Welcome to the ZTE Axon7 and ZTE Axon7 Mini review. It’s been awhile since we tested an ZTE phone of any kind because they weren’t exactly enthused with its range of phones despite its link with Telstra. We also think that the Axon7 and Axon7 Mini are mid-range phones but priced on the high side considering their outright prices in their Chinese home market and perhaps the claimed subsides etc…  the only reason the Axon7’s are priced this way is it’s competitors pricing for similar spec. The Axon7 with the 5.5 inch screen sells for $699 and the Axon7 Mini if you consider a 5.2 inch screen is small or mini sized is priced around $498. These are not cheap phones but can be classified as value for money but we expect them to be cheaper.

In terms of construction the Axon 7 and Axon7 Mini are very good, it is rare to find an obviously poorly made phone in 2017. However their build quality still don’t stack up to the latest Samsung Galaxy S7 and more importantly A series in quality. Both designs look like last generation HTC which is probably deliberate but made of metal. The metal parts claim to be ‘unibody’ but if only they used better metal as it is not the quality we’re used to being a little too ‘shiney’ to be called high end. They need to employ some better industrial and graphic people to do their designs. Good effort for the price but we expect more than what we got.

In terms of hardware features the ZTE Axon7 has the latest Quad core CPU which performs better than the Octa-cores while the Axon7 Mini uses a slower 1.5Ghz  Octa-core. The Axon7 has a 4K camera which we didn’t try but you can expect decent images from both phones. The best feature for the Axon7 is the ability to use it as a dual-SIM phone so you can have 2 numbers on the phone phone but doing that means giving up the micro-SD memory expansion which is disappointing. Both use USB-C as the only connector which is the way of the future and have fast charging which once used you can never go back to waiting 3-4 hours for you phone to charge as per the iPhone. It’s all pretty much normal in most respects for mid-range phones in 2017. Although the rest of the brands haven’t quite caught up yet as they are lumbered with 2016 models.

In terms of use the ZTE Axon7 and Axon7 Mini are identical despite the CPU difference. They are smooth and work as expected, we didn’t think much of the UI mods and the additional ‘security’ software which is ultimately not secure if you get our drift. We have no complaints about speed of functionality for the price. Android OS is definitely the future as there are so many options you can tinker with or leave it in simple mode. The problem though is that ZTE do not seem to release software patches or updates which means their phones won’t be any good beyond 12 months especially when spending this much money.

In the end the ZTE Axon 7 and Axon 7 Mini are just another well specified mobile phones but priced higher than what it should be especially the Mini version. That said we are judging new phones a little harder from 2017 onwards as there is very little to separate the numerous phone models running the same operating system and similar hardware especially Android based regardless of price. Even with lower end CPUs all the Android phones we’ve tested are competitive in the system navigation side of things with top end phones, sure it does take a little longer to open apps but what the price difference for a few seconds worth $200 more?

Specifications

  • ZTE Axon 7 and Axon 7 Mini
  • Network
    Dual SIM
    Quad-band GSM
    All 3G frequencies
    All 4G frequencies
  • Design
    Touch screen
  • L151.7 x W75 x D7.9 mm
    L147.5 x W71 x D7.8 mm
  • Weight 175 or 153 grams
  • Display
    5.5 inch 2,560 x 1440 AMOLED
    5.2 inch 1920 x 1080
  • Camera
    20MP auto-focus
    x2 LED Flash
    2nd forward facing still/video call camera 2MP
  • Video Camera
    1080p high definition 30FPS main video camera
    2MP Video phone camera
  • Connectivity
    USB- C
    Wi-Fi
    Bluetooth V4
  • CPU
    Quad core 2.2 Ghz 820 or Octa-Core 617
    Separate Andreno 530 or 405 Graphics CPU
  • Memory
    4Gig RAM
    Up to 64 Gig for user
    Up to 128Gig micro-SD expansion
  • Features
    Dual SIM, A-GPS, GLANOSS, Compass, Accelerometer, Gyroscope
    Proximity, Ambient Light, Barometer, Heart rate monitor
    Google Play store and Samsung Store
    Li-Po 3250 mAh battery
    Up to 15 Days standby
    Up to 16 hours Talk Time
  • Price history
    Approx $699 Axon7 $498 Axon7 Mini AUD 2016 (Outright)

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