ZTE Axon Pro Review
Interface and Functionality
You can’t go wrong with a mostly stock Android Lollipop experience.
Funny how things turn out. Unlike its premium Nubia line of phones abroad that run heavily customized Android experiences, ZTE has taken an unexpected 180-degree course of action with the Axon Pro. Purists will no doubt relish over its mostly stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop experience. Superficially, most folks will be hard-pressed to even realize some of the subtle optimizations in play with this experience, such as the choice of swiping animations with the homescreen – or how doing a swipe up gesture in the homescreen accesses a mini menu.
Better yet, the phone doesn’t come preloaded with much bloatware, which is a big deal mainly because ZTE’s phones are notorious for that. Seriously, the bloat present here in the Axon Pro are the Argus, Mi-Moment, Dolby Audio, RockMyRun, and Yahoo Sports apps – and that’s all. On top of that, it’s one of the few phones to offer Lollipop’s multi-user feature! That alone is a rarity because most other phones only provide a “guest” mode and nothing more, but with this, we’re able to set up multiple profiles.
In all seriousness, you can never go wrong with an experience that’s vanilla Android. Even though this isn’t entirely a faithful experience, it’s still considerably closer than the heavily customized experiences of other phones, so to that end, we have to give our seal of approval to the folks over at ZTE for choosing to take this path.
Continuing its theme of sticking to a very faithful vanilla Android experience, the usual set of organizer apps all sport a stock look and operation. Therefore, if you’re using the calculator, calendar, or phonebook, you’ll fit right at home because they don’t receive any sort of visual or functional enhancements.
The same can be said about the Axon Pro’s messaging experience, as the Gmail and Email apps are here to keep our messages all organized. Sure, we can set up other email accounts using the Email app, but now that the Gmail app can support other services besides Google, it’s the choice we prefer using thanks to how incredibly effective it is with its organization.
Having only the Google keyboard to use for typing out messages, it’s incredibly equipped to handle the most demanding of users thanks to its generous real estate, responsiveness, and logical layout. While individually tapping on each letter is effective for most people, the swiping like function is also a good alternative when it comes to speed typing without having to lift your finger too often from the screen.
Processor and Memory
Fluid and responsive with superficial tasks, its Quad-HD poses some challenges with its graphics processing performance.
By now, we’re all quite aware about the Snapdragon 810’s lingering uncertainties, but regardless of that, it’s what powers the ZTE Axon Pro. To be more exact, it’s the 64-bit based 2.0 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994 chipset, which is accompanied by a generous 4GB of RAM and the Adreno 430 GPU. Quite simply, this hardware combination rumbles with an authoritative roar, as its base level performance is remarkably snappy – so its execution is effortless with benign operations.
As for graphics processing, the Adreno 430 GPU suffices enough to handle all of today’s demanding gaming titles, but it’s evidently clear that Quad-HD resolution takes its toll, as frame rates are slower than other phones using the same chipset, but with lower-res screens.
Keeping production as uniform as possible, ZTE eliminates having varying degrees of storage options with Axon Pro. Instead, it’s only being produced as a single 32GB option – with no way to expand that amount, so you’ll want to tread carefully.
AnTuTu Higher is better
ZTE Axon Pro 53535
Samsung Galaxy S6 58382
HTC One M9 56896
LG G4 50330
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
ZTE Axon Pro 2136
Samsung Galaxy S6 2237
HTC One M9 2218
LG G4 2369
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
ZTE Axon Pro 3533
Samsung Galaxy S6 5751
HTC One M9 4195
LG G4 3948
Sunspider Lower is better
ZTE Axon Pro 1018.9
Samsung Galaxy S6 354.5
HTC One M9 721.3
LG G4 730.2
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
ZTE Axon Pro 36
Samsung Galaxy S6 37
HTC One M9 49
LG G4 25
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
ZTE Axon Pro 15
Samsung Galaxy S6 16
HTC One M9 24
LG G4 9.4
Basemark OS II Higher is better
ZTE Axon Pro 1351
Samsung Galaxy S6 1767
HTC One M9 1413
LG G4 1549
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
ZTE Axon Pro 761
Samsung Galaxy S6 1440
HTC One M9 1209
LG G4 1112
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
ZTE Axon Pro 3204
Samsung Galaxy S6 5127
HTC One M9 3738
LG G4 3559
Internet and Connectivity
There’s only one option for surfing the web here, and that title goes to Google Chrome. Not surprising at all, the phone more than caters to our needs thanks to its fast page loads, buttery smooth navigational controls, and its ability to render pages on the fly. And naturally, its detail superiority is evident by the insane level of sharpness of fine text in a zoomed out view.
Being an unlocked GSM smartphone, the ZTE Axon Pro is bred to be compatible to work on a wealth of networks both domestically and internationally. Although it’s equipped to work on the LTE networks of AT&T and T-Mobile, the only thing lacking here is support for the CDMA carries, which we feel to be a compromising factor for an ambitious phone expected to be a huge force in the US.
Beyond that, though, it’s accompanied by the usual set of connectivity features – they consist of aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and NFC. The only other extra amenity missing here is just an IR blaster.
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- Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
- Camera 13 MP / 8 MP front
- Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
- Storage 64 GB
- Battery 3000 mAh(12h talk time)