ZTE’s Axon 40 Ultra is a flagship phone with unique features that make it stand out from the crowd. Something that is immediately apparent is the large and bright, all-screen design that features waterfall edges and the complete lack of a hole-punch or notch for the front-facing camera. It’s a nice-looking device that feels good in the hand.
ZTE isn’t a well-known brand in the United States. However, the company has been available through some carriers since 2011, starting with budget models and quickly moving up to phones with solid build quality and high-performance chips. ZTE launched the world’s first smartphone with an under-display selfie camera in 2020 and has been refining that technology each year.
The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra’s stand-out features are its 6.8-inch, super-bright AMOLED display that’s unmarred by a punch-hole or notch and a surprisingly good macro mode to go along with a large zoom range. The screen is quite impressive, and the screen brightness rivals the very best on the market while offering a 120-hertz refresh rate and 400 pixel-per-inch sharpness. The macro function allows photos to be taken within four centimeters, making details pop on small objects. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor makes the phone delightfully snappy. The phone has a satiny feel and a subtle sparkle on the back, along with a large but well-integrated camera array.
Axon 40 Ultra Cameras
ZTE gave the Axon 40 Ultra a very nice zoom range, reaching from an ultra-wide with a 16-millimeter equivalent to a unique 35-millimeter primary camera which has a narrower view than most smartphones, all the way to a long 10 times zoom which is equivalent to a 91-millimeter focal range on a 35-millimeter camera. All do a decent job but don’t challenge the top flagships. In addition, ZTE provides a useful, easy-to-navigate camera app with full manual control and various unique modes that let the user get creative.
Axon 40 Ultra Is All-Screen
The front-facing camera is invisible to the naked eye when screen brightness is set to about 75-percent, giving the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra a true all-screen display. Only a faint vertical line a few millimeters tall can be seen even with lower brightness. The screen is quite bright and colorful even in direct sunlight and features an adaptive 120-hertz refresh rate. However, there’s still a trade-off being made, giving up selfie quality to get rid of the punch-hole. How vital the front-facing camera is to the user is a matter of preference. Some use it daily and would be heartbroken with the weak results, while others take selfies rarely and will be happy to be rid of the black dot.
Axon 40 Ultra Charging
Real-world testing showed the claims of super-fast 65-watt charging are accurate. If the user started with a very low two-percent battery level, the included charger would boost the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra to 82-percent in just 27 minutes and fully charged in 42 minutes. Like any lithium battery, the last bit of charge takes longer. The Axon 40 Ultra got warm but not hot, suggesting this fast-charging won’t lead to quick battery degradation, which is often associated with overheating.
Axon 40 Ultra Fingerprint Sensor
Unlocking the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra with facial recognition is an option. However, the under-display fingerprint recognition is more reliable and relatively quick, taking about a second once the location of the reader becomes familiar. Of course, face unlocking uses the under-display camera, which has limited access to light since it is placed behind the LCD panel.
The only real weakness with ZTE’s Axon 40 Ultra is the front-facing camera, which allows for the all-screen design. However, the performance is excellent. It has 5G connectivity, an all-day battery life, and incredibly quick charging. In addition, ZTE includes the 65-watt charger, USB-C charger, and a soft clear protective case. For a fast, solid smartphone with an eye-catching design and brilliant display, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is worth checking out.