What you need to know
- ZTE launches the Axon 30 Ultra with three 64MP cameras and a 5x optical telephoto.
- The Axon 30 Ultra features a traditional 16MP front-facing camera.
- The display has an adaptive refresh rate of up to 144Hz and a 300Hz touch sampling rate.
Last year's ZTE Axon 20 5G made heads turn when introducing the first commercially available in-display selfie camera in an attempt to give the phone an uninterrupted viewing experience. Unfortunately, the camera didn't perform as well as hoped, and the fanfare died as quickly as it came. This time around, ZTE decided to go a more traditional route with its latest flagship, the Axon 30 Ultra 5G, in an attempt to better compete with the best Android phones of 2021.
Of course, the most notable change to the Axon 30 Ultra is the presence of a 16MP hole-punch selfie camera. After seeing work that ZTE did on an improved in-display selfie camera, it was expected to show up on this device. It's possible it may not have been ready for prime time, but whatever the reason, a traditional selfie camera might be the preferred route for now. As far as the display goes, it's a curved 6.67" FHD+ HDR OLED display with an adaptive refresh rate that goes up to 144Hz. It also features a touch sampling rate of 300Hz which is ideal for anyone looking out for the best phones for gamers.
ZTE also stepped up its camera game on the rear with its quad-camera setup that looks like a cross between a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The device features two "main" 64MP cameras, one with an f/1.9 aperture and the other with an f/1.6 aperture and OIS, while a third 64MP ultra-wide camera offers a 120° FOV.
In addition to AI scene detection, the Axon 30 Ultra features a "Super Moon Ultra" mode that syncs the multiple lenses and combines the resulting image to capture brilliant moonlit shots as "seen by the human eye." It's quite an interesting claim, and it explains why ZTE included two "main" camera sensors. Additional camera features include 5x optical zoom and 10x hybrid zoom thanks to the 8MP telephoto camera, which can apparently reach up to 120x digital zoom if that's your thing. The Axon 30 Ultra can also capture video at 8K 30fps and features intelligent multi-camera scene switching.
Powering everything is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 with up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. For intense gaming sessions, the device manages to keep cool with a triple ice-sealed heat dissipation system. A 4,600mAh battery will keep those gaming sessions going for some time, and topping up is fairly quick thanks to the 66W fast charging.
In addition to the Axon 30 Ultra, ZTE has also unveiled a more affordable Snapdragon 888-powered flagship called the Axon 30 Pro. It is identical to the Ultra in most areas, but there a few notable downgrades. The phone has a 120Hz refresh rate screen, a smaller 4,200mAh battery with 55W fast charging, and less capable cameras. Instead of the Axon 30 Ultra's triple 64MP array, it has a quad-camera setup with a 64MP main sensor, a 64MP ultra-wide sensor, a 5MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth sensor.
The Axon 30 Ultra will be available in North America in frosted Black and matte White colorways. Unfortunately, however, there's no word on pricing or availability yet. The Axon 30 Pro won't be making its way stateside.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.