ZTE Axon 30 Review Feature selfie camera scaled

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Performance & Benchmarks

The phone offers superb performance, I think the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 could be the best chipset of the year. While it isn’t as powerful as the flagship SD888, it has more than enough grunt for gamers, and power users alike, but you don’t get the same battery drain the SD888 suffers from.

The combination of a lightweight Android skin, 120Hz 2400×1080 display, and the SD870 means everything feels smooth and loads instantly

Benchmarks are suitably impressive, with two notable results.

The 3DMark Wild Life stress test shows the phone scoring a high of 4256 and a low of 4220 with a stability of 99.2%. While the SD888 scores much higher initially, the thermal throttling means that towards the end of a 20-minute test, a phone such as the Realme GT ends up scoring less than this, thanks to its poor 55% stability. I am not sure if or how much this would affect real-world usage, but it is something worth considering when looking at SD888 equipped phones. You have no concerns with stability with the ZTE Axon 30 or any other SD870 phones.

On a less positive note, the phone has a suspiciously high PCMark Work 3.0 score. The monitoring data shows the CPU clock at 100% throughout the test, with the end result being greater than the SD888 equipped OnePlus 9 Pro achieved. PCMark results seem to be inconsistent between brands, with each company choosing to clock things differently, so I wouldn’t read too much into it. The Realme GT did the same, achieving a massive 16792. All this really proves is how poorly benchmarking relates to real-world performance.


The PCMark 3.0 battery benchmark reveals a disappointing result, but I don’t think this represents real-life performance accurately (for all phones, but this one in particular).

For whatever reason, ZTE keeps the CPU frequency very high for the PC mark test, so it goes full throttle for the full 11 hours. Whereas the likes of the Realme GT Master have a much lower performance score on battery tests as they reduce usage after a few runs.

Ignoring the benchmarks, this offers good battery life. You can get through the day easily enough, but it is not going to be the best in the world. The 4200 mAh battery is large but not massive, and you require quite a bit of battery to drive that gigantic display.


ZTE Axon 30 review size software

I have been pleasantly surprised by MyOS 11. There is no bloatware that I can notice, ZTE Cares appears to be the only ZTE app. There are no adverts or other unwelcome additions.

The notification shade and settings will be different from your usual format, but for me, it has been so long since I have used stock Android I am not 100% sure what the shade and settings should look like. The shade design does look suspiciously like what Android 12 is supposed to look like, though.

One concern with the software is what sort of support will ZTE will provide. This one is a little tricky, ZTE don’t appear to be committed to any specific update policy of their phones. The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G will get Android 12, and it is safe to assume this phone will do too. I’d assume Android 13 is likely, but the main issue is how fast both security updates and major updates get pushed through. It is not like other more well known brands are particularly good at this either. Android Police give most OnePlus devices a low score for the updates they push out, the Asus ROG Phone 2 from 2019 scored 0 for updates. It is only Google and Samsung that have a good track record of updates, but then you pay a premium for their phones.

Price and Alternative Options

The ZTE Axon 30 has an RRP £429 and will be available on the 9th of September direct from ZTE. If you buy a £10 early bird voucher, they will knock £30 off and give you some ZTE LiveBuds.

Buy the ZTE Axon 30

I think this is priced well but at a highly competitive price point with some amazing alternative options. No competing option has the hidden selfie camera or a display this size, and I think this adds a fair bit of value to the phone and certainly rules out almost every other phone if you particularily want a big display.

The OnePlus Nord 2 will likely be the obvious choice over this and is £30 cheaper for the base model, available from Amazon. The Dimensity 1200 isn’t quite as good, but the rear cameras will be much better. The phone is quite a bit smaller, with a 6.43 display running at 2400×1080 and 90Hz.

The Realme GT Explorer Master should be about the same price if/when it gets an EU/UK launch it has the same chipset and a superior rear camera arrangement. It is a bit closer in size with a  6.55-inch display running at 2400×1080 and 120Hz.

Then the Poco F3 is about £100 cheaper on Amazon. But, this then means it is not quite as good anywhere else apart from the fact it has the SD870, but it is quite large at 6.67-inches.


I like the ZTE Axon 30 quite a lot; it is a well-priced phone with excellent performance and nothing significant to criticise, and with a unique form factor.

The massive display and under-display selfie camera are the two main selling points here that allows it to stand out from the crowd. There are no other current phones on the market that can compete with the size of this display. You’d have to go back to the Huawei Mate 20 X or increase your budget significantly for something like Samsung Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3.

With its unique screen dimensions, this is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a phablet-sized phone and a reason not to buy it if you dislike massive phones.

The camera performance is likely outclassed by competing options but perhaps not significant enough to dissuade you from this phone.  

Overall, this is an excellent phone and well worth considering. I also think ZTE and its sub-brand Red Magic are well worth keeping an eye on. They offer a similar value for money proposition as Xiaomi and Realme

ZTE Axon 30 Review Rating


The ZTE Axon 30 is a good phone offering plenty of performance for a reasonable price. The under-display camera is genuinely impressive and is barely noticeable.

If you prefer large phones or phablets, this is about the best option this year. If you hate phablets, you can skip this one.

  • Overall - 80%


  • Largest display on any phone launched this year
  • Under display, camera keep the display clear 
  • SD870 chipset offers the best balance of performance and power efficiency
  • Reasonably priced


  • A lot of people will find this too large
  • Similarly priced phones may have a better camera 

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