ZTE Axon Elite announced at IFA: Hands-on

IFA is in full swing here in Berlin.  ZTE’s busy year has led to a hot showcase.  The U.S. recently saw the launch of the “flagship” Axon Pro, but ZTE was not planning to forget the rest of the world.  And it’s doing so with some extra flare.

[row][double_paragraph] ZTE Axon phone (international version) 2
 [/double_paragraph][double_paragraph] ZTE Axon phone (international version) 3 [/double_paragraph] [/row]

The newly launched, international variant is dubbed the Axon Elite.  From the front, it may look like the exact same phone as the Pro, but turn it around and a couple extra features slap you in the face.

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First, we now have a rear fingerprint scanner, following suit of another familiar Chinese Android smartphone OEM.

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In addition, ZTE thought that the global market would appreciate a more luxurious appearance to those top and bottom plastic panels (exceptions to an otherwise all-metal chassis).  It’s not apparent on the Pro that these panels are plastic (which house antennas), ZTE does well to hide the fact.  On the Elite, we have a faux leather, accompanied by faux stitching.

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You may be asking if there are any difference in specs between the two models.  There are a couple interesting ones.  The display resolution received a reduction, to FHD from QHD on the Pro.  There is no clear reason for it, as both models have the same computational power, from the Snapdragon 810 chipset.

Another big difference is in the OS.  The Elite runs Android 5.0.2.  This drawback is due to a heavier custom UI than the Pro has, which is on Android 5.1.1.  As Motorola has implied with the “Pure” variant of the new Moto X, ZTE appears to also bank on U.S. appreciating a more-stock experience with their Android phones.

However, ZTE’s software allows for some neat phone unlocking tricks.  In addition to a quick fingerprint reader response, you also have the option to unlock the phone via voice or eye recognition.  Yes, the front facing camera can save your unique eye pattern.

All other features of the Axon are present, including the 5.5″ IPS LCD screen, duo cameras (13MP + 2MP) for bokeh depth control, dual Hi-Fi chips for superior audio quality, 3,000mAh battery capacity, and the flashy, triangular grill accents.  However, the Elite adds a dual-SIM tray, and cleverly makes one of the slots microSD compatible for expandable storage (something the Pro lacked).

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The Axon Elite will first go on sale on Sept. 24th, in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K., for 419.99 Euros.  Afterwards, the device will rollout globally to Turkey, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Russia, and the Philippines.

What do you think of ZTE’s minor design tweaks to the Axon design?

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