ZTE has announced the Axon 40 Ultra for global markets including the US, but has the new flagship smartphone got what it takes to challenge the Galaxy S22 Ultra? ZTE is one of the few Chinese manufacturers that sells its phones in North America and its lineup for the US includes entry-level, mid-range, and flagship models.
After launching the Axon 20 5G as the first smartphone with an under-display camera in 2020, and receiving lukewarm reviews, ZTE followed it in 2021 with a successor called the Axon 30 5G. While not its flagship of that year, its under-display camera was significantly better. After two attempts and lots of refinements, ZTE has now brought the under-display camera to its flagship models, starting with the Axon 40 Ultra.
What makes the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra striking is the lack of a hole or cut-out in the display for a front-facing camera. The screen itself is curved and so is the glass back which has a matte finish. The phone also has pretty thin bezels that are uniform while the frame is metallic. ZTE is keeping things simple with a triple camera array that sits on a protruding island. Unfortunately, with no mention of an IP rating it appears to be missing dust and water resistance. That’s not the case with the Galaxy S22 Ultra which has an IP68 rating as well as a curved display and back. The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is available in black in the US, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra can be purchased in seven different colors including Burgundy, Green, Red, and Sky Blue.
The Axon 40 Ultra has a 6.8-inch AMOLED display just like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but its FHD+ resolution isn’t as sharp as the QHD+ resolution of the S22 Ultra. Both phones have a 120Hz refresh rate, and while it is adaptive on the Axon 40 Ultra, it is dynamic on the S22 Ultra, thanks to the use of the superior LTPO technology. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the processor inside both phones and this is paired with 8GB or 12GB of RAM. However, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra is available with up to 1TB of storage in the US, the Axon 40 Ultra maxes out at 256GB, and neither has a microSD card slot. For reference, ZTE is selling a 1TB version in China that has 16GB of RAM.