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Unboxing & First Impressions: ZTE Axon Pro

August 28, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Announced back in mid-July, we finally have our hands on ZTE’s first “flagship” device for the US. This is the ZTE Axon Pro. ZTE has been in the US market for a few years now, and is actually one of the larger manufacturers in the US. Although most of you probably didn’t know that. The company makes all kinds of low-end and mid-range devices for carriers such as Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Some of which aren’t even branded with ZTE’s name, like the Boost Max. The ZTE Axon Pro is the company’s first high-end flagship that was designed in the USA, in fact it says as much on the back of the device. They have brought over other high-end devices before, but they were just basically imported from the Chinese market. Now we have a smartphone from ZTE that was built with Americans in mind.

ZTE has thrown in all of the bells and whistles here, for the most part. We’re looking at a 5.5-inch 2560×1440 QHD IPS display, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and 4GB of RAM. On the back, ZTE has gone with the duo-camera approach which HTC tried last year with the One M8. So we have a 13MP camera paired with a 2MP camera on the back. For selfies, ZTE has given us a nice 8MP sensor around front. There’s also a 3,000mAh non-removable battery inside.

With the Axon Pro, it’s not just about what’s inside though. ZTE has also paid close attention to detail here. You may have noticed in their branding of the “Axon” brand, that the A is actually a triangle. Which is present on the Axon Pro. If you look on the back around the two cameras, you’ll see a triangle pattern that is in a bronze type color. The speaker grills on the front also feature that triangle pattern. I actually really like how they look, myself. The Axon Pro is also completely aluminum. So it does feel pretty high-end. ZTE has also made the buttons on the front look quite elegant. We have a circle representing a capacitive home button. But what they’ve done is included the notification LED light into that home button. Something that LG had done with the LG G Pro 2 a few years ago. We also have two dots – one on either side of that home button – which represent the recents and back buttons. ZTE went with dots, because you can map these to do anything you want.

Not to mention the audio. ZTE is touting the Axon Pro as the first smartphone in the US with HiFi audio. They worked with Dolby and JBL to create some amazing audio, and also include a pair of JBL headphones in the box. ZTE has included the AKM 4961 DSP Class D amplifier inside. And words just can’t do it justice. If you know someone with the Axon Pro, be sure to check it out. The speakers are amazing, not to mention using the included JBL headphones with the device. We’ll be going more in-depth with the audio on the Axon Pro in the full review.

The only thing that’s a bit puzzling when it comes to the Axon Pro is the storage. We’re looking at 32GB of storage, which isn’t a small amount by any means. But typically we’d either get the option for expandable storage or another storage size. Say a 64GB model. But ZTE is selling just one model here, but in a few colors. We have the blue version here, although I think I like the silver color a bit more.

First impressions of the ZTE Axon Pro are pretty positive. I’m excited to put this one through its paces and watch more videos, listen to more music on this device. It’s probably the first smartphone from ZTE – that’s been sold in the US – that I’ve been excited for. The company is already working on the hardware for the Axon 2, so it looks like they have a bright future ahead!