Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

There’s broad consensus that the ZTE Axon 7 is a good, if not a great, smartphone. ZTE’s flagship killer packs incredible speakers, a fantastic camera, and a long-lasting battery for about half the cost of an iPhone 7. Now, its follow-up — the ZTE Axon 8 — might be just around the corner.

It’s early, but we’re beginning to hear rumblings about the phone’s hardware — and how much it might cost. Here’s everything you need to know.

Design

ZTE has been fairly quiet of late, but the biggest new rumor to come out of the Chinese company is a pretty major one. A project code-named “Iceberg” has been spotted on design website IF World Design. It shows a bezel-less smartphone design with see-through glass corners and a notch at both the top and bottom of the screen.

ZTE Iceberg

It’s a gorgeous design to say the least, and it shows a cool new spin on the notch concept we’ve seen ripping through the Android design space like so much spicy food. The top notch would contain the front-facing camera suite and a front-facing speaker, while the bottom would only contain a speaker. Since the Axon 7’s front-facing stereo speakers were a winner, this would be a great way to keep those, while still embracing the latest design trends.

ZTE Iceberg 2

Renders of the back of the phone show a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a dual-lens camera, and what looks like some sort of module-attaching extension. It’s important to note at this stage that these could simply be concept renders, and are never intended to move past this particular stage. Still, we dig the idea of a dual notch housing stereo speakers, and it’s possible that the Axon 8 could adopt this design.

Previous leaks of materials from TENAA, China’s governing electronics agency, were thought to show the Axon 8, but we now know this is the Axon 7S.

Specs and display

We don’t know much about the rumored specifications of the Axon 8 at this point. We expect that it will come with a Snapdragon processor to match previous models, but it’s unlikely to be the Snapdragon 845 in order to save money. Instead, we could see the return of the older but still powerful Snapdragon 835. In terms of display, we would expect the Axon 8 to come with an AMOLED display, as per its predecessors.

Software

If history is any guide, the Axon 8 will likely run ZTE’s MiFlavor software, a proprietary layer on top of Android. It packs features like My Voice, an app that ties custom voice commands to actions like unlocking the phone and adding contacts, and gesture controls that let you switch on the phone by making a flicking motion and mute calls by flipping it facedown.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see the Axon 8 released with Android 8.0 Oreo. If the Axon 8 releases in 2018, it makes sense to use the latest version of the operating system that has been available for quite a few months already.

Updated on April 10: Added images of the ZTE Iceberg as possibilities for the Axon 8’s design.





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