It’s the year of sevens for the biggest players in the flagship smartphone world — might as well play catch-up! Today in Beijing, ZTE is introducing the Axon 7, their latest smartphone designed to go up against the likes of the Galaxy S7, HTC 10, Huawei P9, and the LG G5 (among more than a few others) — plus the eventual iPhone 7. ZTE skipped right over numbers two through six, but we can forgive them — on paper, it looks like the Axon 7 belongs in the conversation with those other big numbers.
The Axon 7 isn’t too far removed from last year’s Axon, but that’s more or less what we expect from the smartphone market right now. The Axon 7 still has a 5.5″ display, which is now the 2560 x 1440 resolution AMOLED display that was on the Axon Pro last year. The upgrade from 1080p to 1440p should mean that the Axon 7 will be mobile VR headset-ready. Good thing, because not only is the Axon 7 compatible with Google’s new Daydream VR development platform, ZTE is also launching their own VR headset that will be powered by their new smartphone.
Inside, ZTE has moved from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC (810 SoC on the Pro) to the 820, in line with most other Android flagships this year. Like with everyone else, that should mean fewer instances of overheating, with a modest performance boost that will probably be imperceptible to all but the most demanding power users. The base configuration features the 4 GB of RAM found on the Axon Pro with 64 GB of storage, but there will be a model with a probably excessive 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. There will be a Micro SD card slot that can be used to add up to 128 GB of storage. The Axon 7 will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box.
Battery capacity has gotten a small bump from 3,000 mAh to 3,140 mAh. It’s still non-removable, but it does work with QuickCharge 3.0, so we’d expect to get about 50 percent charge in between a half hour and an hour. For the charging port, ZTE has made the move to USB Type-C.
ZTE has turned to Samsung for their rear camera. The Axon 7 will have a 20 MP Samsung Isocell sensor, along with a full array of premium features — dual LED flash, phase-detect autofocus, optical image stabilization, and an f/1.8 aperture lens for better low-light performance. That camera will be able to record 4k video at 30 fps, and can also take slow-motion video in 720p at 240 fps. The front camera will have an 8 MP sensor.
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