ZTE isn't nearly as big a name in the US as Samsung or Apple, but that's something the company is trying to change with the Axon. Unlike many of ZTE's previous handsets, the new device has the premium design and specs you'd expect from a flagship.
According to ZTE USA chairman Lixin Cheng, the company's new smartphone is “designed in the US, for the US,” and at least on paper, there's a lot to like about the new flagship. It has an expansive 5.5-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) display, a beefy 4 GB RAM, runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop, and is powered by a quad core Snapdragon 810 – the same chip you'll find in flagship 2015 handsets like the HTC One M9. Not bad at all.
The positive impressions continue when you take a look at the housing for those components. At 9.3 mm (0.37 in), it's not the thinnest handset around, but it features an all metal build with a fairly slick looking design that includes a tiny bezel on the left and right of the display.
Its camera specs also look promising. On the rear, there's a 13 MP dual lens setup that's capable of shooting 4K video at 30 fps, while the front-facing shooter offers an 8 MP resolution.
Elsewhere, the device offers two dedicated sound chips and dual microphones for Hi-Fi quality recording and playback. As you'd expect, both LTE and Bluetooth 4.0 tech is included.
The ZTE Axon is a solid-looking high-end offering from a company that we're not used to producing truly great smartphones. Of course, without some significant hands-on time with the handset, it's impossible to say whether it's as good in the hand as it looks on paper, but it's definitely a promising, if not mind-blowing, piece of kit.
Considering that spec sheet, the Axon is priced at a very reasonable US$450 unlocked, and will be available in blue, gray and silver. It's scheduled to arrive towards the end of this month.