Update: The ZTE Axon 7 Mini now has Android 7.1.1.
It wasn’t that long ago that ZTE debuted the Axon 7, a handset that smartly married desirable hardware with an affordable $400 price point. It took on such smartphone juggernauts as Samsung, Apple, LG, and HTC — and against all odds, emerged successful beyond ZTE’s wildest estimations. The Axon 7 has been in and out of stock since June.
That’s helped cement the Beijing, China-based ZTE become a veritable player in the smartphone market. But the company has broader ambitions: It’s angling to rank among the world’s top three smartphone makers by 2020. And it thinks an even cheaper derivative of the Axon, appropriately dubbed the Axon 7 Mini, will hasten it toward that endgame.
ZTE’s is a common enough strategy: Sony has released smaller, midrange smartphones under its “Compact” brand that generally accompany its flagship devices. Samsung, too, has historically released miniaturized versions of its top-end Galaxy phones, as has Huawei. But typically, the “mini” label denotes compromise: Cheaper, smaller companion devices are generally less capable, at least on paper, than their larger counterparts.
In the Axon 7 Mini’s case, though, it’s quite the opposite, and you can read all about why at our full review.
The ZTE Axon 7 Mini is extremely similar to the original ZTE Axon 7, both in terms of looks and design, and when it comes to the specs under the hood. You’ll find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, which is coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It also has a MicroSD card slot, so you can expand upon the storage if you so choose.
On the back of the phone, you’ll find a 16MP rear-facing camera with an f/1.9 aperture and phase detection autofocus, while the selfie camera sits in at 8MP. The AMOLED display on the phone comes in at 5.2-inches, and has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The battery capacity sits in at 2,700mAh.
On the software side, the phone has finally been updated to Android 7.1.1 — so users should update their phones, and if you’re thinking of buying this phone rest assured that you will be able to use Android 7.1.1.
Where to buy it
A gold version is exclusive to Best Buy during its first couple months of availability, where it’s normally priced at $300. However, between December 4 and December 10, Best Buy will sell the gold Axon 7 Mini for only $200, or the platinum grey version for $250. We’d call this an absolute steal, so if you’re already tempted by the Axon 7 Mini, don’t wait to pick one up.
In the United Kingdom, Carphone Warehouse carries the gold Axon 7 Mini exclusively, where it’s sold for 250 British pounds without a contract, or for free with a 24-month contract that starts at 17.50 British pounds per month.