Two phones should come to mind when you hear the words, “flagship killer”: The OnePlus 3T and ZTE’s Axon 7. Both cost $440 or less and run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 and 820 — processors that power many 2016 flagships that initially cost upwards of $650.
With the Axon 7 Mini, ZTE is looking to sweep the mid-range category, but it missed the mark. Budget smartphones are a dime a dozen these days, and they’re all solid devices — from Lenovo’s $250 Moto G4 Plus and Huawei’s Honor 6X, to ZTE’s sub $200 ZMax Pro.
While the Axon 7 Mini may be a capable phone, its competition is priced lower and oftentimes performs better as well. At the price point of $300, you may as well shell out an extra $100 for the Axon 7, or save $50 with another, better, budget phone.
Let’s take a closer look.
No one expects killer specs from phones that cost $300 or less, and there’s nothing too exciting about the Axon 7 Mini’s internals. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 617 processor and comes with 3GB of RAM.
The device has 32GB of internal storage, but you can expand it up to 128GB thanks to the MicroSD card slot.
Its 5.2-inch AMOLED screen has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and a 2,705mAh battery keeps all the lights on. You can recharge via the USB Type-C port, though it’s only equipped with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, not 3.0.
The display is pretty solid — it’s a little undersaturated, but it’s bright enough to see outdoors in direct sunlight. The Full HD resolution is more than adequate for this smaller-screened device, and you won’t see any dramatic flaws unless you’re a display snob. Unfortunately, the Mini’s performance isn’t up to snuff.
Performance is inconsistent. Sometimes it runs fine — not as fast as the Axon 7, but not slow enough that there’s a problem. Other times, there’s visible stutter and lag, whether you’re scrolling through apps on the Play Store, swiping down the notification drawer, moving through home screens, or perusing websites on Chrome.
Games like Tiny Archers are just okay — performance slows down when certain animations crop up, and the device can get warm. Heat isn’t an issue though, as it’s never unbearable. You will run into issues if you try to play more intensive games, though.Read More...
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