ZTE is not a brand unfamiliar with the Australian market, they have sold millions of devices here – it’s just that normally they haven’t carried the ZTE brand or at least not been promoted as such.  However all that is changing as the brand looks to bring its own branded smartphones into the Australian market.

Kicking off with the Axon 7 and 7 mini, there’s something very impressive about this “first attempt”.  I say it that way because clearly this isn’t their first rodeo – but for consumers first exposure it’s certainly a great first impression.

In the hand the device feels every bit premium, and while it’s full metal approach is different to the glass and gloss look of many 2017 phones, it will be a familiar to many upgrading from something from a year or two back.

Top and bottom of the screen are speakers – not unlike the HTC devices of a generation or two back – offering great forward facing sound, something that never really took off on other devices but damn well should have.  The Axon 7 features Dolby Atmos certified surround sound and while It’s not a patch on a Dolby Atmos home theatre system, it’s bloody good sound right out of the phone.

To be honest, that’s really it’s standout feature, other than the price.

You see the camera is good, nothing amazing, but certainly nothing that will make you regret your purchase.

Likewise the screen colours pop and are impressive.

Battery life is good, nothing to write home about, but nothing to complain about.

In the end, this is a middle-of-the-road performer with a premium design and build.

Under the hood you’re getting Android Nougat with Daydream VR capabilities, which again are stunning at this price point.

So – at $699 for the Axon 7 (5.5 inch), or $498 for the Axon 7 Mini (5.3 inch) you’re getting serious bang for your buck.

ZTE’s issue is lack of brand familiarity and the competitive nature of the mobile market which means just getting people to consider it will be the first challenge.

Quickcharge, Snapdragon, AMOLED, 20MP camera, and Dual-SIM support are all ticks on the smartphone product checklist.  Give it a whirl, you won’t be disappointed.

Flying under the radar, the ZTE Axon 7 is a great consideration in the $500-$700 price point