ZTE Brings Its Flagship-Killing Axon 10 Pro Stateside

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ZTE took its Axon 10 Pro official back in February. Now the once-banned company has launched the flagship handset stateside, based on a recently reported press announcement from the company. Priced at under $600 and loaded with the latest specs, this is one Chinese smartphone that proves ZTE is not looking to return to the U.S. gently.

What's different about this ZTE Axon 10 Pro?

The ZTE Axon 10 Pro is effectively the same as the gadget launched in February with one minor exception. There doesn't appear to be any 5G on board with this smartphone. That means buyers won't be able to access the next-gen networks when those finally start coming online across a wider area. But it's not going to be a big deal since those won't be widely available until 2020 or later.

Aside from that caveat, ZTE's flagship might be better defined as a flagship killer than a premium gadget. On the inside, for comparatively little money, users are getting nearly stock Android 9 Pie in a 6.47-inch package complete with an AMOLED waterdrop-notched panel. That touchscreen comes in at 2340 x 1080 resolution.

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That's packed in a premium-built frame with a 20-megapixel selfie snapper and in-display fingerprint scanner. Around the back of the device, the company includes a 48-megapixel camera. That's one of three vertically-aligned lenses. The other two are a 20-megapixel "ultrawide" sensor and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens.

Under the hood, ZTE is using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 octa-core SoC. Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ via USB-C is included for faster charging of the 4,000mAh capacity battery. Backing up that powerhouse, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro delivers a choice of either 8GB or 12GB of memory. A whopping 256GB of storage is included regardless of which choice buyers make. That can be expanded via microSD card up to 2TB.

The casing housing all of that has an ingress protection rating set at IP53. While not as high a rating as the flagships it's taking on, that should offer a minimum of rain and splash protection.

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Pricing and availability

Pre-orders for the ZTE Axon 10 Pro are open now via the company's official website as well as B&H Photo and Newegg. The OEM expects to be able to begin shipping the device near the beginning of September. For colors, the gadget is available in the U.S. in a single, fairly standard but still nice looking light-to-dark-blue gradient.

Pricing will vary depending on the version purchased.

For the more-than-capable 8GB model, ZTE is asking $549. Those who need more memory for a more intense app usage experience can spend extra and get more. For a relatively paltry $50 on top of the standard price — $599 in total — a 12GB RAM variant of ZTE's flagship killer is available too.

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As with every Chinese Android device, use of the ZTE Axon 10 Pro is going to be limited to GSM carriers. That not only rules out use on Sprint or Verizon. It also rules out any MVNOs that happen to operate on either companies' networks.

Barring any unforeseen issues between the U.S. and China amid the still-ongoing trade dispute, ZTE promises to supply buyers with an update to Android 10 too. That will arrive before the year is out.