01-10-2017 05:48 PM
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  1. karmamule's Avatar
    tl;dr: It compares very well vs the OnePlus 3. Axon has the advantage on screen and sound, the OP3 on performance/smoothness. Still too early to call on battery life and camera, but I'll update after a couple more days.

    Long version:

    I got a OnePlus 3 recently and its a great phone. My bf recently shattered the screen on his phone (an older Samsung) so my inner gadget-freak saw this as a reason to try out the Axon 7. Even thought I really liked the One Plus 3 I was drawn to the thought of having a QHD resolution screen again and I also liked the Axon 7's emphasis on sound because I listen to LOTS of music at work. And, it didn't disappoint in either of those areas.

    It just arrived late yesterday evening, so here are some initial impressions of how the two compare:

    Hand feel: The Axon 7 feels noticeably chubbier and heavier in the hand, but not by a bothersome amount. The Axon's curve fits into the palm well, so overall I'm happy with it too.

    Screen: Both have vibrant/colorful screens, but the Axon's higher resolution gives it an edge in terms of everything looking just a touch smoother. (I tend to hold my phone pretty close to my face when using it). They each have some screen color/warmth adjustments in the settings, and the Axon's looked better to me when I was done. I am guilty of liking unrealistically vibrant screens and the Axon on 'Gorgeous' setting was happy to oblige.

    Sound: External speakers: No contest, the Axon is amazing, and Dolby Atmos was surprisingly good at adding distinct stereo separation and even a bit of pseudo-surround. No contest here in terms of which phone I'd rather watch videos/TV on.

    Sound: Headphone: closer call here. The OP3 (after an update done a few weeks ago) is noticeably louder on headphones than the Axon, but the Axon's sound is richer overall. Once again I was pleasantly surprised by Dolby Atmos. Normally I keep that kind of stuff off, but after messing around with it a little bit I was able to create a custom sound setting that I *really* liked.

    Speed: The OP3 has an edge here. Both were very smooth in general use, but the Axon has tiny hitches/delays more frequently than the OP3. Not anything that reached a point that it truly bothered me, but the OP3 is really outstanding in this regard, and the Axon is a bit less outstanding. (I've just been using MiFavor 4 so far, haven't tried alternative launchers yet to see how it does with those.)

    Fingerprint reader: So far so good, both phones have fast/excellent fingerprint readers.

    Camera: still tbd. First impressions are good. I've not yet had time to really explore the Axon's camera options. Some pretty intriguing settings I'm looking forward to trying, but haven't done anything extensive yet. I did a very low light shot that it made practically look like daytime, albeit a bit soft. Unfortunately I have lots to do tonight, so won't get a chance to take much time, but definitely will put it through its paces this weekend. I'll grab a couple shots at lunchtime and post those, but I'm sure it'll do well in broad daylight.

    A few small sidenotes: I really like the ZTE Locker for lock screen wallpapers. It has some very nice ones and it's nice to have them randomly change each time I double-tap to look at notifications or just check the time. Both have useful gestures, I think it'll be very much individual preference as to which is better. Charging speed is very good with a quickcharge 3 plug. Battery life overnight was excellent. More to come after a few days use. The Axon seems slightly better at holding on to signal strength in marginal areas.
    07-28-2016 11:06 AM
  2. Racing24's Avatar
    tl;dr: It compares very well vs the OnePlus 3. Axon has the advantage on screen and sound, the OP3 on performance/smoothness. Still too early to call on battery life and camera, but I'll update after a couple more days.

    Long version:

    I got a OnePlus 3 recently and its a great phone. My bf recently shattered the screen on his phone (an older Samsung) so my inner gadget-freak saw this as a reason to try out the Axon 7. Even thought I really liked the One Plus 3 I was drawn to the thought of having a QHD resolution screen again and I also liked the Axon 7's emphasis on sound because I listen to LOTS of music at work. And, it didn't disappoint in either of those areas.

    It just arrived late yesterday evening, so here are some initial impressions of how the two compare:

    Hand feel: The Axon 7 feels noticeably chubbier and heavier in the hand, but not by a bothersome amount. The Axon's curve fits into the palm well, so overall I'm happy with it too.

    Screen: Both have vibrant/colorful screens, but the Axon's higher resolution gives it an edge in terms of everything looking just a touch smoother. (I tend to hold my phone pretty close to my face when using it). They each have some screen color/warmth adjustments in the settings, and the Axon's looked better to me when I was done. I am guilty of liking unrealistically vibrant screens and the Axon on 'Gorgeous' setting was happy to oblige.

    Sound: External speakers: No contest, the Axon is amazing, and Dolby Atmos was surprisingly good at adding distinct stereo separation and even a bit of pseudo-surround. No contest here in terms of which phone I'd rather watch videos/TV on.

    Sound: Headphone: closer call here. The OP3 (after an update done a few weeks ago) is noticeably louder on headphones than the Axon, but the Axon's sound is richer overall. Once again I was pleasantly surprised by Dolby Atmos. Normally I keep that kind of stuff off, but after messing around with it a little bit I was able to create a custom sound setting that I *really* liked.

    Speed: The OP3 has an edge here. Both were very smooth in general use, but the Axon has tiny hitches/delays more frequently than the OP3. Not anything that reached a point that it truly bothered me, but the OP3 is really outstanding in this regard, and the Axon is a bit less outstanding. (I've just been using MiFavor 4 so far, haven't tried alternative launchers yet to see how it does with those.)

    Fingerprint reader: So far so good, both phones have fast/excellent fingerprint readers.

    Camera: still tbd. First impressions are good. I've not yet had time to really explore the Axon's camera options. Some pretty intriguing settings I'm looking forward to trying, but haven't done anything extensive yet. I did a very low light shot that it made practically look like daytime, albeit a bit soft. Unfortunately I have lots to do tonight, so won't get a chance to take much time, but definitely will put it through its paces this weekend. I'll grab a couple shots at lunchtime and post those, but I'm sure it'll do well in broad daylight.

    A few small sidenotes: I really like the ZTE Locker for lock screen wallpapers. It has some very nice ones and it's nice to have them randomly change each time I double-tap to look at notifications or just check the time. Both have useful gestures, I think it'll be very much individual preference as to which is better. Charging speed is very good with a quickcharge 3 plug. Battery life overnight was excellent. More to come after a few days use. The Axon seems slightly better at holding on to signal strength in marginal areas.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I also have a OP3 and picked up an Axon 7 (it will be delivered tomorrow). The OP3 is blazingly fast, so hearing that the Axon 7 is a bit slower in that regard gives me some pause.
    07-28-2016 11:36 AM
  3. jwiesneski's Avatar
    Thanks for the post, still struggling between the OP3 and A7 myself. My brain is telling me the A7 is an overall better phone, but I just like the idea of the OP3 more, as well as the 'cleaner' Android OS. I also prefer the capacitive buttons on the OP3 to the A7.

    Also, while I like the idea of better sound on my phone, I generally watch videos on my tablet or PC anyway, and if I want to listen to music I generally use my Fiio X3, and only use my phone for running.
    07-28-2016 11:40 AM
  4. Racing24's Avatar
    tl;dr: It compares very well vs the OnePlus 3. Axon has the advantage on screen and sound, the OP3 on performance/smoothness. Still too early to call on battery life and camera, but I'll update after a couple more days.

    Long version:

    I got a OnePlus 3 recently and its a great phone. My bf recently shattered the screen on his phone (an older Samsung) so my inner gadget-freak saw this as a reason to try out the Axon 7. Even thought I really liked the One Plus 3 I was drawn to the thought of having a QHD resolution screen again and I also liked the Axon 7's emphasis on sound because I listen to LOTS of music at work. And, it didn't disappoint in either of those areas.

    It just arrived late yesterday evening, so here are some initial impressions of how the two compare:

    Hand feel: The Axon 7 feels noticeably chubbier and heavier in the hand, but not by a bothersome amount. The Axon's curve fits into the palm well, so overall I'm happy with it too.

    Screen: Both have vibrant/colorful screens, but the Axon's higher resolution gives it an edge in terms of everything looking just a touch smoother. (I tend to hold my phone pretty close to my face when using it). They each have some screen color/warmth adjustments in the settings, and the Axon's looked better to me when I was done. I am guilty of liking unrealistically vibrant screens and the Axon on 'Gorgeous' setting was happy to oblige.

    Sound: External speakers: No contest, the Axon is amazing, and Dolby Atmos was surprisingly good at adding distinct stereo separation and even a bit of pseudo-surround. No contest here in terms of which phone I'd rather watch videos/TV on.

    Sound: Headphone: closer call here. The OP3 (after an update done a few weeks ago) is noticeably louder on headphones than the Axon, but the Axon's sound is richer overall. Once again I was pleasantly surprised by Dolby Atmos. Normally I keep that kind of stuff off, but after messing around with it a little bit I was able to create a custom sound setting that I *really* liked.

    Speed: The OP3 has an edge here. Both were very smooth in general use, but the Axon has tiny hitches/delays more frequently than the OP3. Not anything that reached a point that it truly bothered me, but the OP3 is really outstanding in this regard, and the Axon is a bit less outstanding. (I've just been using MiFavor 4 so far, haven't tried alternative launchers yet to see how it does with those.)

    Fingerprint reader: So far so good, both phones have fast/excellent fingerprint readers.

    Camera: still tbd. First impressions are good. I've not yet had time to really explore the Axon's camera options. Some pretty intriguing settings I'm looking forward to trying, but haven't done anything extensive yet. I did a very low light shot that it made practically look like daytime, albeit a bit soft. Unfortunately I have lots to do tonight, so won't get a chance to take much time, but definitely will put it through its paces this weekend. I'll grab a couple shots at lunchtime and post those, but I'm sure it'll do well in broad daylight.

    A few small sidenotes: I really like the ZTE Locker for lock screen wallpapers. It has some very nice ones and it's nice to have them randomly change each time I double-tap to look at notifications or just check the time. Both have useful gestures, I think it'll be very much individual preference as to which is better. Charging speed is very good with a quickcharge 3 plug. Battery life overnight was excellent. More to come after a few days use. The Axon seems slightly better at holding on to signal strength in marginal areas.
    Quick question. Is there a setting on the Axon that allows you to double tap the fingerprint scanner to turn off the screen and lock the device? I'm curious about this as it is a feature I use regularly on the OP3. Thanks.
    07-28-2016 11:46 AM
  5. karmamule's Avatar
    Quick question. Is there a setting on the Axon that allows you to double tap the fingerprint scanner to turn off the screen and lock the device? I'm curious about this as it is a feature I use regularly on the OP3. Thanks.
    At first run through I'm not seeing anything like that. You can control autolocking based on delay after the screen shutting off (anywhere from immediately to 30 minutes after), but I'm not seeing anything involving the fingerprint reader. The closest thing would be setting to autolock immediately and then tap the power button on the right side. Also, the Axon has the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone which probably makes that less appropriate, as you'd have to be holding the phone anyways to get to the fingerprint reader so it's just as easy to lock by tapping the side power button.
    07-28-2016 12:38 PM
  6. Racing24's Avatar
    At first run through I'm not seeing anything like that. You can control autolocking based on delay after the screen shutting off (anywhere from immediately to 30 minutes after), but I'm not seeing anything involving the fingerprint reader. The closest thing would be setting to autolock immediately and then tap the power button on the right side. Also, the Axon has the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone which probably makes that less appropriate, as you'd have to be holding the phone anyways to get to the fingerprint reader so it's just as easy to lock by tapping the side power button.
    Thanks for that.
    07-28-2016 12:40 PM
  7. karmamule's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I also have a OP3 and picked up an Axon 7 (it will be delivered tomorrow). The OP3 is blazingly fast, so hearing that the Axon 7 is a bit slower in that regard gives me some pause.
    The OP3 really is exceptional in that regard. I wouldn't worry too much though, I'm being VERY picky when I mention the occasional hitch on the Axon 7. It's still very smooth almost all the time.....just a touch less consistent than the OP3.

    Just remember not to judge it until you've finished churning through your initial app downloads. At first I was concerned until I remembered I was churning through > 100 apps being installed. Needless to say it was MUCH better once that was done.
    Racing24 likes this.
    07-28-2016 12:42 PM
  8. Racing24's Avatar
    Good to hear. The OP3 is really a fast device.
    07-28-2016 12:44 PM
  9. karmamule's Avatar
    Almost any phone takes a good picture in broad daylight. I wanted to challenge the Axon a bit so while I was I walking to get my sandwich for lunch I pulled the phone out, went to camera, and snapped this picture without any pausing in walking or to play with settings or anything. Just a quick "on the go" picture to see how the OIS would do...

    First impressions of the Axon 7 switching from OnePlus 3-img_20160728_114456.jpg

    And, a bit of context in case you think the sunlight doesn't look too bright/vivid: it's a hazy day, so this is actually quite close to how things really looked.
    07-28-2016 01:12 PM
  10. karmamule's Avatar
    And I can't resist a version put through Prisma...

    First impressions of the Axon 7 switching from OnePlus 3-prisma-boston-street.jpg
    Racing24, huntnyc, libra89 and 3 others like this.
    07-28-2016 01:18 PM
  11. jwiesneski's Avatar
    Here's a bit of a question. One of my sticking points between the A7 and OP3 is that my previous two phones will have been Moto X's, and I am pretty ingrained on the Ambient Display type notifications.

    I know the OP3 basically has the same thing as the Moto X, and have heard that the A7 does not, but instead uses kind of a bell notification icon on the lock screen that you need to tap to see your notifications. My question is have you noticed anything on the phone indicating someone might be able to at least install a 3rd party ambient notification lock screen (some are available on Google Play), or does it seem like the phone only notifies you of something new through a sound and LED flash, and you need to turn it on to see what's happening?

    A bit of a specific question, but any insight would definitely be appreciated.
    07-28-2016 01:35 PM
  12. mikef91's Avatar
    Here's a bit of a question. One of my sticking points between the A7 and OP3 is that my previous two phones will have been Moto X's, and I am pretty ingrained on the Ambient Display type notifications.

    I know the OP3 basically has the same thing as the Moto X, and have heard that the A7 does not, but instead uses kind of a bell notification icon on the lock screen that you need to tap to see your notifications. My question is have you noticed anything on the phone indicating someone might be able to at least install a 3rd party ambient notification lock screen (some are available on Google Play), or does it seem like the phone only notifies you of something new through a sound and LED flash, and you need to turn it on to see what's happening?

    A bit of a specific question, but any insight would definitely be appreciated.
    Moto Display is great. I have a OP3 and the ambient display works great. It lights up when a notification comes in and there is also a setting where you can wave your hand over the screen and see any notifications. As far as I know with the A7, there is not a setting for that. Also, the whole bell thing bothers me. I like to see my notifications on the lock screen without having to take an extra step and press the bell icon. I ordered the A7, but I'm really hesitant because the software experience with the OP3 and OxygenOS has been one of the best I have experienced on any smartphone. The A7 software looks rather clunky to me. I guess I will see once I get my hands on the device.

    Posted via the Android Central App
    07-28-2016 02:15 PM
  13. jwiesneski's Avatar
    Moto Display is great. I have a OP3 and the ambient display works great. It lights up when a notification comes in and there is also a setting where you can wave your hand over the screen and see any notifications. As far as I know with the A7, there is not a setting for that. Also, the whole bell thing bothers me. I like to see my notifications on the lock screen without having to take an extra step and press the bell icon. I ordered the A7, but I'm really hesitant because the software experience with the OP3 and OxygenOS has been one of the best I have experienced on any smartphone. The A7 software looks rather clunky to me. I guess I will see once I get my hands on the device.

    Posted via the Android Central App
    These are my concerns. I didn't even know about the waving your hand over your phone to light up the notifications until I got the Moto X 2nd Gen (completely missed it on the 1st Gen) and I now find I do that all the time.

    I could see myself passing on the nicer screen, nicer speakers, nicer audio, better warranty, maybe/maybe not better camera and expandable storage just because I may like the actual software experience more on the OP3. The problem is I just wouldn't know for sure unless I tried them both.
    07-28-2016 02:34 PM
  14. mikef91's Avatar
    These are my concerns. I didn't even know about the waving your hand over your phone to light up the notifications until I got the Moto X 2nd Gen (completely missed it on the 1st Gen) and I now find I do that all the time.

    I could see myself passing on the nicer screen, nicer speakers, nicer audio, better warranty, maybe/maybe not better camera and expandable storage just because I may like the actual software experience more on the OP3. The problem is I just wouldn't know for sure unless I tried them both.
    It's a tough call. You can buy the A7 at Best Buy and have 14 days to return it. Buying the OP3 direct from OP can be a hassle to return. Their customer service leaves a lot to be desired. If you can swing both and then return the one you don't like, then do it. At least you'll know you made the right decision.

    Posted via the Android Central App
    07-28-2016 02:58 PM
  15. karmamule's Avatar
    Here's a bit of a question. One of my sticking points between the A7 and OP3 is that my previous two phones will have been Moto X's, and I am pretty ingrained on the Ambient Display type notifications.

    I know the OP3 basically has the same thing as the Moto X, and have heard that the A7 does not, but instead uses kind of a bell notification icon on the lock screen that you need to tap to see your notifications. My question is have you noticed anything on the phone indicating someone might be able to at least install a 3rd party ambient notification lock screen (some are available on Google Play), or does it seem like the phone only notifies you of something new through a sound and LED flash, and you need to turn it on to see what's happening?

    A bit of a specific question, but any insight would definitely be appreciated.
    I experimented a bit, and good news: I tested with the app Echo Lockscreen and it would light up the lockscreen on a notification's arrival (IF it is from an app you've set to allow to do that within Echo lockscreen). It also displays a summary of the notification without having to hit the 'bell' or any other icon, so it brings the notification screen's behavior closer to what you're used to.

    Once the initial "light-up" has passed, you can double-tap the screen to show the lockscreen, and it will display the notification + details again w/o fully unlocking or tapping the bell. (The double-tap gesture is built-in to the axon, not due to the app. But, showing the notifications w/o touching the bell IS due to the app.)

    Note: I've never used that app before, and just picked it at random, so no idea how it behaves long term, are there better apps out there, etc. Just a random test, but it looks like it does solve that issue for you.
    jwiesneski and huntnyc like this.
    07-28-2016 03:03 PM
  16. jwiesneski's Avatar
    I experimented a bit, and good news: I tested with the app Echo Lockscreen and it would light up the lockscreen on a notification's arrival (IF it is from an app you've set to allow to do that within Echo lockscreen). It also displays a summary of the notification without having to hit the 'bell' or any other icon, so it brings the notification screen's behavior closer to what you're used to.

    Note: I've never used that app before, and just picked it at random, so no idea how it behaves long term, etc. Just a random test, but it looks like it does solve that issue for you.
    Thanks for checking, much appreciated!

    I wasn't able to find it in the hardware specs as far as if the Axon 7 has Infrared Sensors on the front, but do you know if you wave your hand in front of the phone if the screen will turn on to the lock screen?
    07-28-2016 03:06 PM
  17. ckfilmstar's Avatar
    So when you get a notification, the screen doesn't light up?
    I've been using n5 for the last 2 yrs
    07-28-2016 05:03 PM
  18. ckfilmstar's Avatar
    Also how is the mifavor software on this a7? Can you switch to google or are they the same? Any noticeable differences between the 2?
    07-28-2016 05:04 PM
  19. ckfilmstar's Avatar
    The OP3 really is exceptional in that regard. I wouldn't worry too much though, I'm being VERY picky when I mention the occasional hitch on the Axon 7. It's still very smooth almost all the time.....just a touch less consistent than the OP3.

    Just remember not to judge it until you've finished churning through your initial app downloads. At first I was concerned until I remembered I was churning through > 100 apps being installed. Needless to say it was MUCH better once that was done.
    How many app dl are you doing with the a7?
    How is the mifavor software vs Android?
    07-28-2016 05:07 PM
  20. jwiesneski's Avatar
    Just a note since I was talking about it before, this is a response from a ZTE employee on the ZTE forums in regards to people wanting an option for notifications other than the Bell. (no guarantee, but at least it's something)

    aerospaceman Employee Jul 28, 2016 1:55 PM (in response to catfanatic3000)
    All I can say at this time is that we are listening to all of your feedback and hope to have a solution for this in a future MR. Thank you to everyone for all of your feedback and comments on this issue.
    huntnyc and amenra like this.
    07-28-2016 06:42 PM
  21. redeyss's Avatar
    Moto Display is great. I have a OP3 and the ambient display works great. It lights up when a notification comes in and there is also a setting where you can wave your hand over the screen and see any notifications. As far as I know with the A7, there is not a setting for that. Also, the whole bell thing bothers me. I like to see my notifications on the lock screen without having to take an extra step and press the bell icon. I ordered the A7, but I'm really hesitant because the software experience with the OP3 and OxygenOS has been one of the best I have experienced on any smartphone. The A7 software looks rather clunky to me. I guess I will see once I get my hands on the device.

    Posted via the Android Central App
    This is the deal breaker for me. I have the OP3 and N6p and the lack of ambient display on the A7 and then having to hit the bell icon to see my notifications is really bad! I installed AC display and it kind of works but I'm not happy, and no root further kills it for me. If they fix a few things in a software update I would be interested again but it's a non starter compared the the excellent OP3.
    huntnyc likes this.
    07-29-2016 12:21 AM
  22. Rigby Jones's Avatar
    Who asked for this notification thing? I'm not sure what would compel one to think that's a feature anyone needed
    07-29-2016 03:47 AM
  23. karmamule's Avatar
    So when you get a notification, the screen doesn't light up?
    I've been using n5 for the last 2 yrs
    Yes it does light up, but the notification is not visible unless you tap a little 'bell' icon. If you install a lock screen manager you can change that behavior.
    07-29-2016 10:04 AM
  24. karmamule's Avatar
    Also how is the mifavor software on this a7? Can you switch to google or are they the same? Any noticeable differences between the 2?
    You can switch up launchers the same way as pretty much any android phone. MiFavor is relatively lightweight. The most noticeable changes are to the settings area and some added gestures/features. (And of course to notifications as the prior few posts have talked about!) They do have some alternative apps like their own browser, mail, etc. but I'm ignoring those.)

    Overall I think mifavor is ok, I'm giving it a chance for a few weeks and if I develop a dislike for it then I'll go to stock android or nova. But, for now, I'm fine with it. I don't mind the notifications thing because my bf frequently sends messages with lots of silly emoticons and I don't mind that it's hidden from passerbys if they happen to see the lock screen light up. ;-)
    amenra likes this.
    07-29-2016 10:06 AM
  25. karmamule's Avatar
    After a couple days, some more observations:

    Bluetooth: One of my (few) frustrations with the OP3 was with bluetooth. It would frequently fail to pair on the first try with my car, and then sometimes I'd have to re-pair it, and sound volume was on the low side. I also noticed leaving bluetooth on would really suck battery life.

    So far the Axon's bluetooth has worked like a champ: pairs quickly every time, is staying paired, and sounds really good when listening in my car. No significant hit to battery life either.

    Speaking of battery life, I like that their Power Manager settings screen does a good job of calling out misbehaving apps and applying settings (which you can override) like scheduled background wake-ups rather than letting them keep sucking away. It'll also let you know if they do things like 'Keep the System Awake' or 'Frequently Wake Up the System', as well as historical records of apps with high power consumption. Nice!
    huntnyc, cubetop and amenra like this.
    07-29-2016 10:17 AM
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