We know what you’re thinking or at least we can suspect it: this is a surprise. It is to us, too. We had our hands-on of this thing all the way back in July, for crying out loud! But since we had an opportunity after the litany of other devices — the good, the bad and the ugly — we got during the fall, we figured that we could set some perspective for one of the Chinese OEMs with intensified American ambitions going forward.

ZTE beat its traditional manufacturer cohorts to the punch in this respect, commissioning a US design firm to give the Axon a signature look, a prestige the company could market. It got released to the consuming public late this summer for a price that would turn out to have been the highest price for a major unlocked-only phone in the US for the second half of the year (a mouthful of qualifications, but it’s true). It also got iterated on a few times for some disparate audiences.

While the hi-fi and high-horsepower hardware prove promising, how does all of it actuate? And most importantly, how does ZTE set to go into 2016 facing off against the likes of the Galaxy S7 and the Mate 8? It’s a tall order to toss around, but we’ll give it our best try.

ZTE Axon Pro Review Video

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