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T-Mobile ZTE ZMAX gets November security updates... but it still runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat

I'm honestly conflicted. When I spotted this new software on T-Mobile's support pages, I had to do a double take. How come a phone that's still stuck on Android 4.4.2 KitKat is getting the November 2016 security updates? It's ridiculous and awesome to a point that I just couldn't pass up the news.

The ZTE ZMAX was announced and released in September of 2014 on T-Mobile. It had midrange specs with a 5.7" 720 display, Snapdragon 400, 8MP back camera and 1MP on the front. The major selling point was the 3400mAh battery and the $252 price point. At the time of release, it ran Android 4.4 KitKat and it has managed to stick to that version for two years, no version bumps whatsoever for ZMAX owners.

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AT&T's ZTE ZMAX 2 gets its Marshmallow over-the-air update

We're in that awkward phase of the Android upgrade cycle, when customers want nothing more than the latest release of the OS on their phones... but manufacturers and carriers are still slowly, slowly making their way through the backlog of updates from over a year ago. So it is with the ZMAX 2, a big-screen budget ZTE phone offered on AT&T starting in September of 2015. Today AT&T is sending out the Marshmallow update that probably should have come at least a year ago. Hey, don't knock it - a lot of budget phones don't ever get upgraded at all.

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TWRP is now out for the OnePlus 3T, ZTE Axon 7, some BQ devices, and more

For those of us who love to mess around with our Android devices' software, custom recovery is essential. TWRP is, without a doubt, the most popular custom recovery out there, likely due to its easy-to-use interface and availability on a wide variety of devices. Now, it's available for several more devices, including the OnePlus 3T, ZTE Axon 7, a few BQ smartphones, and more.

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[Deal Alert] Get a ZTE Axon 7 for just $349.98 ($50 off), plus some free extras from select retailers

Budget flagships are abound these days, and the latest addition to ZTE's line of premium phones, the Axon 7, is one of the better ones on the market. The hardware is top-notch, and although the software isn't quite up to par with the OnePlus 3T's or the Nexus 6P's (as Ryan writes about in his review), it's certainly not the worst on the market. Now, you can pick one of these powerhouses up for just $349.98 and have some extras thrown in if you buy from the right retailers.

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ZTE's new, "enhanced" Axon 7 features Force Touch, more RAM and storage, and a $500 price tag

When the Axon 7 launched in China in late May, a more powerful version with a pressure-sensitive display debuted alongside it. That version was only available in China - until now. ZTE has just announced the improved Axon 7 that China has had all along for the US market, and it costs $100 more than the standard model.

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ZTE's Axon 7 makes the notification bell optional in the latest software update


One of the more annoying things about buying a non-Nexus (erm, non-Pixel) device is that sometimes you have to put up with the OEM's weird and whacky software quirks. Sometimes these genuinely add to the experience, other times... they don't. An example of one that falls into the latter category is the tiny notification bell on the lockscreen of ZTE's otherwise perfectly good Axon 7.

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ZTE Axon 7 Mini now available for pre-order in the US for $299.98

The ZTE Axon 7 is a solid device, but not everyone's looking for a 5.5-inch phone. Now there's the smaller, less expensive Axon 7 Mini available for pre-order in the US. This device costs a little under $300 and keeps the same aluminum unibody design as its larger sibling. It does take a step down in the spec department, though.

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Axon 7 gets updated with improved signal strength, September security patch, and more

ZTE's Axon 7 has some of the best hardware I've ever seen, but its software is a major letdown. Ryan's review and many more indicate that I'm not alone in thinking this. With this latest update for the Axon 7, ZTE doesn't change much visually, but there are quite a few upgrades under the hood.

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ZTE announces Axon 7 mini with 5.2" FHD display and 16MP camera

We already knew a bunch of stuff about ZTE's Axon 7 mini thanks to this leak from over a month ago and this leak from a few days ago, but now it's official. The creatively-named Axon 7 mini has, unfortunately, had a specs decrease from the Axon 7, but it still seems like a solid mid-ranger.

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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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