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ZTE Axon review: a powerhouse that punches above its weight

A few weeks ago, I got a look at a curious kind of mobile marketing head-fake: A new company called "Axon" no one had ever heard of promised the moon and stars in the form of a shiny, seemingly impressive $450 smartphone. As it turned out, Axon wasn't an upstart smartphone maker taking on stodgy giants -- it was a sub-brand of Chinese OEM ZTE trying to make something cooler than it's normally known for. The ruse worked in that it got a bunch of jaded nerd journalists to an event in the middle of Manhattan in the rain, but is the phone itself actually worth that trouble? Did ZTE finally figure out how to make a phone that wary US consumers might flock to? The answer might surprise you.


ZTE's Axon is a high-end smartphone designed with US consumers in mind, and we apparently crave lots of power, and no expandable memory. The Axon's spec sheet is filled with hits -- the Snapdragon 810 chip is a powerhouse and the audio is surprisingly good -- but some misbehaving software and a fixed 32GB of storage keep it from being a dream phone.

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