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Phones

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra now available in the US — 5 reasons to buy and 4 reasons to skip

By Sanuj Bhatia June 22, 2022, 7:25 am
ZTE Axon 40 Ultra Source: ZTE

ZTE was one of the first Android OEMs to launch a smartphone with an under-display camera. However, as is the case with first-generation smartphones, the implementation wasn't the best. It introduced Axon 30 with a lot of improvements and the second-generation under-display camera last year.

And now, the company is taking another go at the technology as it has launched its latest flagship, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra, with the third-generation under-display camera in the United States. The Axon 40 Ultra has been introduced at a price of $799 and goes against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S22, Google Pixel 6, and iPhone 13. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider buying this smartphone and 4 reasons why you should not.

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ZTE Axon 40 Ultra: Reasons to buy

The full edge-to-edge display

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra Source: ZTE

The full edge-to-edge display is one of the main attractions of the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra. The smartphone comes with a 6.8-inch AMOLED display on the front. It supports a resolution of 2480 x 1116 (FHD) and boasts features such as a peak brightness of up to 1500 nits, 360Hz touch sampling rate, and support for up to 120Hz refresh rate. Like the previous generation Axon-series smartphones, the Axon 40 Ultra also comes with an under-display camera (UDC).

The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra ships with the company's third-generation UDC sensor. ZTE claims that it has made a number of improvements to how the screen (and the camera itself) over the UDC works, and it now blends in perfectly with the rest of the screen. The screen above the UDC features a 400 PPI density and a pixel drive technology that makes sure each pixel is driven by a separate circuit, enabling an even clearer screen display.

Premium Build and Design

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra Source: ZTE

The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra comes with a, as folks on our sister website XDA Developers say, incredibly premium design. The phone is wrapped around in 71-degree curved glass, giving it a frameless appearance and a premium feel. Keeping in mind that the smartphone comes with a big 5,000 mAh battery, the Axon 40 Ultra is quite slim at 8.4mm and weighs just over 200g.

Fast Internals

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen1 official teaser Source: Qualcomm Video

The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. The chipset features the same 1+3+4 architecture with one ARM Cortex X2 prime core, three Cortex A710 performance cores, and four energy-efficient Cortex A510. However, as well have come to know, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 produces a lot of heat, due to which a lot of flagship smartphones have not been able to take full advantage of the chipset.

To take care of things, ZTE has included a 9-layer heat dissipation system that makes sure your Axon 40 Ultra keeps running cool even during intense gaming sessions. Coupled with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the smartphone's 8/12GB LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 internal storage. The smartphone also supports hardware encryption, with an independent safety chip incorporated in order to better protect system safety.

The big 5000 mAh battery and 65W charging

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra Source: ZTE

While smartphones like the Pixel 6 and iPhone 13 support only 18-20W fast charging (the Samsung Galaxy S22 features a slightly higher 25W fast charging), the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra comes with 65W charging support — on par with the OnePlus 10 Pro. Thanks to the fast charging support, the smartphone can be fully charged in about 40 minutes. Another thing that makes the flagship smartphone from ZTE stand out is the fact that it comes with the 65W charger bundled in the box. ZTE claims that the Axon 40 Ultra's hefty 5,000 mAh battery should last you more than a day.

Three 64MP rear cameras

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra rear camera system Source: ZTE

The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra comes with a triple-camera setup on the back. This setup includes a 64MP primary wide-angle lens, a 64MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 64MP 3.5x telephoto lens — yes, all the three cameras are 64MP. This is surely the only smartphone to offer such a camera configuration in this price range. The company claims that the main 64MP sensor offers pro-grade portraits and incredible lifestyle shots.

While there are a number of AI features that improve the image quality, the camera app also offers a number of neat tricks that take the camera system of the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra to the next level. Features such as simultaneous image capture from all three rear camera lenses, a macro mode via the ultra-wide sensor, and 8K ultra-high-definition video recording are present.

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra

Get a free Bluetooth speaker

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is the latest flagship smartphone from the company. It comes with the company's third-generation under-display camera, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, and a triple camera setup on the back. Check out all the deals on the device using the links given below.

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra: Reasons to skip

Under-display Camera is still not perfect

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra UDC Source: ZTE

Under-display camera technology is still at an early stage, and it's not easy to perfect. Samsung also struggled to get it right on last year's Galaxy Z Fold 3, and the case is pretty much the same here. Even though ZTE touts many improvements over the last-gen, claiming that the 16MP under-display camera can now capture better photos (and hide when not being used) thanks to both hardware and software enhancements, the results are still nowhere close to what an actual selfie camera would be able to provide.

If you don't take a lot of selfies and prioritize full display over a proper front camera, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is an excellent choice. However, if you do a lot of video calls and take a lot of selfies, you should look for some other smartphone.

No official durability rating

One of the let-downs of the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is that despite costing nearly the same as Samsung Galaxy S22 and Apple iPhone 13, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra misses out on an official IP rating. In addition, the company has also not revealed the type of glass (whether it is Corning's Gorilla glass or some other type of glass) it has used in the front and the back.

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra Source: ZTE

No wireless charging

Despite sporting a glass back, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra misses out on an essential feature — wireless charging. This is a feature that is available on most flagship smartphones nowadays (sometimes even in the budget segment). For the price of $800, this is a feature many users take for granted, and it is disappointing to see Axon 40 Ultra miss out on such a crucial feature.

No Android updates commitment

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra runs on the company's own My OS. The skin is based on Android 12 and is very close to stock Android. It isn't a feature-rich skin — it lacks Material You customizations — which might be a pro or a con based on how much you customize the look of the software of your smartphone. However, the concern isn't the lack of customization options. It is the fact that ZTE isn't promising any specific number of major Android OS updates or years of security patches for the phone, so the smartphone's longevity may be limited.

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