ZTE Axon 7 Mini hands-on: small in price, not in size

Panasonic EZ950

ZTE Axon 7 Mini hands-on: small in price, not in size

Instead, it is trying to make a mini splash, and somewhat failing. With extras like promised support for Google's upcoming Daydream VR platform, the Axon 7 would have been an attractive phone even if priced up around the level of the Galaxy S7 or HTC 10 - but instead ZTE was practically giving the Axon 7 away with a killer $400 price tag. During its press conference at IFA 2016, ZTE has announced a toned-down variant of its flagship, the Axon 7 Mini. The new phone isn't really miniature by any reasonable standard: it's got a 5.2-inch screen, compared to the 5.5-inch Axon 7, and looks nearly exactly the same as its predecessor in press photos. This puts it on par with competing mid-tier phones, while the Axon 7 is meant to compete with Samsung and Apple's flagship phones. But if the Axon 7's advantage was being a relatively cheap phone that still felt high-end, the Axon 7 mini would ideally feel like a quality mid-range phone.

The smaller smartphone unsurprisingly gets mini specs.

OLED near-black processing

Now, ahead of the IFA show in Berlin, the company followed up with the ZTE Axon 7 mini, a smaller version of the Axon 7, with an ever lower price but also a significantly weaker set of specs. The 5.2-inch screen, for example, goes down to Full HD from the 5.5-inch 2K of the Axon 7. Enter: the ZTE Axon 7 mini. While the rear camera also decreases to 16 megapixels, the front camera surprisingly remains at 8 megapixels, hinting at a strong selfie focus for the Axon 7 Mini. The 1080x1920 screen has slightly lower pixel density, and instead of 4GB of memory and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, it uses 3GB and the Snapdragon 617. Though the U.S. price has yet to be formally announced, it will most likely be around those lines as well. But for as much as the Axon 7 offers, not everyone needs quite that much phone; some of us would be perfectly content to dial things back a little, maybe end up with a smaller handset in the process, and hey - if we could pay a bit less, too, that would be all the better.

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