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Axon 10 Pro

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The ZTE Axon 10 Pro snatches defeat from the jaws of victory

Over the past few years, we've seen the emergence of a new category of phone: the budget flagship. Pioneered by brands like OnePlus, these affordable devices have a lot of the desirable qualities of phones that cost considerably more. At just $550, ZTE's Axon 10 Pro packs a spec wallop, and it seems like a great option on paper — but questionable software decisions and lousy image processing spoil what could've otherwise been an easy recommendation.

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ZTE brings Axon 10 Pro to US with near-stock Android, 256GB of storage for $549

One of the complicated factors when it comes to writing about a Chinese smartphone company putting out product into the United States these days is that trans-Pacific trade isn't exactly in great shape. But ZTE — which had a couple of good phones come to the states in the past — went through its deleterious sanctions-skirting saga with the U.S. Department of Commerce, has come out billions of dollars poorer for it, but is ready and willing to try again in America. The company skipped out on the country for last year's uninspired Axon 9 Pro, though it did notch a budget phone with a Verizon subsidiary earlier this year.

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