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ZTE Axon M Smartphone Review

Mike Wobker, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Tanja Hinum (translated by Mark Riege), 04/04/2018

Will that work? ZTE delivers the first "foldable" smartphone. While we would have imagined something else, the statement is right in principle. With its two displays and hinge in between, the Axon M reminds us a little of the old Nokia Communicator, but it can do so much more. What exactly that is, we gathered for you in our review.

If we are honest, smartphones hardly differ from each other externally: a large display, buttons left and right, and connections on the top and bottom. That is it. So it is refreshing if a manufacturer finally implements a concept announced a long time ago. Even though ZTE did not introduce a "real" foldable smartphone in the sense of a bendable display, its concept with the two screens is still special. Of course, there were other phones with several screens, such as the Yota Phone with e-Ink display, but in this form, there has not been anything like this available on the European market.

Until now, ZTE has always shown itself as a solid manufacturer in our tests with classical smartphones, which promised good features on paper, but at the end of the test came in slightly below our expectations, as for example the ZTE Blade V8. Since the dual screen of the Axon M is a unique feature, this would of course be the decisive factor for interested buyers. Yet, we still want to know what performance we can expect from the built-in Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro SoC with an Adreno 530 graphics unit, and how well the 20-MP camera works in the front and back.

In our test, we compare the Axon M with similarly equipped smartphones to reach a comparative evaluation leaving the double screen aside. The competitors in this test include the HTC U Ultra and the LG G6, since these two devices are equipped with the same SoC. However, to reflect its price point, the ZTE Axon also has to compete against more expensive smartphones, such as the Google Pixel 2 and Huawei's Mate 10 Pro.

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ZTE Axon M (Axon Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, LPDDR4
Display
5.2 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 424 PPI, capacitive, IPS, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, glossy: yes
Storage
SanDisk DF4064, 64 GB 
, 46 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm, Card Reader: microSD up to 256 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: fingerprint sensor, acceleration sensor, gyroscope, compass, proximity sensor, USB Type-C
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.2, GSM 850/1900, UMTS 850/1900/AWS, LTE 2/4/5/12/29/30/66, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 12.2 x 150.9 x 71.6 ( = 0.48 x 5.94 x 2.82 in)
Battery
3180 mAh Lithium-Ion, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 29 h, Standby 2G (according to manufacturer): 290 h
Operating System
Android 7.1 Nougat
Camera
Primary Camera: 20 MPix Dual-LED flash
Additional features
Speakers: sound output with Dolby Atmos and dual speaker support, Keyboard: virtual, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
230 g ( = 8.11 oz / 0.51 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
800 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case - ZTE chooses metal and glass

When folded up, the display with the camera is in front, and the other display is in the back. Initially, this feels a little strange, since the display in the back really feels like a display and not like a glass surface. However, after a brief period of getting used to it, this is not a problem anymore. All the buttons are on the left side since the hinge stretches across the whole length of the right side of the smartphone. Surprisingly, this does not interfere when holding the phone in the hand, but ensures a better grip instead.

A metal frame surrounds the edges of the display, whereas the inside (or the back when the device is opened) is made of plastic. When the user opens the device, the display area expands almost to a square. The display from the back, which is on the right side, is thinner than the main screen. The hinge then provides a spot to anchor the fingers in the center of the back of the device. This enables holding an almost 15 cm (5.9 in) wide and high device with only one hand, without having to reach across the display edge.

The weight of more than 200 grams (0.44 lb) is definitely noticeable, which also gives it some subjective feel of value. ZTE did not plan on being able to change the battery in the Axon M.

Size Comparison

162.4 mm / 6.39 inch 79.9 mm / 3.15 inch 8 mm / 0.315 inch 170 g0.3748 lbs150.9 mm / 5.94 inch 71.6 mm / 2.82 inch 12.2 mm / 0.4803 inch 230 g0.507 lbs150.5 mm / 5.93 inch 77.8 mm / 3.06 inch 8.2 mm / 0.3228 inch 186 g0.4101 lbs148.9 mm / 5.86 inch 71.9 mm / 2.83 inch 7.9 mm / 0.311 inch 163 g0.3594 lbs145.7 mm / 5.74 inch 69.7 mm / 2.74 inch 7.8 mm / 0.3071 inch 143 g0.3153 lbs

Features - The Axon M is in the mid high-end

Our test unit is equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro SoC and an Adreno 530 graphics unit. At the end of 2016, this combination belonged to the high-end SoCs and can still be found in the current high-end smartphones. 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal eMMC flash storage ensure sufficient performance. The internal storage can be expanded by up to 256 GB via SD card, which can also be configured as internal storage. However, we were unable to move already installed apps to the storage card. With the corresponding adapter, you can also run USB hard drives with the Axon M. There is a headphone jack on the top of the Android smartphone to connect a headset.

Left side: volume rocker, power button, camera button
Left side: volume rocker, power button, camera button
Top: headphone connection
Top: headphone connection
Right side: hinge
Right side: hinge
Bottom: USB Type-C connection
Bottom: USB Type-C connection

Software - Standard Android with excellent dual-screen support

Android version 7.1.2 is installed on the ZTE mobile phone in the delivery state. The manufacturer did not add special icons or visual adjustments of the user interface, concentrating instead on dual-screen support. Next to the standard icons on the bottom edge of the screen, there is also a stylized "M." If the second screen is unfolded, you can select the display mode using this icon, where you can expand the image onto the second screen, duplicate it, or move it so that you can use an additional app on the other side. This worked very well in our test. The switching of the displays worked quickly and smoothly.

Communication and GPS - Mobile net is great but WLAN not so

For communication with the external world, the Axon M has WLAN, Bluetooth, and LTE. While the ZTE Axon 7 achieved very good results in our test measuring the WLAN more than a year ago, the Axon M is unable to repeat this achievement. With a data reception rate below 60 MBit/s, the 800-Euro (~$986) device has to be content with last place in our comparison list. Our test unit did not recognize the 5-GHz WLAN, but only communicated in the slower 2.4-GHz band. However, since we had only a pre-production model, the production version might still achieve better data rates. In terms of the mobile communication, the dual-screen smartphone can use various GSM, UMTS, and LTE bands, although the LTE band 20, which is still in widespread use in Europe, is not included. Interested buyers who live far from larger cities should consider this factor. 

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
LG G6
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
325 MBit/s ∼100% +463%
Huawei Mate 10
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
305 MBit/s ∼94% +429%
Google Pixel 2
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
287 MBit/s ∼88% +397%
HTC U Ultra
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, 64 GB eMMC Flash
247 MBit/s ∼76% +328%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=434)
226 MBit/s ∼70% +292%
ZTE Axon M
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, SanDisk DF4064
57.7 MBit/s ∼18%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Huawei Mate 10
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
347 MBit/s ∼100% +380%
HTC U Ultra
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, 64 GB eMMC Flash
259 MBit/s ∼75% +258%
Google Pixel 2
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
240 MBit/s ∼69% +232%
LG G6
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
220 MBit/s ∼63% +204%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=434)
216 MBit/s ∼62% +199%
ZTE Axon M
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, SanDisk DF4064
72.3 MBit/s ∼21%
GPS test indoors
GPS test indoors
GPS test outdoors
GPS test outdoors

The GPS module of the Axon M is comparatively inaccurate in our test. Over the whole test route, the smartphone shows about 20 meters (~66 feet) more than our Garmin 500 comparison device. By itself, this would not be much of a problem, but the detail view shows that the GPS in the Axon M remains consistently besides the test route in curves and also longer straight stretches.

Indoors, determining the location is practically impossible.  GPS contact to the satellite could be maintained only when we reentered the room from the outside again. However, the accuracy was only 50 meters (~164 feet).

Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
ZTE Axon M
ZTE Axon M
ZTE Axon M
ZTE Axon M
ZTE Axon M
ZTE Axon M

Telephone Functions and Call Quality - ZTE with good sound

For the telephone function, ZTE chose the standard Android Telephone app, which allows you to select contacts and make calls as usual. The voice quality of the phone calls is good, and both conversation partners can easily communicate with each other. The hands-free operation worked excellently with the built-in speaker. The sound quality is very good and allows hands-free calling even in loud surroundings.

We did not find any indications of VoLTE or VoWLAN support in the settings menu of the Axon M.

Cameras - Smartphone with 20 MP front camera

In contrast to many other current smartphones, the ZTE Axon M makes do with only a single main camera. Because of the second display, the front camera becomes unnecessary, since the users can just look at the front or back display of the phone, depending on whether they want to take a selfie or a picture of the surroundings. In order to start the camera, besides selecting the icon on the screen, you can also double press the additional key on the left side of the Axon. This will automatically switch the phone to using the display on the back.

The 20-MP sensor can take images at a resolution of up to 5168x3876 pixels in the 4:3 format and 5120x2880 pixels in the 16:9 format. There are many adjustment settings available for smartphone photographers. Beginning with several filters and continuing with HDR, various image modes, shutter speed, and white balance, many settings can be adjusted individually.

However, you can also take decent pictures with the camera of the Axon M without using the many adjustment options. When doing that, we noticed that large contrasts in the lighting result in image areas that are too bright or too dark. In the detail, edges are blurry and color changes in the background are displayed slightly muddy even in good lighting conditions. In bad lighting conditions, you need a stable hand to avoid a washed out picture. Even then, the object edges are frayed and details can only be guessed.

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
click to load images
ColorChecker: The target color is displayed in the bottom half of each field.
ColorChecker: The target color is displayed in the bottom half of each field.

The camera of the Axon M tends to reproduce colors rather too dark. In particular bright and dark areas are reproduced darker than they really are.

Under controlled light conditions, the 20-MP sensor of the ZTE smartphone is able to reproduce our test image sharply. However, outside the image center there is some slight blurriness that becomes stronger towards the edges. In the detail view, these areas appear slightly frayed.

Accessories and Warranty - Dual screen in the car and on the road

Car mount for the ZTE Axon M
Car mount for the ZTE Axon M
Protecting the corners ...
Protecting the corners ...
...of the ZTE Axon M
...of the ZTE Axon M

ZTE offers accessories that are particularly designed for buyers of the Axon M. This includes a bumper case, which is supposed to protect the corners of the device and a car mount, which allows using the phone with the display unfolded. In Germany, the manufacturer offers 24 months of warranty for all mobile devices. ZTE customers can have their devices analyzed on an in-house repair portal and directly send a repair order.

Please see our Guarantees, Return Policies and Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices and Navigation - Split-screen keyboard in the Axon M

Using the virtual keyboard of the Axon M, you can input texts quickly and accurately. The reaction of the keyboard is very direct and we were always able to press the right key, whether in portrait or landscape format. The keyboard is a small highlight when the image is stretched over both displays. The keyboard is then split and visually reminiscent of ergonomically formed keyboards. In this way, you can also input longer texts easily. However, the dual screen turns out to be a disadvantage when an app with a text field is only on one of the two screens. Of course, you can then input text only on that side and only with one hand.  

Multi-touch input is also possible with both screens. For example, you can move apps to the left or right screen using a three-finger gesture. The fingerprint sensor is integrated into the power button on the left side of the device. It reacts very quickly and unlocks the phone almost instantly, if you directly hit the right position with your finger.

Display - Dual is better

Subpixel grid front
Subpixel grid front
Subpixel grid back
Subpixel grid back

Both displays of the Axon M smartphone have a 5.2-inch diagonal and display the image contents with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. If you unfold the phone, the available display area is doubled, resulting in an almost square screen. Depending on your alignment, there is always a horizontal or vertical stripe in the image, resulting from the edges where the displays meet.

PWM on the second screen
PWM on the second screen

Our measurements led us to believe that these are identical IPS panels since their results are so similar. We noticed that the brightness distribution of the display on the back turned out slightly more uneven. While PWM is not used for brightness regulation on the main screen, avoiding flickering strenuous to the eyes, the second screen does use PWM. Our measurements determined that the second display flickers at a frequency of 320 MHz in 44% brightness. Overall, the displays could have been brighter. At just 450 cd/m², the brightness might not be sufficient anymore on sunny days.

1) Main-Display (X-Rite i1Pro 2) 2) 2nd-Display (X-Rite i1Pro 2)
442
cd/m²
432
cd/m²
416
cd/m²
443
cd/m²
455
cd/m²
425
cd/m²
443
cd/m²
439
cd/m²
423
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Main-Display (X-Rite i1Pro 2)
Maximum: 455 cd/m² Average: 435.3 cd/m² Minimum: 13.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 455 cd/m²
Contrast: 784:1 (Black: 0.58 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.9 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 4.9 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
Gamma: 2.3
423
cd/m²
442
cd/m²
469
cd/m²
438
cd/m²
448
cd/m²
472
cd/m²
428
cd/m²
419
cd/m²
457
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
2nd-Display (X-Rite i1Pro 2)
Maximum: 472 cd/m² Average: 444 cd/m² Minimum: 12.44 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 448 cd/m²
Contrast: 759:1 (Black: 0.59 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.7 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 4.4 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
Gamma: 2.28
ZTE Axon M
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
HTC U Ultra
SLCD 5, 2560x1440, 5.7
LG G6
IPS LCD, 2880x1440, 5.7
Google Pixel 2
AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5
Huawei Mate 10
IPS, 2560x1440, 5.9
Screen
22%
53%
31%
70%
Brightness middle
448
470
5%
646
44%
396
-12%
704
57%
Brightness
444
445
0%
611
38%
404
-9%
692
56%
Brightness Distribution
89
88
-1%
89
0%
91
2%
94
6%
Black Level *
0.59
0.22
63%
0.23
61%
0.28
53%
Contrast
759
2136
181%
2809
270%
2514
231%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.7
5.5
4%
4.5
21%
1.7
70%
2.4
58%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
11.4
11.9
-4%
8.3
27%
4
65%
4.2
63%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.4
7.6
-73%
6
-36%
1.3
70%
2.8
36%
Gamma
2.28 96%
2.2 100%
2.27 97%
2.3 96%
2.34 94%
CCT
7346 88%
7454 87%
7996 81%
6483 100%
6423 101%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
67.74
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.05

* ... smaller is better

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 not detected

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9375 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

If you compare the separate displays with our comparison devices, the competition is at least 20% better. In particular, the black value and contrast, but also the measured color deviation leave something to be desired. The maximum brightness of both displays is sufficient to read the screen outdoors.

Grayscales (sRGB) - front display
Grayscales (sRGB) - front display
Mixed colors (sRGB) - front display
Mixed colors (sRGB) - front display
Color space (sRGB) - front display
Color space (sRGB) - front display
Saturation (sRGB) - front display
Saturation (sRGB) - front display
Grayscales (sRGB) - back display
Grayscales (sRGB) - back display
Mixed colors (sRGB) - back display
Mixed colors (sRGB) - back display
Color space (sRGB) - back display
Color space (sRGB) - back display
Saturation (sRGB) - back display
Saturation (sRGB) - back display

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
25.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 14.6 ms rise
↘ 11 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 45 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
35.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.4 ms rise
↘ 17.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 29 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.7 ms).

Outdoors and under cloudy skies, the display of the ZTE Axon M can be read easily. However, as soon as the sun clears up, you can see stronger reflections, which become particularly noticeable when looking at the Android Smartphone from the sides.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Portrait format
Portrait format
Landscape format
Landscape format

The screen contents can be read from almost any viewing angle of the Axon M display. Both displays distort neither the colors nor the contents when viewing from very steep angles.

Performance - The Axon M performance is average

The ZTE Axon M is run by a Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro SoC with four cores, which are separated into a power-saving and a performance cluster. An integrated Adreno 530 graphics unit is responsible for the display contents. Both of those hardware components were considered high-end equipment in 2016 and are still used in high-end smartphones today. With 4 GB of LPDDR4-RAM and 64 GB of internal flash storage, there is sufficient performance also for more demanding applications.

The dual-screen smartphone achieves good results in our benchmarks. It is able to fulfill the expectations on the built-in hardware across the board. In the "IceStorm" and "SlingShot" 3DMark benchmarks, the Axon M was also able to maintain its results in the dual-screen mode. However, in addition to the performance, the price also plays a role in our evaluation, and at about 800 Euros (~$986; available for $725 in the US), we are already moving into the range of a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus which offers up to 50% more performance at a similar price.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
150074 Points ∼68%
HTC U Ultra
139017 Points ∼63% -7%
LG G6
151751 Points ∼68% +1%
Google Pixel 2
166939 Points ∼75% +11%
Huawei Mate 10
178234 Points ∼80% +19%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
222290 Points ∼100% +48%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (138072 - 159866, n=10)
147293 Points ∼66% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (5600 - 293444, n=490)
87858 Points ∼40% -41%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
6461 Points ∼89%
HTC U Ultra
5217 Points ∼72% -19%
LG G6
5152 Points ∼71% -20%
Google Pixel 2
7223 Points ∼100% +12%
Huawei Mate 10
6904 Points ∼96% +7%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
5319 Points ∼74% -18%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (5152 - 6461, n=5)
5648 Points ∼78% -13%
Average of class Smartphone (2630 - 11440, n=372)
5257 Points ∼73% -19%
Work performance score (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
7659 Points ∼90%
HTC U Ultra
5217 Points ∼61% -32%
LG G6
5703 Points ∼67% -26%
Google Pixel 2
8550 Points ∼100% +12%
Huawei Mate 10
8337 Points ∼98% +9%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
5822 Points ∼68% -24%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (4739 - 7659, n=10)
5697 Points ∼67% -26%
Average of class Smartphone (1077 - 14439, n=543)
5690 Points ∼67% -26%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
1113 Points ∼89%
HTC U Ultra
907 Points ∼72% -19%
LG G6
1073 Points ∼86% -4%
Google Pixel 2
1210 Points ∼97% +9%
Huawei Mate 10
1253 Points ∼100% +13%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
1109 Points ∼89% 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (891 - 1136, n=10)
1016 Points ∼81% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1745, n=627)
755 Points ∼60% -32%
Graphics (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
5012 Points ∼79%
HTC U Ultra
4591 Points ∼72% -8%
LG G6
5138 Points ∼81% +3%
Google Pixel 2
6052 Points ∼95% +21%
Huawei Mate 10
3928 Points ∼62% -22%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
6370 Points ∼100% +27%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (3415 - 5138, n=10)
4659 Points ∼73% -7%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 16996, n=627)
2034 Points ∼32% -59%
Memory (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
2586 Points ∼62%
HTC U Ultra
1581 Points ∼38% -39%
LG G6
1930 Points ∼47% -25%
Google Pixel 2
2942 Points ∼71% +14%
Huawei Mate 10
4141 Points ∼100% +60%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2625 Points ∼63% +2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (1531 - 2586, n=10)
1875 Points ∼45% -27%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 7500, n=627)
1505 Points ∼36% -42%
System (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
3939 Points ∼61%
HTC U Ultra
2834 Points ∼44% -28%
LG G6
3646 Points ∼57% -7%
Google Pixel 2
5918 Points ∼92% +50%
Huawei Mate 10
5228 Points ∼82% +33%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
6413 Points ∼100% +63%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (2834 - 3939, n=10)
3497 Points ∼55% -11%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 14189, n=627)
2953 Points ∼46% -25%
Overall (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
2746 Points ∼82%
HTC U Ultra
2078 Points ∼62% -24%
LG G6
2496 Points ∼74% -9%
Google Pixel 2
3360 Points ∼100% +22%
Huawei Mate 10
3210 Points ∼96% +17%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3302 Points ∼98% +20%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (2078 - 2746, n=10)
2353 Points ∼70% -14%
Average of class Smartphone (1 - 6097, n=627)
1479 Points ∼44% -46%
Geekbench 4.4
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
7266 Points ∼97%
LG G6
7080 Points ∼95% -3%
Google Pixel 2
7462 Points ∼100% +3%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
6202 Points ∼83% -15%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (7080 - 7266, n=2)
7173 Points ∼96% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (663 - 21070, n=321)
4685 Points ∼63% -36%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
4353 Points ∼49%
LG G6
4369 Points ∼49% 0%
Google Pixel 2
6256 Points ∼70% +44%
Huawei Mate 10
6613 Points ∼74% +52%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
8963 Points ∼100% +106%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (3327 - 4369, n=4)
4102 Points ∼46% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (883 - 11598, n=380)
4703 Points ∼52% +8%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
1746 Points ∼46%
LG G6
1831 Points ∼48% +5%
Google Pixel 2
1924 Points ∼51% +10%
Huawei Mate 10
1883 Points ∼50% +8%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3776 Points ∼100% +116%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (1746 - 1891, n=4)
1827 Points ∼48% +5%
Average of class Smartphone (390 - 4824, n=380)
1420 Points ∼38% -19%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
2019 Points ∼66%
HTC U Ultra
1763 Points ∼57% -13%
LG G6
1955 Points ∼64% -3%
Google Pixel 2
3078 Points ∼100% +52%
Huawei Mate 10
2887 Points ∼94% +43%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2469 Points ∼80% +22%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (1728 - 2046, n=10)
1890 Points ∼61% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (486 - 4492, n=460)
1866 Points ∼61% -8%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
2866 Points ∼72%
HTC U Ultra
2405 Points ∼61% -16%
LG G6
2980 Points ∼75% +4%
Google Pixel 2
3974 Points ∼100% +39%
Huawei Mate 10
3033 Points ∼76% +6%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3582 Points ∼90% +25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (2291 - 3005, n=10)
2743 Points ∼69% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (53 - 7150, n=460)
1451 Points ∼37% -49%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
2622 Points ∼70%
HTC U Ultra
2225 Points ∼60% -15%
LG G6
2669 Points ∼71% +2%
Google Pixel 2
3733 Points ∼100% +42%
Huawei Mate 10
2999 Points ∼80% +14%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3256 Points ∼87% +24%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (2207 - 2682, n=10)
2489 Points ∼67% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (68 - 6319, n=461)
1398 Points ∼37% -47%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
2039 Points ∼66%
HTC U Ultra
1646 Points ∼53% -19%
LG G6
1961 Points ∼64% -4%
Google Pixel 2
3080 Points ∼100% +51%
Huawei Mate 10
2852 Points ∼93% +40%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2496 Points ∼81% +22%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (1452 - 2078, n=10)
1859 Points ∼60% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (293 - 4454, n=501)
1730 Points ∼56% -15%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
4559 Points ∼75%
HTC U Ultra
3807 Points ∼63% -16%
LG G6
4121 Points ∼68% -10%
Google Pixel 2
6040 Points ∼100% +32%
Huawei Mate 10
3522 Points ∼58% -23%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
4637 Points ∼77% +2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (3310 - 4746, n=10)
4083 Points ∼68% -10%
Average of class Smartphone (43 - 11302, n=500)
1890 Points ∼31% -59%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
3577 Points ∼72%
HTC U Ultra
2947 Points ∼59% -18%
LG G6
3282 Points ∼66% -8%
Google Pixel 2
4977 Points ∼100% +39%
Huawei Mate 10
3347 Points ∼67% -6%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3895 Points ∼78% +9%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (2577 - 3668, n=10)
3216 Points ∼65% -10%
Average of class Smartphone (55 - 8136, n=503)
1635 Points ∼33% -54%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
22674 Points ∼86%
HTC U Ultra
21263 Points ∼81% -6%
LG G6
22335 Points ∼85% -1%
Google Pixel 2
20482 Points ∼78% -10%
Huawei Mate 10
21611 Points ∼82% -5%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
26226 Points ∼100% +16%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (15027 - 22860, n=10)
21197 Points ∼81% -7%
Average of class Smartphone (735 - 45072, n=662)
14069 Points ∼54% -38%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
32302 Points ∼58%
HTC U Ultra
33446 Points ∼61% +4%
LG G6
32128 Points ∼58% -1%
Google Pixel 2
55247 Points ∼100% +71%
Huawei Mate 10
36231 Points ∼66% +12%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
46610 Points ∼84% +44%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (32128 - 40761, n=10)
34779 Points ∼63% +8%
Average of class Smartphone (536 - 209204, n=660)
21672 Points ∼39% -33%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
29517 Points ∼74%
HTC U Ultra
29668 Points ∼74% +1%
LG G6
29276 Points ∼73% -1%
Google Pixel 2
40116 Points ∼100% +36%
Huawei Mate 10
31605 Points ∼79% +7%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
39745 Points ∼99% +35%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (27766 - 34290, n=10)
30287 Points ∼75% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (662 - 97276, n=660)
17599 Points ∼44% -40%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
92 fps ∼63%
HTC U Ultra
74 fps ∼50% -20%
LG G6
75 fps ∼51% -18%
Google Pixel 2
112 fps ∼76% +22%
Huawei Mate 10
97 fps ∼66% +5%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
147 fps ∼100% +60%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (65 - 96, n=10)
84.9 fps ∼58% -8%
Average of class Smartphone (0.5 - 322, n=683)
37.5 fps ∼26% -59%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
61 fps ∼100%
HTC U Ultra
46 fps ∼75% -25%
LG G6
46 fps ∼75% -25%
Google Pixel 2
59 fps ∼97% -3%
Huawei Mate 10
60 fps ∼98% -2%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
60 fps ∼98% -2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (46 - 61, n=10)
55.2 fps ∼90% -10%
Average of class Smartphone (1 - 120, n=692)
27.9 fps ∼46% -54%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
48 fps ∼65%
HTC U Ultra
26 fps ∼35% -46%
LG G6
38 fps ∼51% -21%
Google Pixel 2
52 fps ∼70% +8%
Huawei Mate 10
53 fps ∼72% +10%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
74 fps ∼100% +54%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (26 - 49, n=10)
43 fps ∼58% -10%
Average of class Smartphone (0.8 - 175, n=589)
21.6 fps ∼29% -55%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
47 fps ∼87%
HTC U Ultra
23 fps ∼43% -51%
LG G6
27 fps ∼50% -43%
Google Pixel 2
54 fps ∼100% +15%
Huawei Mate 10
51 fps ∼94% +9%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
45 fps ∼83% -4%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (23 - 48, n=10)
37.2 fps ∼69% -21%
Average of class Smartphone (1.2 - 115, n=598)
19.2 fps ∼36% -59%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
32 fps ∼68%
HTC U Ultra
12 fps ∼26% -62%
LG G6
29 fps ∼62% -9%
Google Pixel 2
31 fps ∼66% -3%
Huawei Mate 10
38 fps ∼81% +19%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
47 fps ∼100% +47%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (12 - 32, n=10)
26.9 fps ∼57% -16%
Average of class Smartphone (0.87 - 117, n=455)
17.7 fps ∼38% -45%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
32 fps ∼80%
HTC U Ultra
12 fps ∼30% -62%
LG G6
16 fps ∼40% -50%
Google Pixel 2
40 fps ∼100% +25%
Huawei Mate 10
37 fps ∼93% +16%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
24 fps ∼60% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (12 - 32, n=10)
23.8 fps ∼60% -26%
Average of class Smartphone (1.2 - 110, n=457)
16.6 fps ∼42% -48%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
19 fps ∼68%
HTC U Ultra
15 fps ∼54% -21%
LG G6
20 fps ∼71% +5%
Google Pixel 2
24 fps ∼86% +26%
Huawei Mate 10
21 fps ∼75% +11%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
28 fps ∼100% +47%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (14 - 20, n=10)
18.3 fps ∼65% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (0.6 - 73, n=380)
12.1 fps ∼43% -36%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
ZTE Axon M
20 fps ∼80%
HTC U Ultra
8.4 fps ∼34% -58%
LG G6
11 fps ∼44% -45%
Google Pixel 2
25 fps ∼100% +25%
Huawei Mate 10
21 fps ∼84% +5%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
14 fps ∼56% -30%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (8.4 - 20, n=10)
15.2 fps ∼61% -24%
Average of class Smartphone (1.1 - 60, n=384)
10.8 fps ∼43% -46%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p (sort by value)
LG G6
24.34 fps ∼63%
Google Pixel 2
38.4 fps ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
35.83 fps ∼93%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro
24.3 fps ∼63%
Average of class Smartphone (0.74 - 38.7, n=71)
12.3 fps ∼32%
Basemark X 1.1
High Quality (sort by value)
LG G6
35449 Points ∼100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (30724 - 35449, n=2)
33087 Points ∼93%
Average of class Smartphone (749 - 42335, n=97)
12085 Points ∼34%
Medium Quality (sort by value)
LG G6
37621 Points ∼100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (34695 - 37621, n=2)
36158 Points ∼96%
Average of class Smartphone (1428 - 44696, n=112)
17034 Points ∼45%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
LG G6
647 Points ∼44%
Google Pixel 2
836 Points ∼56%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
1481 Points ∼100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (621 - 647, n=2)
634 Points ∼43%
Average of class Smartphone (35 - 2754, n=102)
730 Points ∼49%
Epic Citadel - Ultra High Quality (sort by value)
LG G6
59 fps ∼100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (56.2 - 59, n=2)
57.6 fps ∼98%
Average of class Smartphone (12 - 61.6, n=118)
43.6 fps ∼74%

Legend

 
ZTE Axon M Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro, Qualcomm Adreno 530, SanDisk DF4064
 
HTC U Ultra Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
LG G6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Google Pixel 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998), Qualcomm Adreno 540, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Huawei Mate 10 HiSilicon Kirin 970, ARM Mali-G72 MP12, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Samsung Exynos 9810, ARM Mali-G72 MP18, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash

The browser performance of the Axon M is average. During everyday surfing, the Internet pages load quickly and browsing is smooth. However, compared to the other smartphones, the browser benchmark results are only sufficient for a spot in the lower middle of the field.

JetStream 1.1 - Total Score
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
69.59 Points ∼100% +32%
Google Pixel 2 (Chrome 62)
64.791 Points ∼93% +23%
Huawei Mate 10 (Chrome Version 63)
58.572 Points ∼84% +11%
LG G6 (Chrome 57)
56.628 Points ∼81% +7%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (45.1 - 59.8, n=10)
54.8 Points ∼79% +4%
ZTE Axon M (Chrom 61.0.3163.98)
52.809 Points ∼76%
HTC U Ultra (Chrome 56)
45.084 Points ∼65% -15%
Average of class Smartphone (10 - 302, n=526)
41.4 Points ∼59% -22%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
14760 Points ∼100% +73%
Google Pixel 2 (Chrome 62)
11380 Points ∼77% +34%
Huawei Mate 10 (Chrome Version 63)
11205 Points ∼76% +32%
LG G6 (Chrome 57)
9113 Points ∼62% +7%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (5511 - 10506, n=10)
9098 Points ∼62% +7%
ZTE Axon M (Chrom 61.0.3163.98)
8509 Points ∼58%
Average of class Smartphone (894 - 49388, n=685)
6706 Points ∼45% -21%
HTC U Ultra (Chrome 56)
5511 Points ∼37% -35%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (571 - 59466, n=710)
10594 ms * ∼100% -243%
HTC U Ultra (Chrome 56)
4141 ms * ∼39% -34%
Huawei Mate 10 (Chrome Version 63)
3704.1 ms * ∼35% -20%
Google Pixel 2 (Chrome 62)
3414.7 ms * ∼32% -11%
ZTE Axon M (Chrom 61.0.3163.98)
3089.8 ms * ∼29%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (2400 - 4141, n=10)
2832 ms * ∼27% +8%
LG G6 (Chrome 57)
2464.2 ms * ∼23% +20%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
2059.7 ms * ∼19% +33%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Google Pixel 2 (Chrome 62)
190 Points ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
164 Points ∼86%
Huawei Mate 10 (Chrome Version 63)
156 Points ∼82%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro (107 - 142, n=6)
123 Points ∼65%
LG G6 (Chrome 57)
122 Points ∼64%
Average of class Smartphone (27 - 362, n=328)
122 Points ∼64%

* ... smaller is better

The SanDisk DF4064 storage built into the Axon M is comparatively slow 64 GB flash storage. However, the performance has no noticeable negative effects during everyday operation. Data is loaded quickly, and access of images for example works fast. While the internal storage can be considered slow in the in the smartphone comparison, the SD card reader can keep up with the competition without any trouble. Using our Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 reference storage card, the Axon M achieves one of the highest spots in our comparison table.

ZTE Axon MHTC U UltraLG G6Google Pixel 2Huawei Mate 10Samsung Galaxy S9 PlusAverage SanDisk DF4064Average of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
46%
46%
187%
235%
111%
0%
9%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
62.87 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
67.6 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
8%
53.33 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-15%
62.87 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
0%
67.18 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
7%
62.9
0%
49.1 (1.7 - 87.1, n=417)
-22%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
85.25 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
82.8 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-3%
77.61 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-9%
80.62 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-5%
79.22 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-7%
85.3
0%
67.3 (8.1 - 96.5, n=417)
-21%
Random Write 4KB
13.12
13.7
4%
16.58
26%
18.03
37%
105.31
703%
22.74
73%
13.1
0%
21.5 (0.14 - 250, n=735)
64%
Random Read 4KB
29.66
84.2
184%
95.19
221%
173.13
484%
169.67
472%
129.68
337%
29.7
0%
46.6 (1.59 - 196, n=735)
57%
Sequential Write 256KB
119.83
164.7
37%
122.85
3%
196.22
64%
201.67
68%
204.94
71%
120
0%
95.5 (2.99 - 590, n=735)
-20%
Sequential Read 256KB
288.73
423.9
47%
428.67
48%
758.35
163%
790.33
174%
818.69
184%
289
0%
269 (12.1 - 1504, n=735)
-7%

Games - ZTE dual-screen for twice the fun

The Axon M can even display games that are more demanding smoothly. In our test, the "Asphalt 8" racing game ran without any problems, while the loading times were slightly long. The acceleration and position sensor reacted reliably, but a little too sluggish for comfortable gaming. However, the touchscreen accepted all the input reliably.

Applications that permit free scaling can also be stretched across two screens. If this is not possible for a game, it is only displayed on the main screen.

Solitaire
Solitaire
Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Packman
Packman
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high30 fps
 very low30 fps
  Your browser does not support the canvas element!

Emissions - ZTE smartphone with top sound

Temperature

The Axon M hardly warms up during everyday operation. Since the back is also a display, hardly any heat is transferred to the skin. When the phone is unfolded, you can notice heat development on the inside only after prolonged and intensive use. In our measurements, temperatures slightly above 35 °C (95 °F) were reached under load. That still allows you to hold the smartphone comfortably in your hands.

Max. Load
 35.8 °C
96 F
35.8 °C
96 F
35.3 °C
96 F
 
 35.6 °C
96 F
35.6 °C
96 F
35.6 °C
96 F
 
 34.4 °C
94 F
34 °C
93 F
33.3 °C
92 F
 
Maximum: 35.8 °C = 96 F
Average: 35 °C = 95 F
29.1 °C
84 F
29.6 °C
85 F
30.6 °C
87 F
28.8 °C
84 F
30.2 °C
86 F
30.6 °C
87 F
29 °C
84 F
30.8 °C
87 F
30.8 °C
87 F
Maximum: 30.8 °C = 87 F
Average: 29.9 °C = 86 F
Room Temperature 21.3 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 35 °C / 95 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 35.8 °C / 96 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 30.8 °C / 87 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.7 °C / 78 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.
Heat image, front
Heat image, front
Heat image, back
Heat image, back

Speakers

Speaker test "Pink Noise"
Speaker test "Pink Noise"

With the Axon M, ZTE promises sound output with "Dolby Atmos and dual speaker support." Regardless of what this means exactly, the two speakers surprise us with a clear sound image. The dual-screen smartphone can even reproduce low tones well. This impression is confirmed by our measurements, which show that there are no steep drops in the sound registers, even if there is still room for improvement in the lower and upper registers.

There is also a connection for using headphones or a headset. This also outputs a clear sound, provided you have headphones of the corresponding quality. 

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2028.624.72524.924.83124.625.84026.426.65030.8286323.622.98020.223.410019.921.912517.626.616019.136.720019.13925017.44831516.954.140016.853.350015.154.663016.554.580015.657.110001566.2125015.570160015.371.8200015.772.4250015.570.1315015.567.6400015.469.6500015.87263001672.3800015.866.61000016.1651250016.161.61600017.352.4SPL27.981.4N146.9median 16median 61.6Delta0.61039.638.233.633.131.232.130.832.130.734.3343530.939.428.736.426.247.92651.925.354.82557.223.359.622.362.521.164.820.167.719.568.120.166.219.669.318.8731874.817.877.317.67617.675.517.773.517.873.81871.417.765.417.853.517.848.531.285.31.661.7median 19.5median 66.23.29.2hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseZTE Axon MApple iPhone X
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
ZTE Axon M audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (81.4 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 23.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 7.6% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7.4% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (5.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (25.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 56% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 33% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 74% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 20% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple iPhone X audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.3 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 14.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7.3% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (4.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 7% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 88% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 33% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 61% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life - The battery is slightly weak in the Axon M

Power Consumption

In terms of the power consumption, the Axon M also appears to be average. In particular during load, the power consumption rises steeply, reaching a maximum value of almost 15 watts. Many of the competitors can do better than that, but some are also worse. If the second screen is also used, the additional power consumption is moderate. Instead of 1.4 watts when idle, we measured 2.64, and instead of 14.18 watts under load, our test unit reaches 15.42 watts.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.01 / 0.14 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.73 / 1.4 / 1.46 Watt
Load midlight 8.71 / 14.18 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
ZTE Axon M
3180 mAh
HTC U Ultra
3000 mAh
LG G6
3300 mAh
Google Pixel 2
2700 mAh
Huawei Mate 10
4000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3500 mAh
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
-24%
15%
15%
-14%
35%
-2%
6%
Idle Minimum *
0.73
1
-37%
0.62
15%
0.99
-36%
0.89
-22%
0.68
7%
0.799 (0.4 - 1.5, n=10)
-9%
0.877 (0.2 - 3.4, n=769)
-20%
Idle Average *
1.4
2.41
-72%
1.43
-2%
1.35
4%
2.31
-65%
0.95
32%
1.658 (1.07 - 2.41, n=10)
-18%
1.734 (0.6 - 6.2, n=768)
-24%
Idle Maximum *
1.46
2.46
-68%
1.48
-1%
1.37
6%
2.38
-63%
1.09
25%
1.893 (1.12 - 4, n=10)
-30%
2.02 (0.74 - 6.6, n=769)
-38%
Load Average *
8.71
6.8
22%
5.52
37%
3.25
63%
4.87
44%
4.58
47%
7.08 (5.52 - 9.21, n=10)
19%
4.07 (0.8 - 10.8, n=763)
53%
Load Maximum *
14.18
8.9
37%
10.47
26%
8.56
40%
9.16
35%
5.16
64%
9.99 (6.26 - 14.2, n=10)
30%
5.9 (1.2 - 14.2, n=763)
58%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

In our practically relevant WLAN test, the Axon M remains behind our expectations. The smartphone needs to go back to the charger after slightly more than seven hours of surfing using the WLAN, even if only one of the two displays has been active. Correspondingly, the battery is emptied even faster when both screens are used. However, a larger battery would have made the dimensions of the device even chunkier for sure, so ZTE probably worked out the best compromise between phone dimensions and battery life here.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
7h 21min
ZTE Axon M
3180 mAh
HTC U Ultra
3000 mAh
LG G6
3300 mAh
Google Pixel 2
2700 mAh
Huawei Mate 10
4000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3500 mAh
Battery Runtime
24%
57%
30%
96%
18%
Reader / Idle
1568
1789
1457
1671
1343
WiFi v1.3
441
546
24%
692
57%
575
30%
865
96%
521
18%
Load
214
252
161
259
237
H.264
605
779
564
1003
674

Pros

+ two screens with various display modes
+ camera with many adjustment settings
+ excellent speakers

Cons

- low battery life
- expensive
- low display brightness
- bad WLAN (in the pre-production model)

Verdict - ZTE scores with the dual screen

We are testing the ZTE Axon M. Test unit provided by ZTE.
We are testing the ZTE Axon M. Test unit provided by ZTE.

The ZTE Axon M is not just any smartphone. If you consider the hardware equipment and its performance in the benchmarks, the device should not cost more than 300 Euros (~$370). However, with the second screen, the phone receives a unique feature for which ZTE charges 800 Euros (~$986; available in the US exclusively from AT&T for $725). This price is probably justified, considering the manufacturing costs and the costs to develop the special design. But the buyers should be aware that the offered system performance can also be found in more affordable devices.

Considering the system performance, the Axon M from ZTE is nothing special. However, with the second display which can be unfolded, it becomes a real alternative for those to whom the conventional smartphone displays are too small and tablets or notebooks too big.

Anyone who deliberately decides for the Axon M receives an everyday companion that brings a multitude of additional application options with its expanded display. Just to look at websites is much more comfortable on the almost square dual display than on the narrow viewing area of the 16:9 format. You only have to keep a power supply nearby, since the Axon M is no endurance runner, even without using the second display. Since our test unit is a pre-production model, we cannot rule out that the WLAN problems or even the low battery life can still be improved until the release.

We directly contacted ZTE in order to clarify some open questions, such as the support for 5-GHz WLAN, the LTE-Band 20, and VoLTE or VoWLAN, and we will report here as soon as we get a response.

ZTE Axon M - 03/29/2018 v6(old)
Mike Wobker

Chassis
80%
Keyboard
74 / 75 → 98%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
40 / 60 → 67%
Weight
88%
Battery
90%
Display
83%
Games Performance
62 / 63 → 98%
Application Performance
62 / 70 → 89%
Temperature
94%
Noise
100%
Audio
71 / 91 → 78%
Camera
75%
Average
78%
85%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > ZTE Axon M Smartphone Review
Mike Wobker, 2018-04- 4 (Update: 2019-03-20)