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ZTE Axon 7 Mini Smartphone Review

Andreas Osthoff, Stefanie Voigt, 11/24/2016

Is the Mini version all you need? In addition to the flagship model Axon 7, the Chinese manufacturer once again offers a Mini version of the current model. Besides the size and the features, the price was reduced as well. But can the Axon 7 Mini compete with the strong rivals?

For the original German review, see here.

After the review of the new flagship smartphone Axon 7, we now have a look at the smaller sibling Axon 7 Mini from the Chinese manufacturer ZTE. It is the direct successor to the Axon Mini Premium we reviewed last March. The "7" in the designation is a bit surprising at first, but it seems that ZTE wants to create a certain comparability to the models from Apple (iPhone 7) and Samsung (Galaxy S7).

Looking at the specs, we are dealing with a very solid mainstream smartphone: 5.2-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD resolution, modern octa-core SoC from Qualcomm, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, dual-SIM or storage expansion via microSD as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Only the WLAN module stands out at a first look, because fast ac-networks are not supported.

Priced at 299 Euros (~$315), the ZTE Axon 7 Mini sits in a very competitive segment with many potential rivals. We will use the following smartphones as comparison devices for the article: BlackBerry DTEK50Lenovo Moto G4 PlusHuawei P9 LiteSony Xperia XASamsung Galaxy A3 and ZTE's own Blade V7.

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ZTE Axon 7 Mini (Axon Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
3072 MB 
Display
5.2 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 424 PPI, capacitive, 10 Touch points, AMOLED, Gorilla-Glass 4, glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 22 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm, Card Reader: microSD (shared, up to 128GB), 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity Hall, Gyroscope, USB-OTG, WiFi-Direct, DLNA, SAR Body: 0.75 W/kg
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.1, 2G GSM (Bands 2/3/5/8), 3G UMTS (Bands 1/2/4/5/8), 4G LTE Cat.6 (FDD Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/20, TDD Bands 38/40/41), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.8 x 147.5 x 71 ( = 0.31 x 5.81 x 2.8 in)
Battery
2705 mAh Lithium-Ion, Talk time 2G (according to manufacturer): 18 h, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 15 h, Standby 2G (according to manufacturer): 480 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 550 h
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 16 MPix f/​1.9, PD-Autofocus, Dual-LED flash, Videos @1080p/​30fps
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix f/​2.2, Fixfocus, Videos @1080p
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo (Dolby Atmos), Keyboard: Virtual, Keyboard Light: yes, modular USB power adapter, USB-C cable, Headset, SIM tool, service brochures, warranty card, protective cover, MiFavor 4.0, Tools, WPS Office, 36 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
153 g ( = 5.4 oz / 0.34 pounds), Power Supply: 69 g ( = 2.43 oz / 0.15 pounds)
Price
299 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The cases of the Axon 7 and Axon 7 Mini hardly differ from one another apart from the size. The screen only has very narrow bezels at the sides and the bezels above and below the panel are pretty small as well. Similar to the flagship model, ZTE also equips the smaller sibling with two front-facing speakers, so the available space was used very well.

ZTE was able to transfer the great quality impression from the Axon 7 to the smaller model. The build quality of the aluminum chassis is excellent, and the handling of the mainstream smartphone is very good thanks to the rounded edges. The camera lens slightly protrudes from the back of the 7.8 millimeter-thin case, so the device can be a bit wobbly on a solid surface. The fingerprint scanner is located underneath the camera lens and sits a bit lower in the case, so you can easily feel it with the finger. An interesting aspect is the slightly roughened surface in the area of the two speakers, but you will hardly notice it in practice.

Both the physical buttons as well as the tray for the SIM cards (made of metal) can also convince us. ZTE offers the Axon 7 Mini in the colors gold and silver. Our test model is the gold version, and we recommend our review of the bigger Axon 7 for impressions of the silver model. Because of the unibody design, you cannot remove the battery.

Size Comparison

153 mm / 6.02 inch 76.6 mm / 3.02 inch 9.8 mm / 0.3858 inch 155 g0.3417 lbs147.5 mm / 5.81 inch 71 mm / 2.8 inch 7.8 mm / 0.3071 inch 153 g0.3373 lbs147 mm / 5.79 inch 72.5 mm / 2.85 inch 7.4 mm / 0.2913 inch 135 g0.2976 lbs146.8 mm / 5.78 inch 72.6 mm / 2.86 inch 7.5 mm / 0.2953 inch 147 g0.3241 lbs146 mm / 5.75 inch 72.5 mm / 2.85 inch 7.95 mm / 0.313 inch 136 g0.2998 lbs143.6 mm / 5.65 inch 66.8 mm / 2.63 inch 7.9 mm / 0.311 inch 137 g0.302 lbs134.5 mm / 5.3 inch 65.2 mm / 2.57 inch 7.4 mm / 0.2913 inch 131 g0.2888 lbs

Connectivity

SIM tray
SIM tray

With an octa-core SoC and 3 GB RAM, the Axon 7 Mini is well-equipped. ZTE also includes 32 GB internal storage, but you can only use about 21 GB after the initial setup and the update of all preloaded apps. It is also possible to expand the storage by up to 128 GB via microSD-card, but unfortunately you cannot format it as internal storage, even though the card reader is one of the faster modules (more on that later). You are also limited to one nano-SIM card in this case. Installed apps cannot be transferred to the memory card, either.

At the bottom is a USB-C port, but unfortunately it only supports the USB 2.0 standard. We determined average transfer rates of 17 MB/s when we copied a video file onto the smartphone, and 28 MB/s for the transfer from the smartphone to the PC. USB-OTG for the attachment of storage devices or peripherals is supported, but the video output is not. The latter is only possible wirelessly via Wi-Fi Direct or DLNA. Data transfers with other devices are also possible via Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC.

Right side: power button, volume rocker
Right side: power button, volume rocker
Top: 3.5 mm headset port, microphone
Top: 3.5 mm headset port, microphone
Bottom: microphone, USB-C 2.0
Bottom: microphone, USB-C 2.0
Left side: combined card slot (microSD/nano-SIM + nano-SIM)
Left side: combined card slot (microSD/nano-SIM + nano-SIM)

Software

ZTE ships the Axon 7 Mini with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow as well as its own MiFavor 4.0 user interface. Contrary to the default Android UI, the differences are primarily limited to the visuals and the app drawer was waived as well. All in all, the handling is very smooth and there are additional gestures, including double tap to wake or unlocking the device with a predefined word (VoicePrint). There aren't many additional apps, but there are some actually quite useful tools as well as WPSOffice and AccuWeather, which can be deleted. An update to Android 7.0 Nougat for January was at least announced for the Axon 7, so it will probably be available for the smaller Axon 7 Mini as well.

Communication and GPS

Both slots support LTE.
Both slots support LTE.

Besides GSM and UMTS (see specs for full list of frequencies), the two nano-SIM slots also support fast LTE connections (Cat. 6) at up to 300 Mbps (downstream) and 50 Mbps (upstream), respectively. We noticed one thing during our tests in the metropolitan T-Mobile network: the Axon 7 Mini has problems in difficult reception situations. It was still possible to make calls, but the Internet was not available anymore. A simultaneously used Apple iPhone 7 was at least still browsing at Edge speed.

WLAN connections are limited to the standards 802.11 b/g/n in 2.4 GHz networks. Our standardized test with the router Linksys EA8500 determines 50-55 Mbps, which is good for a 2.4 GHz network, but the Axon 7 Mini does not stand a chance against the faster rivals with ac support. The web-browsing experience was inconspicuous in practice, but we noticed much lower download speeds when we increased the distance to the router.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
ZTE Axon 7
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB eMMC Flash
337 MBit/s ∼100% +539%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
320 MBit/s ∼95% +507%
Samsung Galaxy S7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
281 MBit/s ∼83% +433%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 32 GB eMMC Flash
52.7 MBit/s ∼16%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
Adreno 506, 625, 64 GB eMMC Flash
32.9 MBit/s ∼10% -38%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Galaxy S7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
335 MBit/s ∼100% +510%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
323 MBit/s ∼96% +488%
ZTE Axon 7
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB eMMC Flash
298 MBit/s ∼89% +443%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 32 GB eMMC Flash
54.9 MBit/s ∼16%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
Adreno 506, 625, 64 GB eMMC Flash
31.2 MBit/s ∼9% -43%
GPS Test: indoors
GPS Test: indoors
GPS Test: outdoors
GPS Test: outdoors

The smartphone can locate its position via GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou, but it did not work indoors. Outdoors, however, the connection with the satellites was established quickly with an accuracy of four meters. We also check the performance on a bicycle ride and compare the results with the navigation device Garmin Edge 500, which did have some surprising issues in the area of the crossing this time (screenshot 2). The smartphone puts up a decent performance. It does not locate the position quite as often, so there are some "shortcuts", but there should not be any issues with everyday navigation tasks.

ZTE Axon 7 Mini: overview
ZTE Axon 7 Mini: overview
ZTE Axon 7 Mini: crossing
ZTE Axon 7 Mini: crossing
ZTE Axon 7 Mini: turning point
ZTE Axon 7 Mini: turning point
Garmin Edge 500: overview
Garmin Edge 500: overview
Garmin Edge 500: crossing
Garmin Edge 500: crossing
Garmin Edge 500: turning point
Garmin Edge 500: turning point

Telephone Functions and Voice Quality

Contrary to the previously mentioned issues with the mobile Internet connection, we did not have any problems with making calls. There were no annoying dropouts and we had no problems understanding the other person, but voices did sound a bit shrill on both sides of the call. Except for that though, we were very satisfied with the sound quality, and the microphones did a nice job as well. The Axon 7 Mini benefits from its loud front-facing speakers when you use the hands-free function. The provided headset looks just like the EarPods from Apple and does its job.

Cameras

Picture front camera
Picture front camera

At the front is an 8 MP camera that takes usable snapshots in good lighting conditions. This is at least the case as long as you do not zoom in, otherwise you will quickly notice the low sharpness. There is no supporting flash, so there is a lot of picture noise in low-light situations. Videos at the front can be recorded in 1080p.

The camera app itself leaves a good impression. Some functions are explained when you launch the app for the first time (see screenshots) and there is a comprehensive manual mode. Live photos, panoramas and time lapses are available as well.

ZTE uses a 16 MP sensor with autofocus, an aperture of f/1.9 and a dual-LED flash for the main camera at the rear. It cannot keep up with the 20 MP camera of the bigger Axon 7 in terms of quality, but the results are still not bad in daylight. However, the sharpness is a bit high and colors are a bit pale. The sensor captures less details than the rivals in low-light situations (see traffic sign in scene 3), but at least there is not a lot of picture noise in return.

Contrary to the standard Axon 7, videos cannot be recorded in 4K quality but only in 1080p at 26 frames per second. The quality of the recordings is good in daylight, but the sensor has problems with fast camera pans, especially in darker environments.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
ColorChecker Passport: The reference colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.
ColorChecker Passport: The reference colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.

In addition to our regular sample pictures, we also check the performance of the camera under controlled lighting conditions. The results are not edited afterwards and there is no manual white balance. We take a picture of the ColorChecker Passport to evaluate the color accuracy. Colors are once again a bit too pale, but the deviations are pretty small. The test chart is quite sharp, and it only gets a bit worse towards the edges. We can only notice slightly blurry edges in the zoomed center section. All in all, it is a decent camera performance for a mainstream device, and it is certainly sufficient for snapshots.

Accessories and Warranty

ZTE is quite generous in terms of accessories. Besides the usual stuff like the modular power adapter, USB-cable, headset, and service brochures, the box also reveals a transparent protective cover, which can be attached on the back of the smartphone.

The standard warranty period is 24 months. After registration of the smartphone with Axon's VIP service, however, you will get another year. This VIP service also covers a display repair within the first six months if it is not covered by the warranty as well as one water damage repair within the three years.

Input Devices and Handling

The touchscreen recognizes up to 10 inputs simultaneously and also executes them well in the peripheral areas. The fingers glide easily across the screen. ZTE uses onscreen Android buttons, because there is not much space underneath the screen. The virtual keyboard is called TouchPal and offers an additional row for numbers as well as symbols above the regular keys. This means there is not much space left for the actual screen content in landscape mode, but it is very convenient to use.

The physical buttons are carefully integrated into the chassis and produce a convenient clicking sound with even pressure points. The fingerprint scanner on the back works very reliably and not only unlocks the smartphone but also triggers the camera or accepts calls. You can store up to five different fingerprints.

Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

While the bigger Axon 7 is equipped with a QHD-AMOLED screen (5.5-inch), ZTE uses a 5.2-inch Full HD panel for the Axon 7 Mini. The resulting pixel density is a bit lower at 423 PPI, but it is still sufficient for crisp images. The display technology itself is identical, because the smaller model gets an AMOLED screen as well. Black pixels are not illuminated, which results in an infinite contrast ratio, at least in theory. 

The latter often compensates for the lower luminance compared to IPS-based rivals, and this is also the case for the Axon 7 Mini, although the results are not bad at all. We can measure up to 350 nits (335 nits on average) on a pure white picture and even a very good result of 393 nits with an even distribution of bright and dark content (APL50). The luminance is not further increased when you use the brightness sensor.

Subjectively, the picture leaves a very vivid impression, but you can notice a slight blue cast with the default settings, especially on bright surfaces. We could also determine PWM-flickering at 240 Hz with less than 20% of the maximum luminance.

332
cd/m²
330
cd/m²
349
cd/m²
329
cd/m²
327
cd/m²
346
cd/m²
327
cd/m²
331
cd/m²
342
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 349 cd/m² Average: 334.8 cd/m² Minimum: 3.79 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 327 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.3 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 7.1 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
Gamma: 2.25
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.2
BlackBerry DTEK50
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Huawei P9 Lite
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Sony Xperia XA
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
Super AMOLED, 1280x720, 4.7
ZTE Blade V7
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Screen
37%
46%
34%
13%
44%
-19%
Brightness middle
327
535
64%
609
86%
505
54%
518
58%
386
18%
409
25%
Brightness
335
511
53%
589
76%
468
40%
475
42%
394
18%
411
23%
Brightness Distribution
94
89
-5%
87
-7%
88
-6%
81
-14%
88
-6%
96
2%
Black Level *
0.89
0.63
0.74
0.61
0.38
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.3
4.3
32%
3.8
40%
4.1
35%
6.8
-8%
1.11
82%
9.4
-49%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
11.4
8.2
28%
8.3
27%
5.8
49%
11.4
-0%
3.35
71%
17.6
-54%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
7.1
3.6
49%
3.1
56%
4.9
31%
7
1%
1.34
81%
11.6
-63%
Gamma
2.25 98%
2.21 100%
2.06 107%
2.5 88%
2.35 94%
2.12 104%
2.25 98%
CCT
7637 85%
6352 102%
6725 97%
7116 91%
8151 80%
6441 101%
9597 68%
Contrast
601
967
682
849
1076

* ... smaller is better

CalMAN Grayscale (Colorful/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN Grayscale (Colorful/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (Colorful/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (Colorful/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN Colorspace (Colorful/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN Colorspace (Colorful/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Colorful/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Colorful/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Colorful/Cool/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Colorful/Cool/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Warm/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Warm/Normal/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Warm/Natural/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Warm/Natural/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Normal/Natural/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Normal/Natural/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Cool/Natural/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Cool/Natural/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Cool/Gorgeous/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Cool/Gorgeous/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Normal/Gorgeous/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Normal/Gorgeous/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Warm/Gorgeous/sRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Warm/Gorgeous/sRGB)

The Axon 7 Mini has a setting called Display Effect, which offers three settings for the saturation (Natural, Colorful, Gorgeous) as well as the color temperature (Warm, Normal, Cool). The default settings are Colorful/Normal, and we also used them for our measurements. The average DeltaE deviations for the grayscale and the colors compared to the sRGB reference color space are quite high at 7.1 and 6.5, respectively. The target value is 3 or lower in both cases. The blue cast is confirmed as well and the color temperature is a bit too cool.

We also checked the color accuracy with the other combinations. The lowest average color deviation is 5.7 for the combination Warm/Natural, but all settings suffer from a high deviation for the color red. Many competitors display more accurate colors; only ZTE's own Blade V7 is even worse in this respect.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 3 ms rise
↘ 3 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 4 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 4 ms rise
↘ 4 ms fall
The screen shows fast response rates in our tests and should be suited for gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 6 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.6 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 238.1 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 238.1 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 238.1 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9266 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The viewing-angle stability of the AMOLED screen is very good, and you can still see content even from extreme angles. However, you can notice a blue hue at viewing angles of around 30 degrees, but it was no problem in practice.

There are basically no problems outdoors, and the maximum luminance can also be reached without the sensor. However, similar to pretty much every other smartphone with a glossy touchscreen, you should avoid reflections from direct light sources. Our picture represents a worst-case scenario under direct sunlight.

In the shade
In the shade
In the sun
In the sun
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

ZTE only offers one version of the Axon 7 Mini and the specifications are typical for a modern mainstream smartphone. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 617 SoC has eight CPU cores divided into two clusters with four cores each. All of them are Cortex-A53 cores and they only differ in terms of maximum clock. The faster cluster reaches up to 1.5 GHz, the other one reaches up to 1.2 GHz. Graphics calculations are handled by the Adreno 405 GPU, and the SoC is supported by a total of 3 GB RAM.

This SoC is also used for some of our comparison devices (BlackBerryLenovo), and there are no real surprises in the benchmarks. The ZTE is often slightly ahead of the two mentioned devices and is only beaten by the Huawei P9 Lite and the Sony Xperia XA. Subjectively, the handling is very smooth and there are hardly any stutters.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
50366 Points ∼100% +7%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
48331 Points ∼96% +3%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
46968 Points ∼93%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
45232 Points ∼90% -4%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
40876 Points ∼81% -13%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
37070 Points ∼74% -21%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
35964 Points ∼71% -23%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
1373 Points ∼100% +25%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
1259 Points ∼92% +14%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
1102 Points ∼80%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
1042 Points ∼76% -5%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
957 Points ∼70% -13%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
944 Points ∼69% -14%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
916 Points ∼67% -17%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
606 Points ∼100%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
605 Points ∼100% 0%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
568 Points ∼94% -6%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
525 Points ∼87% -13%
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
473 Points ∼78% -22%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
245 Points ∼40% -60%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
235 Points ∼39% -61%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
673 Points ∼100%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
667 Points ∼99% -1%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
624 Points ∼93% -7%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
603 Points ∼90% -10%
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
554 Points ∼82% -18%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
293 Points ∼44% -56%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
281 Points ∼42% -58%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
13676 Points ∼100% +41%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
12138 Points ∼89% +26%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
11653 Points ∼85% +21%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
10430 Points ∼76% +8%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
9670 Points ∼71%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
9527 Points ∼70% -1%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
11318 Points ∼100% +14%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
10916 Points ∼96% +10%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
9913 Points ∼88%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
9773 Points ∼86% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
6522 Points ∼58% -34%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
6170 Points ∼55% -38%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
11769 Points ∼100% +19%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
11156 Points ∼95% +13%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
9858 Points ∼84%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
9717 Points ∼83% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
7229 Points ∼61% -27%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
6786 Points ∼58% -31%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
19 fps ∼100% +12%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
18 fps ∼95% +6%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
17 fps ∼89% 0%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
17 fps ∼89%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
12 fps ∼63% -29%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
12 fps ∼63% -29%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
28 fps ∼100% +56%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
20 fps ∼71% +11%
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
19 fps ∼68% +6%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
18 fps ∼64% 0%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
18 fps ∼64%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
12 fps ∼43% -33%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
7.8 fps ∼100% +16%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
7.2 fps ∼92% +7%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
6.7 fps ∼86%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
6.6 fps ∼85% -1%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
4.5 fps ∼58% -33%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
4.1 fps ∼53% -39%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
15 fps ∼100% +114%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
8.4 fps ∼56% +20%
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
8.4 fps ∼56% +20%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
7 fps ∼47% 0%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
7 fps ∼47%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
4.5 fps ∼30% -36%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
4.8 fps ∼100% +14%
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
4.5 fps ∼94% +7%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
4.2 fps ∼88% 0%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
4.2 fps ∼88%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
2.9 fps ∼60% -31%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
11 fps ∼100% +144%
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
4.9 fps ∼45% +9%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
4.6 fps ∼42% +2%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
4.5 fps ∼41%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
2.9 fps ∼26% -36%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
5339 Points ∼100% +46%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
5234 Points ∼98% +43%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
4685 Points ∼88% +28%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
4051 Points ∼76% +11%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
3947 Points ∼74% +8%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
3663 Points ∼69%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
Points ∼0% -100%
BaseMark OS II
Web
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
765 Points ∼100% +7550%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
756 Points ∼99% +7460%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
717 Points ∼94% +7070%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
10 Points ∼1% 0%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
10 Points ∼1% 0%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
10 Points ∼1%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
9 Points ∼1% -10%
Graphics
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
827 Points ∼100%
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
818 Points ∼99% -1%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
805 Points ∼97% -3%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
696 Points ∼84% -16%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
669 Points ∼81% -19%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
430 Points ∼52% -48%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
415 Points ∼50% -50%
Memory
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
1346 Points ∼100% +28%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
1076 Points ∼80% +2%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
1052 Points ∼78%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
790 Points ∼59% -25%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
675 Points ∼50% -36%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
604 Points ∼45% -43%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
443 Points ∼33% -58%
System
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
2438 Points ∼100% +77%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
2289 Points ∼94% +66%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
1380 Points ∼57% 0%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
1379 Points ∼57%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
1359 Points ∼56% -1%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
1310 Points ∼54% -5%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
1188 Points ∼49% -14%
Overall
Huawei P9 Lite
Kirin 650, Mali-T830 MP2, 3072
1197 Points ∼100% +265%
Sony Xperia XA
Helio P10 MT6755, Mali-T860 MP2, 2048
1043 Points ∼87% +218%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7578, Mali-T720 MP2, 1536
662 Points ∼55% +102%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
328 Points ∼27%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 2048
283 Points ∼24% -14%
BlackBerry DTEK50
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
276 Points ∼23% -16%
ZTE Blade V7
MT6753, Mali-T720 MP4, 2048
249 Points ∼21% -24%
Geekbench 4.0
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
2092 Points ∼100%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
617 MSM8952, Adreno 405, 3072
698 Points ∼100%

We performed the browser-based tests with the preloaded browser from ZTE, which is based on Chrome 45. The results vary quite a bit here. Our test model is sometimes average, but sometimes it is only at the bottom of the ranking. Our subjective performance impression was very good, even on complex websites.

Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
ZTE Blade V7
Mali-T720 MP4, MT6753, 16 GB eMMC Flash
13761.1 ms * ∼100% -24%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
Mali-T720 MP2, 7578, 16 GB eMMC Flash
11796.2 ms * ∼86% -6%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 32 GB eMMC Flash
11109.2 ms * ∼81%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
11102 ms * ∼81% -0%
BlackBerry DTEK50
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
10420.1 ms * ∼76% +6%
Sony Xperia XA
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 16 GB eMMC Flash
9609.8 ms * ∼70% +13%
Huawei P9 Lite
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 650, 16 GB eMMC Flash
9396.5 ms * ∼68% +15%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Huawei P9 Lite
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 650, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4756 Points ∼100% +41%
Sony Xperia XA
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4046 Points ∼85% +20%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3656 Points ∼77% +8%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
Mali-T720 MP2, 7578, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3566 Points ∼75% +6%
BlackBerry DTEK50
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3527 Points ∼74% +5%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 32 GB eMMC Flash
3371 Points ∼71%
ZTE Blade V7
Mali-T720 MP4, MT6753, 16 GB eMMC Flash
2689 Points ∼57% -20%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Sony Xperia XA
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 16 GB eMMC Flash
72 Points ∼100% +33%
Huawei P9 Lite
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 650, 16 GB eMMC Flash
67 Points ∼93% +24%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
Mali-T720 MP2, 7578, 16 GB eMMC Flash
64 Points ∼89% +19%
BlackBerry DTEK50
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
64 Points ∼89% +19%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
61 Points ∼85% +13%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 32 GB eMMC Flash
54 Points ∼75%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score
Huawei P9 Lite
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 650, 16 GB eMMC Flash
29.03 Points ∼100% +26%
Sony Xperia XA
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 16 GB eMMC Flash
27.5 Points ∼95% +20%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 32 GB eMMC Flash
23 Points ∼79%
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
22.8 Points ∼79% -1%
BlackBerry DTEK50
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
22.691 Points ∼78% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
Mali-T720 MP2, 7578, 16 GB eMMC Flash
22.1 Points ∼76% -4%
ZTE Blade V7
Mali-T720 MP4, MT6753, 16 GB eMMC Flash
18.19 Points ∼63% -21%

* ... smaller is better

The sequential transfer rates of the 32 GB internal storage are very good at 230 MB/s (read) and 130 MB/s (write), respectively, but the Axon 7 Mini is not the fastest when it comes to small files. Some of the rivals are much better in this respect.

We like the performance of the integrated card reader though, because it manages transfer rates of 74 MB/s (read) and 50 MB/s (write) according to AS SSD. We use our reference card from Toshiba (Exceria Pro M401) for this test, which reaches up to 95/80 MB/s according to the manufacturer. This means the smartphone cannot use the full potential of the card, but the option to format the microSD-card as internal storage would have still made sense in this case.

ZTE Axon 7 Mini
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 32 GB eMMC Flash
BlackBerry DTEK50
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei P9 Lite
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 650, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia XA
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
Mali-T720 MP2, 7578, 16 GB eMMC Flash
ZTE Blade V7
Mali-T720 MP4, MT6753, 16 GB eMMC Flash
AndroBench 3-5
-2%
90%
32%
13%
1%
-12%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
50.27
48.87
-3%
46.92
-7%
25.1
-50%
50.68
1%
20.89
-58%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
73.89
74.14
0%
74.4
1%
60.81
-18%
72.87
-1%
43.67
-41%
Random Write 4KB
6.7
8.12
21%
35.79
434%
15.35
129%
10.6
58%
10.27
53%
7.58
13%
Random Read 4KB
14.05
15.76
12%
36.32
159%
38.22
172%
22.05
57%
21.92
56%
28.07
100%
Sequential Write 256KB
122.84
72.79
-41%
43.48
-65%
46.24
-62%
68.64
-44%
27.27
-78%
39.45
-68%
Sequential Read 256KB
230.82
226.55
-2%
271.38
18%
283.55
23%
240.43
4%
168.79
-27%
196.76
-15%

Games

The mainstream GPU Adreno 405 provides decent gaming performance but will reach its limits in very demanding games, especially in combination with the Full HD resolution. The first-person shooter Dead Trigger will run at 35 FPS on average at High settings, but there are often some stutters in more complex situations. The racing game Asphalt 8: Airborne is not playable with High settings; 20 FPS on average is just not sufficient for an enjoyable gaming experience. You will have to reduce the details in this case.

Both the sensors as well as the touchscreen worked well during gaming, and the two front-facing speakers support the gaming experience since you can hardly cover them with your hands.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high20 fps
 very low28 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high35 fps

Emissions

Temperature

The surface temperatures are not critical at all, both while idling and under load. The lower front area in particular will warm up when you stress the smartphone and 39 °C is perceptible, but it is not uncomfortable. We use the GFXBench Battery Test to check whether the low temperatures are a result of reduced performance. The test repeats the challenging Manhattan sequence 30 times and logs both the battery capacity as well as the performance. The resulting graph (screenshot 2) look pretty adventurous, but the fluctuations are minor and the performance is not reduced (no throttling).

GFXBench Battery Test
GFXBench Battery Test
Max. Load
 39 °C
102 F
38.4 °C
101 F
33.9 °C
93 F
 
 38.4 °C
101 F
39.3 °C
103 F
33.2 °C
92 F
 
 36.7 °C
98 F
37.6 °C
100 F
33 °C
91 F
 
Maximum: 39.3 °C = 103 F
Average: 36.6 °C = 98 F
32.9 °C
91 F
33.3 °C
92 F
34.2 °C
94 F
32.9 °C
91 F
33.9 °C
93 F
34.8 °C
95 F
31.5 °C
89 F
34.2 °C
94 F
34 °C
93 F
Maximum: 34.8 °C = 95 F
Average: 33.5 °C = 92 F
Power Supply (max.)  27.9 °C = 82 F | Room Temperature 21.2 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 36.6 °C / 98 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 39.3 °C / 103 F, compared to the average of 35.5 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 34.8 °C / 95 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27 °C / 81 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.
Temperature distribution top
Temperature distribution top
Temperature distribution bottom
Temperature distribution bottom

Speakers

Speaker measurements
Speaker measurements

Similar to the big Axon 7, ZTE also equips the smaller Axon 7 Mini with two front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos support. The latter is supposed to create surround sound and the result is actually pretty impressive with the corresponding demo video. The modules also leave a good impression – for a smartphone – in games and videos, but it is not quite on the quality level of the demo material. We would also recommend activating the Dolby software for games and movies, but we preferred to turn it off for music playback.

Our measurements show decent results as well. There is obviously not a lot of bass due to the construction, but the speakers can be very loud at almost 88 dB(A), and both the mids as well as the high tones are quite linear. We did not notice any problems when we listened to music via the 3.5 mm jack.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.642.32525.430.43125.332.54032.934.75033.642.36331.636.98028.431.21002731.412520.839.21602244.320021.350.525020.853.831521.260.140019.464.350019.570.963017.774.180017.975.8100017.878.7125017.377.5160017.477.3200016.777.8250017.276.6315018.278.2400017.976.8500017.675.1630017.772800017.861.51000017.967.81250018.167.81600018.259.7SPL3088N1.373.2median 17.9median 70.9Delta1.310.62832.42833.331.333.332.531.732.534.92634.947.639.447.633.736.233.730.728.630.727.925.427.930.421.330.433.223.333.235.122.535.141.822.441.845.421.345.45018.45055.817.555.860.517.560.56717.26767.416.867.468.117.368.164.817.464.858.716.658.76417.36471.517.671.57417.67474.517.774.573.917.473.97117.77169.417.969.458.318.158.348.918.148.98229.88248.51.348.5median 60.5median 17.7median 60.511.61.611.632.440.831.336.431.733.12635.639.438.836.23628.626.225.424.421.332.623.340.422.550.722.456.221.36118.46317.569.317.570.317.265.516.872.217.375.617.474.716.675.517.376.917.676.417.675.917.775.417.470.317.762.117.955.518.161.918.167.929.8861.363.3median 17.7median 67.91.69.2hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseZTE Axon 7 MiniSony Xperia XABlackBerry DTEK50
ZTE Axon 7 Mini audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (87.97 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 24.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (4.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.2% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 13% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 80% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 24%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 40% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 52% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Sony Xperia XA audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.02 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 24.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 10.7% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (28.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 76% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 17% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 24%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 85% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 12% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

BlackBerry DTEK50 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.96 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 23.7% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.7% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7.7% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (6.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 19% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 71% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 24%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 47% of all tested devices were better, 9% similar, 45% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency comparison (checkboxes are selectable)
Graph 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Graph 2: Audio off 

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The ZTE Axon 7 Mini leaves a good impression in our consumption measurements and is one of the most efficient devices within our comparison group. Only the load value of 6.75 Watt is beaten by some rivals. Still, the 7.5-Watt power adapter is sufficient. Quick-Charge 2.0 is supported, and the battery is fully charged after 1.5 hours; 50% is already available after 30 minutes.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.06 / 0.13 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.68 / 0.96 / 1.06 Watt
Load midlight 3.22 / 6.75 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
2705 mAh
BlackBerry DTEK50
2610 mAh
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
3000 mAh
Huawei P9 Lite
3000 mAh
Sony Xperia XA
2300 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
2300 mAh
ZTE Blade V7
2540 mAh
Power Consumption
-43%
-45%
-46%
-21%
-11%
-4%
Idle Minimum *
0.68
0.78
-15%
0.63
7%
0.73
-7%
0.72
-6%
0.96
-41%
0.73
-7%
Idle Average *
0.96
1.72
-79%
1.91
-99%
2.09
-118%
1.5
-56%
1.39
-45%
0.92
4%
Idle Maximum *
1.06
1.77
-67%
1.96
-85%
2.11
-99%
1.57
-48%
1.45
-37%
0.93
12%
Load Average *
3.22
4.33
-34%
3.88
-20%
4.15
-29%
3.48
-8%
2.65
18%
4.47
-39%
Load Maximum *
6.75
8.21
-22%
8.74
-29%
5.05
25%
6.04
11%
3.51
48%
5.96
12%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

ZTE equips the Axon 7 Mini with an integrated 2750 mAh battery. The test model cannot always benefit from the low consumption results in our battery tests. Especially the two realistic tests with an adjusted luminance of 150 nits only determine 6 h 39 min (Wi-Fi) and 7 h 15 min (video). Those are not bad results, but many competitors have more stamina. We did manage a full business day in practice but had to recharge the smartphone in the evening hours at the latest.

ZTE also implements an Ultra Power-Saving Mode (see screenshot), which will extend the runtime. The mode will limit the functionality and the performance of the smartphone. However, the limitations are pretty severe, and the device can only be used for calls and messages.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
21h 27min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
6h 39min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
7h 15min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 16min
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
2705 mAh
BlackBerry DTEK50
2610 mAh
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
3000 mAh
Huawei P9 Lite
3000 mAh
Sony Xperia XA
2300 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
2300 mAh
ZTE Blade V7
2540 mAh
Battery Runtime
3%
40%
33%
-15%
75%
30%
Reader / Idle
1287
1020
-21%
1226
-5%
1404
9%
775
-40%
1978
54%
H.264
435
472
9%
775
78%
568
31%
460
6%
863
98%
WiFi v1.3
399
404
1%
735
84%
604
51%
353
-12%
628
57%
519
30%
Load
196
244
24%
201
3%
272
39%
170
-13%
376
92%

Pros

+ high-quality chassis
+ good speakers
+ no throttling
+ dual-SIM/memory expansion via microSD
+ good AMOLED screen
+ Quick-Charge
+ protective cover included
+ three-year warranty
+ USB-C...

Cons

- ...but only 2.0 speed
- average battery runtimes
- microSD cannot be formatted as internal storage
- problems with the mobile Internet connection in difficult reception conditions
- slow WLAN module without ac

Verdict

In review: ZTE Axon 7 Mini. Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.
In review: ZTE Axon 7 Mini. Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.

ZTE was able to carry over many positive aspects from its flagship smartphone Axon 7 to the smaller Axon 7 Mini. This includes the great chassis and the good speakers, but the FHD-AMOLED panel is also convincing except for the somewhat inaccurate colors. The software leaves a good impression as well and the handling is very smooth in practice. ZTE is also pretty generous in terms of accessories and warranty.   

The drawbacks definitely include the outdated Wi-Fi module as well as the problems with the mobile Internet connection. In – admittedly – challenging situations, we were still able to make calls but not use the Internet. We are also not sure why microSD-cards cannot be formatted as internal storage, despite the fast card reader. We also see room for improvement in terms of battery runtime, because some of the rivals just last much longer.

The ZTE Axon 7 Mini is a good mainstream smartphone and does not have to hide behind its bigger sibling Axon 7 in some areas. However, ZTE did save some money in other respects, and the sometimes bad mobile Internet connection in particular affects the overall impression a bit. 

We already mentioned that the ZTE Axon 7 Mini competes with many good smartphones in the price segment up to 300 Euros (~$316). Our comparison devices are pretty similar in terms of performance, and the differences are usually limited to the features. Thanks to its great chassis, good speakers and the generous memory equipment, the test model does offer some advantages. If you can live with the sometimes suboptimal mobile Internet connection, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini is not a bad choice.

ZTE Axon 7 Mini - 11/22/2016 v5.1(old)
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
90%
Keyboard
69 / 75 → 92%
Pointing Device
91%
Connectivity
44 / 60 → 73%
Weight
92%
Battery
89%
Display
81%
Games Performance
25 / 63 → 39%
Application Performance
33 / 70 → 48%
Temperature
92%
Noise
100%
Audio
73 / 91 → 80%
Camera
71%
Average
73%
84%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > ZTE Axon 7 Mini Smartphone Review
Andreas Osthoff, 2016-11-24 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.