ZTE Axon 7 mini hands-on: meeting the affordable flagship's little brother
ZTE's Axon 7 launched earlier this year as the company's new Android flagship, with a high-res 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 AMOLED display, top-shelf Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 64GB storage standard, and 4GB of RAM. With extras like promised support for Google's upcoming Daydream VR platform, the Axon 7 would have been an attractive phone even if priced up around the level of the Galaxy S7 or HTC 10 – but instead ZTE was practically giving the Axon 7 away with a killer $400 price tag.
But for as much as the Axon 7 offers, not everyone needs quite that much phone; some of us would be perfectly content to dial things back a little, maybe end up with a smaller handset in the process, and hey – if we could pay a bit less, too, that would be all the better.
Enter: the ZTE Axon 7 mini.
The new handset isn't exactly a super-petite mid-4-inch model or anything, but a toned-down, 5.2-inch alternative to the full-sized Axon 7 mini. It keeps an AMOLED screen but moves to a full-HD 1080 x 1920 resolution, runs a Snapdragon 617, and drops storage and memory to 32GB and 3GB, respectively.
ZTE swaps in a new 16MP camera (as opposed to the full Axon 7's 21MP sensor), but keeps the same front-facer. USB Type-C also makes a return, but with the interface stuck on USB 2.0, instead of the Axon 7's USB 3.0. The handset's rear fingerprint scanner is back for some more biometric authentication action.
A smaller phone also means compromises, though, and as the Axon 7 mini dials down its dimensions compared to the Axon 7 (147.5 x 71 x 7.8mm vs. 151.7 x 75 x 7.9mm), we also see its battery shrink – from 3,250mAh to 2,705mAh on the mini. Luckily, fast charging is still supported (albeit Quick Charge 2.0 instead of 3.0).
Fans of the Axon 7's high-quality audio will be pleased to know that the same DAC/ADC pair is back for the Axon 7 mini, but with a newer version of the chip that combines multiple components into a single package.
We got the chance to go hands-on with the new ZTE Axon 7 mini, checking out the phone in both grey and gold finishes, and seeing how it measure up to the larger Axon 7 itself. Take a look: