ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G review

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Introduction

200 million pixels! That’s what the cameras on the back of the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G add up to. And since more is better, the Axon must be the ultimate cameraphone, right? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G review

All those megapixels are split between four cameras, and there’s no shortage of unusual decisions on ZTE’s part. The main unit is 64MP and is paired with a 26mm lens – nothing extraordinary there. Things get interesting with the next 64MP sensor that gets 35mm optics – ZTE calls this the portrait lens. There’s still a long way to 200, and a third 64MP sensor helps out, this one with ultrawide glass and we don’t think there’s another 64MP UW camera? Then there’s the 8MP periscope telephoto to complete the picture. There you have it – 200.

With such imaging chops, it only makes sense that the Axon 30 Ultra packs some high-end hardware in other areas, and that is indeed the case. The Snapdragon 888 is as good as it gets for computing power, the 144Hz AMOLED display is 24Hz ahead of the mainstream, and you can get the Axon with up to a terabyte of storage. Here’s a quick rundown of the numbers.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G specs at a glance:

  • Body: 161.5×73.0x8.0mm, 188g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5).
  • Display: 6.67″ AMOLED, 1B colors, 144Hz, HDR10+, 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 395ppi.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm): Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680); Adreno 660.
  • Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM, 1TB 16GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
  • OS/Software: Android 11, MyOS 11.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 64 MP, f/1.6, 26mm, 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS; Standard: 64 MP, f/1.9, 35mm, 1/1.97″, 0.7µm, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 64 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚, 1/1.97″, 0.7µm; Telephoto: 8 MP, f/3.4, 123mm, 1/4.0″, PDAF, OIS, 5x optical zoom.
  • Front camera: 16 MP, f/2.5.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 8K@30fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS, HDR10, 10‑bit video; Front camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps.
  • Battery: 4600mAh; Fast charging 65W, Quick Charge 4+, USB Power Delivery 3.0 with PPS.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); NFC.

The one notable omission in that specsheet is an IP rating – flagships typically have dust and water protection, but the Axon doesn’t, sadly. With all those cameras and a starting price of $750/€750, something had to give, and certified weather sealing didn’t make the cut. Then again, ZTE doesn’t normally do IP ratings on phones anyway.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G unboxing

There’s nothing missing in the retail bundle, on the other hand. ZTE has bundled the Axon 30 Ultra with a transparent hard plastic snap-on cover for protection, a USB-C-to-3.5mm dongle, and a pair of earbuds.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G review

There’s also a charger, of course, and it’s one of the more exciting bits about the Axon (it says a lot about us, doesn’t it, the things that get us excited). You see, it’s a 65W USB Power Delivery 3.0 unit with PPS support, and it’s very likely the smallest adapter we’ve seen that has these specs. The US one is even more compact. The thick 6-amp USB-C cable is also a nice touch and will be able to comfortably power-deliver all those 65 watts to a laptop if you so choose.

Let’s stay focused on the phone, though, shall we.

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