ZTE knocked it out of the park with the Axon 7, so introducing a smaller version of the Axon 7 was the logical next step. However, not everything is the same under the hood with the Axon 7 Mini. Everything from the processor to the display have all been downgraded. Fortunately, that means that the Axon 7 Mini is more affordably priced then the Axon 7 by a whole Benjamin.
It’s really nice to see an Android phone that has a distinctly unique and attractive look. The ZTE Axon 7 and 7 Mini are no copycats in the world of smartphones. The Axon 7 Mini is sporting the same beautiful premium aluminum unibody design with a snazzy grill as the Axon 7, that was designed in collaboration with Designworks, a BMW subsidiary.
That said, the display hasn’t just been shrunk to 5.2″, but has also been downgraded to a lower res 1080p AMOLED display. Fortunately, the display is still top notch with great colors and sharp visuals. Kudos to ZTE for keeping the Axon 7 light on bloatware (third party) apps. The phone also comes running a pretty clean version of Android 6.0.1. There have been some adjustments to Android, which are mostly unobtrusive such as including some voice and gesture controls, including the ability to unlock the phone by speaking to it, or using voice commands to play music. And for those of you unusual folk who for some reason don’t like having an app drawer, you can switch to ZTE’s own MiFavor theme. That said, most users will likely want to stick with the “stock Android” theme, which resembles stock Android.
The rear camera on the Axon 7 Mini is a 16 MP camera that is a downgrade from the regular Axon 7. Fortunately, the camera app on the ZTE Axon 7 Mini has lots and lots of neat tricks and options for manual controls. Photos often come out blurry, but they can also come out nice and sharp with a little work. The camera also does better than we would’ve anticipated in low light. Overall we would say the camera is quite good for its price point. You can check out some sample photos here. We don’t have the ZTE Axon 7 on hand to compare, but from what we recall, the Axon 7 Mini’s camera is not as good as the camera on the ZTE Axon 7.
Under the hood, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini comes powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC, which includes an octa-core processor, along with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. That makes it kind of a slouch in comparison to its bigger sister, but it’s still a capable everyday performer. We saw benchmarks of 36174 in AnTuTu, 22682 in Quadrant, and 2228 Multi-core Score in GeekBench 4.
The battery inside of the Axon 7 Mini is 2750 mAh, which is also smaller than the battery inside the Axon 7. Fortunately, the battery is quite good and will give you nearly a full day’s use. Because of the chipset downgrade, ZTE has also scrapped QuickCharge 3.0 from the Axon 7 Mini, using the slower QuickCharge 2.0 instead.