Android Product Reviews

ZTE Axon 7 Review

Skye Hudson 24-01-2017

While most high-end phones cost well over $600, the ZTE Axon 7 manages to pack amazing specs into a $400 phone — and the result is impressive.


It’s essentially a competitor to the OnePlus 3 OnePlus 3 Review OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 were tricky to get hold of, despite attracting favorable reviews. This time around, things are different. Read More , which is already a great smartphone. If you want a premium device without the premium price, the Axon 7 just might be the phone for you.


  • Price: About $400 at Amazon
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB
  • Cameras: 20 MP rear-facing, 8 MP front-facing
  • Size: 151.7mm x 75mm x 7.9mm (5.97in x 2.95in x 0.31in)
  • Weight: 175g (6.17oz)
  • Screen: 5.5″ Quad HD AMOLED (2560 x 1440 px)
  • Expansion: microSD card slot up to 256GB
  • Battery: 3,250 mAh
  • Operating System: MiFavor UI 4.0, based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Extra Features: Dual SIM support, microSD card support, Fingerprint scanner, LED notification light


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Rocking a metal unibody design, the ZTE Axon 7 doesn’t do too bad in the hardware department. It feels sturdy and well-built, and the curves help it fit gently in your hand.

On the front is the 5.5″ Quad HD AMOLED display that is absolutely gorgeous. AMOLEDs generally do a great job of producing the darkest blacks and the most saturated colors, and this screen is no exception.


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Below the screen are three capacitive keys — Back, Home, and Recents — though you can change the order of these in the settings.

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The headphone jack is on top, the volume rocker and power button are on the right, the microSD card/SIM card slot is on the left, and the USB Type-C port is at the bottom. While the Axon 7 does support dual SIMs, it only does so if you don’t use expandable storage, since the second slot can only hold either a SIM card or microSD card.


ZTE Axon 7 Review zte fingerprint 670x335

On the back of the device is the fingerprint scanner, just like on the Google Pixel Google Pixel XL Review and Giveaway Google's first branded device delivers one of the best devices in the Android ecosystem: the $770 Pixel XL. The XL launched with similar specs as the $500 Nexus 6P, but is it worth $770? Read More . Unfortunately, this fingerprint scanner is relatively limited in that it’s only capable of unlocking the device, taking a photo, or answering a call. On the Pixel, the scanner can be used to swipe down the notification shade; on the Honor 8 Huawei Honor 8 Review Read More , it can be used as a programmable extra button.

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Just above the fingerprint scanner is the 20 meagpixel camera that really takes some fantastic photos. The camera app has a built-in manual mode, can add custom watermarks to all your photos, and has the ability to take slow motion video and timelapses.


It even has optical image stabilization and a fast f/1.8 aperture.

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The front-facing 8 MP camera is just as impressive. In the default selfie mode, it has a smaller replica of the screen in the upper left just underneath the camera, so that if you look at that instead of the center of the screen, it looks like you’re actually looking at the camera. It also has a beauty mode and the ability to take photos once you smile, and it does surprisingly well in low light.

Also on the front, you’ll find dual speakers. This is something that all phones should have, but that nearly no current flagships do. Even HTC, once the leader of front-facing speakers, has abandoned them in their newest HTC 10 HTC 10 Review There's little to complain about with the HTC 10, aside from the mediocre battery life and quiet speakers. But there's nothing about it to get excited about, either. Read More . But the front-facing speakers on the Axon 7 are loud, clear, and good quality.


Overall, the ZTE Axon 7 is very nearly the peak of smartphone design, in my opinion. I’m personally a fan of using software navigation keys instead of capacitive keys, and I prefer having a fingerprint scanner on the front rather than the back — but those are subjective gripes. For the average consumer, this is an extremely solid piece of hardware.


Android device manufacturers often create their own custom software skins Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More that tweak how the device looks and behaves. On the Axon 7, ZTE calls this MiFavor UI 4.0, and it’s a modified version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Software like this can sometimes look nothing like Android, or it can add a bunch of cool features. With MiFavor UI, the changes are minimal but actually pretty nice.

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In the default launcher, you still have an app drawer at the bottom and a Google search bar at the top. It feels a lot like stock Android, but a few of the icons have been changed and a few apps have been added. The Browser, Gallery, and Email apps are all ZTE’s, since stock Android now just uses Chrome, Google Photos, and Gmail for those.

You can still use Google’s options if you want, but ZTE’s apps are there and can’t be uninstalled, only disabled.

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The notification shade looks very clean and simple, with the top row of Quick Settings always being visible along the top. This style looks a lot like Android 7.0 Nougat, even though it’s only Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

It’s easy to edit the Quick Settings options (which you can only do by activating System UI Tuner in stock Android How to Access Android 6.0's Hidden System UI Tuner If you've got Android Marshmallow, you have access to a secret menu that lets you change some parts of your notification tray. Here's how to get to it. Read More ), and you can tap the eye icon in the lower left to hide certain notifications.

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The Settings menu has a slightly different aesthetic to it than on stock Android, as you can see above. One of the major problems with the Axon 7 that was noted in early reviews was that notifications were never visible on the lockscreen. Thankfully, running the newest version of the operating system, the Axon 7 now has a toggle for that.

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There are a whole lot of other settings to tweak as well. Mi-POP gives you a small onscreen button to activate certain controls, you can use your voice to unlock the phone, and there are a few gesture and motion controls like double tap to wake and three-finger pinch for a screenshot. The Frequently used tab is also a big design change, but if you don’t like it, you can always just swipe over to All settings.

Most of the changes here seem to be either useful or ignorable, meaning that you get what feels like a very lightly skinned version of stock Android — which results in a slick user experience.

ZTE hasn’t made an official statement saying when the Axon 7 will be upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat, but it should be coming soon since they ran a beta for it back in December.

Performance and Battery Life

The Snapdragon 820 in this phone is the current industry standard for a fast processor, and it doesn’t disappoint. Gaming is a breeze, multitasking is quick, and with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, this phone won’t be struggling anytime soon.

Battery life in my testing was also above average. The 3,250mAh battery almost always lasted me through a full day (some intense Pokemon GO sessions 10 Pokemon Go Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know Pokemon Go is still fun even years after its launch. Here are the best Pokemon Go tips and tricks to get more out of the game. Read More could kill it, but that’d be the case with any phone).

With the USB Type-C connector What Is USB Type-C? Ah, the USB plug. It is as ubiquitous now as it is notorious for never being able to be plugged in right the first time. Read More and Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, it can be fully recharged in just over an hour.

Thankfully, all the global bands are here too, so it should work on any GSM carrier (in the US, that includes AT&T and T-Mobile).

Should You Buy It?

To be completely honest, this is an amazing phone. I struggled to find anything wrong with it. Everything about it is the top of its class, and it’s cheaper than most other phones. I kept looking for the catch, but there doesn’t seem to be one.

The ZTE Axon 7 is just a really great phone at a really great price.

Our verdict of the ZTE Axon 7:
If you want the best Android phone on the market right now without spending over $500, the ZTE Axon 7 is the device for you.
9 10

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  1. Nihar
    February 20, 2017 at 5:27 am

    What happened guys #MUO ..Who won this beauty ?

  2. Saurabh Soni
    February 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Is this giveaway available only for US citizens or for other countries citizens too.

  3. DK
    February 16, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Where could we find, who`s the winner?

  4. Saku
    February 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    So, who won this beauty? ?

  5. Alfred C
    February 7, 2017 at 2:20 am

    Great hardware it pack with.

  6. Mauro Soban
    February 3, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Some make excuses for selling you smartphones , the glossary for the ZTE tells you why it doesn't do that a good innovation in phones

  7. Ordinary Geek
    January 31, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I've had this phone for 5 months now, and have been using it as my daily driver. It's excellent. There are a few quirks; some things I would change (beginning with backlighting the capacitive keys), but overall, I really love it. It's powerful, it's fast, the front-facing stereo speakers are great, and because it's unlocked, it has NO BLOATWARE!!! I actually would not have another phone. This one speaks directly to my sensibilities. I found it really useful to install Nova Launcher on this phone. You might, too. Am looking forward to the Axon 8!

  8. Neerja
    January 31, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Great man!!! When can I get this? Woah

    January 30, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Best phone in the Market - ZTE Axon 7 hopefully will be mine soon. Soooo need a new phone as i recently accidently dropped and cracked my screen. UNO how hard it is to use and see what i am doing.
    I'm thinking positive thoughts. ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
    Thanks Guys for a Awesome comp. have shared shared to all my buddies

  10. Biljana Zdravkovska
    January 30, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Awesome phone love to win it giveaway .

  11. Biljana
    January 30, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Awesome phone love to win
    Win to giveaway.

  12. Biljana
    January 30, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Awesome phone
    Love it ? to win

  13. kat red
    January 28, 2017 at 8:50 am


  14. kat red
    January 28, 2017 at 8:46 am


    January 27, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Best screen, best audio, best phone.

  16. Kannon
    January 25, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Great review! I'm kicking myself for buying a Pixel XL instead of this. It's going for $350 with a 64GB storage module over at Amazon right now. That's some serious value.

  17. sergio
    January 25, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    wow nice but the agm x1 i think it's better

  18. sergio
    January 25, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Wow!!!! it's very nice but i think that it is not as good as the agm x1. What do you think??

  19. Cristian Diaconu
    January 25, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Haha! I really liked the reference of the bonus entry code. Clever idea! :D

  20. Adam
    January 25, 2017 at 8:59 am

    I'm writing this comment using the Axon 7 ?
    Like others have mentioned, you failed to highlight the audio quality of this device. The headset HiFi setting in "Super" mode produces amazing sound processing resulting in no hiss or low frequency noise. It also lets you crank the volume ALL THE WAY UP without becoming distorted. An amazing feature. The Dolby ATMOS is best used through the front facing speakers and transforms even simple YouTube videos.

    The two main downsides are that the navigational buttons are not backlit and for some reason my device randomly looses mobile signal all together. Attempting a phone call and it reappears again instantly so I'm hoping this is software related and not an issue with my antenna. If you buy one in the UK I would advise avoiding O2 as my 4G speeds barely peak above 20mbps, but this a fault with the carrier and not the device.

  21. Barkwolf
    January 25, 2017 at 8:32 am

    It has a few other tricks it can do as well. A favorite is being able to point the camera and say 'capture' or 'cheese' to snap a shot. You can shake it to make flashlight come on. You can make 'hey Google' work on any screen. Youcan make it stayunlocked whileyou have phone with you or have allowable wear items in, like bt earphones or watch. Android Authority has a great tutorial on Youtube with many features explained. Sound system was rated several months ago as being the best of any phone in the market.

  22. Benji
    January 25, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Great phone, one issue. Fragile internal display. There's quite a few reports online and happened to mine. Being under warranty means ZTE will charge $80 to fix. The display develops very thin hairline cracks with a fall and that's the end. I've dropped both my Nexus 6 and 6p several times with no issues.

  23. Dv
    January 25, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Thanks, but this barely an opinion, not a review. There is not even a mention of the axon audio capability, which is a big part of the initial design intention.

  24. David Myers
    January 24, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I have two ,actually I have one and my wife has one of these and am happy with the.
    It is a bit too complicated for newbies or old folks but if you have friends, kids, or a tech guy to help you are good to go. The on off switch is VERY HARD to activate that's good for not turning on accidentally, bad if you are not heavy handed sometimes taking many pushes to turn on, the column control is the opposite very easy to turn off sound accidentally and miss calls. They also are not lighted the three buttons below space bar are also not lot making night time use of them difficult. Finally it does not play well with many apps but most work fine. Overall I too feel this deserves 5 stars but keep in mind it's quirks. After two months of use I pull this one out before my nexus 5 bought a while back for work. So that tells us with use you will eventually love this phone even with the above design deficiencies

  25. Don T
    January 24, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    You fsiled to mention the most important atribute. This phone is sn audiofiles dream. It rocks dual hifi dacs and dolby atmos. I gave up my pixel(which sucked anyway), abd and my galaxy s7 edge for this device and I'm happy I did.

  26. Sumeet Kumar
    January 24, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Woah! 9/10 Rating.
    Sir, Can you post some sample camera pictures (specially low lighting one) so that we can see its camera quality?

  27. Saku
    January 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Wow. It's the highest rating I've seen lately coming from a MUO reviewer. Though, how many times will MUO break my heart before winning? ???