Flagship Android phones with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor typically start in the $ 1,000 range. However, ZTE will soon be launching a very competitive phone that will rival other flagships with a starting price of $ 749 in the US. The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra is a 5G phone that is coming to the United States, Canada, and many other countries around the world. Pre-orders start May 27th and go on sale June 4th.
I’ve spent more than a week with an early retail department but the software won’t be ready until some time later in May as the launch date approaches, so we will withhold any reviews or final reviews until then. It’s really great that I still have a few weeks to test the phone before the final software, as there are many camera modes that make this one of the most developer-centric smartphones I’ve tested. The Axon 30 Ultra also has three 64-megapixel rear view cameras that work together with the advanced camera software. Hence, there is potential for this to be a stunning camera phone at one of the lower prices we’ve seen for a flagship.
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For the past week, I’ve used email and messaging, called, read documents, interacted on social media, watched movies, played games, and worked with the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra. I took a quick look at the Axon 20 5G in December with the front camera under the display, but I am much more impressed with the overall package that is included in the Axon 30 Ultra 5G.
Axon 30 Ultra 5G specifications
- processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
- display: 6.67 inches, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, AMOLED 144Hz refresh rate
- operating system: Android 11 with my operating system 11
- R.A.M.: 8 GB / 12 GB LPDDR5
- warehouse: 128 GB / 256 GB internal storage, UFS 3.1
- Cameras: 64MP f / 1.6 OIS main camera, 64MP ultra wide camera with 120 degree field of view, 64MP f / 1.9 camera and 8MP 5x optical telephoto camera. 16MP front camera.
- Connectivity: 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac / ax Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS / GLONASS / Galileo / BeiDou, NFC
- Sensors: Accelerometer, ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, gyroscope, electronic compass, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
- battery: 4600 mAh non-removable with the included 65 W fast charger and USB-C cable
- LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28
- Strong> 5G bands: Sub-6GHz 5G is supported by the n41 / 78 bands
- Dimensions: 161.53 x 72.96 x 8 mm and 188 grams
- Colours: Black
I tested the internal memory model with 8 GB RAM / 128 GB in matte black. Note that the fastest available RAM and internal storage speeds today is on smartphones.
The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G is a pretty phone with specs that match or exceed the Samsung and OnePlus flagships with a lower starting price. I had the phone for about a week before I received the $ 749 introductory press release and had estimated it would start closer to $ 949. ZTE is selling a lot of the phone priced at $ 740.
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The beautiful AMOLED display has no side bezels as the glass is curved right and left into the side of the phone. The top and bottom bezels are minimal, with the front-facing 16-megapixel camera appearing as a tiny 2.6mm hole punch in the center of the top. There are two speakers, they sound great, one in a disc just above the display and the other down at the bottom.
The AMOLED display supports refresh rates from 60Hz to 144Hz with options to manually set this rate to 60, 90, 120, or 144 so you can control the screen experience and accept the impact on battery life. You can also choose Auto mode to have the device choose the best refresh rate for the application you are using. This display also offers a touch sampling rate of 300 Hz.
The top and bottom are pretty flat with a microphone opening at the top, while the SIM card tray, USB-C port, and speaker are at the bottom. There’s nothing on the left with the power buttons and the volume button on the right. The fingerprint sensor is located under the display.
On the back of the phone there are three 64-megapixel cameras, an 8-megapixel camera, a microphone, an LED flash and a laser focus sensor. Starting at the top left, we have the 64-megapixel portrait lens with an aperture of f / 1.9. If we work up to the middle camera on the left, we find the 64MP main wide-angle camera, a Sony IMX686, f / 1.6 and OIS. The lower camera on the left is easy to distinguish with a square design as it is an 8 megapixel periscope telephoto camera with 5x optical, 10x hybrid and 50x digital zoom functions. The camera to the right of the middle camera is the 64-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view.
The camera array stands out from the back, but it’s not too thick. There are some cool design elements like the Neovision Photography tab in the top right and the 3×64 font next to the telephoto lens.
The back is made of anti-glare Gorilla Glass 5 material. It has a nice matte finish with an Ag etching process to avoid scratches and fingerprints. All glass phones should have a matte finish on the back in my opinion.
The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra also has a triple cooling system that allows you to keep your device cool while gaming or during intensive phone operations.
The retail box contains the quick-charge wall adapter, a USB-C cable, a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack dongle, a SIM card eject tool and a simple case to protect the corners and the back of the phone .
The ZTE Axon Ultra 5G starts with Android 11 and MyOS 11. The Android security update from May 1, 2021 is available on the test device. As mentioned earlier, this is not the final software on the phone launched for consumers. So we will update this article when the final software is installed.
ZTE’s MyOS is a fairly immersive Android experience with no ads, bloatware, or duplicate applications like we see on other Android smartphones. Most of the MyOS features can be found in the notification shadow format, in the settings area, and in the camera software.
Camera software is one area I’ve been told is still being developed by ZTE, but even in its current state, it’s clear that this is a developer phone. The modes available include multi-camera, video, photo, night, portrait, mono, magic shutter, long exposure, macro, moon and more.
In multi-camera mode, you can take two or three pictures from six different views. In video mode there are subsets for vlog, HDR, film mode, slow motion, standard and time lapse. The vlog and film modes are really nifty, giving you the ability to choose from unique film perspectives like pull focus, dolly zoom, and much more. Super Moon allows you to set up a tripod and take amazing pictures of the moon. 3D Lut filters are supported for custom filters as well as the cool color swap function in mono mode. You can spend many hours with the camera and I plan to do so in the next few weeks.
Specific MyOS features in Settings include the Z-POP menu accessible from the side, various gesture and motion options, screen touch sensitivity, 5G connection management, and AI system engine status.
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While the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra is launching in the US with 5G support, this is limited to band n41. This is the mid-range spectrum that T-Mobile added by purchasing Sprint. T-Mobile’s broad low-band coverage is n71 (600 MHz), but n71 support is not offered on this phone. I measured very good LTE coverage on T-Mobile with a download speed of 81.6 Mbit / s. I also measured 97.7 Mbps download on the mid-band 5G network. Not as fast and with 5G coverage as phones with more band support, but this may be acceptable to you.
The phone is very responsive, the display looks great, movies play and sound great with the two stereo speakers, and the camera is great fun. I plan to spend a lot more time with the camera exploring the different modes.
The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra feels good in the hand and is an excellent form factor for a large display device that is also handy in the front pocket. The matte glass and design is very nice. It’s too early for me to say much about battery life, but I managed to get through a full day without hesitation.