Today, the Axon ($138 at Amazon) 11 5G launched in Germany and it’ll be available in China and other countries in Europe and the Middle East. But its manufacturer, ZTE, is eyeing for a US launch of the phone sometime early next year too. If it does arrive, the device will likely have some of its hardware tweaked. But at its current state, the Axon 11 5G serves as a reliable preview of the kind of affordable 5G phones we can expect from ZTE here in the US.
The company is aiming for US carriers to sell the device for under $300. Converted from Chinese yuan, the device’s present cost is $382, £305 and AU$557 (6GB of RAM/128GB) and $424, £338 and AU$619 (8GB of RAM/256GB). ZTE also has a 4G variant of the phone.
A powerful selfie camera and 5G rule ZTE’s MWC phones
With its thin bezels, teardrop-notch camera and sleek finish, the Axon 11 5G has a premium look that belies its potential $300 price tag. Its generous 6.47-inch AMOLED display has a 1080p resolution and there’s also an in-display fingerprint reader for user authentication.
Judging from the photos, I like that red accent color for the phone’s power button, and the fact that the button is textured. It reminds me of a cross between the bright power button on Google’s Pixel phones and the ridged toggle key for sound on OnePlus phones.
The ZTE Axon 11 has four rear cameras on the back. The setup includes a 48-megapixel standard camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle shooter, a depth-sensing camera and a macro camera (both are 2 megapixel). On the front is a 20-megapixel camera.
We won’t know how these cameras fare until we get our hands on a review unit, but having four cameras is relatively impressive given how affordable this phone is set to be. We’re also seeing a lot of macro cameras in budget phones (including the Moto G Power ($250 at Best Buy) and Galaxy A51 ($325 at Amazon)), so it makes sense that ZTE is including itself on the trend too.
Powering the device is an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset and a sizable 4,000mAh battery.
With these kinds of specs and price range, the Axon 11 5G will likely compete against the Galaxy A51, which also features a 4,000mAh battery, four cameras, and a 1080p (6.5-inch) display. Given Samsung’s brand recognition in the US, however, ZTE has a tough hill to climb. But one notable thing the phone has is in its name — 5G. Whereas the 4G version of the Galaxy A51 is readily available but not the 5G model, ZTE hopes to have the Axon 11 with 5G in the hands of US carriers at launch.
ZTE Axon 11 5G spec comparison
ZTE Axon 11 5G
Samsung Galaxy A51 (4G)
Motorola Moto G Power
Display size, resolution
6.47-inch AMOLED; 2,340×1,080 pixels
6.5-inch FHD AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels
6.4-inch LCD; 2,300×1,080 pixels
6.27 x 2.89 x 0.31 in
6.24 x 2.90 x 0.31 in
6.29 x 2.98 x 0.38 in
159.2 × 73.4 × 7.9 mm
158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9 mm
159.85 x 75.8 x 9.63 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams)
5.93 oz; 168g
6.07 oz; 172g
7.01 oz; 199g
48-megapixel (standard), 8-megapixel (wide-angle), 2-megapixel (depth sensing), 2-megapixel (macro)
48-megapizel (standard), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 5-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth sensing)
16-megapixel (wide-angle), 2-megapixel (macro), 8-megapixel (ultra-wide angle)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
2.3GHz octa-core processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
Up to 2TB
Up to 512GB
Up to 512GB
Price off-contract (USD)
From Chinese yuan converts to $384 (6GB/128GB), $424 (8GB/256GB)
Converts to £305 (6GB/128GB), £338 (8GB/256GB)
Converts to £199
Converts to AU$557(6GB/128GB), AU$619 (8GB/256GB)
Converts to AU$365
From Samsung to Motorola: 5G phones you can get right now
See all photos