The name acronym ZTE rolls off the tongue comparatively easier than the name that it stands for, Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment. You don’t get that familiarity saying it when compared to renowned brands like Apple or Samsung, which is strange, considering ZTE is the fourth largest supplier of smartphones in North America.

Under the nose of most consumers, ZTE’s been making a slow and low-key ascent in the west, riding on the strength of being China’s largest telecoms equipment company. With the introduction of its next flagship phone landing on Canadian soil through the Axon, the Shenzhen-based corporation is hoping to bank on the singular strength of one area: consumer feedback.

“We listened to the consumers,” says chairman and CEO of ZTE USA, Cheng Lixin. “We understand what they want, what they use, what they value, and what features they’re actually willing to pay for and we’ve packed all those needs into the Axon.”


While Lixin’s words did well in setting the stage, it was the Axon phone models on display, with all their smooth metal aesthetics, which provided every person in attendance of ZTE’s product launch in Toronto an opportunity to put the device through its paces.

One immediate highlight that it is being touted for stem from its sound output and input capabilities. The Axon is uniquely comprised of two dedicated sound chips working independently to produce high fidelity sound through its headphone jack; audible quality akin to drinking water directly from the cup as opposed to a tiny straw. Recording also seamlessly utilizes the same hi-fi technology by allowing users to record audio from long ranges with minimal noise interference.

Despite these strengths, a phone’s camera will always serve as the defining factor as to whether or not it’s worth its weight and gold. The Axon’s rear camera stands as a 13-megapixel shooter next to the Apple’s 6S at 12 megapixels and the Samsung S6 at a whopping 16 megapixels.


Adding to that is its front-facing camera that includes a wide-angle lens, perfect for the selfie junkie generation out there. What this translates into is big, yet detailed, images – taken from the front and back – for a fraction of its competitors’ prices.

Battery wise, the Axon packs a hefty 3,000-mAH battery, which, in theory, should prove suitable for extended usage. Adding to that is its fast charging capabilities through Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0 technology, allowing users to attain a 0 to 50 per cent charge in 30 minutes. Consumers should have little to worry about as far as prolonged life is concerned.

Apart from the attraction of its premium build, large 5.5-inch IPS LCD display, and numerous other bells and whistles, ZTE as a whole remains resolute in its mission to remain a tangible mobile competitor.

Built from the needs of customers, the Axon, as an extension of the growing ZTE line, is structured on hopes and dreams.

The company has partnered with the 2015 NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors, as well as teams like the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks, not to mention athletes such as the Toronto Raptors’ Anthony Bennett and the Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul. These notable names have helped in extending ZTE’s market share and user base.

“When we consider a partner in this area, whether it’s an organization, a team, a professional athlete,” says Vice President of Strategic Marketing at ZTE USA, Andrew Elliott, “we identify them based on the shared aspirations that we have as companies and groups together.”

Built from the needs of customers, the Axon, as an extension of the growing ZTE line, is structured on hopes and dreams. A highly functional camera with audio features that are first rate, next to its rugged yet sleek premium design, appear to be ample reasons to persuade competitors and consumers alike to take notice.

The Axon is now available in Canada, available through Fido for $0 on a 2-year premium plan or $400 without a contract.

With files from Greg Chow

Photos supplied by The iPR Group

Noel Ransome is a freelance culture and entertainment journalist. As a former full-time writer for VICE and Associate Editor of Urbanology, he’s covered everything from getting Joel Schumacher to apologize for Batman and Robin, to the dissection of various societal and racial concerns. If there’s a conversation to be had, he wants to start it.

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