Starting today, there's more to like about the ZTE Axon 7, which combines a high-end metal design and specs with an attractive mid-range price.
A new, souped-up version of the Android phone just launched with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, according to the Chinese phone maker. That's up from the standard – and still very respectable for 2016 – 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.
What's more, there's a new Force Touch feature that brings menu shortcuts to the user interface, sort of like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with 3D Touch, or the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL with App Shortcuts.
This beefed-up ZTE Axon 7 configuration still runs Android Marshmallow, so these are not exactly the same Android 7.1 Nougat App Shortcuts we've seen from Google's new phone. But we'll test them and update our full review soon.
ZTE Axon 7 6+128 vs OnePlus 3T
Everything else is the same as the mid-range phone we recommended earlier this year, from the sleek, aluminum unibody design to the gorgeous-looking 5.5-inch Quad HD display to the dual front-facing speakers.
Its sticks with the original Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset and the 3250mAh battery, and in those ways it's bested by the new OnePlus 3T. OnePlus just gave its unlocked phone a specs bump with the Snapdragon 821 and a 3,400mAh battery.
However, the ZTE Axon 7 outclasses the OnePlus 3T in other ways, with its Quad HD display and a microSD card slot in case, you know, you run out of 128GB of internal storage. That card slot doubles as a dual SIM card slot, making this a clutch for international travelers.
ZTE Axon 7 6GB of RAM price
How much does the ZTE Axon 7 cost with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage and Force Touch shortcuts? It's still closer to a mid-range phone price than an expensive Apple handset.
The new price is $499.98 (about £405, AU$676) in the US, according to today's surprise announcement. The ZTE Axon 7 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage costs $399 in the US and £359 in the UK.
By comparison, OnePlus 3T costs $479 (£439, around AU$630) for its version with 128GB of internal storage. We will note, the OnePlus 3T also has a 64GB version that costs $439 (£399, around AU$580) and it has 6GB of RAM in that base model, but again no microSD card slot.
The new ZTE Axon 7 is available right away, exclusively through ZTE's website and works with GSM carriers in the US, including AT&T and T-Mobile (so, not Verizon and Sprint).
Previously, this ZTE Axon 7 6+128 configuration was only available in China, where the company first launched the phone in May. Good things come to this who wait.
- Our best Android phones list in the US