At IFA in Berlin, ZTE has unveiled their global flagship the ZTE Axon Elite. The phone will go on-sale in a variety of markets through eBay of all places on the 24th of September.

Priced at €419.99 (around $680AUD), the phone comes in with flagship pricing, and the specs are nothing to sneeze at either. The phone comes with what appears to be the latest smartphone ‘must have’ the fingerprint sensor, with up to five fingers able to be recorded. The power under the hood is supplied by a Snapdragon 810 and 3GB of RAM as well.

While ZTE are advertising the phone as a ‘Global’ device, there is limited LTE support when it comes to Australia. The ZTE Axon Elite supports the very common – at least in most areas – Band 3 (1800MHz) LTE Network and the Optus 4G+ TD-LTE band 40 (2300MHz) network used in a number of capital cities and other areas around the country. Apart from that though, that’s it. No Band 28 (700MHz) for indoor use on Telstra and Optus, nor any Band 5 (850MHz) for Vodafone. There’s limited support but it is there.

There’s two ‘features’ of the ZTE Axon Elite, the first is the dual camera setup on the rear of the phone which gives you a 13MP main sensor and 2MP secondary sensor similar to the HTC One M8 which featured this setup for doing neat focus effects. The second feature is the high-fidelity audio that ZTE says is on the phone, with the AKM 4961 Hi-Fi Audio Chipset built-in. The only issue we have with this is that the lovely symertrical looking speaker grilles on the front of the phone are not actually dual front-facing speakers and only the bottom speaker plays external audio.

ZTE Axon Elite Full Specs:

  • 5.5″ 1920 x 1080 FHD, PPI 401 CGS (Continuous Grain Silicon) TFT LCD, 2.5D curved display with Corning Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with Adreno™ 430 GPU
  • 3GB  LP DDR4  RAM
  • 32GB eMMC ROM, supports 128GB TF card
  • Rear-Facing Camera: Dual lens 13MP, 2MP, dual LED Flash, 4K HD resolution 
  • Front-Facing Camera: 8MP, 84 degree wide-angle, 1080p HD resolution 
  • Security options: Fingerprint scanner (five finger records), Visit Mode, TrustZone, EyePrint ID™, Voice Unlocking
  • GPS/Beidu /Glonass/BT 4.0/WIFI  2.4G & 5G, 802.11 a/b/g/n /ac   WIFI Direct
  • Accelerometer/Proximity/Light/ Electronic compass / Hall sensors, driver assistant
  • Dual-SIM 4FF:
    • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
    • EVDO: BC0
    • WCDMA: Band 1/2/5/8
    • TD-LTE: Band 38/40/41
    • FDD-LTE: Band 1/3/7/8/12/17/20
  • MiFavor 3.2 (Android  OS 5.0.2)
  • 154mm x 75mm x 9.3mm
  • 3000mAh, Quick Charge

ZTE are displaying the Axon Elite at their booth here at IFA. Though a little big with that 5.5″ screen, the Axon Elite feels really nice in the hand and with the metal body it feels quite premium. Using the Axon Elite re-inforced the idea that Google and all these companies are on the right track with the fingerprint sensor mounted on the rear, it’s intuitively easy to use one, or two handed.

The leather grain finish on the top and bottom of the rear of the phone gives some grippiness when holding the phone in landscape, but in portrait adds no tangible benefit, except to look a little kitsch – but they get points for trying something new.

The screen is quite bright and easy to read, though at a mere FullHD resolution, that nearly $700AU price tag will be hard to swallow, but with a 3,000mAh battery, the lower strain on the GPU pushing pixels could make way for a lot of battery life.

The software on the Axon is a little behind the 8-ball, with a base OS of Android 5.0.2 rather than a more modern Android 5.1.1. Thanks to a very stock experience on Australian ZTE models we’ve seen so far, this is the first time we’ve had an opportunity to look at ZTE’s ‘MiFlavour’ OS, but it’s not too bad overall, at least at first glance, we’ll go more in-depth if the phone makes it to Australia.

The ZTE Axon will be available in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom on 24 September in Ion Gold colouring, and will roll out to other markets such as pain, France, Turkey, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Russia and the Philippines. At this stage, no mention has been made of Australia for launch, but we’re still waiting to hear from ZTE Australia on the matter.

Ion Gold

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With our Aussie networks spending big bucks on LTE700 and LTE850, only the clueless will unfortunately buy this phone not knowing what they’ll be missing out on.

For us in the know, it’s a huge omission which can’t be overlooked these days on a high end phone.


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Phill Edwards

What’s with the “Antimicrobial” screen? I don’t remember having too much of an issue with mouldy screens!