An edge-to-edge display and a host of other remarkable features make the Axon 30 ZTE’s next flagship phone. The Axon 30’s show does not feature a notch or cutout for the front-facing camera, unlike practically every other phone on the market.
Under-display cameras are rare in popular smartphones, but ZTE has included an under-display camera into its flagship phone, which is only visible while you’re snapping a selfie but vanishes totally when not in use. Almost entirely, since the camera is hidden behind a little off-colour square that you may see if you look closely.
It does a great job concealing the front-facing camera, resulting in a better display than any other phone with a notch or punch-hole. A large 6.92-inch Full HD Plus AMOLED screen with no gap or additional cutout will be enough to get people to buy this phone, but that undersells its excellence as a fantastic display for viewing movies or gaming.
Even at this budget, the Axon 30’s cameras are excellent for their capabilities, producing stunning daylight shots thanks to their wide-angle and macro lenses. Even in low light, its night mode needs some light to work, which pales in comparison with the flagship capabilities of smartphones like the iPhone 13 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S21.
An excellent mid-range phone, the ZTE Axon 30 delivers better value than more costly devices and features a function that won’t be available until 2022 or later.
Until September 9, 2021, the ZTE Axon 30 was available in two colour options: black and grey and aqua. The 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model costs $499 / £429 (about AU$680), while the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage model costs $599 / £519 (approximately AU$819) (a greenish teal).
Instead, you can get an 8GB RAM and 128GB storage ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G, which was introduced in June 2021, for $749/£649 (about AU$965), or up to USD 849/ GBP 739 (about AU$1,095) for the 12GB RAM and 2TB storage combination. No word yet on whether the phone will be sold in Australia.
The ZTE Axon 30 is a large phone, but it’s a slick gadget with a design and materials equal to rivals in its mid-range pricing category. Even though it’s more significant, the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra is a little rougher around the edges than its more expensive big brother.
To put it another way, the Axon 30 is larger than the majority of smartphones now available. It’s not as enormous as a foldable phone, but its almost 7-inch display makes it practically impossible to handle comfortably. A tiny ridge on the side of the plastic allows for easy gripping. Squeezing them isn’t the most pleasant way to hold the phone, but it provides enough grip to keep you from dropping it.
The front-facing display of the Axon 30 features 6.42-inches, which is the phone’s most outstanding feature. The OnePlus 8 Pro’s self-retracting selfie camera has silently faded away in 2021 as the notch and punch-hole phones become more commonplace. The Axon 30 can achieve an under-display camera like its predecessor, which is scarcely visible when the camera mode is active.
The rear of the Axon 30 is made of plastic, and it’s the cheapest and thinnest section of the phone. Located in the upper left corner of the rear cover are two different sized circles that form the camera block. There is a single camera lens on top and three lenses in a triangle configuration on the bottom of the camera. When looking at the phone’s rear cover, a large Axon logo breaks up the hash marks. Towards the right-hand side of the rear is a ZTE 5G branding.
As a bonus, a lock button with texture is located just below the volume control on the ZTE Axon 30’s right side. In light of the thin plastic ridge that the sides rise above, the buttons are both small and awkward to push, but it makes sense that they aren’t more extensive. The top and bottom are home to a USB-C connector and a SIM card slot, with a microphone and speaker located on each side of the port.
With a 6.92-inch AMOLED display, the ZTE Axon 30 is one of the most impressive smartphones on the market today. If you don’t mind the lack of a notch or a punch-hole, this is a terrific screen for viewing movies and playing games, disregarding that.
Unlike the Axon 20’s selfie camera, the Axon 30’s is practically undetectable when the screen isn’t in camera mode, making it nearly unnoticeable. Unless you angle your phone to capture the light just so, you can’t point out the camera lens when you’re surfing the web or viewing media. Even then, the patch is scarcely discernible.
Using the camera app, you’ll notice a teardrop notch as the phone transitions to and from the app, but the front-facing camera won’t be visible after that — it’s hidden behind a thick black bar with some picture choices like aspect ratio and flash.
That’s not to say, though, that we didn’t notice the additional space when the under-display camera wasn’t purposely disguised. When we were gaming, and our thumb was blocking the left side of the screen, we forgot there wasn’t a notch or punch-hole there. There is nothing revolutionary about the additional space; it’s just a good perk.
If you’re looking to watch movies or play games, you’ll be disappointed that there’s no notch on the screen. The 6.92-inch screen is enormous, dwarfing even the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro. A 120Hz refresh rate is fantastic for smooth scrolling and games that support high frame rates, and the brilliant colours and sharp clarity make this a stunning display.
When taking photos in low-light situations, the ZTE Axon 30 features a good camera setup. However, despite the lack of a zoom lens and night mode, the Axon 30’s cameras do a good job provided there is enough light.
Using a Sony IMX682 sensor, the phone’s primary camera has a 64MP f/1.8 aperture and captures clear bright daytime images. Despite this, the colour balance was acceptable, albeit it skewed toward less bright colours than images taken by other smartphones. The depth of field for portraits was good but not fascinating.
The 8MP ultra-wide lens and 2MP depth sensor on the phone, in addition to the 5MP macro lens, assist in broadening the scope of the phone’s imaging capabilities beyond what we were able to do with the phone’s other two cameras and sensors. With the more expensive ZTE Axon 30 Ultra, we were able to take better macro images. This suggests a software problem.
When it comes to night photography, the ZTE Axon 30 didn’t quite measure up to expectations. If you’re taking images after the sun goes down, try using the camera’s night mode in low-light situations rather than no-light ones.
The 16MP front-facing under-display camera, which is nearly unnoticeable when the phone isn’t in camera mode, produces crisp images. Despite its lack of brightness and gauzy overlay over items not in focus (such as in the background), images shot with the selfie lens are crisp enough to post on social media.
Good but not remarkable, the ZTE Axon 30 has a 4,200mAh battery. You should be able to use your phone for a whole day before needing to recharge. There’s a built-in 65W charger included in the package that charges the phone to 52 per cent in 15 minutes, to 82 per cent in half an hour, and to a full charge in 45 minutes from a completely dead battery.
We believe that a small battery that recharges quickly is preferable to a large one since it allows you to top up in minutes rather than the hours it may take to restore a larger battery. You could feel some heat behind the plastic back cover during charging, but it was not hot or unpleasant to touch at all.