ZTE Axon Pro Review
While it’s able to pull out some cool shots with its dual camera configuration, it still just trails its peers in its overall quality.
Again, we can argue that its design is inspired by HTC’s One series, as the Axon Pro is fashioned with a dual-camera setup in its rear, which works in similar fashion to how the HTC One M8 was able to apply a bokeh effect to photos post shot. Well, this particular configuration breaks down to a main 13-megapixel sensor and a secondary 2-megapixel one – accompanied with BSI, dual-LED flash, and a 6-element f/1.8 aperture lens. The love doesn’t stop there, since front camera is treated to a wide-angle 8-megapixel sensor.
A dual-camera setup isn’t really new, but it merely makes a statement for the ZTE Axon Pro. Going beyond the hardware, the camera app is sure to delight a broad range of users. Indeed, it’s accompanied with a plethora of shooting modes, such as HDR, panoramic, and time-lapse modes, but there’s a manual one that allows us to adjust the shutter speed parameter as well, which impressively tops out at 80 seconds. Going further than that, its carries a bokeh mode as well that enables it to achieve an aperture of f/1.0 via software – allowing us to adjust the focus and bokeh effect to our liking post shot.
Thus far, our interest has been piqued thanks to its dual-camera setup, as well as the rich shooting modes it has to offer, but at the end of the day, it’s the performance and quality that matters the most. In that regard, our views about the ZTE Axon Pro’s camera are largely positive, but it’s not enough to overcome and overpower the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4. Although, it’s still better than the HTC One M9.
To the untrained eye, the images from the Axon Pro’s camera under ideal lighting conditions are passable – blending saturated colors with average details. It’s particularly good with close-ups, especially when using its bokeh mode to achieve that professional look. Thanks to the dual-camera setup, we’re able to snap an image at will, and then have the ability to select the focus and bokeh intensity later on. From what we’re able to see, the phone does a really great job in properly recognizing boundaries – so that the out-of-focus effect is applied to areas outside of the subject.
However, upon further inspection, we can visualize how fine details appear slightly speckled looking at times when switching over its HDR mode. Additionally, it has a tough time properly applying the correct exposures to give photos that neutral dynamic range – and it doesn’t help either when colors are overblown. In fact, the end results tend to come out extremely artificial looking.
Using the automatic mode, there’s nothing to gloat about with its low light performance. Well, to be frank, it’s pretty subpar and plagued by softer toned details, graininess, and washed out colors. Enthusiasts, however, can achieve better results by properly using its manual mode. Aided by keeping the phone extremely still, whether it’s done by propping the phone against something or placing it on a stand, setting the shutter speed for a long exposure helps to draw details out – evident in the shots of the living room using varying shutters speeds between 2 to 80 seconds.
The same can be said about its video recording performance. It’s just okay, that’s all. You’ll want to stick with shooting in UHD 3840 x 2160 resolution because 1080p is just lacking the sharp details to win our eyes over. With UHD resolution, at least, it’s able to maintain a high level of clarity – while also being complemented by its super clear audio recording and fast focus adjustment. Under low lighting, though, it’s marred by muddy visuals that can sometimes see a reduction in its frame rate. And finally, its the slow-motion video capture is cool looking, but comes up short in the detail department.
You’ll be blown away by the Hi-Fi sound experience!
For anyone who loves editing their photos before sharing, they’ll fall in love with the ZTE Axon Pro’s various editing tools through the gallery app. Indeed, it offers all the customary options for filters and adjustments, but there’s also a useful gif animation and collage maker available through the gallery app.
Using the music player provided by ZTE as an alternative to Google’s own Play Music, it’s pretty conventional with its layout and functionality – so it’s just your ordinary, basic player. When playing music through its internal speaker, we blown away by the intensity of its volume output, which is indeed deafening at an outstanding mark of 80.3 dB, but it never sounds shrill or irritating. It simply commands authority.
Well, we can say the same thing about listening to music via its headphone jack. Despite putting out a ho-hum 0.583 V through the port, it’s able to achieve a higher degree of fidelity after enabling its Dolby Audio. Featuring two dedicated audio chipsets for Hi-Fi sound, the result is an experience that’s music to our ears, as it’s back by substantial audio ranges that never sound flat or dell. Sweetening the deal even more, the included JBL E13 in-ear headphones help solidify it as one of the best phones for music listening.