Deal: grab a ZTE Axon 7 Mini for just $199 at Best Buy this weekend (US)

Looking to buy a sturdy, affordable smartphone that’s still pretty to look at? You may be in luck because Best Buy is offering a discount on the ZTE Axon 7 Mini starting December 4th through December 10th. If you want to save up to $100 on this device, save the links at the bottom for this weekend. Unfortunately, however, this deal seems to be limited to the U.S.

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ZTE Axon 7 mini hands-on

September 1, 2016

Usually priced at $299.99, for a limited time only, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini can be yours for as low as just $199. For the Ion Gold variant, Best Buy will be offering a $100 discount starting this Sunday, and for the Platinum Grey version, a $50 discount. Whichever color it is, it’s not a bad deal – but make sure to get your order in before the 10th!

Just as a quick refresher, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini is a smaller version of the Axon 7 (duh), but it is by no means small. With a 5.2-inch AMOLED display with a FHD resolution, the device is a tiny bit bigger than most flagships out there, including the Galaxy S7. However, it does boast very thin bezels, and design wise, I must admit, it’s a stunning phone to look at.

Inside, we find Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 617 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a beefy 2,705mAh battery. On the back is a 16-megapixel phase detection AF camera, and on the front is an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. Indeed, the phone does have a microSD slot and the good old 3.5mm headphone jack.

Indeed, the phone does have a microSD slot and the good old 3.5mm headphone jack.

If you’re looking for a well-designed midranger with pretty impressive specs, save the links below for this weekend. Again, both colors are currently priced at $299, but starting this Sunday, Best Buy will be offering them at lower prices.

Ion Gold for $199
Platinum Gray for $249

Will you be getting the ZTE Axon 7 Mini from Best Buy? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Going into 2017, these are the Chinese smartphone makers to look out for

2016 has been the year that Chinese-based smartphone companies started to slowly expand their presence in the U.S, or at the very least announced plans to expand in 2017. While hardcore Android fans may be very aware of these companies, including Huawei, ZTE, LeEco and Xiaomi, they are just beginning to make themselves known to the general consumer.

What will it take for these companies to get as well known and as popular as their rivals like Samsung, HTC, LG, and Lenovo/Motorola in the United States and North America? We think some of them will have more success than others in 2017.

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Best Chinese Android phones

3 weeks ago


Going into 2017, these are the Chinese smartphone makers to look out for

There is a ton of opportunity for Huawei to bust out into the U.S. market in 2017, as it has virtually everywhere else on the planet. But there are also a lot of hurdles that the company will have to clear to be successful in one of the biggest smartphone markets in the world.

Huawei was recently named as the most profitable Android phone maker worldwide

Huawei was recently named as the most profitable Android phone maker worldwide by Strategy Analytics in the third quarter of 2016, and its recently launched P9 smartphone has shipped over nine million units so far. The company has announced plans to launch its next big flagship phone, the Mate 9, in the U.S. in 2017. If the phone does have a successful launch in the United States, some analysts believe Huawei would become the world’s top selling smartphone maker, period, ahead of Samsung and Apple. It’s also worth noting that Huawei has already begun slowly moving into the US market with its Honor sub-brand.

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Huawei Mate 9 versus the competition

4 weeks ago

However, as detailed in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Huawei still faces the lack of support from U.S. wireless carriers. Some of them may still believe that the company could be working for the Chinese government to put in spy hardware and software in their devices, as detailed in a 2012 congressional report. Huawei has denied these charges.

In addition, the company will also have to alter its hardware to comply with the standards that are required by some carriers, particularly Verizon and AT&T.  There’s also the simple fact that the Huawei brand name doesn’t have the same cache as Samsung and other phone makers.

The bottom line:

Huawei will likely continue to be successful everywhere else on the planet in 2017, but it will be hard to make a big enough splash into the U.S. market in the next year with all of its challenges. That said, it will continue to push further into North America in the years to come.


Going into 2017, these are the Chinese smartphone makers to look out for

After what seems like years of waiting, Xiaomi looks like it will have some huge U.S. announcements for 2017. At CES 2017, the company plans to announced a new product that will launch globally. Also, its Global Vice President Hugo Barra stated that U.S. network testing has started with the the company’s Mi 5 phone.

Like Huawei, Xiaomi has had great success in other markets worldwide, particularly in India. It is also not adverse to trying out some new designs for its smartphones. Its “concept” Mi MIX smartphone, which it is only selling in China for now, almost completely ditches the normal bezel for a nearly edgeless display that puts a much larger screen inside a smaller case.

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Xiaomi Mi MIX review – all screen, almost all of the time!

2 weeks ago

Xiaomi still isn't a very well-known brand in the United States

Xiaomi also faces some of the same challenges as Huawei, the biggest of which is the lack of a well-known brand outside of select markets. However, it looks like it is making headway towards breaking into the major U.S wireless carriers, which is pretty much required for any smartphone company to have a wide success.

The bottom line: Xiaomi seems to be doing all the right things for a bigger presence in the U.S in 2017. Let’s just hope everything aligns correctly.


Going into 2017, these are the Chinese smartphone makers to look out for

Unlike Huawei and Xiaomi, ZTE has made some strides in the U.S. carrier market, selling devices on AT&T’s no-contract carrier Cricket Wireless. It has also had success with selling unlocked smartphones in the country like the Axon 7 and it has even become the official smartphone for some NBA basketball teams.

However, ZTE also wants to generate a lot of grassroots support for its phones through its online community, through its forums, social media channels and contests like its recent design competition. The company will develop a smartphone with an adhesive back and eye-tracking features, based on the votes from its community on a number of device concepts.

ZTE has also had run-ins with the U.S. government

Like Huawei, ZTE has had run-ins with the U.S. government. Earlier this year, the company got hit with trade sanctions from the Commerce Department, which claimed ZTE had sent U.S. technology to countries like Iran. However, a few weeks later those sanctions got lifted temporarily, and the reprieves have been extended until at least February.

The bottom line: Assuming ZTE can get a permanent lift on these trade sanctions from the government in 2017, we think that the company will be a bigger force in the smartphone market in the next year. One thing we’d like to see is closer relationships formed with the big (non-prepaid) carriers, though its unclear if or when this might happen.


ZTE Axon 7 review

July 25, 2016


Going into 2017, these are the Chinese smartphone makers to look out for

This is perhaps the most interesting of the four Chinese companies we are looking at in this feature. In October, LeEco held what can be described best as an odd press event to announce its formal launch into the U.S. market. In between using tons of buzz words, it actually announced some products, including two smartphones, the Le S3 and the Le Pro3.  However, it is choosing to sell these devices in the U.S., along with some smart TVs, via quick online flash sales.

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LeEco Le Pro3 review

5 days ago

More recently, there’s been some doubts about the financial stability of LeEco. A couple of weeks ago, the company announced it had secured about $600 million in new financing. However, another business division that’s working on an electric car, Faraday Future, is also in jeopardy, with rumors that work on the car has stopped for now.

The bottom line: LeEco is still struggling to find itself in the US market. Combined with rumors of financial issues, it will likely be some time before it will be a big force in the smartphone industry — especially in North America.


With Samsung’s recent problem with the Note 7 recall, combined with other smartphone companies dealing with their own issues, the time may be right for large rivals from China to make a big play in the U.S. in 2017. Which of these companies do you think will be successful in the next year overall, and in the U.S. in particular? Which of these companies do you think has the brightest future in the years to come? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

ZTE wants you to name its upcoming eye-tracking and self-adhesive phone


ZTE recently revealed that it will make an eye-tracking and self-adhesive smartphone, based on votes from its community in its Project CSX design concept contest. Today, the company has launched another online competition, asking people to name this upcoming phone.

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ZTE ZMAX Pro Review – is a $100 smartphone worth buying?

August 8, 2016

The voting started today and will end at 11:59 a.m. Eastern time on December 5. ZTE says that users must submit unique product names that match the characteristics of the phone design, and that any duplicate names will be disqualified. The names must also not violate any pre-established trademarks or other copyrights.

A group of judges will pick the winning name from the top five submissions, and those will be picked based on votes from the community on the Project CSX web site. The person who submits the name that actually wins the contest will receive a $250 gift card, and the name itself will be revealed as part of the company’s CES 2017 announcements.

What are your proposals for the name of ZTE’s upcoming eye-tracking and self-adhesive phone (besides Smartphoney McSmartphoneface)? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Enter the competition here

Limited edition version of ZTE Axon 7 adds more RAM, storage and Force Touch


The launch of the ZTE Axon 7 smartphone earlier this year was a big one for Android fans, as this mid-ranger device got a solid review reception from us and other media outlets. Today, ZTE is launching a limited edition variant of the Axon 7 that has more memory and storage compared to the normal version, along with Force Touch support.

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Best ZTE Axon 7 Cases

September 22, 2016

While the normal ZTE Axon 7 has 4GB of RAM, this limited edition version increases that amount to 6GB.  The variant also has double the amount of on-board storage, going up from 64GB to 128GB. Finally, this version’s use of Force Touch technology will allow owners of the phone to get “a more initiative user experience”, according to ZTE.

Aside from those changes, the hardware in the limited edition ZTE Axon 7 will be the same. It will still have a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560×1440, and it will still come with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow pre-installed, along with the MiFavor UI 4.0.  Inside, it will have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with a clock speed of 2.15GHz, a 20MP Hybrid IS rear camera, an 8MP front-facing camera, a microSD card slot for adding even more storage and a 3250mAh battery that supports Quick Charge 3.0. Finally, it will still have two front-facing speakers with HiFi audio and a fingerprint reader.

The price for the limited edition version of the ZTE Axon 7 is $499.98, which is $100 more than the price for the standard edition of the phone. It will only be available in the US via ZTE’s store site and in just the gold color option. There’s no word on how “limited” this version of the Axon 7 truly is, but we suspect that only a relative few units of the phone will be available for sale. Do you think the additions to this version will be worth the $100 price increase?

US government gives ZTE another export restriction reprieve until Feb. 27


ZTE got some good news today from the US government. It decided to once again extend the reprieve on the previous export restrictions it placed on the company for another three months. The new deadline for those restrictions to go live is now Feb. 27.

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ZTE Axon 7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7

2 weeks ago

You may remember that back in March, the government slammed the door on ZTE with a series of trade sanctions. At the time, the Commerce Department suspected the Chinese-based company of sending US technology to countries to Iran. If those export restrictions had been enforced, the company could no longer work with US-based hardware and software suppliers for its smartphones and other devices.

However, ZTE and the government got together and talked it out. A couple of weeks later, the government decided to temporarily lift the export restrictions ban until June. The reprieve was later extended until August, and again until November, and today’s decision likely means that the two parties are still working in good faith to get their differences sorted out.

Reuters also reports that ZTE has hired Matthew Bell as its new US-based chief export compliance officer. The company said it will continue to continue to cooperate with the US government to reach a final solution to this issue. If the export bans are permanently removed, ZTE will still likely have to pay a one-time penalty to the government.

ZTE Grand X 4 lands on Cricket Wireless for only $130

Looking for a good phone and your budget doesn’t help you get one of the big brand handsets? ZTE promises a great experience with the Grand X 4, which has just launched on Cricket Wireless for a mere $130.

No longer does spending little money on a smartphone mean you must also sacrifice much quality and performance. The ZTE Grand X 4 will work perfectly for many of you. Its specs include a 5.5-inch 720p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, microSD support, a 13 MP rear camera, a 5 MP selfie shooter and a 3,140 mAh battery.

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Best Cricket phones

October 15, 2016

It even has a fingerprint sensor on the back, so you are not missing on all the cool features you thought were only in high-end gadgets. Add the fact that you also get Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and this phone is looking quite enticing.

The ZTE Grand X3 was a great option when it launched earlier this year (check out our hands-on coverage), and the ZTE Grand X 4 is only improving upon the experience.

Interested customers can now head over to Cricket’s website and sign up for the ZTE Grand X 4.