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ZTE Axon 7 review: Mostly good hardware, but bad software

ZTE has long been known as a purveyor of inexpensive devices—you might even call them cheap. Many phones manufactured by ZTE in past years didn't even have the company's name on them. Last year, it started going after the premium device market with the Axon Pro. ZTE is back in 2016 with another Axon—the Axon 7. This $400 phone seems to target potential OnePlus 3 buyers with similar specs and a few notable improvements, at least on paper. Does the Axon 7 mark ZTE's arrival in the budget flagship space or does OnePlus still own it?

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ZTE will now unlock the US versions of the Axon Pro and Axon 7 upon request

ZTE has been making some fine devices lately, and one of them is the Axon 7 which just went on sale a couple of weeks ago. The problem ZTE faces with enthusiasts though is the locked bootloader on its phones. This complicates things a lot for custom ROM enthusiasts as well as developers and modders who like to tinker with their devices.

But that situation is about to be resolved now. ZTE has announced that it will unlock the bootloader of the US versions of both the ZTE Axon 7 and Axon Pro, but only if you ask nicely. The requests will be processed on the Z-Community forums, within the Developers Lounge sub-space, and ZTE says it's reserved to "those with a high level of technical expertise and have had experience flashing custom ROMs." It's not clear whether or not it plans to verify that about each person who submits a request, or how exactly that'll be done.

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ZTE wants your help to design a 'crowdsourced' smartphone

If you've been a smartphone user for any length of time, you've probably thought that you could design a smartphone better than those hacks who had the gall to put the headphone jack on the top/bottom (delete whichever is inappropriate). Well now you can! Sort of. Chinese manufacturer ZTE is putting out press for "Project CSX," a program that will design products based on input from a community of users. The home of the project is over on the company's official forums.

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ZTE Axon 7 available for purchase today at $400, ships August 17th

ZTE's latest attempt at breaking into the premium smartphone market is the Axon 7, and it's available for pre-order today. You have to drop $399.98 to secure your Axon 7, which offers some rather high-end specs for that price. One catch, you'll have to wait a few weeks to actually get your phone.

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ZTE's Axon 7 goes up for pre-order promising great specs and better audio for $400

ZTE knows it's not the brand most associated with quality smartphones, but the company is working to change that. Recent Axon devices have been very compelling devices for the price. The Axon 7 is ZTE's effort to take things to the next level.

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[Deal Alert] ZTE Axon Pro on sale for $299.99 with free $75 B&H gift card and clear case

While it wasn't the best device, last year's ZTE Axon Pro was a big step up for a company that was mainly known for making cheap phones for prepaid carriers. The price has come down in recent months, and now B&H has it on sale for $299.99 ($50 off) with some extras. It's still pretty solid for that price.

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ZTE Announces The Axon 7's BMW Design And Endorsement From Pianist, Oh And Also A Phone

Is a key point of consideration for your next smartphone whether or not it has been endorsed by a world-renowned pianist? Great! The all-new ZTE Axon 7 is, in fact, endorsed by world-renowned pianist Lang Lang. This apparently has some sort of value. The Axon 7 also received design input from BMW's Designworks (yes, that BMW, the one that makes cars), audio consulting from a team of music conservatory professors (I am not making this up), and Dolby's Atmos surround sound. This phone is a veritable partnership tour de farce.

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Creative Wants To Ban Most Android Phones From US Over Alleged Patent Infringement

Creative is not a name you hear as often in consumer electronics these days. The Singapore-based firm is known for making audio products, including the Zen line of media players. Creative has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that basically every maker of Android phones is infringing its Zen patents by displaying your music. It wants them all banned, but what it really wants is money.

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[Deal Alert] Snag A 64GB ZTE Axon Pro From B&H For Only $323.95 ($100 Off) And Get A Free $50 Gift Card

The ZTE brand may not be the first that comes to mind when you consider high-end phones, but the Axon Pro is quite the beast. You get a 1440p 5-inch screen, Snapdragon 810, 4GB of RAM, and, thanks to a recent over-the-air update, Android Marshmallow. You also get to save money.

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ZTE Is Rolling Out Marshmallow To The Axon Pro

ZTE spent the last few years building low-cost devices for carriers, but 2015 saw the release of the Axon Pro. This phone had flagship specs and a pretty nice build of almost-stock Android. ZTE promised it would keep this phone up to date, and it's following through with a Marshmallow OTA. It took a little longer than expected, but you can grab the update now.

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