Do we have a good one for you today – the ZTE Axon 7 goes up against the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The Axon 7 is an all-metal design that resembles past ZTE models, but this time, ZTE worked with Designworks – owned by BMW – to help design the Axon 7. It has bold grills and nicely rounded edges for comfort. The Galaxy Note 7 is getting a lot of publicity – first because of its stellar reviews and then because a few ‘bad apples’ caused a complete Samsung recall. Whether Samsung can bring back that desire for the device remains to be seen. Prior to the recall the Note 7 was selling above expectations – the metal frame and sides hold together two pieces of Gorilla Glass 5 and a dual curved display. These two devices, separated by design and function do have a few things in common. Let’s take a look to see just what these two devices do have in common and then we will take a closer look at each device.
Because the displays are close to the same size, so are the physical dimensions and their weight. The displays use the AMOLED technology and even the same QHD resolution. When it comes to the US/Canadian version of the Note 7, both use the Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and 64GB of UFS 2.0 expandable memory. The camera areas are both great but go about giving us good photos in a different way. Both have Hi-Res sound for listening through earphones, but with dual stereo speakers, the Axon 7 would win this area of concern. The Axon 7 and Note 7 both have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone and authorizing mobile purchases. Both devices use a non-removable battery with fast charge capabilities. They both have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and a Type-C reversible port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a thoughtful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
ZTE Axon 7
The ZTE Axon 7 is one beautiful smartphone – its all-metal body is very captivating and easy to hold. Can the Axon 7 stand up to the new powerhouse from Samsung, and what is the reason for the huge price difference? The ZTE Axon 7 has all the right ingredients to be a commercial success – it just depends on availability and ZTE's marketing division. Let’s look at the specs and see just how it stands up to the powerful Galaxy Note 7.
The ZTE Axon 7 sports a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and with 538 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) It packs a 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHz and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz. It packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of the faster USF 2.0 internal memory that is expandable via a microSD card. Like the Note 7, it uses a 530 GPU for graphics.
The main camera is a 20-megapixel ISO-Cell sensor with a sapphire lens, Phase detection autofocus (PDAF), OIS, EIS, and an aperture of f/1.8 for good low light shots. The front-facing camera (FFC) is an 8-megapixel camera for great selfies and video chatting. It packs a 3250mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0 that can give you up to an 83-percent charge in only 30 minutes.
The ZTE Axon 7 comes running Android 6.0.1 with MiFlavor UI 4.0 on top. It sports dual microphones and dual front-facing speakers and is donning Dolby ATMOS technology to allow for HiFi recording and playback. It measures 151.8 x 75 x 8.7 mm, weighs in at 185 grams, comes in Ion Gold, Quartz Grey, Chromium Silver, and will cost you approximately $400.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is under a microscope at this point – it was first praised by many critics as the best smartphone you can buy – but now under a total recall by Samsung due to problems with a few batteries exploding and burning up the device. Samsung can fix that very expensive problem, but will sales resume at the pace before the recall and can it still battle the new iPhone coming out? Many Note loyalists were hoping for another ‘edge’ model – while not the true Note Edge, the new dual curved display certainly gives the new Galaxy Note 7 a more elegant and polished look. Samsung did make a smart move when they teamed up with Wacom years ago. This relationship has allowed Samsung to create a unique writing experience with the newest S Pen – it gets better every year and this year, it is even waterproof.
The Galaxy Note 7 sports a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED QHD always-on display and dual curved edges, giving it a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 518 PPI. Galaxy Note 7 models purchased in the US/Canada will pack a Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.6 GHz and the other four cores clocked at 2.3 GHz. In other countries, it will sport an Exynos octa-core with a quad-core clocked at 1.6 GHz and a quad-core clocked at 2.3 GHz. It packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal memory and this year, thankfully brings back expansion via a microSD.
The Galaxy Note 7 uses the same winning camera as the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge. It packs a Dual Pixel 12MP sensor that has a large aperture of f/1.7, faster phase detection autofocus (PDAF), auto HDR, and Smart OIS. For its FFC, it uses a 5MP wide-angle lens with the same large f/1.7 aperture and Live HDR to take excellent selfies and video chats. The Note 7 has a large non-removable 3500mAh battery but also features rapid charging as well as quick wireless charging capabilities.
Samsung always upgrades the Galaxy Note series over the last one – starting with the S Pen. It has new added features giving it more functionality, and sensitivity – it is even waterproof, the color of the pen matches your phone, and no, it will not go in backward. The Note 7 still carries the heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor, as well as Samsung Pay, and built-in wireless quick charging. The Galaxy Note 7 is the first Samsung to use Gorilla Glass 5 front and back of the phone and it finally graduates to the newer USB Type-C reversible connector for charging and data transfer. Samsung added a new Iris Scanner for more security that allows you to unlock your Galaxy Note 7 by looking into the top area of the display. Samsung is planning a software upgrade to have the scanner authorize mobile payments – Samsung Pay as well as Android Pay. Depending on where you buy the Galaxy Note 7, it will come in Blue Coral, Silver Titanium, Black Onyx, and Gold. It measures 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm, weighs in at 169 grams, and will cost you about $865.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
The winner of this group really surprised me – oh, spec-for-spec the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 wins this competition. It has a slightly larger dual curved display, IP68 certification, includes quick wireless charging, Samsung Pay, Iris scanner, heart rate sensor, oxygen saturation sensor, larger battery, always-on display, and the S Pen and all of the great options it gives the owner.
The ZTE Axon 7 though has one big distinguishing feature – it is over $400 cheaper – and that huge difference cannot be overlooked. The Axon 7 has an almost matching display, the same processor and GPU, the same RAM and memory, a great camera, and solid build. If you can give up the Note 7 highlights listed above, you can come away with a great device and pocket the $400+ difference in price.