The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is an elegant phone with an interesting technical sheet, in addition to a particular feature that make this device able to differentiate itself from the wide range of “Samsung s12 style” devices and despite some missing features one thing is certain, unless you come from other top of the range smartphones as soon as you take it out of the box you will really feel like you are holding a quality device with extreme care in the aesthetic aspect.
The packaging is presented in an elegant black but quite classic, it is very pleased to note that differently from some well-known top brands in the package there is a very complete equipment, 65w charger and usb-c cable about 1mt long, usb-c to jack 3.5 adapter and headphones with microphone of sufficient quality, pleasant to find in the package also a soft cover to protect the precious device but which unfortunately does not follow the lines of elegance of the smartphone.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
Fortunately, the abbreviation “ULTRA” does not reflect neither the size nor the price, this ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is a show, really. Starting from the rear glass side with an opaque and sandblasted effect that creates an excellent contrast with the shiny parts and absolutely does not attract fingerprints, continuing with the impressive photographic compartment very well finished and which fortunately does not protrude excessively (2mm only), finally surround the back and the beautiful curved display an aluminum frame where the various controls are arranged, on the right side the volume rocker and the power button, in the lower part we find the USB-C port, the slot for the two Nano Sims and one of the two stereo speakers, the second speaker is positioned on the upper side and separated from the very thin ear capsule; The analysis concludes with the dimensions and weight of the Axon 40 Ultra: 163.3 × 73.6 × 8.4 mm and 204 grams, a little heavy but very well balanced.
ZTE has focused on the wow effect for the Axon 40 Ultra display, a beautiful AMOLED 6.8 inch panel: very bright (1500 nits declared), clearly visible outdoors, very defined despite not being a QHD, with a 93% screen to body ratio and above all completely free of interruptions thanks to the under display camera that is practically invisible in any condition (the circle shown in the photo is the hole of the screen protector), giving a notable impact also thanks to the very small frames; a really great engineering job which however has two flaws, the lack of an LTPO panel able to better balance the consumption and the quality of the selfie camera shots, the display still boasts a refresh of 120hz, 400 ppi and HDR10+ compatibility, always hidden under the display the fingerprint sensor, not very fast but quite accurate.
The company’s choice to focus on three 64 MP sensors is very interesting, the main and the ultrawide are two Sony IMX787, the main with optical stabilization and laser focus, the ultrawide with macro functionality, the ToF 3D sensor and a telescope with periscope with a zoom not too high (2.6x ). The software is full of options and modes: Night, Pro, Panoramic, Time lapse and Slow motion. We also find HDR, an artificial intelligence algorithm for scene recognition, the document scanner function, the option to simultaneously activate the three cameras and Macro mode, the quality of the shots is remarkable and the images are always sharp and with colors very faithful to reality, with the only defect of having quite long shutter speeds, the front camera on the other hand is not very good and selfie addicts won’t like it, but it is the price to pay (i think) for having a screen completely free of holes or notches and really invisible, also curated the section dedicated to videos, very well stabilized and up to 8K and also in HDR10.
AUDIO BATTERY AND MORE…
Good vibration, dry, decisive and very pleasant both when interacting with the elements and while typing.
Powerful and clear stereo sound, even if the second speaker is derived from the earpiece, which in any case does not affect the goodness of the overall performance. The audio in the headphones with the supplied adapter is also very good. There are DTS optimizations. The 3 microphones are also very good which do their job both during video recording and in conversation.
The battery of ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is a 5000 mAh unit compatible with fast charging at 65W and autonomy is not bad; I have always reached the end of my day with a minimum of 20% even stressing the device a lot. Too bad for the lack of wireless charging, a flaw that in a top of the range today cannot be missing in my opinion.
SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE
The interface is that of ZTE’s MyOS 12, based on Android 12 and does not contain particular customizations compared to Android stock but contains them from an aesthetic point of view, the possibility of changing fonts, icons, animations and styles of the always-on display, there is a section that I had not seen in other devices dedicated to the ram memory of the device with the possibility of increasing it using the storage memory (similar to windows paging files), in the appropriate section of the menu called just “Functionality” we find the possibility to choose whether to use keys or gestures to navigate the system, the mode to facilitate use with one hand (reducing the interface or lowering it), the customizable Z-POP button that we can freely position on the screen and further gestures to perform various operations. The organization of the notification curtain can be improved.
ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 which never disappoints under any circumstances, the version that was sent to me with 8gb of LPDDR5 RAM and 128gb of UFS3.1 storage is perhaps a little tight given the amount of data that it is handled and stored nowadays but a version with 12gb of Ram and 256gb of storage is also available, the memory as it happens with most devices is not expandable,.
Operating temperatures are kept under control by a VC liquid cooling system with a heat dissipation area that has a 9-layer structure, ZTE also claims to have improved heat absorption capacity by 140% and thermal conductivity by 300% thanks to aerospace-derived graphene nano cavities, the results in real terms are that the device never becomes excessively hot even by stressing it with demanding 3D games, they run as expected with such a processor supported by an Adreno 730 gpu.
Connectivity is complete with NFC, bluethooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6e, GPS with A-GPS-Glonas-Galileo and full LTE and 5G coverage.
ZTE Axon 40 Ultra certainly ranks among the best devices on the market in the 12gb / 256gb version (the 8/128 version I would have frankly avoided but I understand the desire to put a less expensive version on the market), extremely elegant and well built, the front camera hidden perfectly under the display is a real gem, if two fundamental features were not missing for a smartphone of this range (wireless charge and IP certification) probably at a price of 829 euros it would be a best buy..
- Display quality and completely clean design
- Aesthetics and build quality
- Rear photographic compartment quality
- Under the screen selfie camera quality
- No wireless charge
- No certified protection from water and dust (no IP)
RATING: 4 out of 5
Thanking the Heyup team for this fantastic tryout i invite you all to ask any curiosity or information I have omitted in the comments.