After months of back and forth, ZTE is finally making their return to the United States. The last phone the Chinese company released here was the Axon 7 Pro, a low priced flagship phone that competed well against the OnePlus 3 and 3T at the time. Its successor is the Axon 10 Pro, which adopts the same strategy.
Before ZTE was placed on the US blacklist, they were on the rise. They modeled their phone releases after OnePlus, offering flagship specs at midrange prices. Since they left, the landscape has changed a bit. OEMs such as ASUS have adopted the strategy and created real value with phones like the ZenFone 6. And because phones from ASUS and OnePlus have adopted a stock Android experience, ZTE has now done the same.
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The ZTE Axon 10 Pro is basically the OnePlus 7 — no, not the OnePlus 7 Pro that you can but in the US, but the cheaper OnePlus 7 with slightly downgraded specs at a lower price. It has an AMOLED display which supports HDR10, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, and a triple camera system with 3x optical zoom. All for a price under $600 (even the maxed out variant).
It is running a nearly stock version of Android, which is rare for a Chinese phone — this segment of the industry usually has some of the most heavy OEM skins. And ZTE promises the Android 10 update in the near future. In fact, the Axon 10 Pro was part of the Android Q beta program before it came to the US.
The ZTE Axon 10 Pro was first announced on February 25, 2019, during Mobile World Congress. After some negotiation with the current US administration, they have been allowed back in the US and announced the phone would be available stateside starting September 6, 2019. Preorders begin on August 28. The phone is available via B&H, Newegg, and directly through ZTE.
- Release date: Sept. 6, 2019
- Preorder date: Aug. 28, 2019
- Announced: Feb. 25, 2019
The ZTE Axon 10 Pro will come in two variants, both of which include 256 GB of internal storage. The Axon 10 Pro uses the F2FS file system (Flash-Friendly File System), a file system developed by Samsung that offers better read and write speed the EXT4 system used by most Android smartphones. So in essence, while this phone is "only" using UFS 2.1, it will read and write to the internal storage much faster than phones using the same standard. Both models also support expandable storage via a microSD up to 2 TB.
- Storage available: 256 GB
- Expandable storage: up to 2 TB with microSD card
You might want to sit down for this. Are you sitting? Good, now let me tell you the price. The Axon 10 Pro retails at $549.98. That $549.98 for 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. And to upgrade to 12 GB and 256 GB storage, the price is still only $599.98.
- Price: $549.98 (8 GB/256 GB), $599.98 (12 GB/256 GB)
The body is similar to most phones on the market. The frame is aluminum while both the front and back are glass. It uses Gorilla Glass for protection, although ZTE doesn't specify which version. It comes in one color, blue.
- Frame: aluminum
- Finish: blue
There is conflicting reporting when it comes to the water and dust resistance. ZTE doesn't mention an IP rating on their website. According to Android Police, the IP rating is IP53. If this rating is accurate, the phone would only be protected from small amounts of dust. As for water resistance, it can be sprinkled by falling water at any angle up to 60° from vertical with no harm to performance. So don't jump into any pools with this phone.
This is a GSM unlocked phone, so it will work with AT&T and T-Mobile. As an unlocked phone, you can bring this phone to either network with minimal effort. Only you need to do is insert your nano-SIM card.
- Height: 6.27 inches
- Width: 2.89 inches
- Depth: 0.31 inches
- Weight: 6.17 ounces
- Dust/water resistance: Unknown
- Supported carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile
- Infrared blaster: no
The operating temperature range is wider than most phones at -4° F to 131° F. This means that it will operate in more extreme temperatures without any issues. Usually, OEMs don't include nonoperating temperature ranges except for Apple, but ZTE also added this information. This range is also greater than the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.
- Operating temp: -4°F to 131°F
- Nonoperating temp: -40°F to 158°F
- Relative humidity: 0% to 95%
- Operating altitude: Unknown
Out the box, it will run Android 9 Pie. It will get Android 10 before the end of 2019, making it one of the first phones to get the latest update. We counted over 40 changes to the Android operating system in 9 Pie including several privacy-focused features, so there's a lot you can do with this phone. And with Android 10, there are an additional 60 changes, including the new system-wide dark mode.
- Version: Android 9 Pie (Android 10 by the end of the 2019)
ZTE learned that in the US, customers wanted a stock-like experience. This is why, when they updated the Axon 7 Pro to Oreo, they changed the UI to nearly stock Android. Rumored to be called "Stock+," ZTE ended up sticking with the name MiFavor for the skin, but were committed to using this style of user interface moving forward. The same stock-like experience is found in the Axon 10 Pro.
MiFavor 9.1 is stock Android with some options in Settings for a few ZTE gestures and extra features. Similar to ASUS ZenUI's recent change, there is virtually no bloatware, with ZTE opting for mostly Google apps, including the dialer and messaging.
- Version: MiFavor 9.1
The ZTE Axon 10 Pro has a 6.47-inch "quad curved" 3D display. As you can guess, the screen curves in all four directions, not just the sides. It is an AMOLED panel with a 2340 x 1080 resolution. It supports HDR10 and has a 92% screen-to-body ratio.
- Screen size: 6.47 inches
- Screen resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels
- Total pixels: 2,527,200 pixels
- Pixel density: 398 ppi
- Screen type: AMOLED
- Notch: yes, waterdrop
- Screen-to-body ratio: 92 percent
- Aspect ratio: 19.5:9
- Minimum brightness: Unknown
- Maximum brightness:Unknown
- Refresh rate: 60 Hz (60 Hz for touch-sensing)
- Color temp: Unknown
- Color gamut: Unknown
The ZTE Axon 10 Pro comes in with two RAM options: 8 GB or 12 GB. Both options come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 paired with the Adreno 640. The is the same SoC found on phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro.
- Memory: 8 GB or 12 GB RAM
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- Chip size: 7 nanometer
- CPU frequency: 2.84 GHz (1x Gold), 2.42 GHz (3x Gold), 1.78 GHz (4x Silver)
- CPU cores: 8
- GPU: Adreno 640
- GPU cores: Unknown
So you never have to worry about running out of power, the Axon 10 Pro comes with a huge 4,000 mAh battery. It supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+, which means you can also use USB PD chargers (up to 27 W). It also supports wireless charging as well.
- Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
- Capacity: 4,000 mAh
- Wired charging: yes, Quick Charge 4+ (18 W) and USB PD (27 W)
- Wireless charging: yes, wireless charging v3.0
The front-facing camera is a 20 MP lens which uses Quad Pixel tech. This takes four adjacent pixels and combines them into one for improved image sensing, especially in low light. This technique does reduce the effective resolution of the photos by 3/4, so the 20 MP sensor produces 5 MP images, but that's still well above 1440p QHD resolution (3.7 MP).
- Resolution: 20 MP
- Aperture: ƒ/2.0
- Zoom: no
- Flash: yes, screen flash
- Image stabilization: no
- RAW support: Unknown
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: Unknown
For the rear, this is one of the cheapest options with triple cameras. There is a 48 MP Quad Pixel main sensor, a 20 MP ultrawide lens, and an 8 MP telephoto lens. Only the ultrawide lens is optically stabilized. It uses Phase Detection Auto-Focus (PDAF) on both the primary lens and the telephoto, and the telephoto provides 3x optical zoom and 5x hybrid zoom. There is also 20x digital zoom, which, while not the sharpest, does offer you the ability to see much farther than most phones.
- Resolution: 48 MP (standard), 20 MP (ultrawide), 8 MP (telephoto)
- Sensor size: #.# µm
- Aperture: ƒ/1.7 (standard), ƒ/2.2 (ultrawide), ƒ/2.4 (telephoto)
- Zoom: yes, 3x (optical), 20x (digital)
- Flash: yes, dual-tone LED
- Image stabilization: yes, OIS (standard & telephoto)
- RAW support: Unknown
- Lens cover: Unknown
- Object detection: Unknown
- Formats: Unknown
The ZTE Axon 10 Pro does lack a headphone jack like most flagship phones in 2019. It does, however, have dual speakers using the earpiece and a bottom-firing speaker. These are dual speakers, not stereo speakers which means each speaker outputs the same channels (so just think two mono speakers). These speakers support DTS:X Ultra for surround sound audio.
- 3.5 mm headphone jack: no
- Stereo speakers: no
- Mics: Unknown
- Max speaker volume: Unknown
The Axon 10 Pro has the usual array of media and video codecs.
- Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WAV, FLAC, APE, OGG, MID, M4A, IMY, AC3
- Video: MKV, MOV, MP4, H.265(HEVC), AVI, WMV, TS, 3GP, FLV, WEBM
The ZTE Axon 10 Pro lacks a barometer, but otherwise has the usual host of sensors including an RGB Sensor for determining the color temperature of your surroundings.
- Accelerometer: yes
- Ambient light: yes
- Barometer: no
- Color temperature: yes
- Compass: yes
- Gravity: no
- Gyroscope: yes
- Hall: yes
- Infrared: no
- Laser: no
- Pedometer: no
- Proximity: yes
As far as GPS goes, the Axon 10 Pro is limited. It doesn't have Glonass, BeiDou, or QZSS satellite navigation systems. There is also no support for dual-frequency either.
- GPS: yes
- aGPS: yes
- Glonass: no
- BeiDou: no
- Galileo: yes
- QZSS: no
While it has a pretty standard array of connectivity components, one highlight is USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector. Despite having USB-C, many phones opt for slower data ports, making file transfer between your phone and computer very slow. It nice to see that ZTE opted for the 5 Gbps transfer speed of USB 3.1 Gen 1.
- Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4 GHz/5 GHz
- Bluetooth: 5
- NFC: yes
- Cellular: nano-Sim
- Port: USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen 1)
As a GSM unlocked phone, it works on both AT&T and T-Mobile. It has all the necessary bands to work on each network ,with LTE coverage including Band 71 for T-Mobile coverage in rural areas.
Model number A.
- LTE: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/30/34/38/39/40/41/66/71
For security, you have an in-display fingerprint scanner. This is an optical scanner, which means it uses light to read your fingerprint. This has two disadvantages: it's not as fast as ultrasonic and it can't read your finger when it's dirty or wet. Beyond that, it has the usual array of Android authentication methods, such as password, gesture, PIN, and swipe.
- Fingerprint scanner: yes, in-display (optical)
- Face scanner: no
- Iris scanner: no
- Manual authentication: password, PIN, pattern, swipe
With the lack of a headphone jack, ZTE opted to include a headphone adapter in the box. It comes with a limited 1-year manufacturer warranty if you run into any issues as well. There is a clear case for light protection, but we recommend you opt for a third-party option for more protection.
- ZTE Axon 10 Pro
- USB Type-C to USB Type-A Cable
- USB AC Adapter
- USB Type-C to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter
- Wired In-Ear Earbud Headphones
- Clear Smartphone Case
- Limited 1-Year Warranty
Oh... and if you're working from home these days, be sure to check out Gadget Hacks' Working-From-Home Essentials.