ZTE’s Axon series is known for providing great value and various innovations to their customers. Last year’s Axon 30 really impressed us with a well-hidden selfie camera under the display, and the Axon 30 Ultra had a stylish, thin design and fantastic performance, which we took note of. Now ZTE the launch of the Axon 40 Ultra – a smartphone that aims to redefine phone cameras by addressing several minor pain points to deliver a better overall package.
Let’s see what ZTE has come up with for us!
Triple 64 MP main cameras
It has become the norm for top-end smartphones these days to have three cameras on the back: a main wide-angle camera, an ultra-wide-angle camera and a telephoto zoom camera. However, it has also become the norm that the main camera is the “best”, while the others have a slightly lower resolution or lack important features such as stabilization. The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra does not play favorites – all the cameras on its back have a 64 MP sensor underneath. The wide and ultra-wide cameras both have a custom Sony IMX787 sensor and the telephoto camera has one tuned by ZTE.
The wide-angle and telephoto cameras are both assisted by an optical stabilization module, while the ultra-wide snapper shoots smooth videos thanks to advanced electronic stabilization.
The icing on the cake is that you can shoot 8K video with any of the lenses – again, no “favorites” here, there’s no “main” camera that can use super high resolution. They all do.
That is why they are all called a “primary camera” – essentially you should not expect any loss of quality from any of them.
A new type of wide angle lens
Usually, the main wide-angle lens of smartphones has a focal length of about 26 mm (equivalent). This was great in the past when ultra-wide secondary cameras didn’t exist, as 26mm allows you to capture a lot of things in the frame, without crossing the line of “too wide”.
Still, 26mm isn’t the best way to capture people, especially for groups. faces or bodies towards the edge of the image may become warped or distorted, resulting in ‘banana head’ effects.
The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra has a 35mm (equivalent) wide camera. This is considered by photographers to be the most versatile focal length, because the imaging captures objects, figures and landscapes in a way that appears more natural to our eyes, but it still gives us some room to work with while shooting.
That’s why ZTE calls it a “humanity” camera.
Across the 16mm ultra-wide, 35mm wide and 91mm telephoto cameras, we have a total zoom range of 5.7x. The 91mm is also a perfect focal length for honest portraits with deep, creamy backgrounds.
The quality of Sony IMX787 sensors
Sony’s IMX787 is a new sensor for 2022 that is touted as state-of-the-art. It’s obviously made specifically for smartphones, but it’s still relatively large for what it is: 1/1.3 inches (for reference, the Galaxy S22 Ultra main sensor is 1/1.56 inches). The IMX787 is known for its fast response and autofocus and its energy efficiency.
Speaking of which…
Full pixel omnidirectional autofocus
Thanks to the high-quality Sony sensors, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra can use dual full-pixel omnidirectional autofocus. Yes, that’s a lot of words, but essentially it means that the Axon 40 Ultra’s camera sensors use the full size of image pixels to achieve phase-detection autofocus quickly and accurately, too. This is the latest and greatest focusing technique on smartphones.
Preset your focus
Sometimes even the fastest focus can’t get the right shot at the right time. If you’re prepping for an action shot (remember: setting the camera to capture a basketball player’s dunk), you can preset and lock your focus distance. Then just wait – once the desired subject is in view, press the shutter button and the fast camera does the rest.
Adaptive Shutter Algorithm
Taking sharp, blur-free photos isn’t just about the perfect focus – sometimes we need the right shutter speed and a steady hand. But we’re all familiar with the nature of mobile photography – often you’re hand-holding the phone, in an awkward place, trying to capture the perfect moment.
At those times, shaky hands can be a problem.
The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra uses a special image algorithm – an AI engine detects movement and jitter and the shutter speed is optimally adjusted. When you take a photo, the phone takes a few shots, all with different exposures. After that, it searches for the sharpest, cleanest shots of your moving subject and merges a clear image of what you were trying to shoot.
Completely hidden front camera
Last year’s ZTE Axon 30 showed us just how good ZTE is at hiding the selfie camera under active pixels in the display. No perforations, no notches, the whole screen was uninterrupted. This year the technology has been perfected and comes to the Axon 40 Ultra to give us a full screen experience at all times.
When you need the selfie camera, the pixels are turned off, leaving room for the lens to work. At all other times, the “hole” is seamlessly covered and unnoticeable.
The power to last all day long
To round out the package and give you more time to spend with those 64MP primary cameras, ZTE outfitted the Axon 40 Ultra with a 5,000mAh battery, which should last us comfortably for a full day. To top it off, it supports 65W fast charging. To put things in perspective, the Axon 30 Ultra had a 4,600mAh cell, lasted a day, and its 65W block charged it from 0% to 100% in less than 50 minutes. We expect a slightly longer battery life for the Axon 40 Ultra and almost the same fast charging.
Where to buy
Sales of the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra will start on June 21 for international markets and will cost $799 / €829 / £709. If you want one, you can pre-register your purchase from June 8 to June 21. . Pre-orders cost $1.99 / €1.99 / £1.99, but you’ll get a special discount of $50 / €50 / £40 when the phone ships.