ZTE Axon 30 5G review

GSMArena Team, 17 Sept 2021.

Introduction

ZTE is having another shot at the whole under-display selfie camera thing, and it's swinging way harder this time around. The Axon 30 5G takes advantage of the second-gen tech promising clearer image and less visible camera sensor because last year's Axon 20 5G had a rather conspicuous shooter peeking behind the OLED panel. Additionally, the new camera uses twice the pixels and are considerably bigger too. Quite the leap in just one generation.

ZTE Axon 30 5G review

But the camera isn't the only thing getting an upgrade. The Axon 30 doubles the ppi count from 200 to 400ppi of the display area that sits on top of the camera module, which means less distortion of the images displayed on the screen. Today's displays usually go above 400ppi, and this one is exactly 400 ppi, which means that the camera area should be indistinguishable from the rest of the screen area.

ZTE Axon 30 5G specs at a glance:

  • Body: 170.2x77.8x7.8mm, 189g; Glass front, plastic back, plastic frame.
  • Display: 6.92" AMOLED, 1B colors, 120Hz, 1080x2460px resolution, 20.5:9 aspect ratio, 400ppi; Always-on display.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8250-AC Snapdragon 870 5G (7 nm): Octa-core (1x3.2 GHz Kryo 585 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4x1.80 GHz Kryo 585); Adreno 650.
  • Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM; UFS 3.1; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot).
  • OS/Software: Android 11, MyOS 11.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 64 MP, f/1.8, 25mm, 1/1.73", 0.8µm, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.2, 120˚, 16mm; Macro: 5 MP, f/2.4; Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4.
  • Front camera: 16 MP, f/2.5, (wide), under display.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS, HDR, 10‑bit video; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
  • Battery: 4200mAh; Fast charging 65W, USB Power Delivery, Quick Charge 4+.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); NFC.

The panel gets a bump in the refresh rate, now 120Hz, it seems like a good fit for the upgraded Snapdragon 870 chipset too. Essentially, a slightly tweaked last year's flagship SoC paired with faster UFS 3.1 storage.

The rest of the hardware seems to be ported from the Axon 20 with the small exception of the selfie camera, but more on that later.

ZTE Axon 30 5G review

We are lead to believe ZTE isn't relying solely on the Axon 30 5G's novelty. Quite the opposite, actually. The handset has some capable hardware and even competes in the upper mid-range segment this year. You can even say it roams in the flagship killer territory with a starting price of €500.

Considerably less than the already released and reviewed Axon 30 Ultra 5G, but it's the only one to have the UD camera serving as a tech showcase to the world. Let's dig deeper and find out if it's worth your hard-earned money.

Unboxing the ZTE Axon 30 5G

The device comes in a standard retail box carrying the 65W PD charger, USB-C to USB-C cable (since the USB Power Delivery protocol works with double-sided USB-C cables) and a hard plastic shell case, which is also transparent.

ZTE Axon 30 5G review

Since there's no 3.5mm jack, ZTE has provided a USB-C to 3.5mm audio dongle and a wired set of earphones that look identical to the good old Apple EarPods.

Reader comments

its 1/3 the price?

how to tell everyone you don't have a dedicated camera without telling everyone you have a dedicated camera

Nonsense! Any phone without optical zoom camera is dead on arrival!