I had the original Samsung Note 7 (briefly) and then a replacement Note 7 (briefly). After the second Note 7 recall I bought a Samsung S7 Edge. While I’ve always been a fan of Samsung phones and plan to get the S8+ when it’s available, I’ve been curious about the ZTE Axon 7 since it was first announced. Recently I read that the Axon 7 was running Nougat and was Daydream certified so I bought one, using the rationale that I needed a backup for my S7 Edge.
Here is my subjective opinion of the Axon 7 after using it for almost two weeks. It seems just as fast and smooth as the S7 Edge, the display seems almost as good (it uses a Samsung AMOLED display), it has twice the onboard storage, it has a USB-C connector (with Quick Charge 3.0), and the audio is far superior (with dual front-facing speakers and Dolby Atmos Digital Surround Sound). On the negative side, the Axon 7’s capacitive buttons are too close together and aren’t backlit, the wi-fi and cellular radios are weaker, the cameras (both front and rear) are not as good, and the fingerprint sensor is not quite as fast (although I think I prefer the placement on the rear). I can’t describe the differences between Samsung’s TouchWiz and ZTE’s MiFavor launchers because I’m a long-time user of Nova Prime on all my Android devices. The Axon 7 does have a “Stock Android” option but I haven’t tried it.
The S7 Edge will continue to be my primary phone, but it’s hard to believe that the Axon 7 sells for about half what I paid for the S7 Edge. So far, I’m very impressed with the Axon 7 – it’s a great phone for the price.