The ZTE Axon Elite is the international flavor of the ZTE Axon Pro, which already received a very positive reception across the US. The Elite version looks a lot like the Pro, but it packs a 1080p display instead of a Quad HD one.
Luckily ZTE makes up for the display's downgrade by supporting all three types of biometric security - voice unlock, fingerprint scanner and EyePrint. We'll talk about those later.
The Axon Elite is built around a big 5.5" Sharp-made Continuous Grain Silicon display with 1080p resolution. The CGS screen allows faster electron rates when compared to conventional LCD panels, as well as fewer individual components. It's still an LCD though, but offers great viewing angles and excellent contrast as far as it can be achieved on this type of screens.
The one thing we notice is the display isn't particularly bright even when set to maximum, but we'll be waiting for the retail unit for confirm this.
Inside the Axon Elite is a powerful Snapdragon 810 chip, with an octa-core processor, Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB RAM. We all know the S810 chip heats up pretty quickly, but ZTE says it has integrated a new heat dissipation system around the chassis that won't even allow the device to warm that much.
We don't know if ZTE indeed put some effort on developing an innovative heat dissipation system around its all metal shell, or just used an improved (or downclocked) flavor of the chip. But it did an amazing job with the design, we are going to give it credit for that. The build quality of the device and also the choice of materials is excellent. The faux leather, which covers the antennas around the top and the bottom, is a welcome addition to the overall premium feel.
The Axon Elite is lightweight, thin and yet - as solid as it can be. And while we are not big fans of those grilles around the display and the rear camera, we still find the Axon Elite very attractive.
One of the Axon Elite's key features is the EyePrint ID (it uses the front 8MP snapper), which allows you to unlock the phone just by looking at it. We thought this seemed like something requiring lots of scanning, but in real life the eye unlock is very fast - you look at your Axon and it's unlocked in a flash. Nice.
The fingerprint and the voice unlock worked like a charm, too.
The rear camera setup has a 13MP main camera and a 2MP secondary snapper, which comes in handy for advanced camera features like bokeh and focus shift. There is an excellent manual mode, but the automatic is great most of the times anyway.
Finally, the Axon Elite is a dual SIM device, it comes with 32GB storage and supports microSD cards up to 128GB. We always appreciate storage expansion options.
ZTE Axon Elite goes on sale on September 24 for €420 or £300 in Europe.