A step in the correct route

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ZTE is leaping again into the high-end premium cellphone market ft first with the Axon 30 Ultra. This flagship smartphone affords all of the specs the Axon 20 didn’t and does so in a glossy, fashionable bundle. On paper, it competes effectively with high telephones from Xiaomi, Samsung, OnePlus, and others. Does the most recent from ZTE have what it takes to attain shoppers’ money? Find out within the Android Authority ZTE Axon 30 Ultra assessment.

About this ZTE Axon 30 Ultra assessment: I examined the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra (8GB/128GB) for seven days working software program model Android 11 and My OS 11. The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra unit was supplied to Android Authority by ZTE for this assessment.

What it is advisable to know concerning the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra rear to the right

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • ZTE Axon 30 Ultra (8GB/128GB): $749/€749/£649
  • ZTE Axon 30 Ultra (12GB/256GB): $849/€849/£739

The Axon 30 Ultra marks a return to the premiere flagship area for ZTE. It’s a monster of a tool with (virtually) all of the specs and options you count on to see on this class.

The Axon 30 Ultra is already being bought in China and is being made out there for North America, Europe, and the UK beginning in June. Two fashions might be made out there to the larger worldwide market; one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and one other with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Black is the one shade choice out there exterior of China. Online preordering from ZTE’s web site begins May 27 and the final on-sale date is June 4. Anyone who pre-orders the cellphone will obtain a free pair of headphones from ZTE.

The cellphone goes head-to-head with the likes of the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S21 sequence, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 household. That’s some stiff competitors, however the Axon 30 Ultra is up for the problem.

How is the design?

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra design 1

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

ZTE’s Axon 30 Ultra jogs my memory a little bit of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. It’s a blocky piece of {hardware} that has tight corners and an enormous digital camera module on the rear. The cellphone takes on the glass and metallic sandwich design, with Gorilla Glass 5 on the back and front, and aluminum serving because the mid-frame. ZTE didn’t say why it went with Gorilla Glass 5 quite than the newer Gorilla Glass Victus, although it’s not a dealbreaker at this value level. Both the entrance and rear glass panels are curved, the rear extra so than the entrance. The curves assist the cellphone relaxation deeper in your grip. The metallic body is skinny alongside the facet rails and stands proud a bit. You can really feel it in opposition to your palms. I just like the black colorway, which takes on completely different hues relying on the way you maintain it within the gentle. It has a matte end and consists of an anti-scratch coating.

See additionally: The greatest ZTE telephones you may get in 2021

The cellphone is a good-sized hunk of glass. The display form makes for a tall, lean cellphone that’s straightforward to grip in your hand, however not essentially straightforward to succeed in along with your thumb. ZTE stored the load to a good 188g. It doesn’t really feel overlarge in your pocket, although the corners might poke you within the leg as you progress round.

The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra is a high quality piece of {hardware}, even when it borders somewhat bit on the acquainted.

The cellphone’s practical parts are reserved for the correct and backside edges. On the correct is the place you’ll discover a display lock button and quantity toggle. These buttons are a bit sharp in opposition to your pores and skin however present wonderful suggestions. The backside edge homes a USB-C port, a bottom-firing speaker, and a dual-SIM card slot. ZTE maintained clear strains on the left facet and high edge. That means there’s no room for a headphone jack. In addition, in contrast to earlier Axon sequence telephones, the Axon 30 Ultra doesn’t help expandable storage.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G detail

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Most flagship telephones have adopted huge digital camera modules the previous couple of years and the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra is not any completely different. The cellphone’s module is beefy and busy. Four lenses crowd the module together with a flash, laser-focusing system, and stenciled textual content. It’s exhausting to overlook.

ZTE says the cellphone has “primary waterproofing solely” and doesn’t carry an IP ranking. Many of the cellphone’s opponents do have official water and mud resistance rankings.

The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra is a high quality piece of {hardware}, even when it borders somewhat bit on the acquainted.

What concerning the 144Hz display?

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra screen to the right

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

ZTE loaded the Axon 30 Ultra with a high-tech display. It bests a lot of the competitors by skipping the 120Hz refresh fee and leaping to 144Hz as an alternative. ZTE ensured the display is energy environment friendly. It is about to adaptive mode out of the field, which suggests the display varies the refresh fee relying on what you’re viewing. You may also select to peg it at 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, or 144Hz if you want. At 144Hz, the result’s a few of the smoothest on-screen motion in each on a regular basis apps and video games that we’ve seen exterior of devoted gaming telephones.

More studying: Refresh fee defined: What does 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz imply?

The panel stretches 6.67-inches with Full HD+ decision (2,400 x 1,080) in a 20:9 facet ratio. In addition to the quick refresh fee, the display helps a 300Hz contact response fee, 10-bit shade, and a 100% DCI-P3 shade gamut. You’ll word a small punch gap digital camera centered on the high of the show. Unlike the Axon 20 5G, the Axon 30 Ultra doesn’t have an under-display selfie digital camera. ZTE says the screen-to-body ratio is 95%. These specs are all on par for a flagship gadget.

The display is a magnificence to behold. Scrolling up and down menu gadgets and feeds appears unbelievable due to the upper refresh fee. Colors look wealthy, the decision is sharp sufficient for most individuals, and the brightness measures up beneath the solar. It’s a very good display, significantly for watching video.

There is a fingerprint reader constructed into the show which I discovered to be a cinch to coach and painless to make use of for unlocking the cellphone in a rush. I additionally didn’t encounter any ghost contact points with the display’s curved edges.

How is battery life?

ZTE crammed a 4,600mAh battery contained in the Axon 30 Ultra and it does a very good job. With the cellphone set to the adaptive display refresh fee, I frequently noticed loads of battery left within the tank after a full day of heavy utilization. Screen-on time was usually between 6.5 and seven.5 hours, which is a lot. Standby time stretches into the ridiculous for those who use the cellphone frivolously.

There are gobs of instruments aboard to handle battery life, from the always-on show to darkish mode, display refresh fee, and background app utilization. If you end up in battery hassle, there’s possible a setting to regulate that solves the issue.

The cellphone helps 65W wired charging and the charger comes within the field. In our assessments, the cellphone powered up from 0% to 100% in slightly below 50 minutes. That’s not the quickest we’ve seen nevertheless it’s nonetheless actually fast. There’s no help for wi-fi charging, which is a significant lacking characteristic for a contemporary flagship, even one which’s this inexpensive.

How highly effective is it?

With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 aboard, together with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in our assessment unit, the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra units the stage for stellar efficiency and it delivers.

The gadget powered by means of the same old set of benchmarks. On 3DMark, for instance, it outscored 91% of all units — solely different Snapdragon 888 telephones bested it. It did very effectively in GeekBench and AnTuTu, as effectively. For our personal, homegrown Speed Test G benchmark, the 30 Ultra ran it in 74 seconds, which is extraordinarily aggressive with different Snapdragon 888 units.

See additionally: Here are the perfect Snapdragon 888 telephones you should buy

Speaking extra virtually, real-world utilization demonstrated zippy efficiency throughout the board. Everything concerning the cellphone felt quick and fluid. The cellphone by no means lagged or slowed down, and even intense video games ran easily with no body drops.

The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra lives as much as the Snapdragon 888’s tall promise and based mostly on our outcomes the 8GB mannequin supplies all you want. The 12GB mannequin could be overkill.

How good is the Axon 30 Ultra digital camera?

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra camera module closeup

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Even although the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra has 4 rear-facing cameras, the corporate refers to it because the “trinity digital camera system.” The cellphone has three 64MP sensors on board for the usual, ultra-wide, and portrait lenses, respectively. There’s a periscoped 8MP zoom digital camera as effectively, which might deal with 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom, and 60x digital zoom. The digital camera additionally features a laser detect autofocus system and dual-LED flash.

It’s a stable digital camera system that, generally, captures good snaps when out and about. I used to be happy with focus, publicity, and shade, which have been all on level. The ultra-wide handles photos with aplomb. Color profiles throughout the three predominant lenses (large, ultra-wide, tele) are considerably completely different as you possibly can see beneath within the greens, blues, and whites. You may also see how the zoom works from 0.6x to 60x within the sequence beneath. Zooming to the utmost is clearly nugatory, however the 5x optical outcomes have been fairly stable.

Indoor pictures are correct, with good focus and shade, however a contact of grain, as evidenced by the samples beneath. The dynamic vary can also be nice, as seen within the balloon photograph.

ZTE packed the digital camera with tons of taking pictures modes to discover, equivalent to the flexibility to seize video with as much as three cameras on the similar time, long-exposure portrait for creating dramatic backgrounds behind your topic, tremendous moon extremely shot for enhanced moon pictures, a color-changing filter, in addition to a number of vlogging templates and different video filters. The moonshot characteristic, which has similarities to 1 on the Samsung Galaxy S21, doesn’t produce the perfect outcomes as you possibly can see beneath. Even so, the digital camera did an honest job at sundown and put up sundown.

The cellphone can file video at as much as 8K at 30fps or 4K at 60fps, which is customary for a flagship today. The video footage appeared actually good. I used to be happy with shade, focus, and readability of what I shot. I didn’t see any noise or different issues in my movies.

The 12MP selfie digital camera does a semi-respectable job. It doesn’t overdo the beautification, which I admire. Outdoor pictures appeared clear. Selfies captured indoors have been on the grainy facet. Self-portraits taken indoors have been combined, and you’ll see within the (proper) pattern beneath that the digital camera had a tough time detecting the left facet of my face.

You can view full-sized samples on this Google Drive folder.

Anything else?

  • Stereo audio system: The cellphone combines the earpiece and bottom-firing speaker to generate stereo audio. The sound is nice so long as you retain the quantity set to an inexpensive stage. Blasting all of it the way in which up creates a number of undesirable distortion.
  • My OS: This is the most recent model of ZTE’s Android consumer interface pores and skin. It’s palatable. I’m not an enormous fan of the colours used all through the UI, however which may be simply me. I admire that there are solely a few bloatware apps on board and they are often deleted.
  • Updates: ZTE’s observe file for updates is murky at greatest. For the Axon 30 Ultra, ZTE stated it would “present Android OS updates, common safety patches, and roughly two years of help (might fluctuate by area).” If you’re in search of a gauge on how well timed these updates could also be, ZTE has but to replace final 12 months’s Axon 20 5G to Android 11.
  • 5G: Not solely does the cellphone help sub-6GHz 5G, nevertheless it additionally helps “twin 5G.” What does that imply? You can have two 5G-enabled SIM playing cards within the cellphone working on separate 5G networks. Few telephones can try this. It doesn’t help mmWave 5G.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra specs

  ZTE Axon 30 Ultra
Display 6.67-inch AMOLED
2,400 x 1,080 Full HD+
HDR10+, 100% DCI-P3
Processor Snapdragon 888
Adreno 660
Storage 128GB
Wireless 5G
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6e
Cameras Rear:

Main: 64MP, f/1.6, OIS
Portrait: 64MP, f/1.9
Ultra-wide: 64MP, f/2.2
Telephoto: 8MP, OIS


8K @30fps

Battery 4,600mAh
65W wired charging
QuickCharge 4+
Dimensions 161.53 × 72.96 × 8.0mm
Weight 188g

Value and competitors

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra

ZTE’s high-end Axon 30 Ultra affords a big, 144Hz show, a Snapdragon 888 processor, and a triple 64MP digital camera system. It additionally packs a wholesome battery, twin 5G, and wholesome battery life.

ZTE’s pricing for the Axon 30 Ultra is pretty aggressive. It’s not the most affordable flagship to succeed in the market, nevertheless it undercuts a few of the competitors by a whole bunch of {dollars}. At $749 for the bottom mannequin, you’ve received the 6.67-inch, 144Hz display, the Snapdragon 888 with 8GB/128GB, the quad-camera system, and all-day battery life in a bundle that’s effectively constructed and enticing. Boosting the RAM and storage to 12GB/256GB solely prices $100 extra ($849) and could be price it for those who plan to shoot a number of movies.

Starting off, let’s handle the ZTE Axon 30 Pro, which is a less-costly model of this cellphone. The display is similar measurement, although it’s restricted to 120Hz. It additionally has the Snapdragon 888, a 64MP predominant digital camera, and 128GB/256GB storage choices, nevertheless it lowers RAM to 6GB and makes different concessions. Pricing is extra affordable at about $459, although the cellphone is restricted to China for the second.

The relative cut price pricing of the ZTE is a compelling gross sales issue.

The most blatant competitor from different manufacturers is the Samsung Galaxy S21 vary. The Galaxy S21 is a wonderful alternative, nevertheless it does value a bit more cash in order for you a display measurement similar to that of the Axon 30 with the Galaxy S21 Plus. Samsung’s cameras are higher, although, and every cellphone within the sequence has official IP rankings, helps wi-fi charging, and has a three-year software program improve dedication from Samsung. That additional money could be price it.

The customary OnePlus 9 is one thing to think about. At $729, it performs proper in the identical area because the Axon 30. It sacrifices a number of premium options however remains to be an honest cellphone. Another choice is the costlier $969 OnePlus 9 Pro. I discovered the design of the OnePlus 9 Pro higher than the Axon 30 Ultra, however that’s subjective. More importantly, the cameras are about on par between the 2 telephones.

Elsewhere, Xiaomi’s inexpensive $749 Mi 11 is a high quality cellphone with an interesting design which may function an alternative choice to the Axon 30 Ultra.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra assessment: The verdict

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra screen to the left

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

ZTE’s first true flagship cellphone in years is a wonderful effort. The Axon 30 Ultra is a finely crafted piece of {hardware} that covers many of the fundamentals when it comes to options and efficiency.

In its favor, the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra has a beast of a display, high pixel-pushing energy, and battery life that lasts. Detractors embrace no wi-fi charging and no IP ranking, each of which can be found from many opponents.

The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra competes effectively in a wholesome marketplace for premium units.

The Axon 30 Ultra is probably the most compelling flagship I’ve seen from ZTE in a very long time, although it falls simply in need of at the moment’s greatest.

Who is it for? Anyone who’s out there for a funds flagship may contemplate the Axon 30 Ultra. Perhaps it doesn’t illicit the uncooked emotional enchantment a few of its opponents do however ZTE managed to prove a high-end gadget simply the identical. ZTE has taken an enormous step ahead with the Axon 30 Ultra.

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