ZTE Axon 20 5G review
World's first under-display camera
Design and ergonomics
Let's address the obvious thing first, and that's the size of this thing. It's hard to fit a 6.92-inch screen in a compact body, so don't expect miracles. The side bezels aren't the thinnest ones around, with the bottom chin sticking out quite a bit. There's really no way around it, it's an unwieldy phone, and it's almost impossible to operate with just one hand. However, we were surprised that the weight is just 198g, which for a phone at this size is rather impressive.
The camera isn't the only thing ZTE was able to tuck under the display. The fingerprint reader is under there, and a couple of other sensors like the proximity and the ambient light sensor. The earpiece is nowhere to be found too, so there's a piezoelectric vibrator taking its place. It taps into the display, making it vibrate and produce sound. We've seen such solutions from Xiaomi and Huawei before. In any case, we will talk about the display, camera, and sound quality in the next pages.
The overall build of the Axon 20 5G feels premium. The side frame is made of metal, and the front and back sheets are glass. Sadly, no Gorilla Glass - just plain old glass. And the first thing we've noticed is how slippery the phone feels. For a phone at this size, slippery means bad. At least smudges on the back aren't as visible, at least on the black color we received.
We like the clean look of the back, though. There's just the ZTE and Axon 5G branding on the back, but they are rather subtle and definitely not "in your face." The camera bump too. It's not the thickest we've seen, and it looks just right. It houses all four cameras along with the flash. Of course, leaving the phone on a flat surface will wobble because of the camera protrusion. Slapping a case fixes it.
The button positioning on the side is excellent. The power button is subtly textured and hits the right height. Your thumb falls exactly in place. There's no volume rocker because the volume up and down buttons are separate. Maybe that's a good decision as it gives you even more clarity on where exactly you place your thumb without having to look.
Moving to the bottom side of the frame, we find the loudspeaker grille, the USB-C port, and the SIM card tray, which is a hybrid one. You can either go with a SIM + SIM configuration or a SIM + microSD card.
All in all, we liked the Axon 20 5G design with just a couple of things that we feel need improving. And we are not talking about the size of the phone because that's strongly subjective. Obviously, anyone looking for a small phone wouldn't go for the Axon 20 5G's humongous 6.92-inch screen. But we feel like the bezels need a bit of trimming and the slippery nature of the back glass makes handling the phone even harder than it already is.
Thank you for your thorough review of this phone. Too bad that you could not evaluate the telecommunications aspects, as a phone is primarily a communications tool and not only a camera... I wonder how it masters the 5G communications possibilities ....
- 21 Jan 2021
- 19 Jan 2021
This implementation of under display camera is a joke, you can see the square patch when viewing content, it's more irritating than a notch and only slightly better than a cut out. The quality of the camera is also terrible. The saddest thi...
- 12 Jan 2021