ZTE Axon 30 5G Review: Under-Display Camera King

ZTE’s Axon 20 used to be the 1st Android smartphone to provide an under-display digicam, buried underneath the phone’s OLED panel underneath a layer of pixels. However whilst the tech used to be thrilling, it used to be nonetheless in its infancy.

Rapid ahead a 12 months and the ZTE Axon 30 5G is bureaucratic, providing second-gen under-display digicam tech that represents an enormous development and blowing even ultra-premium festival out of the water – and that’s simply within the selfie digicam division.

Throw in a beautiful 6.92in AMOLED panel, top-end processing energy, speedy speedy charging speeds and a top rate shape issue, and also you’ve were given a show-stopping mid-range smartphone that’ll price you simply £419/$499. Intrigued? You must be.

Design and construct

The ZTE Axon 30 5G is a handsome smartphone, however let’s be truthful, it doesn’t rewrite the principles of the Axon design DNA. It appears very similar to the remainder of the gathering, which isn’t a nasty factor given the top rate design on be offering, and it’s to be had in shiny sun shades of Black and Aqua.

It sports activities a full-screen reveal with narrow bezels, with a somewhat sticking out ridge that runs alongside the perimeters of the smartphone to assist you grip one-handed. Turn it over and also you’ll discover a holographic end that provides to that top rate glance ZTE is striving for with the Axon 30, together with an oblong steel digicam housing that protrudes from the rear.

The one problem? In spite of the top rate glance, it doesn’t actually really feel top rate within the hand. That’s as a result of each the edges and the rear of the phone are constructed from plastic, relatively than glass and steel like different in a similar fashion priced telephones and ZTE’s personal upgraded Axon 30 Extremely.

It comes with advantages, like being extra light-weight and sturdy than glass at simply 189g, nevertheless it simply feels adore it’s lacking one thing when held within the hand.

Some other design function that detracts from the top rate glance is the massive ‘Axon’ and ‘ZTE 5G’ trademarks at the rear – despite the fact that I guess you need to get a case that covers the rear solely if it actually bothers you.

At the proper of the reveal, you’ll to find quantity rockers and an influence button in a tidy association, and on the backside, you’ll discover a USB-C port, speaker grille and a dual-SIM slot.

There isn’t a headphone jack sadly, however ZTE has incorporated a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter within the field for those who’ve were given a couple of stressed headphones you aren’t in a position to surrender simply but.


The ZTE Axon 30 5G sports activities a beautiful, if now not somewhat gargantuan, 6.92in AMOLED reveal that’s an absolute pleasure to make use of.

It’s tall, carrying a 20.5:9 facet ratio, because of this it’s nonetheless simple to make use of one-handed – although this can be a little arduous to achieve the tip of the reveal together with your thumb. It’s colourful, bright and downright stunning, with the FHD+ (1080 x 2460) answer offering various element for TikTok scrolling classes and Netflix binges.

There’s additionally the 120Hz refresh charge to imagine which, whilst now not somewhat the 144Hz of a few top rate possible choices, provides a fantastically clean scrolling and swiping revel in. It makes the phone really feel extra responsive, and it’s in an instant noticeable in use.

There may be the choice to make a choice an automated refresh charge, which adjusts the speed relying on what you’re doing in a bid to preserve battery, however the place’s the joys in that?

It’s possible you’ll understand that the reveal doesn’t function the holepunch or notch utilized in many full-screen possible choices, however that doesn’t imply there isn’t a digicam. Like ultimate 12 months’s ZTE Axon 20, the Axon 30 sports activities an under-display digicam (UDC) – however there were important upgrades previously 365 days.

The portion of the reveal protecting the under-display digicam of the Axon 20 may just most effective be offering a most pixel density of 200ppi, and that ended in a noticeable distinction in symbol high quality in comparison to the remainder of the reveal, making it in an instant noticeable even with out a conventional digicam reduce out.

The upgraded under-display digicam tech of the Axon 30 5G now lets in for double the pixel density at 400ppi, which fits the remainder of the reveal and makes it a lot more difficult to identify. For comparability, the density of the reveal protecting the under-display digicam of the ultra-premium Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is solely 144ppi.  

ZTE’s implantation of UDC era is as shut as any producer has gotten to a in point of fact invisible front-facing digicam, most effective visual for those who attitude the smartphone a undeniable approach in vivid mild or if the reveal is off solely. It’s an improbable soar in simply 365 days, and taking into account the mid-range worth of the smartphone, it’s a significant promoting level for those who do wish to be an under-display digicam adopter.

Together with an under-display digicam, the ZTE Axon 30 sports activities an in-display fingerprint reader. It really works smartly, just like most current fingerprint scanners, appropriately studying my fingerprint as a rule, and also you’ve were given facial free up (despite the fact that now not as protected as Apple’s Face ID) as a backup in case your palms are a bit of too grimy to scan.

Specifications and function

On the middle of the ZTE Axon 30 5G you’ll to find Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 5G coupled with both 8- or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of garage relying on availability to your area. It may not be the top-end Snapdragon 888 or lately upgraded 888+, however will you understand the variation in day by day use? I be expecting now not.

When mixed with the buttery 120Hz refresh charge, the Axon 30 5G supplies a top rate smartphone revel in with clean scrolling, even in media-packed apps like Twitter and Fb, it might deal with high-end video games like Name of Responsibility Mobile very easily and it’s typically a pleasure to make use of, freed from stutter or lag.

That’s in large part represented in our benchmark effects, with the chipset generating identical effects to the 888-enabled Galaxy Z Turn 3 and Realme GT, despite the fact that it might’t somewhat compete with the graphical efficiency from its extra top rate sibling, the Axon 30 Extremely. Check out the result of our assessments underneath:

On the subject of connectivity, you must be expecting the most recent and largest together with 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC and a USB-C port for charging, and there’s a microSD card slot inside the SIM tray to increase garage too.

At the instrument entrance, the ZTE Axon 30 5G comes working Android 11 out of the field, despite the fact that with ZTE’s MyOS 11 pores and skin implemented. The speculation of a customized Android pores and skin might strike concern into your middle, scarred by means of years of horrible UIs filled with bloatware, however ZTE has carried out a commendable activity at sticking to a somewhat inventory Android design.

There isn’t any bloatware, nor are there any pre-installed ZTE apps. The nearest you’ll get is ZTE Non-public House, an app that permits you to securely retailer footage, movies and full apps if essential. You’ll additionally discover a handful of gestures, together with shaking the phone two times to show at the flashlight, that improves the revel in on be offering.  

It’s now not utterly inventory, as obtrusive by means of the feel and appear of the notification colour and a few widgets, and the Settings menu is usually a complicated beast every now and then, however those are somewhat minor niggles of an differently respectable pores and skin.

Battery existence

Battery existence is a space the place the ZTE Axon 30 5G may just do with some development, most probably right down to that massive high-res 120Hz AMOLED reveal. Regardless that the battery is first rate at 4200mAh, I discovered that it used to be on the subject of sufficient to get me via a complete day’s use when working at 120Hz all of the time when surfing social media, texting, gaming and taking the occasional photograph.

There used to be, admittedly, a slight development when the refresh charge used to be set to automated, which permits the reveal to change between refresh charges relying on what you’re doing, nevertheless it wasn’t as dramatic a distinction as anticipated, squeezing out most effective an additional few hours with reasonable use.

The ZTE Axon 30 5G, then, isn’t a phone that’ll stay on going for days – a minimum of with out severe compromise to the revel in – however the only saving grace is that it’ll fee in no time, particularly for a phone within the £400/$500 worth differ.

The ZTE Axon 30 5G provides give a boost to for 65W speedy charging, and what’s even greater is {that a} 65W charger comes bundled within the field – no wish to fork out for a charging brick like with some flagship smartphones in 2021. That implies you’ll profit from the quick charging from day 1, which in our checking out supplied 42% fee in 15 minutes, 78% in 30 mins and a complete fee took round 50 mins.

So, whilst the Axon 30 5G may now not have the most efficient battery existence, a minimum of you’ll be capable to peak it up temporarily when wanted.  


On the subject of cameras, the ZTE Axon 30 5G is a little hit-and-miss. Given the truth that I used to be so inspired by means of the digicam efficiency on be offering from the upgraded ZTE Axon 30 Extremely, it’s unhappy to look the usual type endure such a lot to hit a less expensive worth level.

The Axon 30 5G has a ‘quad’ digicam setup at the rear, despite the fact that don’t be expecting to get 4 usable lenses. As a substitute, you’ll to find a big 64Mp Sony IMX682 sensor as a number one, together with an 8Mp 120-degree ultra-wide lens, a 5Mp macro digicam and 2Mp intensity sensor.

Whilst there’s attainable for excellent imagery from the principle and ultrawide angles, the macro and intensity sensors appear to be they’re there most effective to bump up the digicam rely relatively than supply a perfect taking pictures revel in.

The principle 64Mp snapper makes use of 4-in-1 pixel binning to supply detailed photographs at a smaller answer, however you’ve additionally were given the way to seize local 64Mp snaps too.

ZTE Axon 30 5G

Irrespective of the taking pictures mode, the principle lens does a perfect activity at taking pictures element and herbal color, even in tougher lighting fixtures prerequisites. There’s a devoted night time mode to spice up the sunshine in darkish environments too, and whilst it’s now not somewhat dramatic as some top rate smartphones, it no doubt improves the whole glance of the picture.

There isn’t a zoom lens, however you may now not realise that given the activates to zoom in to 2x (and as much as 20x by means of pinch zoom) by means of the Axon 30’s digicam app. That is as an alternative a virtual zoom, cropping in at the symbol captured by means of the principle 64Mp snapper, and as you may be expecting, pictures turn into grainier and overprocessed because the virtual zoom will increase. It might be helpful for some issues, however don’t be expecting the similar effects as a devoted telephoto lens.

The 8Mp ultra-wide digicam plays as anticipated, taking pictures a lot more of the scene with a 120-degree box of view with respectable effects. It’s easiest utilized in sunny outside environments, providing a tight taking pictures revel in with colourful colors, despite the fact that there are occasional comfortable patches the place the lens can’t somewhat select all of the element of leaves of a tree or the development of a jacket.

The fewer stated in regards to the 5Mp macro sensor the simpler; merely put, it isn’t superb. As with maximum price range macro lenses, you need to to find the candy spot for the mounted focal point, and that’s typically now not as shut as you may like. The larger downside, alternatively, is that photographs steadily glance darkish and absence any actual element. What I’m seeking to say is, if you wish to have to get a close-up shot, use the principle lens and crop in.

What about that under-display digicam at the entrance? As discussed, there were massive advances within the era in comparison to the ZTE Axon 20 5G, which first offered the under-display digicam, making it a lot more difficult to identify this time round. The issue is that the picture high quality produced by means of the 16Mp snapper isn’t somewhat as much as scratch in comparison to maximum selfie cameras at the moment – even the ones on price range telephones.

Selfies captured at the Axon 30 5G can come throughout as comfortable with a noticeably extra muted color palette in comparison to the rear digicam providing, even in stunning outside environments – what many would imagine ultimate prerequisites for selfies. Then again, it’s nonetheless a marked development at the high quality produced by means of the first-gen equipment, and it appears to accomplish greater than the UDC of the ultra-premium Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

In the event you don’t steadily take selfies, it’s a compromise smartly value accepting – particularly for those who like the speculation of a full-screen reveal with out a digicam cut-out – however for those who’re a selfie lover, there are better-performing cameras to be had at a identical worth.


The ZTE Axon 30 begins at simply £429/$499 for an 8GB/128GB aggregate, however there’s additionally an upgraded 12GB/256GB variant that’ll price you £519/$599. In spite of now not that includes the top-end specifications, it’s a tempting worth for a smartphone that typically supplies a top rate smartphone revel in with robust internals, a beautiful reveal and ambitious fee instances.

In the event you’re tempted, you’ll purchase the ZTE Axon 30 from ZTE in the United Kingdom, US and international at the moment. For extra inspiration and to look how the ZTE Axon 30 compares to the contest, check out our hand-picked choice of the most efficient mid-range telephones. 


The ZTE Axon 30 isn’t the very best mid-ranger, nevertheless it no doubt has so much going for it. The 6.92in 120Hz FHD+ reveal is a big promoting level, providing a beautiful scrolling revel in that makes the entirety from texting to gaming really feel extra responsive, and the design of the phone appears nice too, although it’s constructed from plastic and now not glass.

There’s additionally the under-display digicam to imagine; whilst the standard of the selfies can’t somewhat evaluate with usual front-facing cameras, ZTE’s implementation is way more complex than choices from even ultra-premium choices just like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. The rear-facing setup, whilst missing a telephoto lens for close-ups, provides respectable efficiency throughout the principle and ultra-wide lenses.

Throw in 65W speedy charging, a tight instrument revel in and an overly tempting price ticket and also you’ve were given a perfect mid-range smartphone.


ZTE Axon 30 5G: Specifications

  • 170.2 x 77.8 x 7.8mm
  • 189g
  • 6.92in AMOLED reveal (120Hz, FHD+)
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G
  • 8/12GB of RAM
  • 128/256GB garage expandable by means of microSD
  • Rear cameras: 64Mp huge, 8Mp 120-degree ultra-wide, 5Mp macro and 2Mp intensity sensor
  • Entrance-facing 16Mp under-display digicam
  • [email protected] video
  • USB-C port
  • 4200mAh battery with 65W speedy charging
  • 5G connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • NFC
  • In-display fingerprint reader
  • Android 11 with MyOS 11 pores and skin implemented

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