Our Verdict

ZTE's Axon 7 Mini has everything inside that should make a great, smaller alternative smartphone to the Axon 7, but it's not as good as it first seems, with battery life and performance issues.

For

  • Solid build quality
  • Awesome speaker setup
  • Great bright display

Against

  • Poor battery life
  • Strange user interface
  • Below average performance

The ZTE Axon 7 Mini takes a lot of what we liked about the shockingly good ZTE Axon 7 and shrinks everything down to a - slightly - more compact size without compromising too much on the great spec.

It's a little easier to hold in one hand if you don't have meaty paws and it's slightly easier on your wallet too, thanks to its more affordable price point.

It still packs an AMOLED display, fingerprint scanner and high-end front facing speakers. But is it worth going for the ZTE Axon 7 Mini and losing the extra size and power of the high-end phone we gave 4.5 stars to last year? And does the 7 Mini stand up to affordable rivals like the Honor 6X?

ZTE Axon 7 Mini price and release date 

  • Came out in the US and UK in September
  • No word on when Australia will get it, but it will eventually come
  • Costs $299 or £249 (about AU$400)

The ZTE Axon 7 Mini is out now in the US and UK. You’ll be able to buy it for $299 or £249 from a variety of different retailers, including ZTE itself.

ZTE has announced the Axon 7 Mini will be making its way to Australia in the future, but it’s not currently on sale there from any major retailers.

Design and display

  • Full metal unibody design which is easy to hold in one hand
  • Fingerprint sensor on the rear is easy to tap when holding the phone
  • 5.2-inch Full HD display offers great picture quality

It's becoming easier to find a mid-range Android phone that's made of something other than plastic in 2017, and the ZTE Axon 7 Mini adds another suitable option to the growing list.

It’s an all-metal phone sold at an affordable price, that competes with much higher-priced handsets from the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC and Apple. The design could fool anyone into thinking this costs more than it does, and helps it make a stronger first impression than similarly priced phones like the Moto G4 Plus.

Although made of metal, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini is only 153g and still feels light and easy to hold in one hand. That was a gripe with the original ZTE Axon 7, and this phone is certainly a lot easier to handle.

The metal back can feel a little slippery when gripping the phone, but because the Axon 7 Mini is smaller it’s easier to wrap your entire hand around the phone and hold it tight.

A big part of the design is the speakers on the front of the ZTE Axon 7 Mini – you won’t be able to miss them, but the grilles at the top and bottom of the screen aren't ugly.

It's not a look everyone will like, but it makes the phone stand out compared to some boring looking mid-range handsets we've seen in recent years.

The fingerprint scanner is on the back of the phone, just below the camera sensor, which makes it easy to tap your finger onto it when you want to unlock the handset.

On the front of the phone there's a 5.2-inch Full HD AMOLED display, which is quite a downgrade compared to the 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 AMOLED screen on the ZTE Axon 7.

Despite that, it looks gorgeous and the slight decrease in size allows the phone itself to be slightly smaller. Though given the name some will likely be a little disappointed the Axon 7 Mini doesn't feature an even smaller screen - it's only 0.3-inches smaller than the original phone, and far from compact.

Screen brightness is great on the Axon 7 Mini and it looks good when playing games or streaming video.

The phone isn’t ready to work with Google Daydream, so having a higher resolution screen, especially at this size, isn’t really necessary. Sticking to a 1080p display offers up 423 pixels-per-inch but won’t drain the battery as fast as the display on the Axon 7 - though battery life is a problem here, as we'll discuss later.

Viewing angles are also strong on the Axon 7 Mini – we found it worked well from most viewing points, so you’ll be able to place this down in front of you on your commute to watch videos with ease.