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ZTE hopes to reclaim image with sleek Axon 9 Pro

At IFA 2018, Chinese phone company ZTE hopes to regain some clout with its Axon 9 Pro flagship.

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Lynn La
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1 of 9 Angela Lang/CNET

Announced at the IFA 2018 conference in Berlin, Germany, ZTE unveiled its latest flagship, the Axon 9 Pro. It's the company's first phone after striking a billion-dollar deal with the US government earlier this summer, which would end ZTE's import ban over violating trade sanctions.

Read more of CNET's IFA 2018 coverage here.

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The sleek Axon 9 Pro is waterproof, and has a 6.21-inch, 1080p AMOLED display. The display has its own dedicated chip to process video, a feature ZTE brands as "Axon Vision." The technology not only boosts a video's color contrast, but it bumps up its frame rate to render smoother images.  

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The phone is also powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor and a 4,000mAh battery that has wireless charging capabilities.  

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For your photo needs, it has a 12-megapixel with OIS and 20-megapixel camera on the back. The second camera is for depth information, so you can take bokeh-style portrait photos. But it's not a telephoto lens, so there's no optical zoom like in the iPhone X or Galaxy S9. On the front is a 20-megapixel front-facing camera.  

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Below the camera and to the center of the phone is the Axon 9 Pro's fingerprint reader.

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The Axon 9 Pro also jumps on two trends that many phones are following. First, there's an onscreen notch at the top. The phone doesn't come with any new special facial recognition technology, so there's no real reason for the notch other than having a thinner top bezel.  

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Second, it doesn't have a headphone jack, so you'll need to use a dongle or wireless headphones to listen to your music and calls. 

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Not surprisingly, the phone won't be available in the US. Instead, the phone is coming to select countries in Europe and Asia.  

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Though ZTE doesn't have exact pricing at this moment, the phone is anticipated to cost about €649, which converts to about $760, £590 and AU$1,039.  

Read more of CNET's IFA 2018 coverage here.  

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