This new ZTE phone is cheaper alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

This new ZTE phone is cheaper alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Tech Highlights:

  • The phones aren’t hugely different in most other respects either. Design-wise, both the Samsung and ZTE phones have ‘waterfall’ displays that curve at the edges, the same screen size and refresh rate, and the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and 5,000mAh-capacity battery. The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra even has a few features the Galaxy doesn’t: it has an under-display selfie camera, so you’re not losing any screen, and it charges fast at 65W.

  • If the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is on your wish list but out of your price range, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra, a new Android phone from Chinese tech company ZTE that looks identical to Samsung’s flagship, could appeal to you. The S22 Ultra starts at $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, whilst the Axon 40 Ultra costs $799 / £709 (approximately AU$1,200).

Admittedly, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the better phone overall – it comes with a stylus and has much better cameras. But we’ve tested both smartphones extensively, and the ZTE certainly isn’t inferior to the tune of $400 / £400. We haven’t quite finished our in-depth ZTE Axon 40 Ultra review, but based on what we’ve seen so far there’s a good chance that it could end up on our list of the best smartphones.

What lets the phone down is its camera setup – it’s not bad, but it’s not good enough to compete with the Samsung, or with newer iPhones. The AI scene optimization isn’t great, and autofocus is slow too. The front-facing camera is especially disappointing, likely thanks to its under-display placement, and snaps seem incredibly soft with an odd aura effect around subjects.

It feels a lot like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which currently tops that list, both in terms of its hand-feel and its performance – and those are the two key attributes of a phone that we pay the most attention. Its faster charging, and the lack of a ‘punch-hole’ cut-out in the screen, also contribute to a solid all-round user experience.

We did find ourselves missing the Samsung’s S Pen too – the lack of a stylus isn’t normally an issue on smartphones, but with our hand telling our brain ‘this is a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’ we did find ourselves reaching for the stylus on a few occasions, and being disappointed not to have it. Another negative is the battery life, as the phone didn’t always last through a day of use without needing to be recharged.

But with this Galaxy S22 Ultra doppelganger costing around the same as the Samsung Galaxy S22, Xiaomi 12 or iPhone 13, it’s easy enough to look past a few rough spots. Look out for our full review very soon. Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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