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Axon 10 Pro: ZTE's 'comeback phone' available in US for $549

After a tumultuous 2018, the Chinese phone-maker hopes an affordable flagship can help revive its brand in the US.

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The Axon 10 Pro

Angela Lang/CNET

The Axon 10 Pro, which debuted in February at MWC 2019 as ZTE's first 5G handset, is coming to the US. But instead of having 5G connectivity, the device will be sold unlocked as a 4G phone through ZTE, Newegg and B&H Photo's online stores. Already being sold in Germany, this variant of the Axon 10 Pro starts at $549 (8GB/256GB). There is also 12GB of RAM variant for $599.

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Seen as ZTE's "comeback phone," the Axon 10 Pro marks the company's quiet re-entry into the US market after a tumultuous 2018. In May 2018, ZTE was found violating 2017 trade sanctions, and the US government banned companies from selling products and services to ZTE for seven years. After ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, though, the ban was lifted. The ordeal crippled ZTE and ongoing trade tensions between the US and China continue to hang ZTE's future in the air. With the Axon 10 Pro, however, ZTE hopes to show US consumers that they are still capable of selling premium phones at affordable prices.

The phone features a 6.47-inch display with an in-screen fingerprint reader and an IP54 water resistant rating. It's equipped with a Snapdragon 855 chipset, a 4,000mAh battery and runs Android Pie with an update to Android Q planned for the end of the year. On the back is a triple rear camera setup that includes an 8-megapixel telephoto camera, a 48-megapixel standard camera and a 20-megapixel wide-angle lens. On the front is a 20-megapixel shooter. 

Though the phone does not have a headphone jack, its $549 starting price is notably more affordable than other Android phones with comparable specs, like the $669 OnePlus 7 Pro and $799 Pixel 3.