Hands on: ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G Review

The ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G is one of the first 5G flagship phones of 2019. Boasting a triple-lens camera, in-display fingerprint scanner as well as the promise of next-gen network speeds, it could go on to be one of the year's best sellers.

First Impressions

The ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G is full of promise. Build quality seems top notch, even if the design and features are very similar to that of the Huawei P20 Pro, but as I was unable to use 5G services - one of the phone's key points - it's hard to make a judgement right now.

Key Specifications

  • Triple-lens camera
  • in-display fingerprint scanner
  • 6.47-inch AMOLED display
  • 5G support
  • Snapdragon 855

Curious about ZTE’s shiny new 5G smartphone? Well you’re in luck. We had an opening look at the Axon 10 Pro 5G at MWC 2019. Here’s everything we learned.

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G release date and price

The ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G’s price and release date weren’t confirmed at launch and the  ZTE staff I spoke to at the MWC stand wasn’t able to shed any more light on either matter.

The model I saw both featured 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. For reference, the 128GB Xiaomi Mi 9 will cost €499, so I would expect the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G to sit at a similar price point.

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G

The ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G’s AMOLED display is gently curved at the edges, and looks fantastic.

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G – 5G, in-display fingerprint scanner, and a triple-lens main camera

The main claim to fame with the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G is right there in its name – it’s a 5G phone, one of the first, according to ZTE.

Like pretty much every flagship 5G phone that’s been unveiled here at MWC 2019, it runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragpon 855 CPU and features the Snapdragon X50 5G modem, so you should be able to enjoy multi-gigabit download and upload speeds on this – up to 5Gbps and 1Gbps, in theory – once 5G networks are live.

Frustratingly, neither of the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G models I saw at the ZTE stand seemed to be equipped with SIMs, as I was unable to browse on either device.

Related: 5G phones

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G

The glossy back gleams magnificently, but you’ll need to clean it off every five minutes or so.

What else can I say about the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G right now? It looks a lot like last year’s Huawei P20 Pro, from the triple lens main camera set-up – a 40-megapixel f/1.8 main sensor paired with a 20-megapixel 125 degree wide angle lens and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens – to the 4000mAh battery, right down to the glossy blue metallic finish. Even the 6.47-inch AMOLED display, which looked wonderful, even under the harsh blue lighting of ZTE’s stand, features an in-display fingerprint scanner (which, fact fans, the limited edition Porsche Design P20 Pro also had).

I had a brief play around with the camera to see what I was able to get out of its three lens set-up and it’s clear that the phone was running an early version of the software. I was only able to rattle off some shots at 4x magnification at the most, and the results, which I’ve included here, are not great. 

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G

It’s early days yet, but here’s what I was able to get out of the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G’s camera.

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G

The same scene at 4x zoom. You can see the words ‘ZTE Axon Pro 9’ in the corner – this is clearly early software.

The ‘1.7-2.8’ branding on the rear suggests a wider aperture than what’s quoted on the spec sheet as well. Either way, the camera software is clearly not ready, so it’s unfair to judge at this stage.

Speaking of cameras, it’s worth pointing out that the little front-facing camera that’s nestled snugly in one of the smallest teardrop notches I’ve seen has a 20-megapixel camera, which is big by selfie standards. The usual skin shading and sparkling eye effects weren’t present in the model I saw, another indication that this is not final build software.

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G

Short of sneaking the front camera into the actual display, like Samsung’s done with the Galaxy S10, this little teardrop notch is as discreet as things are going to get.

ZTE in the UK has had a reputation for making great value for money handsets and while the software’s not done yet, the overall build quality of the Axon 10 Pro 5G was very good. It felt super-premium, even if the glass back did pick up fingerprints easily (but then again, so does every phone with a glossy back).

Overall I’m impressed, this definitely has potential, but without having an idea of when this will be available, how much one will cost, or even if the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G will come to the UK, it’s hard to make much more of a judgement call at this stage.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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