ZTE Axon Pro Review
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.
With the larger battery cell, we were expecting something more long-lasting.
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
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
- 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
- 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
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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)