ZTE Axon 8: News, Specs, Rumors, Release Date

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There’s broad consensus that the ZTE Axon 7 is a good, if not a great, smartphone. ZTE’s flagship killer packs incredible speakers, a fantastic camera, and a long-lasting battery for about half the cost of an iPhone 7. Now the sequel — the Axon 8 — might be just around the corner.

It’s early, but we’re beginning to hear rumblings about the ZTE Axon 8’s hardware — and how much it might cost. Here’s everything you need to know.

A foldable phone

ZTE is widely expected to announce the Axon 8 on October 17, but there might be a surprise in store: A foldable phone called the Axon Multy (or Axon M for short).

In late September, Android Authority reported that the Axon Multy, an Android-based smartphone with a hinged-screen design, will launch before the end of 2018. It’s said to have two Full HD displays, each with a resolution of 1,920 x 2,160 pixels, that can display two apps at the same time — one on either screen.

It’s unclear whether or not the Axon M will make an appearance at the October 17 event, but ZTE isn’t the only one pursuing a foldable design. Over the past year alone, Samsung, Lenovo, and Microsoft have shown off flexible concept phones that transform into tablets. Time will tell if ZTE’s take is any better.

Price and release date

It’s too early to tell where, when, and for how much the Axon 8 will eventually retail, but we can speculate.

In August, ZTE issued invites to an October 17 press event in New York City with a cryptic message: “The smartphone has not changed in 10 years. You’re invited to see how ZTE will change that on October 17th.”

We expect to learn more about the Axon 8’s pricing at the event, but it’s a mystery for now. In the United States, the ZTE Axon 7 launched on July 27 for $400. Assuming the Axon 8 ships for about the same, it will come in hundreds of dollars less than the iPhone 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy S8.

The ZTE Axon 8’s TENNA certification suggests it might be sold in China, and that would be par for the course — the Axon 7 went on sale in China in October 2016.

Design

Much about ZTE’s upcoming Axon 8 remains shrouded in mystery, but we know a little about its specifications. That’s thanks to leaked documents from TENNA, China’s governing electronics agency.

The materials show a phone (with model number A2018) that looks quite a bit like the Axon 7 — and virtually unchanged from the front. The stereo speakers are present and accounted for, as are the three touch-sensitive navigation buttons beneath the screen.

Specs and Display

It’s the same story on the inside if the leaked specifications are anything to go by. The Axon 8 purportedly has a 5.5-inch OLED screen with a WQHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution, 4GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage (expandable via MicroSD Card), and a 3,230mAh battery. Under the hood is said to be a Snapdragon 820 or 821 processor — an odd choice considering high-end phones including the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30 boast Qualcomm’s newer Snapdragon 835 chip. But plans could change.

That’s on par with the Axon 7, which had a 5.5-inch AMOLED WQHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) screen, a quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, up to 128GB of internal storage (and a MicroSD slot), and a 3,250mAh battery. The Axon 8 appears to be slightly thinner (151.7 x 75 x 7.7mm) and lighter (170 grams) than its predecessor, but not by much — they’re almost identical.

Where the two models appear to diverge are the cameras. Unlike the Axon 7, which had a single 20-megapixel rear camera, the Axon 8 reportedly has a dual camera consisting of one 20-megapixel shooter and one 12-megapixel shooter.

That’s great news for image quality — especially if the Axon 8 adopts ZTE’s Blade V8 Pro’s camera tech. It lets you adjust the bokeh — or focus of foreground subjects — in post, and capture high-quality monochrome images.

Software

If history is any guide, the Axon 8 will likely run ZTE’s MiFlavor software, a proprietary layer on top of Android. It packs features like My Voice, an app that ties custom voice commands to actions like unlocking the phone and adding contacts, and gesture controls that let you switch on the phone by making a flicking motion and mute calls by flipping it face down.

There’s no word on which version of Android to expect, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Android 8.0 Oreo. Sony recently committed to releasing its new Xperia lineup with Oreo, and Google is rumored to unveil an Oreo-touting follow-up to the Pixel in October. The timing makes sense.

Update: Added leak of Axon M, a foldable smartphone. 






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