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ZTE's Flagship Underdog

Resembling the LG G4 in most ways

ZTE's Flagship Underdog

The Axon Pro is certainly a premium Android handset, as it offers some of the latest and greatest specs, all at a price much lower than other flagships. Compared to the iPhone or any Samsung Galaxy that can reach a staggering $600+ price tag, the Axon Pro is priced at $450.

This is a sad story, a story of an underdog without a happy ending.

It is the story of ZTE’s Axon Pro.

ZTE is a Chinese telecommunications company that has quietly been moving up the ranks the past several years, with big ambitions: It hopes to the new Samsung.

In the past, however, it’s manufacturer budget phones, generally for the Asian market.

This year, however, ZTE knew that if they wanted to actualize their great ambitions, they would have to come up with a new game plan. And so they did.

In July, Jeff Yang, ertainly a premium Android ZTE vice president of technology and partnerships at ZTE USA announced the company’s first phone “designed in the U.S. for the U.S.”.

The Axon Pro is certainly a premium Android handset, as it offers some of the latest and greatest specs, all at a price much lower than other flagships. Compared to the iPhone or any Samsung Galaxy that can reach a staggering $600+ price tag, the Axon Pro is priced at $450.

The Axon Pro has the most promising features, but sadly, it couldn’t deliver the entire package, and the worst part? It’s not even ZTE’s fault. 

The Axon Pro has the most promising features, but sadly, it couldn’t deliver the entire package, and the worst part? It’s not even ZTE’s fault.

It’s true, the design leaves a lot to be desired: it’s a combination of metal and plastic, and apparently it doesn’t matter how many times I write that no company that is advertising a premium phone should ever use plastic, the companies still do it. Actually, though, it’s not entirely obvious this handset is plastic, but still. When compared to how many companies (big and small, except LG) came out with their A game this year in design, it falls a bit short. However, we have some curved edges around the display, which I think looks very elegant. They put this alongside a triangle pattern that is very unique, and it gives the phone a bit of an attitude.

 

The Axon Pro has an entirely wonderful 5.5-inch IPS display with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution (that’s right, QuadHD, folks).

But we can all get over the design of a phone anyways. Most of us put covers on them.

The Axon Pro has an entirely wonderful 5.5-inch IPS display with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution (that’s right, QuadHD, folks) - exactly what a flagship needs. The same screen as the LG G4, it’s entirely sharp and crystal clear.

But here is the downfall: it’s operating on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor. It’s Qualcomm’s fastest chip yet, lightning fast, but it overheats. This isn’t necessarily such a big deal, though. The ZTE has been outfitted with the second version of the processor, which is supposed to run much cooler than its predecessor. The original made an appearance on the Xperia Z3+, but for anyone paying attention, I won’t insult ZTE by comparing its flagship to that one. It also appeared on the HTC One M9, but apparently, HTC has stealthily changed to the second version of this chipset while no one was looking. And strangely, the second version is apparently not giving any HTC users any problems. Yet with the Axon Pro, there are still definitely overheating issues. Especially when running any kind of multimedia, or using multiple applications at once.

But here is the downfall: it’s operating on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor. It’s Qualcomm’s fastest chip yet, lightning fast, but it overheats.

Yet, despite the heat, the phone is still lightning fast, so maybe some users can get past it.

Specs include 4GB of RAM (which I think we can all be grateful for), and it runs Android 5.1.1. Lollipop with a ZTE custom skin on top. It also comes with a 3,000mAh battery, which is the same as the LG G4 (which this phone is probably most similar to). The battery will last you an entire day.

As for the camera, it’s been outffited with 13 megapixels on the back with an f/1.8 aperture (again, same as the G4) lens, and a secondary 2 megapixel shooter that sits directly above the 13 megapixel camera on the back, to help capture 3D depth so you can re-focus the camera after you snapped the photo, which is really cool - and something no other 2015 flagship can do. The downside is that the low-light capacity isn’t the best. The front camera has 8 megapixels.

It’s not the worst story ever told, but sadly, this phone won’t get the attention it deserves. It’s just too hot.

The phone comes unlocked.  

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