek going beyond specs.

3 thoughts on “ZTE Axon 7 ($491) Review

  1. Brian reynolds

    Strange that there is no mention of the phones amazing sound. A possible contender for the number one spot for its audio capabilities. 😉

  2. DT

    Everything you said about the A7 is absolutely correct. I’ve got an S7 EDGE and had a pixel. This device became my daily driver. I cannot believe no mention of its most outstanding option. It’s great audio system which includes hifi dacs, and dolby atmos. Listening to this device with great headphones and even through its stereo speakers, is incredible. I’m a professional musician and that’s why I bought it. To omit this great part of the phone was absolutely absurd.

  3. Chris

    Why was a version running Marshmallow reviewed? I’ve had Nougat on my Axon 7 for months now. Nougat improved almost all of the annoyances in Marshmallow. The phone is perfect now. Also, as others have said, the sound from the front facing speakers is fantastic.

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