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ZTE Axon M Review - Should You Buy One?



The Axon M is a very odd device. On one hand, it's a flagship Android smartphone that offers everything you'd expect from such a device. On the other hand, it fails to live up to its potential as evidenced by its lackluster performance and subpar camera quality. With that being said, is it worth buying? Let’s find out in our review!



What is the Axon M?

The Axon M is a new flagship Android smartphone from Chinese manufacturer ZTE. It was first announced at the MWC 2018 event back in late February and it was released to the public in May. With that being said, the Axon M is not a new device. Instead, it’s a re-branded version of the Axon 9. The Axon 9 is an upper midrange smartphone that was released in August 2017. ZTE didn’t just rename the phone and change the logo, they actually re-engineered the device. So, is the Axon M a new phone or a re-branded one? Let’s find out in our review!


Specs and Features

The Axon M is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor which is one of the best in the business. The phone comes with a 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. There’s a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 512GB in size. The phone has a hybrid dual-SIM slot that supports two Nano-SIM cards. The device has a massive 6.8-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels. The Axon M is one of the first devices with a big-ass screen to come with an under-glass fingerprint sensor. The phone has a dual 12-megapixel camera setup on the rear side with a f/1.8 aperture, 1.4 μm pixel size and dual-LED flash. On the front side, there’s a front-facing 8-megapixel camera sensor with a f/2.0 aperture and 1.8 μm pixel size. The device runs on Android 8.0 Oreo with an upgraded skin called EMUI 8. The Axon M is powered by a huge 4,500mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support. The Axon M is stacked with features such as facial recognition, Ambient mode, Emotion Recognition, etc. The Axon M is one of the first devices to come with a rebranded version of the under-glass fingerprint sensor. However, there is one thing that sets the Axon M apart from the rest. That is its massive battery. The Axon M is one of the best flagship Android smartphones you can buy right now.


Design and Display

The Axon M is a big phone from any perspective. It has a 6.8-inch screen with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels. That’s an AMOLED panel with a PD Screen protection and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The Axon M also comes with a notch at the top which houses the front-facing camera and the earpiece. The back of the phone is also an AMOLED panel with the usual pattern printed on top. The design of the phone is absolutely gorgeous. From the front, it looks just like a normal smartphone. The rear side, however, has a glass panel that has the Axon M’s branding printed on it. The back is curved just like the Axon 9 and that makes the Axon M feel just like a book in your hand. The phone is IP67 certified for dust and water resistance.


Software and Emotion Recognition

The Axon M runs on Android 8.0 Oreo with ZTE’s custom UI called EMUI 8. The EMUI 8 is the rebranded version of the Android 8.0 Oreo and it comes with a few additional features and functions. The phone runs on a fully optimized layer called “Ambient Mode” which is an AI technology that analyses your environment and alters the display accordingly. The phone also supports the AI features like Smart Memory, App twin, etc. The phone’s Face Recognition is also powered by the same AI technology. The phone can recognise your emotions using the AI technology called EMotion Recognition. The phone can detect emotions like Happiness, Sadness, Fear, Surprise, etc. and alter the display accordingly. The phone can also recognise your face and unlock the device just like a digital watch. The Axon M comes with three signature visual styles for the Ambient Mode display which are called Sunrise, Sunset, and Dusky. The EMUI 8 also supports themes and wallpapers. You can download new themes from the EMUI Store and you can also create your own themes using the device’s default software. One of the most interesting features in the Axon M is its audio quality. The device comes with a sound processor that can enhance the audio quality. The sound processor can adjust the sound based on the songs you’re playing and it can also improve the audio quality of the incoming calls. The EMUI 8 also supports Hi-Fi audio format that can support up to 32-bit/384kHz. The Axon M can also play high-quality music through Bluetooth. The phone’s software can automatically adjust the audio based on the environment. The phone can detect the climate conditions and play soothing tunes. The Axon M gives you the option to change the default music mode. You can select between Normal and Vivid modes. The Normal mode is great for everyday use while the Vivid mode is perfect for high-quality audio playback. The Axon M also comes with an in-built Digital Sound Recorder that stores stereo sound and lets you play/pause/skip tracks and also create voice memos. You can play/pause/skip tracks, create voice memos, and adjust the volume of the recorded sound from the same interface. The Axon M can also read out the notifications to you. The phone has a built-in smart speaker that you can use for playing music and also for taking dictation.


Audio quality and battery life

The Axon M comes with dual front-facing speakers that offer great audio quality and loud output. The phone’s stereo speakers can pump out music at a maximum volume of 92 dBA. The Axon M’s rear-facing speaker is also decent. The phone supports Dolby Atmos audio which is a great bonus. The phone’s audio quality is really good. The audio is loud enough and it doesn’t distort even at the maximum volume. The phone supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology. The Axon M comes with a 4,500mAh battery which is a huge battery for a flagship phone. The device supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology. The phone can easily charge from 0% to 100% in just 30 minutes using Quick Charge 3.0. The Axon M doesn’t have a USB Type-C port like the Axon 9 so you can’t use Quick Charge accessories with it. The phone’s battery life is great. In our test, we played continuously for 10 hours with 2G/3G/4G internet usage, 50% screen brightness, and Wi-Fi enabled.


Final Words

The Axon M is a giant phone that’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The phone has a gigantic 6.8-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels. The phone runs on EMUI 8 and has dual 12-megapixel cameras on the rear side with a f/1.8 aperture, 1.4 μm pixel size, and dual-LED flash. The Axon M’s camera is also powered by the same AI technology that powers the phone’s EMotion Recognition. The phone comes with an in-built digital sound recorder, supports Hi-Fi audio, and has great battery life. The Axon M is one of the best flagship Android smartphones you can buy right now.


To get your own ZTE Axon M, contact Cell2Talk!


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