ZTE Axon 7 Review: The Brightest Sound: Hardware Overview

By 02:33 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments

Unboxing the ZTE Axon 7

The Axon 7 ships in a very stylish box, which is at the same time looking modest. However, that's far from what ZTE has included inside.

In addition to the phone, you acquire the Quick Charge 3.0 power adapter (3A - 5.0V / 2A - 9.0V), Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C cable, and premium headphones with a design inspired by the Apple EarPods. Lifting the manual on the left unfolds a Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C to microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) adapter, SIM slot ejector tool tucked in a rubber keychain, and at the bottom of it all, there's a silicone case.

The retail package is generous

ZTE Axon 7 360-degree spin

The ZTE Axon 7 measures 151.7 x 75 x 7.9 mm and weighs 175 grams - narrower and shorter than the OnePlus 3, but quite heavier as well.

Design and build quality

The Axon 7 follows the design foundation laid by the original ZTE Axon, which came out back in October last year. Back then, we admired the breath of fresh air exuded by the company, and now we're glad to see this design evolve.

The evolution is marked with a gigantic dose of maturity, as the flamboyant design elements from the Axon 7's predecessor are gone now. No more triangle cutouts, dual-tone accents or an excellent blue paint job are present.

Whether that's a fine or a poor thing is a matter of taste, and as far as our goes, we like the result. Both the original Axon and this recent one have a character of their own, which works equally well. Kudos for ZTE for pulling off both an outlandish and a stylish design equally well.

The Axon 7 looks and feels premium, and that's paramount. The aluminum unibody design takes care of that, while the subtle lines and well laid out hardware leaves you with the rightful impression that ZTE has given this phone a plethora of attention in the design process.

The front of the phone houses the dual stereo speaker setup with a subtle dot pattern. Squished in between them and the display are two narrow black lines: the bottom features capacitive navigation buttons, while the top one has only the notification Light Emitting Diode (LED) light. It could've easily been in one of the speaker holes, but that'd have mixed the balance of the phone.

Handling the ZTE Axon 7

Sadly, the aluminum unibody of the Axon 7 proves to be slippery more often than not. The rounded sides of the phone don't assist much with the handling, especially in conjunction with the slim profile. The included silicone case improves this, though.


Above the 5.5" QHD display, there's an 8MP selfie snapper and below it is a couple of sensors (they're hard to see sitting on that black line).

The top of the Axon 7

Below the display, there are the aforementioned capacitive keys. For some reason, ZTE hasn't managed to light them up, so they are hard to utilize in the dark. Quite a bummer, really.

The capacitive keys are never to be lit

The left side is where the hybrid card slot is. It can accommodate two nano-SIM cards, or you can swap the second one for a microSD card. Sure, it limits the options, but at least you have options, right?

The volume rocker and the power key, both made of metal, are on the right. They're pleasantly clicky, too.

The left side • the hybrid slot • the correct side • the power key and volume rocker

The top houses the audio jack and the second mic, while the bottom has the Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C port and the primary mic.

The top side • the audio jack • the bottom • the bottom has the mic and Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C port

Around the back we find the more grown-up design approach ZTE took with the Axon 7, compared to its predecessor. The 20MP capturing camera has a noticeable bump - it's not a gigantic deal when the phone lies on its back, and is somewhat tolerable when you start tapping the classy screen in that position.

What's on the back

The fingerprint sensor is correct below the camera, and it's of the "always-on" variety so it would wake and unlock the phone even when the classy screen is turned off. The reader is accurate and it unlocks the phone lightning fast.



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