Axon 7 - 3 major gripes - Are you listening ZTE and working on a fix?

Axon 7 - 3 major gripes - Are you listening ZTE and working on a fix?

I have been patiently awaiting my pre-order Quartz Grey and hope it ships any day now. That said I own the OP3 and while I like this phone a lot, I am infatuated with the Axon 7!

Each day I take a moment to search for the latest reviews/previews and customer threads and think I have read them all.

The 3 biggest complaints from reviewers and customers alike is the following:

1. Camera does not do well using Auto in low-light: but manual mode can help to improve.  Tweak the Auto mode for better low light performance

2. The lock screen does not show alerts:  unless you click the small icon to display them, should be able to toggle this on/off

3. Enable soft keys: Not a single person has stated they like your capacitive keys, did you even test this before implementing them??, they are too close and not illuminated but soft keys would resolve this. Furthermore, if you do implement soft keys (I believe Chinese version has this so would be easy to enable in US version I would think) also allow folks to use the hard keys as well for other tasks.

All these issues seem to be easy fixes in software updates.  ZTE are you listening and actively working to get these issues addressed?  Seems you would make a lot of people very happy with what seems to be simple fixes.  With these issues in mind I am still eager to get my pre-order and will decide whether i stick with the OnePlus 3 or put it up on eBay ;-)

Thanks for anyone who cares.

Update on 8/31/2016:

Okay, so check this out, a better Camera app for the Axon 7! It appears to me the camera issues are software more than hardware, especially in lowlight, sharpness and even shaky videos. So I tried to find an alternate camera app replacement and I believe I have found a good one. The OnePlus One has the CameraMod v22 and aside from the occasional odd crash, it works amazingly well. You can tweak the contrast for lowlight, sharpness and a many more settings, the nice part as well is it saves this to your default camera, whereas the stock camera app you can tweak in manual mode but that's not ideal..i am super happy with this, now keep in mind you will loose some of the gimmicky options in the stock camera but you can always go back to that and run both. Please let me know how it works out for you, I think its pretty great and the pictures look fantastic!!!



  • dabehrsdabehrs Dripping Springs, TexasPosts: 446 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hey man,

    Welcome to the community, i think if you spend a little time searching around you will find that not only are they listening, they are actively lobbying for what the community at large is asking for. If you do a search for posts by ​ and ​ i think you will see what I'm talking about.

    1 & 2. These have been brought up and are, to the best of my knowledge being worked on to the degree that it can be.

    3. Don't take this wrong but that is simply not true. Within the community most people here asked for them to be added after the knowledge that they were not going to be present. Would some of those that wanted them wish they had been executed a little differently? yes, many have said they wished they lit up, but many have also stated that they are intuitive and function well.

    We all care...

  • Thanks for the feedback. And understand on the softkeys and great that they added the capacitive keys, however I have both the OP3 and S7 and those are capacitive keys, these seem a bit like an afterthought, but then again I do not yet own the phone but hope to in the next few days.

    Thanks again, and I will check out some of the posts you mentioned.

  • dabehrsdabehrs Dripping Springs, TexasPosts: 446 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No worries. To be clear, the capacitive buttons were an after thought as they originally had none. But amongst those that have the device the feedback is not all terrible. Like with all things YMMV.

  • jyeejyee VP, Product Marketing & Strategy San Francisco, CAPosts: 130 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    To William's point, #3 is one of the reasons we delayed the US launch to allow more time to get capacitive keys instead of soft keys given feedback we had during the beta stage.  It's a difference of opinion between two users.  Some like soft keys, others like the capacitive keys. 

    But to address your question, yes we are listening.  Peter and his team are actively gathering feedback and helping to prioritize the top issues that we hear from the community.  We love getting direct feedback and it helps to build a better product.  However, please keep in mind that this does not mean that we can address every issue that gets posted into a forum.  We're doing our best to understand what the majority wants, to sort through the top concerns, and organize our engineering resources accordingly.

  • dabehrsdabehrs Dripping Springs, TexasPosts: 446 ✭✭✭✭✭

    ​, sort through the 6G/128G  versions and I'll long term beta test 2 of them for you!

    Thanks for being involved.

  • Very excited my Newegg quartz grey axon 7 is being packed for shipping along with my free Monster N-pulse studio headphones.

  • swehesswehes Project Manager United StatesPosts: 111 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I want to second ​ on #3. I like the capacitive buttons and don't mind them not being lit up. Maybe slightly close together but nothing to keep me from loving the phone.

  • kingantoniuskingantonius Conroe, TXPosts: 16 ✭✭✭✭

    Personally I think the only thing wrong with the capacitive buttons is that there's no way to tell if your finger it hitting it when it's dark. If there was a slightly raised spot over the buttons, preferably in the same shape as they look, then you could easily feel that you've found it with your finger. Otherwise, no complaints.

  • At first i wished the keys where illuminated. then i got used to it and it wasn't that big of a deal once i learned where they where. but there is an app called "Simple Control" that used to enable on screen keys. give that a look to see if thats something you'd be interested in using. it works fine on the ZTE axon 7.

  • cacarrcacarr Posts: 93 ✭✭✭✭✭

    FWIW, the capacitive buttons are in the cons column in every single review I've watched or read.

    I guess I don't understand why there's no option out of the blocks. Give us a toggle in an update, pretty please -- I came very close to not buying this device earlier today, based on the weird, half-baked-looking capacitive key implementation.

  • ZTE Chinese version has softkeys and certainly can be easily added with a firmware update to toggle on or off just like OnePlus offers in their phones.

    In a side note my Newegg axon 7 should be here by end of week and I will for sure share my experience with it.  Hope it's good because I just sold and shipped the OP3  

  • I am pretty sure they wont be making any hardware changes by removing or adding lit capacitive buttons.  There is much they can do for software onscreen buttons but who knows if they will, again, seems like easy fix they already have it in the Chinese version of the phone.

  • wasabitdiwasabitdi Calgary, CanadaPosts: 89 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would like to have the soft keys options as well. I never like the capacitive keys

  • cacarrcacarr Posts: 93 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If you're going to slap on some half-arsed, cramped, undifferentiated, non-illuminated, outright weird capacitive buttons at the (relatively speaking) last second -- buttons that are at best by most accounts something you have to "get used to" -- why would you force them on customers by not offering an on-screen button option? If they were well-done capacitive navigation buttons, that would be different -- but no one is describing them that way.

    I suspect that people who are deciding between this device and the upcoming Nexus were not proportionately represented among beta testers (maybe there were too many Samsung users) -- and these are people who disproportionately prefer their Android be Androidy, with soft keys.

  • I am having serious issues with the camera. No matter what lighting I use, I get photos that are "fuzzy".

  • Hello,

    So I received my Quartz Grey Axon 7 with free Monster $200 N-Pulse headphones from Newegg.  I did write up on my experience so far but somehow it did not get posted here sadly.  Anyways I will try to summarize my findings so far but the formatting is not going to be nearly as nice as it was my first attempt on Monday but hopefully this is helpful for some.

    1.  Love the free pre-order Monster headphones, you can still get this if you order by 9/9 here and give them 4 out of 5, only real complaint is they are a bit tight but maybe need to be broken in over time is my hope, sound is great and Free is for Me as they say!

    2.  The 3 things I have commented on this post   will update on.

    a. The camera's are actually pretty good and almost great with manual tweaking.

    Front camera - Seems a bit washed out when using auto and low light, in bright light its better, would like to see the sharpness improved here by default as I cant even make out my 24hour facial hair, instead looks like a blur.  I can get it better with manual mode, but should be able to do a quick pic and not have to tweak every time, especially for selfie, which I don't use often but sometimes will grab someone and snap one etc.But there are problems in Auto-mode for sure with lowlight.  However cool feature here for both cameras, if you click on the screen to auto-focus (don't need to but can) there is a little backlight slider you can tweak the lighting and not have to go all the way into manual mode.  This works for both the front and rear cameras.  There are a ton of options to explore with the camera and feel with some software fine tuning it could be a great camera, but out of the box ZTE absolutely needs to tweak the auto mode to improve clarity and sharpness.  The rear 20 MP camera has some amazing MP's, you can zoom in and  pretty crazy the amount of detail it captures, again the sharpness and clarity issue is here but in bright light the auto mode takes good to great pictures.  Also the video and image stabilization seems pretty good, however I agree with many posts that moving objects and taking a picture just gets really ugly, like the shutter speed is not quick enough to keep up, having 4 kids in sports etc, this is kind of a bummer.  In the end the camera seems good but not great, hopefully a lot of these issues can be refined with updated firmware.

    b.  the capacitive keys work just fine and at least they do have haptic/vibration feedback, do wish they where back lit, have no problem that its a circle in the middle and 2 dots on either side, unless your a dummy its pretty easy to learn which is which after using for a few minutes and you can reverse the keys so all good there.  I still would like to see the on-screen keys become an option but in the end its a nice to have, also the spacing of the keys, I read a review and he actually made a great comment, the fact they are closer together, when you hold the phone in landscape mode, you don't hit the keys if they where further apart, also it does make one hand operations a bit easier as you do not have to stretch your fingers between the 3 keys.  So all good there and think this was an accidental bonus.

    c. The lock screen bell, is just dumb all around, I mean I think I know why they did it because you can see the pretty hi-res pictures on your phone, however even when I touch the bell, and the notifications show up, they wont be displayed or are hidden because the phone is locked, not sure if this is something I misconfigured or what but basically the bell/notifications are useless, absolutely must update the firmware to allow this to be configurable and disable if you want.

    So, its been 4 days now with my Shiny new Axon 7 Quartz Grey and I sold my OP3 and how do I feel about that decision as I made:

    - I think I made the right decision, the OP3 software is for sure more polished but I think the Axon 7 has better overall hardware for sure.  The benchmarks are neck and neck but the OP3 is a tiny 200 or less bit faster in AnTutu Benchmark, but I think this has nothing to do with 4 GB versus 6 GB and more to do with the firmware/O/S tuning on OP3 giving it a slight edge but no one would notice in real world use and think ZTE can improve here.

    - The sound on this bad boy is amazing!  I owned the HTC One 7 which is suggested to be one of the best front facing speakers on a phone and this think crushes it!  While listening to Music on front speakers may not show off the Dolby, watch some YouTube or Netflix and be amazed when its placed square in front of you.  The Audio for Music and Movies over $20 Sony Earbuds or the free pre-order Monster N-Pulse or higher end headphones is really amazing to say the least.  The dedicated auto chips really push the volume and bass.

    - Over all build quality is fantastic, while the phone is a tad heavy I actually like the weight of it as it helps to balance it in my hand.

    - The screen is fantastic, colors look vibrant and angles are amazing.  Only gripe it does not get as bright as the Galaxy S7 for outdoors but it is a step up in brightness over the OP3 and the Quad HD verse 1080p goes to the Axon no question.

    - I really like some of bells and whistles ZTE has tried to cram into the firmware.  However I feel they are not refined and sometimes don't even work.  For example, putting the phone next to your ear, there is a voice response and you can say call someone by name, this is hit or miss as sometimes it wont even ask you, when it does ask you it works great.

    Some questions I have and if anyone knows please do share if a work around for these:

    - One thing I have yet to figure out, the included Dolby Equalizer, there are presets and also custom mode, I can not get my custom settings to save! You can really pump up the bass for example on the equalizer slider, but cant seem to make it save!  Even tried to download from app store paid "Equalizer" app thinking it would help but it seems to interfere with Dolby and will even crash or shut it off or hang the phone so I removed it.

    -  I really wish there was a shortcut button to open the camera!  The need to add this to the next firmware for sure!

    - Again, the dumb Notification bell, need to have option to tweak this on/off, but in mean time does anyone know why I can see the notification when clicking the bell but the details of the notification are hidden?  I think its because the phone is locked but if anyone knows how to correct this would be good.

    - There does not seem to be a decent Axon 7 Tempered Glass Screen protector!  Any suggestions appreciate of any vendors you know of working on one please share!

    In Summary, great hardware and some really great software feature attempts that need polishing and some don't even work consistently, for example the equalizer does not save your settings, the audio "call someone" does not always work when you put your ear up to the ear piece, the notification bell sucks and finally need to get a shortcut to open the camera app with one button or maybe a touch and hold of the touched?.  I am glad I got the Axon 7 and feel its a better device than OP3, but really really hope to see ZTE clean up some of the software short comings, maybe will will see all these fixes when they release Android 7 is my guess.

  • hollaphollap United StatesPosts: 8,377 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    ​, great write-up for sure!  Seems as though you are having the same experiences as me.  As far as the glass screen protector, if you haven't seen it yet you can check out this post:

    There aren't many options, and the one I purchased doesn't fit very well (I posted pictures in the thread). Good luck finding one, and thanks again for your great post!

  • swehesswehes Project Manager United StatesPosts: 111 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Trying out the camera app you posted and it looks pretty nice.

  • Yes, its pretty decent alternative for sure.  I was going to post some comparison pictures, however its odd, the stock camera app seems to take more wide angle photo and video while the cameramod is a bit more cropped so its not a one for one comparison. But from what I can tell it seems a better overall app experience, accept for the random crash but no biggy there, only see this when I am in the advanced settings making changes. 

    The best think I like about cameramod v22, you can save the default sharpness, brightness etc and seems to focus a bit faster than stock camera app.

  • cacarrcacarr Posts: 93 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've had the device for a few days now. Sexy piece of kit for $400, for sure.

    I can operate the capacitive buttons without too much problem, even in the dark. But they are still  *completely unacceptable* because not everyone has my fine motor skills and years of experience with Android smartphones.

    It's a serious *accessibility* issue -- I could never recommend this device as is, as, for example., a first smartphone for an elderly person, and it would be no good for a friend of mine who has some motor skills impairment from an aneurysm. You can't assume people have or will develop the muscle memory required to navigate in low light conditions.

    So an on-screen button option isn't just for placating people who don't like capacitive buttons. It's a necessity. And the kludgy MiPop thing is not a solution.

    This oversight might fly in China, but not the US.

    *Edit* Oh, that's right, the Chinese version actually has softkeys.

  • cacarrcacarr Posts: 93 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The download link is here -- scroll to the bottom:

    [APP][May 26][V10]COS12/CM12/CM12.1 CameraNe… | OnePlus One

    Freakin' sweet. I was missing the Cyanogen camera app. Haven't tested it out yet, but if nothing else, the UI is much better than ZTE's app.

    Much appreciated.

  • Turn on the vibration will help you find the capacitive keys for those that cant see, oh wait if you can't see the circle surrounded by 2 dots, then why are you using a phone in the first place ;-)

  • kingantoniuskingantonius Conroe, TXPosts: 16 ✭✭✭✭
    jackmaddy wrote:- I really wish there was a shortcut button to open the camera! The need to add this to the next firmware for sure!There is right there from the lock screen and an icon in the app drawer that you can put on one of your home screens. At least there is when using Nova. I'm fairly certain I saw on in stock too.
  • maverickmaverick NJPosts: 538 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I dont mind the bell. But i cant seem to get that good of connectivity with the a7. I do like the phone but besides bad signal after update and now i'm getting no chimes when i get a notification, i think its ok. I think they need to crack the whip on their coders to get this thing up and running. def not ready for market.

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