The ZTE Axon 7 is the company's knight in shining armor that's meant to take US shores by storm. We've got good news for you ZTE: you're on the right track with the Axon 7. However, success isn't guaranteed, and that's a bummer considering how great of a product you've put together.
The Axon 7 is built meticulously, and it's got all the right ingredients when it comes to hardware. The aluminum unibody, the sleek looks and the right color choices. The hardware inside is flagship-grade as well, whereas the price is nothing short of reasonable.
And then there are the awesome front stereo speakers. Their Dolby Atmos software is the cherry on top of the cake, and they're great to have even if you are not likely to blast them at full force with your ringtone or notifications sounds.
As we stated in the introduction, the Axon 7 needs to have this X factor to draw customers in - especially considering the uneven battle between ZTE's brand against more established competitors.
And ZTE is headed in the right direction. The price tag is just right, and the feature set is exemplary. Here's, in short, what we discovered about the Axon 7 during our time with it.
With that it mind, let's see how the Axon 7 stands in the crowded smartphone market by checking out its direct competitors.
Let's start with the OnePlus 3 - a rival for the Axon 7, which we've mentioned throughout the review, and for a good reason. It too has a very fast chipset, excellent camera and build quality. However, its 1080p display lacks the resolution of the Axon 7's, and you don't get stereo speakers. The lower resolution doesn't even translate into battery life benefits as the Axon 7 is better in this respect.
We often compared the Axon 7 to the Honor 8 throughout this review, but the truth is that the only thing these two phones share is their price and market availability. The Honor 8 by Huawei is noticeably slower regarding performance, but it's on par with the looks of the Axon 7 because of its glass build.
The LG G5, although released back in April, is also a great competitor with familiar specs: Snapdragon 820, 16MP snapper and 5.3" QHD display. Now that six months since its release have passed, you can get it at a similar price to the Axon 7 and enjoy the benefits of the removable battery as well as one of the best cameras in the business as proven by our recent camera shootout.
The Alcatel Idol 4S features a Snapdragon 652, which is way slower than the Snapdragon 820 in the Axon 7. However, the Idol 4S' price tag is a bit tough to swallow considering what the Axon 7 is offering for similar money.
Yet another optimistic Chinese brand will land a US-bound contender, and that's LeEco with the Le Pro3. The 5.5-incher sports a Snapdragon 812 chipset and 6GB of RAM all the while packing a bigger battery. The price is similar to the Axon 7, but wider US availability is yet to be determined.
The ZTE Axon 7 isn't a perfect phone, but a perfect phone is quite hard to come by, even today as we're nearing the end of 2016. The Axon 7 has its shortcomings, but they're quite agreeable when you consider the phone's price of USD $400. What's more, you can easily check it out in brick-in-mortar stores across the US like BestBuy or Walmart unlike the other mentioned Chinese brands, which only sell their products online. In other words, giving this phone a consideration is certainly a must if you're in search of a solid all-around device. It almost reminds us of a Swiss army knife - it's as versatile, it does a great job in almost all departments with some exceptions and it's ready to be your trusty companion for quite some time ahead.