ZTE announces Axon 7: A sub-$500 Android smartphone that continues the march of the Chinese smartphones

ZTE, Huawei, and Xiaomi continue to launch compelling Android smartphones, undercutting the high-end flagship pricing of Samsung, HTC, LG, and Apple.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
(Image: ZTE)

ZTE launched its Axon Pro in the US last year for $450. According to Engadget The ZTE Axon 7 is the new successor that will also be priced in the US starting at less than $500, likely in the same $450 range as the Axon Pro.

Last year's Axon Pro was a solid product, but there was stiff competition in the sub-$450 range and the limited storage and camera were disappointing. The new Axon 7 looks to address those issues with massive 64GB and 128GB internal storage options along with microSD storage support. It also has a 20 megapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture and a front-facing 8 megapixel shooter.

There are several articles here on ZDNet discussing the rising success of Chinese-branded smartphones from ZTE, Huawei, and Xiaomi. The ZTE Axon 7 may finally be the flagship phone that ZTE needs to get the attention of the US consumer.

Specifications of the new Axon 7 include:

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 2.15 GHz quad-core
  • Display: 5.5 inch 1440x2560 pixels resolution AMOLED display
  • Operating system: Android 6 Marshmallow, with upgrade to Android N promised
  • RAM: 4GB or 6GB
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB internal with microSD expansion card slot
  • Battery: 32500 mAh non-removable with Quick Charge 3.0 support
  • Dimensions: 151.7 x 75 x 7.9 mm and 152 grams

The 4GB RAM/64GB internal storage model is scheduled for a US release at $450. The higher end 6GB/128GB model is planned to launch at $639, but a US release is not certain.

USB Type-C is used for charging and syncing. The rear fingerprint scanner is back and the Axon 7 has front-facing stereo speakers, continuing its focus on the audio experience.

The higher end ZTE Axon 7 will incorporate Force Touch, which is similar to Apple's 3D Touch pressure-sensitive display technology. We haven't seen this technology used on the Android platform yet so it will be interesting to see how it is implemented on the ZTE Axon 7.

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