ZTE Axon 30 5G review
Design and handling
The ZTE Axon 30 5G's build is solid and clean. It adopts the usual glass sandwich build with curved edges on the back and a subtle Axon inscription that's visible once the light hits a certain angle. However, the backplate isn't actually made of glass - it's a "3D composite polymer material with nano-level glow texture overlaid". Or, in other words - it's plastic.
Perhaps that's why the handset doesn't weigh as much as you'd expect, tipping the scale at 189g, which is pretty light for a 6.92-inch device with four cameras and a 4,200 mAh battery. Not to mention that it feels well-balanced in hand with just a slight bias towards the upper half of the phone.
We have the Black color with us, and smudges can be easily seen, the surface is slippery as normal glass, and curved edges to the side aren't enough for a secure grip. Then again, the Axon 30 sports a huge display, so it's an unwieldy handset no matter how you look at it.
The camera bump is thick, and it's designed in a two-layer arrangement. The camera sensors sit inside circles with the main one having a pronounced ring around it. The idea is to resemble the "retro" aesthetics of the so-called "angel eyes" headlights some cars use. We don't really see it, but the camera design does make the phone stand out.
Another standout feature of the Axon 30 is, of course, the unobstructed display. An unnamed Gorilla Glass sheet sits on the surface for extra protection. Тhe bezels are quite thin except that the bottom one is just enough not to draw any attention. The best part is that ZTE managed to cram up the earpiece in the top bezel, so the Sound on Display is no more - a positive change, given our sub-optimal experience with last year's Axon 20.
In the next section, we will go into detail about what makes this UD camera implementation a lot better than before.
Last, we have a thin plastic side frame with a glossy finish that fits well the overall color scheme. The top and bottom sides are almost entirely flat, while the sides are curved. On the right, we find the razor-thin power and volume rocker buttons (the frame had to be widened a little to accommodate them), and the left remains completely vanilla.
The SIM card tray sits on the bottom right next to the USB-C connector and the loudspeaker. The tray offers a hybrid slot, so you can either go for a SIM + microSD card combo or a double SIM configuration. It's interesting to note that there's a rubber seal around the tray itself, suggesting some level of ingress protection. However, ZTE doesn't claim any water resistance officially, so don't count on it.
There's little to complain about - the handset feels rather solid, yet lightweight while the unwieldy nature is mostly due to the huge screen. However, a more critical assessment when taking other competitors in mind, we would have liked some more premium materials to be used. For instance, most of the Axon 30 5G's rivals boast true glass backs and metal frames, giving them a more premium feel.