ZTE Axon 40 Ultra Launched in China – New Sony IMX787 should provide a significant upgrade vs the excellent IMX766 & IMX686

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The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra was announced yesterday in China, and I would expect a global launch in the new future.

This has the potential to be one of the best phones of the year, especially for anyone that wants a superb camera on the phone.

Sony IMX787 vs IMX766 vs IMX686 Camera Specification

The new ZTE Axon 40 Ultra features not one but two 64MP Sony IMX787 camera sensors, on the primary then also the ultrawide.

It then has a 64MP 5.7x optical zoom lens.

This is a massive upgrade from the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra from last year, which used the IMX686 for the main sensor and then the Samsung GW3 for the ultra wide. It is also a superior sensor to the Sony IMX766 which has been used on the OPPO Find X5 Pro, Realme GT 2 and the OnePlus Nord 2.

The Sony IMX787 has a huge 1/1.3″ sensor which is considerably larger than the 1/1.52″ IMX766 and the 1/1.72″ IMX686. The Samsung GW3 is even smaller at 1/1.97.

Under Display Selfie Camera

Last year, the Ultra lacked the under-display camera, while the standard ZTE Axon 30 had one, this has now changed. The new 6.8” display runs at 1116 x 2480 with a refresh rate of 144Hz and an incredibly bright display of 1500nits peak nits.

I assume the under-display camera is the same 16MP camera used on the ZTE Axon 30.

Other Specs

Beyond that, everything else is the typical flagship phone specification. The battery is a generous 5000mAh and also an impressive 80W charging.

You also have the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage for the base model.

Full Press Release

ZTE have officially announced the launch of the Axon 40 Ultra, a masterpiece demonstrating an advanced upgrade in Under-Display Camera (UDC) technology and pioneering the technology of multi-camera computational photography. Equipped with the brand new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is “designed for the spectacular”, manifesting the ultimate form of a smartphone with excellence in all three aspects of screen, image, and performance.

New Generation UDC Technology Offers Spectacular Images In Every Glance

As the pioneer of Under-Display Camera technology, ZTE is continuously leading the evolution of the full-screen trend. Taking ZTE’s previous world-leading UDC products, the Axon 40 Ultra has achieved great innovative breakthroughs as the third-generation commercial product with the upgraded UDC technology. Moreover, with a fully integrated screen, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra has managed to present the ultimate form of full screen.

For the Axon 40 Ultra, a 400PPI density has been applied to the UDC area of the screen while the whole screen is equipped with a blue diamond arrangement, presenting an even better visual integration effect; the industry-first independent pixel drive technology is also adapted to ensure that each pixel unit is driven by a separate pixel circuit, enabling an even clearer screen display. The circuit adopts distributed transparent wiring, which eliminates the aggregation of circuits on the edge of the screen of the UDC area, providing an even smoother image. Also, the UDC Pro screen display chip is further upgraded with the integration of the MRC algorithm upgrade, intelligent pixel enhancement, and intelligent display optimization technology to create a more accurate and synchronized display. With the newly upgraded flawless full screen, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra can provide an even more immersive experience and offer spectacular imagery at every glance.

Meanwhile, the front camera image quality has also been greatly improved. The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is equipped with a 16-megapixel front UDC, which can reach up to a 2.24μm large pixel infusion effect, generating greater light sensitivity for the UDC area. The Selfie Algorithm 3.0 uses  in-depth learning AI technology to reduce noise and is capable of real-time calibrations of images under different light environments such as intelligently defogging or using anti-glare, to greatly improve image clarity and transparency. Meanwhile, the Smart Makeup function can even further enhance the image quality of facial shots.

Flagship-level screen configuration creates even more excitement. ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is equipped with a 6.8-inch AMOLED large screen that supports 1116*2480 resolution FHD+, with a peak brightness up to 1500nit, 100% coverage of DCI-P3 wide color gamut, 10bit color depth, and 1.07 billion color extreme display, deliveringextreme color effects and clarity. Also, this spectacular large screen fully supports 120Hz intelligent high refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling rate. Additionally, the 1440Hz high-frequency Pulse-width modulation (PWM)dimming function can effectively reduce the screen flicker in dark scenes, which, in combination with  the TUV Rheinland low-blue-light Eyesafe certification, provides ultra protection for eye protection.

Three-Primary-Camera Trinity System Offers Spectacular Shots at Every Angle

While the full screen allows users to “see the spectacle”, the primary cameras of the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra have been fully upgraded to a three-primary-camera “trinity” consisting of a 64-megapixel humanity camera, a 64-megapixel ultra-wide-angle primary camera, and a 64-megapixel periscope telephoto primary camera, which is the best triple-camera system in the industry. Fueled by multiple, exclusively powerful computing photography functions, the three-primary-camera system  further enables ZTE Axon 40 Ultra to be the flagship smartphone to “capture spectacle”.

The 64-megapixel humanity primary camera and ultra-wide-angle primary camera are equipped with two Sony IMX787 sensors, introduced to the industry in the ZTE Axon 40. Such a setup can achieve dual full-pixel omnidirectional focusing, enabling focusing to be faster and more accurate. Specifically, the 64-megapixel humanity camera adopts a 35mm equivalent focal length, with a 7P lens and a large aperture of f/1.6, providing a hardware-level optical blur effect. The ultra-wide-angle primary camera adopts a 16mm equivalent focal length with a 4cm AF macro, combining both wide-angle and macro functions, to achieve an ultra-low distortion on the curved surface. The periscope telephoto primary camera adopts a 91mm equivalent focal length with a 5.7x optical zoom function from wide-angle to telephoto. Equipped with Steadicam-level full-system image stabilization, OIS optical image stabilization + EIS image stabilization enables great performance for every photo.

Computed photography is upgraded even further. Unlike other smartphones equipped with three primary cameras of the same pixel, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is the only smartphone in the industry that supports 8k ultra-high-definition recording.. It is also the only three-primary-camera smartphone in the industry equipped with a snapshot function,  making it possible to capture objects in motion through its own Customized Adaptive Shutter Algorithm. Last but not least, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is the only three-primary-camera smartphone in the industry that supports preset focusing with all of the primary cameras, allowing users to manually preset the focusing distance before shooting, further reducing the focusing time.

Furthermore, the super night scene video function has been further enhanced. The unique AI videography algorithm can improve the brightness of the picture, enhance the resolution when shooting videos in dark areas, reduce noise, and truly restore color information. Meanwhile, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is equipped with multiple night sky photography feature modes such as Smart Moon, Star Photography Algorithm, and AI constellation, providing users with superior night photography. Alongside the  humanistic image color system, and rich humanistic filters such as Bresson black and white filter, film filter, etc., ZTE Axon 40 Ultra helps users to experience a ton of fun photo shooting with a variety of photography and videography scenarios.

Hardcore Performance and Magnificent Aesthetic Offers A Spectacle for Every Second

Designed for spectacular performance, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is equipped with the flagship configuration of the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, UFS3.1, and LPDDR5 RAM. On top of this, this flagship device features VC liquid cooling technology for maximized performance. The total heat dissipation area of the nine-layer heat dissipation structure can reach 36,356 mm²; assisted by the new dual-channel enhanced VC liquid-cooled vaporizer, the thermal conductivity of the waterfall-type fast heat conduction design can be largely increased by 400%; the heat absorption ability of the Aerospace-grade micro-nano-cavity graphene phase-change vapor chamber has been increased by 140%, and its thermal conductivity is 300 times better than before, fueling ZTE Axon 40 Ultra for its quick heat dissipation and smooth performance.

For an even better gaming experience, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is also equipped with Snapdragon Sound, DTS audio stereo dual speakers, X-axis linear motor, and 90/120 high frame rate, providing the users with a greatly upgraded audio and operation experience. On top of that, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra fully supports hardware encryption, with an independent safety chip incorporated, in order to better protect system safety. Lastly, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is equipped with a 5000mAh battery and 65W super-fast charging technology, for a longer usage time.

In terms of outlook, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra enjoys a sleek and aesthetic integrated design, manifesting the spirit of elegance. It is designed with a 71-degree super-curved waterfall surface design, alongside a 3.9mm super-deep bending degree, which makes the device more comfortable to hold. Meanwhile, an industry-first rear-camera frameless glass design is applied on the back of ZTE Axon 40, which perfectly “hides” the metal platform surface.

From now on, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra will be available for purchase in Mainland China, starting from ¥4998 for 8+256GB and ¥5298 for 12+256GB. The global version will be officially available in June 2022 on the ZTE official website.

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