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The ZTE Axon 11 5G is the successor to 2023’s ZTE Axon 10 Pro, but the phone is more of a sideways step than a direct high-end replacement. If you’re after the latter, you’ll want to check out the upcoming ZTE Axon 20. Instead, the Axon 11 strives to introduce 5G to the Axon series without the usual premium-tier price tag.
While the Axon 10 Pro featured a high-end Snapdragon 855 processor, the Axon 11 5G opts for a mid-range Snapdragon 765G. That said, day-to-day performance is as responsive as ever and the phone is also well suited to some light gaming sessions. Just don’t expect to max out any graphics settings.
Read more: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G vs Snapdragon 865
The phone retains a reasonably snappy, if not the most secure, optical in-display fingerprint scanner. 18W fast charging with Quick Charge 4+ support has you back up to 45% juice in half an hour. Although the phone takes nearly two hours to fully charge, which is rather slow. Fortunately, the large 4,000mAh battery easily lasts through a full day of moderate use. Although gaming is a bit more of a battery drain.
The ZTE Axon 11 caters to your essential smartphone experience, with a drop of 5G for good measure
Circling back to the camera, this is the phone’s biggest irritant. Four cameras sound great on paper, but it’s a below-par package. The Axon 11 5G is a textbook example where two or even one good rear camera would be preferable. The main camera is by far the best but is a tad aggressive with post-processing, making the digital-only zoom rather unpleasant to use. It can produce some nice-looking pictures with good colors and white balance. But the HDR implementation is poor, detail is so-so, and low-light pictures aren’t great. I wouldn’t bother with the 64MP shooting mode, as you don’t end up with anywhere near enough detail for the huge file size trade-off.
The wide-angle and macro cameras are where things go downhill. The former completely lacks detail, even in daylight, and suffers from noticeable edge-distortion. Its fixed focal point is too short, leaving distant details out of focus. The 2MP macro lens isn’t much better. It looks passable in great lighting, is useless in low light, and ultimately I’m not sure when I’d ever use it. The depth sensor helps with bokeh accuracy, but it’s again quite hit and miss. Furthermore, ZTE’s blur effect looks rather basic and isn’t as nice as you’ll find on high-end phones.
On the plus side, the phone offers 4K 60fps video capture, a feature you won’t normally find at this price point. Video capture quality is OK, although not perfectly crisp in daylight. Image quality degrades quickly and substantially once the lights go down, rendering 1080p, let alone 4K60, pointless outside of perfect conditions. There’s also a red tint on the right half of the video in low light. I can’t state enough just how poor low-light video quality is compared to rival handsets.
Full-resolution photos can be viewed here.
Turning to the software, MiFavor 10.1 is a reasonably stock-like interface with a few of its own quirks thrown in. These include a built-in screen recorder and the ability to pick between traditional on-screen buttons or gesture-based navigation. Although the swipe up and hold for recent apps gesture is a bit unreliable. You’ll have to go digging to find all the options. ZTE’s setting suggestions aren’t as helpful as they could be at navigating the labyrinth of sub-menus. But overall, MiFavor is a streamlined and highly usable UI.
Robert Triggs / Android AuthorityZTE Axon 11 5G: The good…
Good size that handles well. It’s lightweight and pretty slim for a large handset.
Performance and battery life. The combination of a mid-range Snapdragon 765G processor and 4,000mAh battery easily last all day.
The software. The European model has a very lightweight UI that offers just the right range of tweaks.…and the bad
The cameras. The main sensor is passable, but the other three cameras verge on useless.
Video recording. In low light, videos are terribly grainy and virtually unusable.
The design. Plastic trim feels a bit cheaply constructed. Not a great-looking handset.
ZTE Axon 11 5G specs
You're reading Zte Axon 11 5G Review: More Than Just Affordable 5G?
Two-day battery life
Dazzling 120Hz screen
Slim and sleek build
Mixed camera performance
Cluttered MIUI OS
Poor speakerOur Verdict
There’s no denying that the Poco X5 offers a lot for the money, but you can get similar specs for less with a phone from the previous generation.
Poco’s 2023 X-range phones are here, and the cheaper of the pair is the Poco X5. Launched alongside the Poco X5 Pro, this phone comes complete with a dazzling 120Hz AMOLED display (a first from a base X-range Poco phone), fast-charging technology and a 48Mp triple camera set-up.
But is the phone still good value for money, especially considering its place in the highly competitive mid-range space? I’ve spent some time with the Poco X5 to see how it handles everyday use.Design & build
Three colour options
3.5mm headphone jack
The Poco X5 comes with an understated yet sleek finish – a welcome relief from the days when Poco used to blaze its logo on the entire back. The phone is 7.98mm thick, and weighs just 189g, so it’s relatively slim and lightweight and doesn’t feel heavy to hold.
The slightly metallic finish catches the light well, but it is prone to picking up fingerprints
It comes in either blue, green or black, which I tested. The device is made from plastic with a Gorilla Glass 3 front, which doesn’t exactly scream high-end. The slightly metallic finish catches the light well, but it is prone to picking up fingerprints and smudges throughout the day.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
On the plus side, it is less susceptible to scratches or damage than a phone with a glass rear. Plus, it comes with an IP53 rating, which means it also protected from some dust and light rain – but it is not waterproof. Poco throws in a free clear case in the box for extra protection.
The Poco logo is still present, just tucked away more neatly adjacent to the camera bump, which produces quite largely out the back. This does mean that the phone doesn’t lay fully flat on a desk.
The Poco X5 has a USB-C port for charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as dual-SIM slot, which can either be used for two SIMs, or one SIM and a Micro-SD card. The phone uses a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the power button, which I found to be largely reliable.Screen & speakers
6.67in FHD AMOLED display
120Hz refresh rate
The phone comes with a dazzling 6.67in FHD AMOLED display, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It comes with DCI-P3 wide color gamut, and a claimed peak brightness of 1200 nits.
Many other mid-rangers sacrifice a high refresh rate, so this is a big plus for the Poco X5
Colours are vivid and bright on the Poco X5, meaning it’s great for streaming videos and browsing through images. It certainly doesn’t feel like a lower mid-range phone in this regard. Poco also offers an adjustable colour temperature option on the display to suit your preferences.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
There is a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, but you can also opt for 60Hz if you’re looking to conserve the battery life. This is combined with a touch-sampling rate of up to 240Hz.
This results in quick and responsive navigation, both when scrolling social media and doing some light gaming. Many other mid-rangers sacrifice a high refresh rate, so this is a big plus for the Poco X5.
There is one single speaker located on the bottom of the phone, which means that sound is on the weak and tinny side. The lack of audio processing software means that music lacks bass and depth – though on a phone of this price point, premium audio is a luxury.Specs & performance
The Poco X5 runs on a Snapdragon 695 chip, the same processor seen on the Poco X4 Pro. You can pair this with either 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, or 8GB RAM and 256GB worth of storage. The additional microSD slot can extend internal storage up to 1TB.
Overall, this phone has capable performance. I used it for social media, YouTube, Twitch and general browsing, and it handled everything largely well. However, some apps do have the odd stutter here and there. For example, videos on Facebook often take time to load, and rebooting the device often results in some slow starts.
The phone achieved similar performance scores to the likes of the Realme 9 and the OnePlus CE 2 Lite:
Like other Poco X devices, it is capable of some gaming, but don’t be expecting the highest levels of performance. I was able to play Genshin Impact on the second-lowest graphics settings, but even then I experienced some lag and low frame rates. More casual titles such as Animal Crossing Pocket Camp worked just fine.
5G connectivity comes included, as does Bluetooth 5.1.
Hannah Cowton / FoundryBattery life & charging
33W fast charging
No wireless charging
In the box you get a 33W fast charger. This will take you from zero to 58% in just 30 minutes, with full charging taking around an hour.
By today’s standards, this isn’t the quickest – phones from the likes of Realme and Oppo certainly offer speedier charging bricks.
Whatever the X5 lacks in super speedy charging is made up for with that big 5000mAh battery. Even when running the refresh rate on 120Hz, I was able to use it for roughly around two days, snapping pics, doom-scrolling on Twitter and watching livestreams.
In our usual PCMark battery test, the phone managed a middling 10 hours and two minutes.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
If you make use of the battery saving modes, and generally are a little more conservative with usage, then you could stretch the Poco X5 even further.
There isn’t any wireless or reverse charging included on the phone, but that is typical for a phone of this price.Cameras & video
Decent main 48Mp main camera in good lighting
Unimpressive in low light
So-so secondary lenses
The Poco X5 comes with a triple rear snapper, led by a 48Mp main camera with an f/1.8 aperture. This is joined by the secondary lenses, an 8Mp wide-angle with a 118-degree field of view, as well as a 2Mp macro lens with an f/2.4 aperture.
The X5 can produce sharp and detailed images on shots taken outdoors with good lighting conditions. Colours do not look oversaturated or washed out, as you may find on other devices of a similar price.
Like other Xiaomi phones, the Poco X5 uses pixel-binning technology. Snaps do look good both when using the full 48Mp resolution camera, and when taking photos on the standard mode which are condensed down to a 12Mp output.
The same cannot be said for lower light conditions. Textures become much fuzzier and blended, and it’s hard to focus on the subject that you’re pointing at. Night mode adds some colour, but the final image looks like a faded vintage photo (and not in a good way).
The zoom capabilities are also unimpressive on this phone. Whilst details are still clear on X2 zoom, colours on the grass and sky in the test shots appear much more insipid. Zooming in even further results in extremely blurry images.
The X5 can produce sharp and detailed images
Things are even less sharp on the 8Mp wide-angle lens, which performs even worse under low light. However, for large landscape shots during the day, it is sufficient.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
On the front, there’s a 13Mp snapper with an f/2.45 aperture. Like the rear cameras, performance isn’t too bad outdoors or with good lighting. However, dimmer conditions result in poorer textures and muted colours. The bokeh effect on portrait mode also struggles with hair textures, particularly waves and curls.
In addition, Poco automatically adds a slight ‘beautify’ filter to selfies, which can be turned off or made stronger. In short, this erases facial blemishes such as freckles, and makes it look as if you have make-up on.
This shouldn’t be enabled as standard. Not only does it give a slightly false finish, but it also plays into unrealistic beauty standards set by Instagram filters. Poco should consider having this feature optional on future phones.
Video is available either in 720p at 60fps, or 1080p at 30fps. However, there is no auto stabilisation software present, so beware if you have shaky hands.
The Poco X4 comes running on MIUI 13.0.2, Xiaomi’s skin of Android 12. This isn’t the latest Android version, but many mid-range phones still run on this OS at the time of writing. Oddly, you can get MIUI 14 on the X5 Pro, although changes are largely minimal.
Xiaomi’s MIUI is an acquired taste, and if you’re a pure Android enthusiast like me, then you may find the changes jarring. The drop-down menu is split into two halves, like on iOS. If you swipe down from the left-hand side, you’ll get your notifications, whilst on the right you’ll access the quick settings.
General navigation can be a bit confusing. For example, on the camera app the macro mode is hidden away the section where you crop photos, rather than in the ‘more’ section like it is on other devices.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
On the plus side, you can multitask on the phone with floating windows and set up two separate profiles on the device through Second Space. There is also a dedicated Game Space mode which will close background apps when playing a title to help improve performance.
The biggest annoyance of a Poco phone is the amount of pre-loaded apps cluttering up the interface. From a very pointless Poco store app, to Aliexpress and strange games such as Tile Fun, you’ll likely be taken aback by the number of things on the phone as soon as you launch it out of the box.
At the time of writing, we don’t yet know how many years of security and software updates are promised for the Poco X5.Price & availability
The Poco X5 is available to buy now from the Poco website, priced at £279/€299 for the 6/128GB version, and £319/€349 for the 12/256GB one. If you buy it before the 13 February 2023, you can grab £30 off the standard price.
Typically, Poco doesn’t sell its phones in the US, but American readers should be able to import it from the likes of AliExpress.
There’s no denying that once again, Poco has produced an affordable phone for the price, with a solid build, a big battery life, an impressive display and a decent main camera in daylight.
That said, the processor is the same one offered in the Poco X4 Pro, which also comes with a higher-spec camera and faster charging. More importantly, the RRP of this phone is cheaper than the X5. Therefore, you’ll get more bang for your buck with the Pro version of the previous generation.
Alternatively, you could step up to the more mid-range Poco X5 Pro, which comes with an upgraded processor, double the charging speeds and a better camera that produces much clearer shots in low light. However, this clocks in nearly £100/€100 more than the X5.
You can look at other options in our chart of the best mid-range phones.
Hannah Cowton / FoundryVerdict
The Poco X5 is truly an excellent mid-range buy.
The 120Hz display is great to use for videos and social media, and the 5000mAh battery will give you two days’ worth of use with ease.
There are always sacrifices for phones at this price point, and the X5 makes them with its poor low-light photography and unimpressive speaker. The MIUI OS is also not the most user-friendly, especially with the amount of bloatware.
The biggest downfall is that the Poco X4 Pro still trumps this phone in terms of value for money. Nonetheless, you’ll still be getting bang for your buck with the Poco X5 if you want the latest model.Poco X5 specs
Android 12, MIUI 13
6.67in AMOLED display (120Hz, FHD+)
Snapdragon 695 with 6GB/8GB RAM
128/256GB storage, expandable by 1TB via microSD
48Mp f/1.8 main rear camera
8Mp 118-degree ultra-wide camera
2Mp f/2.4 macro lens
13Mp f/2.45 selfie camera
Fingerprint reader in power button
3.5mm headphone jack
33W fast charge tech
Gorilla Glass 3 (front)
165.88 x 76.21 x 7.98mm
Available in Black, Blue and Green
Before you consider making the switch, here’s a deeper dive into what Verizon’s 5G plans are, 5G coverage across the country, the phones that support 5G on the carrier, and so on.
Verizon 5G coverage
The first thing you’d wanna know is if Verizon’s 5G coverage is available in your area. Well, we have a mixed bag of news here, but first the good stuff.
Verizon became the first telco in the country to flip the 5G switch on smartphones in Chicago and Minneapolis. Yes, overall AT&T took the lead, but the latter’s speedy network could only be accessed via a 5G hotspot and not a smartphone.
At the time, Verizon said that its 5G service in Chicago is concentrated in areas around the West Loop and South Loop where tourist attractions are common, Gold Coast, Old Town, and North River. In Minneapolis, the service is limited to areas in the east and west downtown and the U.S. Bank Stadium.
In late April, the carrier revealed that 5G coverage is coming to 20 more cities, making it a total of 22 cities with guaranteed 5G coverage, at least by the time the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G arrives in May 2023.
Here is the full list:
Salt Lake City
By the end of 2023, Verizon says it will have 5G coverage in 30 cities across the U.S. Still, it’s worth noting that even in these 5G-ready cities, coverage will still be spotty, but this is expected considering it’s only the beginning of what is to be a painfully long changeover process.
While Verizon’s 5G network is already available in several cities, don’t expect it to cover every part of the said cities. In fact, it’s likely to be deployed in busy places within these cities such as airports, stadiums, and conference centers, with those in suburbs and rural areas set to wait for years before getting a taste of true 5G.
To be fair, this is the case with every other U.S. carrier that’s venturing into 5G.
Verizon 5G speed
AT&T has been making headlines with news of interesting speed test results for its 5G network. The carrier managed speeds of up to 2Gbps during tests done in Atlanta in April 2023 and it says these speeds are expected to improve with time.
So far, average speeds in the regions of 450Mbps have been touted by the Big Red, although results ranging between 300Mbps and 900Mbps have been showcased in some cases. This should be in line with the promised “up to 10x” speeds (compared to LTE) we expect when 5G is fully deployed.
While AT&T is getting everyone excited by the mention of crazy fast speeds, Verizon is keeping things low-key. Instead of overpromising and risk facing the wrath of customers in case it under delivers, Verizon is basically under-promising with the hope of over-delivering when 5G goes live.
Verizon 5G phones
Verizon has the upper hand when it comes to supported 5G phones. The first was the Motorola Moto Z3 that connects to 5G via a 5G Moto Mod, but if not interested in adding more weight to your device in the name of modularity, the only other option is Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.
The Big Red is the exclusive carrier of the Galaxy S10 5G in the U.S., although this exclusivity is limited to time, with other carriers joining the party at a later time.
One little problem is that anything 5G comes at a cost. Whereas the Moto Z3 seems like the cheapest avenue to mobile 5G for now ($480 for the phone and $350 for the 5G Moto Mod), you’ll need to cough a cool $1300 to get your hands on the base model of the Galaxy S10 5G.
Verizon is also expected to carry the LG V50 ThinQ 5G when it arrives in the country, although Sprint should lead the way ahead of other U.S. carriers. The Big Red has also confirmed that the Galaxy Note 10 will get a 5G model that will be carried on the network, but this will have to wait until Q3 2023.
Unlike the U.S. that only has a couple or so 5G Android phones to choose from, those in European countries like the UK have at least five 5G Android phones, including two from Huawei, one each from OnePlus and Xiaomi, and the aforementioned S10 5G. ZTE is also expected to bring the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G in Europe at some point later this year.
Related: 5G Android Phones – device list
Verizon 5G data plans
There has been a lot of talk around the potential cost of 5G data plans on Verizon, especially now that it’s clear owning a 5G phone requires more than $1000. Verizon’s data plans are already above the competition and its hard imagining that 5G data plans will be otherwise.
And indeed, the Big Red wasted no time in confirming our fears. Apparently, 5G data plans will attract an extra cost of $10 per month for access to unlimited data. This extra cost comes on top of what you are currently paying for unlimited LTE data, which is $75 for the base plan. As part of the plan, you also get unlimited hotspot 5G data with no video streaming caps.
Verizon 5G Home
Verizon is set to be the first carrier to offer 5G fixed wireless internet to the home in what it calls Verizon 5G Home. The initial rollout started in October 2023 in parts of Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Sacramento, and Houston and is expected to spread to more regions throughout the year, although there is no official roadmap.
Early adopters of Verizon 5G Home pay $50 per month for existing Verizon customers and $70 for those after the standalone 5G service. The best part is that there are no data caps and even better is that unlike the initial equipment, users will be able to self-install the new 5G router when it relaunches.
Also, Verizon says 5G Home services will be offered for free for the first three months of coverage and include other freebies like YouTube TV for three months from the day of installing the equipment and free Google Chromecast Ultra or Apple TV 4K device.
Verizon is the biggest mobile operator in the country and it makes sense that it’s leading the rest in 5G adoption. The exclusivity of the Galaxy S10 5G, the only 5G-ready phone available so far, is a huge boost to the carrier’s efforts to spearhead the 5G rollout in the country.
However, like every other carrier, it will take several years before Verizon’s 5G coverage reaches suburbs and rural America. The fact that the number of supported smartphones is also limited should play a huge role in slowing down 5G adoption, at least in 2023.
The V50 ThinQ is basically just a 5G V40 with a processor upgrade. That means both good and bad: faster internet speeds and new features, balanced out by a thicker body and slightly reduced battery life. We loved the V40, but almost a year on the V50 doesn’t feel as competitive. Then there’s the Dual Screen. This is a gimmick for most people – which might explain why it isn’t even available in the US. But it’s also a surprisingly novel way to bring the foldable experience to a much lower price point, and if you’re a devoted multi-tasker then it actually works better than you might expect, if you can forgive a few niggling design flaws.
The V50 ThinQ 5G is LG’s first – and so far only – 5G phone, but that’s not all it’s got going for it. It’s also the phone that introduced the company’s Dual Screen accessory, which is essentially a novel attempt to deliver a foldable phone without, well, making a foldable phone.
It’s an odd combination of novel features that hide the fact that under the surface the V50 is really a capable but slightly dull flagship phone that probably costs too much – essentially par for the course for LG these days.Price and availability
The V50 ThinQ is now available to buy through EE or Carphone Warehouse (on EE plans) in the UK, where prices start at £64 per month. EE turned on its 5G network in selected UK cities on 30 May. As with most 5G phones so far, it’s locked to that network and you can’t buy it SIM-free. If you buy from EE or Carphone Warehouse then the Dual Screen is included with the phone, though the V50 is also for sale from Buy Mobiles with no mention of the Dual Screen attachment, so check before you buy to make sure you know what you’re getting.
If you’re in the US you can get it on contract from Sprint or Verizon, where you can also buy it outright for $999. One downside is that if you’re in the US you don’t get the Dual Screen.
See all the 5G phones coming this year.The OG LG 5G
The V50 ThinQ is LG’s first ever 5G device – and going forward every ‘V’ series device will be 5G-compatible, while the ‘G’ series sticks with 4G for the time being.
There are downsides too though. The Snapdragon X50 modem powering the 5G capabilities is a little larger than normal, and the extra power drain means a bigger battery is required, both of which combine to make the V50 actually thicker than last year’s V40 – though at 8.3mm, it’s still far from chunky.
Speaking of that bigger battery, it’s a decent 4,000mAh, but LG is only predicting a battery life of 1.2 days. In our internal testing the V50 came in at the low end of most flagships – though not by too much – but I found it would only last a little longer than a day in normal use, and I’d be beginning to get antsy about a charge towards the end of the day, and much more so with the Dual Screen attached.
As for 5G itself, it’s still firmly in early adopter territory. We reviewed EE’s 5G network here in London and found signals and speeds unreliable – though undeniably fast when you find a good spot. Using the phone around the city I found 5G access was sporadic, and that while speeds were improved they didn’t have a tremendous impact on the ways I mostly used the phone – unless you’re trying to upload high quality video you’re unlikely to spot the difference.
With patchy signal, 5G also won’t save you from periods with little to no connection, so don’t expect it’ll solve all your slow download woes at once. Essentially, 5G is here, it does work, but we wouldn’t rush to upgrade until it’s more widespread and contract prices have dropped down.Feeling familiar
As for the rest of the phone, it feels fairly familiar, but that’s no bad thing – the V40 was LG’s best phone yet, so we can’t complain too much about more of the same.
From the front it looks like nothing’s really changed from the V40 – there’s the same notch, thin bezels round the 6.4in OLED display, and dual selfie cameras. Even the dimensions are almost identical, aside from the extra thickness (and corresponding 10g or so of weight).
That at least means things are just as good as before. The V40 packed one of the best screens in the business, and the V50 is the same – inky blacks, bright colours, phenomenal contrast, and a wealth of detailed colour and brightness settings mean that this is the perfect screen for display nerds. The only thing lacking is the higher refresh rates that other phones have begun to offer, but the QHD+ resolution here goes some way to making up for that.
Other features are familiar too: IP68 water resistance, rear fingerprint scanner, face unlock, and LG’s ‘Boombox Speaker’ mode – now improved by the addition of a stereo speaker setup. There’s still a headphone jack (hooray!) and a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC to make sure your audio is always at the top of its game.
Cameras are basically the same too: once again you get regular, wide-angle, and 2x optical zoom lenses on the rear, and other than some minor tweaks these are essentially the same shooters as last year’s phone.
Still, as with the display, that isn’t really any bad thing: these are very solid cameras, even if they’re not quite likely to trouble the best-in-class flagships from 2023, which have seen upgrades to both sensors and software that outstrip LG.
The main lens handles a variety of challenging lighting conditions well, with good exposure and accurate, if slightly warm, colouring – though there’s some loss of detail in shots with greater exposure ranges. The 2x optical zoom lags behind the higher zooms of rival handsets, but offers good detail – though with a smaller aperture it does struggle more in low light scenarios. The wide angle fares better, keeping up with the quality of the main lens in most settings.
Video is more impressive though, with the V50 not only handling 4K at 60fps, but also offering some of the best video stabilisation I’ve tested – here the V50 still feels competitive with the latest and greatest of 2023.
There are at least all the requisite upgrades internally: the latest Snapdragon 855 processor and 128GB storage, with 6GB RAM to back it up. It’ll also run Android Pie 9.0 out of the box.
Take a look at our benchmark results and the V50 does unsurprisingly well – at this level there’s little to pull apart the various flagships, and the V50 comfortably keeps up with every rival device, and outpaces the V40 across the board.
There’s wireless charging support, but the wired charging tops out at 18W – fast, but not fast enough to keep up with the competition. It edged over 50 percent charge in an hour or so, and takes about two hours to charge to full – way behind rivals that can get half a charge in just 30 minutes.
All of this is essentially welcome, if unexciting, leaving the V50 ThinQ feeling quite a lot like a V40 with a 5G modem slapped in. There’s arguably good reason for that though: LG has focussed its innovation not on the phone itself, but on the strangest smartphone accessory we’ve seen in years.Move over Nintendo
Meet the LG Dual Screen, cutting edge tech that’s coming out a scant 15 years after Nintendo did essentially the same thing with its DS game console.
The Dual Screen is an accessory for the V50 that consists of a hinged case with a 6.2in OLED display on one side, and a slot for the V50 itself on the other, turning it into a bi-screened device that’s eerily reminiscent of Nintendo’s handheld line. It’s included by default in the UK, but not available at all in the US, but it’s arguably the main reason to pick up the otherwise so-so phone.
The second screen can rotate a full 360 degrees, closing into a clamshell or flipping all the way over to give you screens on the front and back. It’s essentially the same sort of experience that the likes of Samsung and Huawei are offering with their new foldables, but in this case it’s a removable add-on that you can use as and when you please – and costs far less than a foldable..
Use cases range from the obvious – using the second screen to show someone the camera output while you’re taking a photo – to the more creative: flooding the second screen with bright white to help light your face better for selfies.
LG has even created a dedicated GamePad app which lets you turn one screen into a touchscreen controller while you use the other for playing games, further solidifying the sense that this is basically a Nintendo DS mod for your phone. This works well in supported games, but they’re unfortunately few and far-between, and we’re sceptical about how far-ranging support will ever be.
For the most part the Dual Screen is best suited to multi-tasking and productivity, letter you run separate apps on each screen or let supported apps – LG’s own, basically – spread across both to unlock new functionality. You’ll probably pretty quickly decide if you love it or hate it, but at least you can quickly pop the phone out when you don’t want the extra bulk (or battery drain) of the second display.
There are a couple design quirks to be aware of. Most annoyingly, the hinge will only lock when the screen is fully rotated, or parallel to the display, so you can’t comfortably set it to the perfect viewing angle. There’s also no display on the front, even though the reflective black surface looks like it should be a screen, while the display that is there is noticeably smaller and of worse quality than the main V50 panel – the sort of thing you’d only notice when they’re side-by-side, which they will be all the time.
All of these flaws have been fixed in the upcoming LG G8X at least, but that won’t be much consolation to V50 owners.Verdict
Taken on its own, the V50 ThinQ is basically just a 5G V40 with a processor upgrade. That means both good and bad: faster internet speeds and new features, balanced out by a thicker body and slightly reduced battery life.
We loved the V40, but almost a year on the V50 doesn’t feel as competitive – the rest of the market has moved on faster than the V-series, so while this is competitive on internal specs it already feels slightly dated in design and other small features, which makes the steep price tricky to justify.
Then there’s the Dual Screen. This is, to be blunt, a gimmick for most people, and a fairly silly one at that – which might explain why it isn’t even available in the US. But it’s also a surprisingly novel way to bring the foldable experience to a much lower price point, and if you’re a devoted multi-tasker then it actually works better than you might expect, if you can forgive a few niggling design flaws.Related stories for further reading Specs LG V50 ThinQ 5G: Specs
Android 9.0 Pie
6.4in 19.5:9 QHD+ 3120×1440 OLED (538ppi)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem
128GB internal storage
microSD up to 2TB
12MP f/1.4 rear camera with 12MP f/2.4 2x telephoto and 16MP f/1.9 super wide-angle lenses
8MP f/1.9 selfie camera with 5MP f/2.2 wide-angle
Rear fingerprint scanner
4G LTE and 5G
IP68 water and dust-resistance
4000mAh non-removable battery
If you prioritize design and imaging capabilities, and are looking for an affordable yet powerful smartphone, the Realme 11 Pro+ 5G is definitely worth considering.
realme 11 Pro+ specifications
6.7-inch (2412×1080 pixels) Full HD+ curved AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate
360Hz touch sampling rate, 1260Hz instant touch sampling rate
2160Hz PWM dimming, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, up to 950 nits brightness
Octa Core (2 x 2.6GHz Cortex-A78 + 6 x 2GHz Cortex-A55 CPUs) MediaTek Dimensity 7050 6nm processor with Mali-G68 MC4 GPU
8GB / 12GB LPDDR4X RAM with 128GB / 256GB (UFS 3.1) storage
Dual SIM (nano + nano)
Android 13 with realme UI 4.0
200MP 1/1.4″ Samsung HP3 sensor, f/1.69 aperture, 8MP ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture
2MP 4cm macro camera with f/2.4 aperture, LED flash
32MP front-facing camera with Sony sensor, f/2.45 aperture
In-display fingerprint sensor
USB Type-C audio, Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res Audio
Dimensions: 161.6×73.9×8.2mm (Black) / 8.7mm (Beige and Green); Weight: 183g (Black) / 189g (Beige and Green)
5G SA/NSA, Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 6 802.11 ax (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.2, Dual -frequency GPS/ GLONASS/ Beidou, USB Type-C
5000mAh (typical) battery with 67W (realme 11 Pro) / 100W (realme 11 Pro+)Design: A Premium Aesthetic
The Realme 11 Pro+ 5G sets itself apart with its premium and eye-catching design. Collaborating with former GUCCI designer Matteo Menotto, the company has created a phone that exudes style and sophistication. The sleek metal frame, curved panel, and distinctive leather panel on the back immediately catch the eye. The leather finish not only adds a touch of luxury but also provides a secure grip. This ensures that the phone never slips from your hand. The back panel remains free from smudges and fingerprints, maintaining a polished appearance.
One of the standout features of the Realme 11 Pro Plus 5G’s design is the prominent circular optics module on the rear panel. Housing three lenses in a single line, with an LED flash positioned above, this setup is accentuated by a golden ring at its center. The Realme branding is discreetly positioned at the bottom of the back panel. On the right edge of the device, you’ll find the power button and volume rockers. The bottom edge is home to the SIM tray, microphone, Type-C port, and speaker grille.
The front of the Realme 11 Pro+ 5G boasts a visually pleasing 6.7-inch curved panel. With minimal bezels and a small punch-hole cutout for the selfie at the top, this smartphone offers an immersive viewing experience. The curved edges and vegan leather back panel provide a comfortable in-hand feel. Although the phone weighs slightly more than its predecessor, it feels lightweight and easy to handle.Display: Simply Stunning
The Chinese company has provided users with four distinct color profiles to choose from, including Cinematic, Natural, Vivid, and Bright mode. Each profile offers a different experience, allowing users to customize the panel according to their preferences. The slim bezels surrounding the display further enhance the immersive experience, making content consumption a delight.Gizchina News of the week Camera: A Photographer’s Delight
One of the standout features of the Realme 11 Pro Plus 5G is its impressive optics setup. Equipped with a 200MP primary sensor, accompanied by an 8MP ultrawide sensor and a 2MP macro lens, this smartphone delivers exceptional photography capabilities. The 200MP primary sensor, utilizing the Samsung HP3 sensor with an aperture of f/1.69 and Optical Image Stabilization, captures stunning shots with exceptional clarity, intricate details, and accurate color reproduction. The camera excels in producing an impressive dynamic range, allowing for well-balanced shots even in challenging lighting conditions.
In low-light environments, the Realme 11 Pro+ 5G’s camera performs admirably. It can capture shots with a variety of hues that look natural. The lighting effects are well-captured, accurately depicting both visible and reflected light. The image sensor also excels in capturing details, whether it’s the face of a subject or the subtle shading of creases in clothing.
The 8MP ultrawide camera performs well in daylight conditions, capturing shots with commendable quality and a wide field of view. However, in low-light environments, the performance of the ultrawide lens may experience a slight decline.
The front-facing shooter of the Realme 11 Pro Plus 5G has seen a notable upgrade compared to its predecessor, with a 32MP sensor replacing the previous 16MP sensor. This upgrade results in detailed and vibrant self-portraits with impressive color accuracy and contrast. The camera also captures natural skin tones without artificially enhancing fairness, adding to the authenticity of the selfies.Performance: Smooth and Powerful
Powered by an octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 7050 chipset, the 11 Pro+ 5G delivers smooth and powerful performance. With up to 12GB of RAM and up to 1TB of onboard storage, this device can handle all your daily tasks with ease. Whether it’s web browsing, social media browsing, multitasking, or gaming, the Realme 11 Pro Plus 5G performs admirably.
Speaking of gaming, this smartphone proves to be a capable smartphone for both casual and demanding games. With an X-axis linear motor and a vapor chamber cooling system, the Realme 11 Pro Plus 5G ensures a smooth gaming experience even under demanding conditions. The cooling mechanism effectively regulates the device’s temperature, preventing overheating and maintaining a stable gaming performance.
The Realme 11 Pro+ 5G runs on Android 13-based Realme UI 4.0. This offers a user-friendly interface with a range of features and customization options. While the device does come with some pre-installed apps, certain bloatware can be removed, providing a more streamlined user experience.
The device also features an in-display fingerprint sensor, which is quick and responsive, ensuring secure access to your phone. The speakers perform well, with a clear and audible sound, whether you’re watching videos or listening to music. However, it’s worth noting that the Realme 11 Pro Plus 5G does not have an audio jack, which may inconvenience some users.Battery: Long-lasting and Fast Charging
The Realme 11 Pro Plus 5G packs a 5000mAh battery, providing long-lasting power to keep you connected throughout the day. With the support of 100W fast charging, this phone offers rapid recharging capabilities. In just 10 minutes of charging, the battery can reach 50%, and in under 30 minutes, it can be fully recharged. Even with heavy usage, the battery of the Realme 11 Pro Plus 5G can easily last a full day, making it a reliable companion for all your activities.Verdict: A Competitive Mid-Range Option
The Realme 11 Pro Plus 5G presents itself as a compelling choice for individuals seeking an appealing design and excellent performance within the mid-range segment. Obviously it may not offer the most powerful chipset available or include Gorilla Glass protection. However it delivers a competitive package overall. The attractive design, curved display, impressive camera capabilities, smooth performance, and long-lasting battery make the 11 Pro Plus 5G a worthy contender in the mid-range smartphone market.
If you prioritize design and imaging capabilities, and are looking for an affordable yet powerful smartphone, the Realme 11 Pro+ 5G is definitely worth considering. With its remarkable features and competitive pricing, this smartphone offers great value for money.
About our ZTE Axon 10 Pro Review: During this review, I used the ZTE Axon 10 Pro over a period of seven days on T-Mobile’s network in and around Kansas City. The review unit was supplied by ZTE. I used the 6GB of RAM version with 128GB of storage. The firmware version is GEN_EU_EEA_A2023G_Pro_V1.1.
ZTE Axon 10 Pro review: The big picture
At 599 euros, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro is priced to compete against the OnePlus 7 Pro and ASUS Zenfone 6.
The ZTE Axon 10 Pro is already available in China and Europe, and there’s a 5G version for 899 euros shipping later this month if you’re interested in faster wireless speeds. A U.S. version isn’t completely beyond the realm of possibility, but I wouldn’t hold out for it until ZTE makes it official.
What’s in the box
USB-C charging cable and wall adapter
Clear TPU case
3D Quad-Curved Gorilla Glass
159.2 x 73.4 x 7.9mm
In-display fingerprint sensor
No headphone jack
Thin, sleek, and elegant are three words that best describe the design of the ZTE Axon 10 Pro. It’s modern and fits in well with many other smartphones currently available. The thin profile and rounded corners make it very comfortable to hold, and it’s fairly manageable in one hand without too much shuffling. Like many other smartphones, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro uses glass panels on the front and rear and a metal frame in between. Not surprisingly, the phone feels sturdy. It’s an attractive phone and reminds me a lot of Samsung devices, especially with the way the front glass spills over the edges.
Underneath the screen is an optical in-display fingerprint sensor. This is slowly becoming the norm for smartphones, as we’ve seen them in many other phones released this year. The sensor doesn’t feel quite as quick as the one I used on the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom , but it’s quick enough to feel reliable. It’s also very accurate at recognizing your fingerprint as long as your fingers aren’t wet or covered in grease.
ZTE kept the back glass fairly basic. It has a reflective mirror finish that looks great, but it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before on other smartphones. There are no fancy gradients here and the ZTE Axon 10 Pro only comes in blue. The shade of blue is bright and I love how vibrant it looks. If you’re not a fan of this color you’re simply out of luck, at least for the time being. Companies sometimes release additional colors at later dates.
2340 x 1080, 19.5:9
6GB, 8GB, or 12GB of RAM
128GB or 256GB of storage
MicroSD card slot
Performance on the ZTE Axon 10 Pro was great. Since it’s packing Qualcomm’s most powerful processor, I expected the Axon 10 Pro to perform well, and it certainly does. Whether I’m casually browsing the web, catching up on social media, watching YouTube, or playing Clash Royale , the phone has kept up well with my usual smartphone routine.
To help boost performance, ZTE uses an AI engine to learn your app usage over time. This will preload apps into memory that you happen to use frequently to make them load faster. It sounds minor and you may not even notice it, but this ensures that your app experience remains snappy and responsive.
Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0, 18W charger
15W Qi wireless charging
Battery life on the ZTE Axon 10 Pro was equally great. I was able to get between five and six hours of screen-on time. These numbers don’t sound insanely high when compared to the eight-plus hours that we got on the HUAWEI P30 Pro, but I found it to be more than sufficient. I was able to get through a full day comfortably. A typical day for me consists of checking three email accounts, browsing social media, watching YouTube, and playing games for a couple of hours. The phone was connected to Wi-Fi whenever I was at home and screen brightness was manually set to 50 percent. I didn’t use the performance or battery saver modes.
Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 is the Axon 10 Pro’s fast-charging method of choice. It takes about two hours to charge the phone to full. You also have the option to charge the device through Qi wireless charging. I’ve never considered wireless charging to be a necessary feature, but it is convenient if you’re not in a rush.
Standard: 48MP Samsung GM1, f/1.7
Pixel-binned 12MP images
20MP wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 125-degree FoV
8MP telephoto, f/2.4, 3x optical zoom
5x hybrid zoom, 10x digital zoom
I’m a fan of wide-angle lenses and the one on the ZTE Axon 10 Pro is just as great as any other for capturing group photos or landscapes. Anti-distortion is built into the lens and works really well at keeping the edges of the photos perfectly straight. The downside to this lens is it doesn’t produce images that are nearly as sharp as the main lens. Details look smudgy and there’s a noticeable softness you can see without zooming in.
The telephoto lens is capable of 3X optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom that combines data from all three lenses, and 10x digital zoom. Its focal range is not as impressive as the more expensive HUAWEI P30 Pro or OPPO Reno 10x Zoom, but it works well for most situations. Being able to get closer to your subject without physically moving is extremely useful, and images still look incredibly sharp at 3X. Photos taken at 5X are a little softer, though only slightly.
Low-light performance is the camera’s biggest weakness and the lack of OIS really shows. Colors are good and images generally come out bright, but the detail is severely lacking. Photos just don’t look sharp at all. The night mode helps with bringing back some of the lost shadow and highlight detail, but it doesn’t do much else. The photos still appear soft and colors more muted. It also takes several seconds to capture and, without optical image stabilization, you really need a steady hand.
Navigating through the camera app is similar to most other camera apps. Swiping left to right will switch between the different modes and swiping all the way to the left will reveal additional modes. Basic camera settings, beauty mode, HDR, and filter options are all at the top of the camera app. Every option within the camera is easily accessible with just a couple swipes or taps.
Selfies from the 20MP front camera are more than adequate. By not oversoftening, it maintained a lot of detail in my face and skin tones were very natural. Portrait mode, however, could use some work. The cutouts look artificial. The camera struggles with complex edges from my hair and sometimes blurs more simple edges like my ears and the frame of my glasses.
We have a full gallery of images embedded below. Full-size images seen in this review are available on Google Drive
Android 9.0 Pie
If you’re an avid fan of pure Android experiences like myself, you’ll love the software on the ZTE Axon 10 Pro. Out of the box, it’s a near-stock build of Android 9 Pie, which keeps the experience simple, clean, and fast. In mid-January 2023, ZTE kicked off the OTA update bringing Android 10 to the Axon 10 Pro.
ZTE does include a handful of its own features, but they’re integrated in a seamless manner, similar to how OnePlus handles OxygenOS.
The software is much like what you’d see on a Google Pixel.
All of ZTE’s customizations are neatly tucked away in the features section of the settings menu. There are some useful gestures, a one-handed mode, a built-in screen recorder, and the ability to pick between traditional on-screen buttons or gesture-based navigation. Otherwise, the software is much like what you’d see on a Google Pixel. There’s no extra bloatware and ZTE uses many of Google’s apps like Dialer, Photos, and Messages as the default applications.
No headphone jack
DTS: X Ultra surround sound
ZTE Axon 10 Pro 6GB RAM, 128GB ROM — 599 euros/3,199 yen
ZTE Axon 10 Pro 8GB RAM, 256GB ROM — 3,699 yen
ZTE Axon 10 Pro 12GB RAM, 256GB ROM — 4,199 yen
ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G 6GB RAM, 128GB ROM — 899 euros
And that wraps up our ZTE Axon 10 Pro review. Would you spend your hard-earned cash on this phone?
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