ZTE Axon 30S phone with a camera under the display
According to JBQ, The family of TE devices is a bit confusing right now. The Axon 30 is the direct successor to the Axon 20, which was the first phone to feature an in-display camera. However, the company has subsequently launched the Axon 30 Pro and Ultra in some regions. So, strangely enough, the vanilla Axon 30 is the last product in the Axon 30 family to appear.
At $500, it’s also the cheapest – another attempt by ZTE to slot in below the most expensive smartphones out there, offering a compelling feature mix, albeit with some compromises. The main feature of the Axon 30 is a greatly improved under-display camera (UDC), which is almost invisible. It’s also a ZTE smartphone released in the US, which doesn’t always happen.
But with increasing competition from mid-range phones from the likes of Samsung, OnePlus and Google, does ZTE’s Axon 30 offer more than just a hidden selfie camera?
So what’s all the fuss about that camera anyway? Well, the 16-megapixel under-display selfie camera on the $500 Axon 30 puts the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s camera to shame. ZTE’s implementation is subtle unless you’re really looking for it. No punch holes, no cutouts, no pop-up cameras.
In comparison, the Fold 3’s selfie camera has a pixelated effect that shows where the camera is, ruining the whole effect. (Yes, in Samsung’s defense, there is another front-facing camera when the Fold 3 is closed and you’re using the smaller screen.)
The difference appears to be the pixel density, or as ZTE says, their combination with a “special pixel matrix” that ensures the screen appears at 400 PPI – double what’s on the Axon 20. If the light captures the device correctly. , so yes, you can see it. You’ll probably never notice it again.
ZTE AXON Processors Power
JBQ says, There’s also a dedicated UDC chip that apparently works to keep the camera area consistent with the rest of the screen. For a closer look, I used Oppo’s Find X3 Pro, which has a microscopic phone camera – great for visually explaining what can otherwise get very technical.
As you can see, some pixels appear slightly smaller or dimmer than their surrounding pixels. You can see the outline of the UDC area in this close-up, but at this magnification, it’s impressive that it doesn’t look out of place. I’ll get into the camera performance later, but spoiler: as much as it may look the part, it’s not capable enough.
The hidden sensor also complements the large 6.92-inch AMOLEDdisplay, which is uninterrupted by any notch or camera hole. With a 2460 x 1080 screen and a 120Hz refresh rate, the Axon 30 offers a mid-range flagship display. You can switch between 120Hz and 60Hz modes, with an auto option that lets the Axon 30 decide when to boost the frequency. On more expensive phones, like the OnePlus 9 Pro and the recently announced iPhone Pro 13, there are more refresh rate options that go even lower, but at this price, it seems like a fair compromise. Leaving it on auto is probably the best option for most people, but the manual options are nice – especially since there seems to be a palpable battery life advantage at the lower settings.
The phone itself is quite large, but despite its plastic back, it feels solid. ZTE has added a transparent reflective effect on the back of the Axon 30, which I like. However, I’m less enamored with the giant camera that protrudes a few millimeters from the phone and is likely to scratch more easily. Unfortunately, this design is now everywhere. The screen may be comparable to a high-end phone, but there are some features that don’t cut it at this price, like wireless charging and certified dust and water resistance.
Performance and software ZTE AXON
There are more compromises. The Axon 30 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor – which is a bit underpowered compared to the Snapdragon 880 and 880 Plus we see in Android flagships now. But at $500, phones like the Pixel 5a (and its Snapdragon 765G chip) are a better comparison. The Axon 30 has a more powerful chip than Google’s latest device, though it’s hard to tell the difference in performance between the two.
The Axon 30 handled everything I threw at it, whether it was streaming video, Stadia, or playing games with the phone itself. (The Stadia app indicated that the phone wasn’t officially supported, though it worked fine for me.) There was some noticeable slowdown when recording video at full 4K resolution and jumping to the gallery, but otherwise, I had none. . Many complaints
I should also mention that the Axon 30 isn’t exactly great for 5G support in the US. It only works on T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G. If you’re on Verizon or AT&T, you’ll be downgraded to 4G. However, ZTE knows what it’s doing with smartphone power. The phone has a 4,200 mAh battery that lasted a good two days of normal use before needing a charge when I turned off the 120 Hertz refresh rate. And when I needed it, it hardly took time.
The Axon 30 supports super-fast charging speeds of up to 65 Watts with the right Fast charger With Good Cable, which is (thankfully) a mobile phone. ZTE estimates that it can charge the phone to 100 percent in less than an hour, but it takes relatively less time to reach 50 percent about 20 minutes.
The software is pretty harmless, which is generally a good thing. ZTE is almost as close to Google’s stock experience. Its new MyOS 11 skin, based on Android 11, is very close to what you see on the Pixel. There are some quirky gestures (shake the Axon 30 for the flashlight!) and a floating shortcut widget that can be minimized to the edges of the screen. It’s similar to Samsung’s Edge panel on larger phones. The ZTE version is called Z-Pop and you can change four shortcuts for system commands and app switching. That said, it’s not something that will leave you thinking, “Mmm, what a memorable experience.” You can Connect your Phone to Airpods for Calling and Playing songs.
While the 16-megapixel front-facing camera is technically impressive, it doesn’t take great selfies. Make no mistake, it takes much better photos than the UDC on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Axon 20. Work has been done on PixelBin for low light performance, as well as algorithms to help the camera. Through the AMOLED panel makes this the best UDC ever. But it still delivers mediocre to poor photos. To be honest, it has a bit of a time warp, it gives me photos I used to take on smartphones years ago. Details are fuzzy, and any strong backlight will cause lens flare and shutdown.
There’s also an AI assist mode that doesn’t seem to help much – otherwise, modes like brightness seem to wash out skin tones even more than before, and they’re a bit gray to begin with. Even if you turn it off, the images look very unnatural.
With the Axon 30, ZTE has proven that it can successfully camouflage its under-display camera. But that doesn’t mean it’s up to the task. The image quality from the hidden selfie lens isn’t really good enough, even if the performance is impressive. Apart from that, the Axon 30 has a nice and smooth display and decent rear camera setup. The lack of wider 5G support in the US is disappointing in a 2021 phone, but there’s still a lot for $500. The bigger challenge is that competition is tough in the mid-range phone arena. Google’s latest Pixel 5a costs $450 and offers better-performing front and rear cameras. If you’re having trouble choosing between the two, the decision boils down to a bigger screen or a better selfie.
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