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.

Organizer


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.

Messaging


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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19 Comments

1. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

the screen is 5,5 inch not 5.1

2. sergiobr

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

LOL At 100% the images are horrible !!! Look like a paint photo

3. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1249; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

I don't see any reason to pick this over the LG G4. Its worth the extra $100.

4. Sharky

Posts: 259; Member since: Jun 24, 2008

Why is no support for CDMA networks a con? I mean isn't that something we all expect when talking about unlocked phones?

5. Anterv

Posts: 178; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

Another phablet.. I miss real size phones.

6. josephnero

Posts: 787; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Conclusion=nothing beats Z3 in battery life

14. SirYar

Posts: 351; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

You mean the Z3C?

17. bashartech

Posts: 11; Member since: Apr 17, 2015

i agree

19. kupidzheart

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 13, 2014

sony t2 ultra .....budget phone but it didn't feel like it.

7. HildyJ

Posts: 341; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

My concern would be OS updates. What is ZTE's track record? Have they made an official announcement regarding Android M on the Axon?

8. fyahking

Posts: 1146; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

Why is the single core score so low? It's running the same 810 as m9.

9. Rajanvir

Posts: 56; Member since: Dec 11, 2013

The only Reason i'm gonna buy this mobile is because its looks alike the one and only HTC One X+

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Like old like the old HTC lineup. Sensation, Amaze, etc.

15. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Looks a lot like HTC One X in the front.

11. cc2400

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 21, 2014

nice try zte. but i completely lost interest when you faked the dual stereo speaker thing with those aesthetic grills.

12. anleoflippy

Posts: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

Pretty good for the price. The thought the speakers are going to be sub par but this review tells otherwise.

13. ebinpissac

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

is that an HTC One X from the front?

16. Captainamerica214

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 05, 2015

Folks ZTE is awful- based in China- bought a Firefox Phone- sent without firmware-so couldn't work. Then spent 5 months speaking to Chinese staff-and still no resolution. Now they merge with Axion a French based company-great now we have companies Altcel - Lucent and Zte making phones. Buyer beware. Samsung- gauges you for huge amounts. Axon by ZTE is a no brainer. My Moto-Sony-Motorola-Nokia but stay away from the two above. Remember I told you first.

18. coldheat06

Posts: 8; Member since: Feb 09, 2012

so not True..... I have nothing but great response from the ZTE US support team. The phone is great and I am happy with the 2 updates that they have sent out..... now if only they will just send out Marshmallow.
Axon Pro
  • 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)

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