ZTE has just hit the market all-guns-blazing, launching its Axon 30 Series smartphones in China, but the company appears to have bigger plans for at least one entry in this latest lineup of devices.
The tech giant has been a staple player in its homeland of China but in recent months has been pushing harder internationally too; with the intention of bringing the Axon 30 Ultra to a global audience that, rather surprisingly, includes the US and Canada - markets that the brand has previously avoided until now.
The Axon 30 Series currently consists of the Ultra and Pro, with the company's President of Mobile Devices, Ni Fei, promising a baseline Axon 30 - complete with an under-display front-facing camera, as on the Axon 20 5G - in the near future; the 30 was apparently delayed by global chip shortages.
Both the Ultra and Pro boast top-tier specs - with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC at their cores - but the Ultra looks intentionally designed to take on the likes of the uber-flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, with its rear quad camera setup and super-high refresh rate display.
The back of the Axon 30 Ultra features a 64Mp f/1.6 main camera with laser autofocus and OIS (optical image stabilisation), another 64-megapixel camera - this time with a 35mm-equivalent f/1.9 lens - intended for portraiture, a third 64Mp sensor serving as an ultrawide snapper, and an 8Mp periscopic telephoto camera with OIS, 5x optical zoom and 60x hybrid zoom.
The other big talking point is the phone's 6.67in Full HD+ curved AMOLED HDR10+ display, which boasts 10-bit colour depth and a 144Hz high refresh rate (with a 300Hz touch sample rate). The Ultra's dynamic display setup means it can move between 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz as a user moves from general interaction to streaming video, to high-fidelity gaming.
We discuss the Axon 30 Ultra in more detail as part of our weekly podcast, Fast Charge:
Besides the screen and camera, the Axon 30 Ultra also features a 4600mAh battery with 66W fast wired charging, 5G coupled to an enhanced antenna design, WiFi 6E and comes in four colours; black, white, light brown and light blue.
As for the rest of the Axon 30 Pro's hardware, it drops down to a quad rear camera setup with only two 64Mp sensors, a 120Hz high refresh rate display and a smaller 4200mAh battery with slower 55W fast charging.
In China, both the Axon 30 Pro and Ultra are available for pre-order now and go on sale locally on 19 April, while the global versions should launch sometime in May.
Prices for the Axon 30 Ultra (the base model of which features 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage) start at CNY¥4,698 in China - equivalent to £525/€600/US$720 but true regional pricing will likely be markedly higher come release.