“Hands on with ZTE’s first 5G smartphone — the Axon 10 Pro 5G”

If I could sum up MWC 2019 in one word, it would unequivocally be 5G. From telecom carriers boasting about their network’s impressive speeds to smartphone makers announcing their first 5G-capable smartphones, Fira de Barcelona is buzzing with promises of resoundingly fast internet. I recently wrote about Motorola’s 5G mod, which could be slapped to the company’s ageing flagship and guarantee faster internet in certain areas. But, what if you didn’t have a Motorola Z3 lying around somewhere?

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G first impressions10

What if you were in the market for a newer flagship, which could open up apps just as quickly as it opened web pages? Well, Chinese tech giant ZTE has you covered. At the MWC 2019, the company announced its first flagship for 2019 namely the Axon 10 Pro 5G, which as its moniker suggests, supports 5G. I managed to get my hands on a unit and after testing it for a while, here are my first impressions of the same. 

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G first impressions13Let me get the obvious out of the way first — we’re still ways away from getting proper 5G speeds on our devices. In fact, by the time you get 5G, you might want to upgrade to a newer, faster device. Therefore, in order to ensure that the smartphone stands the test of time, ZTE has furnished its flagship with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor, which works alongside 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Now, I’ve been using my OnePlus 6T (review) to cover the MWC event and it’s plenty fast. But, even I could tell the difference in performance every time I picked up a Snapdragon 855-powered device.

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G first impressions23

The ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G is no different and during my short stint with the device, I was left awestruck with the smartphone’s blazingly fast performance. Apps opened swiftly, UI animations rendered beautifully and there was literally no lag on the device. It’s as if the company had programmed the word out of the smartphone’s interface. 

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G first impressions03The second thing which struck a chord with me was the handset’s stunning design. It’s clear that ZTE has taken inspiration for from various manufacturers to design its latest offering, but the final product looks quite unique. The triple-camera setup on the back of the device reminded me of Huawei’s P20 Pro (review), whereas the dual-curved display on the front felt familiarly Samsung. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Axon 10 Pro 5G looks as elegant as just about any recent flagship. There’s an air of premiumness to the phone and suffice it to say, you will find it hard not to flaunt it. 

For ports and buttons, the smartphone features the power button and the volume rocker on its right-hand spine. Towards the bottom, buyers will find a speaker grill and a USB Type-C port to charge the device. Up top, there’s a headphone socket and underneath the smartphone’s display lies the smartphone’s fingerprint sensor, which worked fine during my initial testing. 

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G first impressions28The display is equally gorgeous too. The panel measures at 6.47-inches, comes with a waterdrop notch, sports a full HD+ resolution and is backed by AMOLED technology. While the pixel density might not seem at par with the super-premium phones, the display felt adequately sharp and bright in person. The viewing angles were great too and I didn’t come across any weird colour-shifting around the borders of the panel when I was looking at the display from an angle. 

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G first impressions16For optics, ZTE has furnished its latest offering with a triple camera setup towards the back comprising a 48MP, f/1.8 sensor (no information on whether it’s the Sony IMX 586 or the Samsung ISOCELL G1), a 20MP wide-angle shooter with a 125-degree field of view and an 8MP telephoto lens. For selfies, the handset gets a 20MP shooter on the front. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test the smartphone’s cameras on the show floor, so I can comment on the same. That said, the setup looks extremely promising and I’m glad ZTE is covering all the bases by offering a telephoto and wide-angle lens. 

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G first impressions05

The ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G boots Android Pie with a skin of MiFavor UI on top. The handset is backed by a 4,000mAh battery which should be able to power the smartphone’s FHD+ display for at least a day. The exact pricing details for the device are currently unknown, but we should have a clearer picture soon as the device is slated to hit the shelves in the first half of 2019.