ZTE Axon Pro Review

Call Quality

The only challenging thing here is just the placement of the earpiece, but besides that, it’s close to perfection.

This is close to perfection when it comes to call quality, with the exception of one particular thing that we find challenging – the placement of the earpiece. Normally, you’d place your ear dead smack against the middle section of the earpiece, but with the Axon Pro, the earpiece is actually offset to the right. Besides that, we have no complaints whatsoever with the quality because voices on both ends exhibit clear voices that have strong emphasis.

Battery

With the larger battery cell, we were expecting something more long-lasting.

Endowed with a 3000 mAh battery, the capacity is right up there with other phones in its caliber. In our real world usage, we find its battery life to be average – enough to propel us through a solid one-day of usage. That realization is made more evident by our battery benchmark test, as the ZTE Axon Pro achieves 6 hours and 15 minutes from a full charge. Comparing that to its rivals, it’s on par to the HTC One M9 and LG G4, but nowhere as long-lasting as the Samsung Galaxy S6.

While there isn’t much to gloat about its battery life, the handset features a quick-charge 2.0 microUSB port that gets its battery juiced back to 100% capacity in just a matter of 85 minutes, which is perhaps one of the fastest when factoring its battery size.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
ZTE Axon Pro 6h 15 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy S6 7h 14 min (Good)
HTC One M9 6h 25 min (Average)
LG G4 6h 6 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
ZTE Axon Pro 85
Samsung Galaxy S6 78
HTC One M9 106
LG G4 127

Conclusion


Okay, you’ve got our attention, ZTE. Well done in achieving that, because as we’ve seen in the past, ZTE phones haven’t been all that desirable here in the US. We’ve waited and prayed to hopefully see its Nubia line of smartphones arrive on American soil, but that never came. Perhaps some of us are saddened by that realization, but in all fairness, we’re comforted and impressed by what the ZTE Axon Pro is undertaking.

First and foremost, this is one incredibly powerful smartphone that’ll appease the folks who are all about the specs sheet – it just reeks everywhere of high-end hardware befitting of a flagship. Secondly, ZTE surprises us more by accompanying it with a mostly stock Android Lollipop experience. And finally, the $450 cost attached to this unlocked phone makes it so that it’s undercutting the competition in a significant way.

Everything seems to point to a unanimous hit for ZTE, but the biggest opportunity left for the Axon Pro is achieving broader availability. Yes, it’s unlocked and ready to ride on any GSM network, but it lacks the necessary radios to make it compatible to work with the CDMA networks of Sprint and Verizon. In contrast, its direct rivals are offered in all sorts of variants to cover the gap – giving them greater exposure to consumers.

So, is it worth it to pick up the ZTE Axon Pro over some of the aforementioned devices? Naturally, that’s tough because there are still opportunities to advance its performance in the areas of its camera and battery life. If you’re looking for the savings in a high-end, flagship phone, you’ll certainly get it here with the Axon Pro – whereas devices like the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 will still cost you at least $650. This is just the beginning, as the Axon Pro is meant to be the bridge device in getting ZTE’s name into the minds of consumers. So far, it strikes a nerve that’s deeply electrical. Let’s just hope they can use the momentum to their advantage.

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 5.1.1
Build Number: A1PV1.0.0B17
Kernel Version: 3.10.49-perf-g4ae9856




Pros

  • Aggressively priced for a high-end, flagship phone
  • Premium construction
  • Running a mostly stock Android Lollipop experience
  • Powerful audio experience
  • Nearly perfect call quality performance
  • Full manual mode with its camera
  • Quick-charging enabled

Cons

  • Earpiece placement is awkward
  • No support for CDMA networks
  • Available with only one storage option; 32GB
  • HDR mode softens details and makes photos look too artificial
  • Automatic mode produces soft looking photos under low light

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

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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: 785; 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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