Introduction


Smartphone shoppers love having a nice variety of devices to choose from, so it's little surprise that we see device manufacturers churn out variant after variant of their most popular models. Maybe there's a Plus, Pro, or Max version of a flagship, offering a bigger screen and maybe a few other hardware upgrades, or an Active or Sport edition, beefing up waterproofing and ruggedness.

One of the more popular trends, especially as standard phone sizes have drifted higher and higher, is the availability of pint-sized versions of flagships, whether we call them Compact, Lite, or Mini.

All the way back in May, ZTE first launched the Axon 7, a power-packed handset with a 5.5-inch screen. Months later, as summer was starting to wind down, the Axon 7 was formally joined by its smaller cohort, the Axon 7 Mini.

But with a screen size that only shrinks to 5.2 inches, and a body that's barely smaller than its parent phone, does the Axon 7 Mini still manage to scratch that smaller-phone itch? And while the handset costs 25 percent less than the full-sized Axon 7, do downgrades to processing power, camera hardware, and battery capacity ultimately hurt the 7 Mini's appeal? Let's take a look at what this ZTE phone has to offer, and if it manages to strike the right balance between size, features, and price.

In the box:

  • ZTE Axon 7 Mini
  • Fast charger
  • USB standard A (reversible) to USB Type-C cable
  • Earbuds
  • Quick-start guide
  • Axon Passport flyer
  • Registration notice
  • Clear plastic case

Design

The Axon 7 Mini's biggest success may be the degree to which it reproduces the design of the larger Axon 7


Sometimes a manufacturer tries to come up with a new look for the smaller version of one of its flagship phones, but with the Axon 7 Mini, ZTE resists that temptation; if you've seen the Axon 7 proper, you know quite well what to expect from the Mini, as it follows the same design notes to a T. That means the same sort of smoothly sloping metal body, same rear-fingerprint-scanner orientation, and same prominent front-facing stereo speakers.


ZTE Axon 7 Mini

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

Dimensions

5.81 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

147.5 x 71 x 7.8 mm

Weight

5.40 oz (153 g)

Honor 8

Honor 8

Dimensions

5.73 x 2.8 x 0.29 inches

145.5 x 71 x 7.45 mm

Weight

5.40 oz (153 g)

ZTE Axon Mini

ZTE Axon Mini

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.76 x 0.31 inches

143.5 x 70 x 7.9 mm

Weight

4.94 oz (140 g)

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Dimensions

6.02 x 3.02 x 0.39 inches

153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

Dimensions

5.81 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

147.5 x 71 x 7.8 mm

Weight

5.40 oz (153 g)

Honor 8

Honor 8

Dimensions

5.73 x 2.8 x 0.29 inches

145.5 x 71 x 7.45 mm

Weight

5.40 oz (153 g)

ZTE Axon Mini

ZTE Axon Mini

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.76 x 0.31 inches

143.5 x 70 x 7.9 mm

Weight

4.94 oz (140 g)

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Dimensions

6.02 x 3.02 x 0.39 inches

153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

A great-looking AMOLED panel gives us most of what we want – except brightness to spare


At 5.2 inches in size, the screen on the Axon 7 Mini isn't that much smaller than the Axon 7's 5.5-inch panel; we're looking at about 10 percent less surface area. Like the display on the larger phone, we're dealing with another AMOLED component, though this one at a slightly lower resolution – 1080 x 1920 px to the Axon 7's 1440x2560 px screen. Even though the panel's not that much smaller, things still look pretty sharp, and we're not hurting from the loss of those extra pixels.

The more concerning quality of the Axon 7 Mini's screen is its limited brightness, which our tests identified as among the dimmest screens we've seen all year. Indoors, at least, it looks pretty nice, and by default it offers the sort of over-saturated bold colors for which AMOLED screens are known. If that's not your cup of tea, ZTE provides some easy color-intensity controls, as well as the ability to adjust color temperature.



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17 Comments

1. libra89

Posts: 2282; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Good review. I was tempted to try this out of curiosity but I think I'm good camera wise and also with battery life. It's a clear downgrade to my Honor 8 when it comes to those 2 things, which are important to me.

2. TrackPhoneUser

Posts: 256; Member since: Oct 21, 2015

So where's the Axon 7 review?

3. jellmoo

Posts: 2594; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Seriously. One of the top devices of 2016, and no review in sight.

7. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

9. Acdc1a

Posts: 475; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

They are still the best, least biased site. Not really sure why they lost traffic.

10. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

because their site so old-fashioned.. it's looks like a website from 90's... too much empty space on both side, all menu is just style, no dropdown, search bar is passive... phone finder is total mess (compare it to gsmarena) comment section is totally empty... the only reason to come there is just to read review

11. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

In other words, they don't cater to the troll crowd. Do you realize how shallow you sound? "The only reason to come there is just to read review". No sh!t Sherlock.

12. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Because they don't put up with trolls. Phonescoop is for mature audiences.

14. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 917; Member since: May 07, 2014

Maybe because they are Nokia... This is 2016 and just look at their website... The logo seems to be created by a kid.

4. saturn_boy

Posts: 6; Member since: Feb 13, 2016

yep....

5. Ren_Gonzalez

Posts: 59; Member since: Nov 29, 2016

I want my regular Axon 7 review!

6. firito

Posts: 8; Member since: Dec 11, 2013

as an axon 7 owner i also dont get why they would review the downgraded mini version instead of the full fleged flagship

8. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I can't for the life of me understand why companies put USB-C on their phones yet stay with the older USB 2.0 protocol. There are still plenty of Micro-USB cables that people have as well as accessories. If you're going to go with the newer standard, bite the bullet and include USB 3.0 and USB-OTG. It's like having a Ferrari with whitewall tires.

13. nagoli

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 07, 2016

Am I the only one who is bothered with the fact that one can only make anonymous calls with this phone since it's missing the ability to alter the caller id behavior?

15. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Has review for the mini but not for the regular.. Great Job PA!

17. yabeshphotography

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 14, 2016

the Chinese have been taught to fly cheap with a good iron, but with questionable software and support. And then the prices have probably adjusted to our market.

18. Austiniter

Posts: 22; Member since: Dec 06, 2015

Bad Bad Customer Service. I just recently bought a ZTE Axon 7 and can't get customer service to return my calls nor emails. Their having some software issues and the added spyware apps they've loaded onto the software has me selling this phone and never buying ZTE again.. I'll just buy a Samsung which at least has customer support.
Axon 7 Mini
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, Octa-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2705 mAh(15h talk time)

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