Last year, ZTE surprised us a little when it launched its Axon smartphone series. The Axon Pro, in particular, punched above its price point with a spec list that could make any tech fan’s eyes water (with tears of joy, naturally). It was one of the first devices to come with 4GB RAM, it had a QHD screen and was powered by the Snapdragon 810 processor. This year, it seems ZTE is going to refresh the range with a more premium look.

Continuing on from last year’s high-end device, the next ZTE phone — listed on TENAA (China’s version of the FCC) only as A2017 — features a 5.5-inch Quad HD display and large front-firing stereo speakers, just like the Axon Pro. Similarly, it features 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, suggesting ZTE knows how to show a little restraint in not following the recent trend of introducing 6GB RAM into their next smartphone. While we don’t know the exact processor makeup, the phone will have an increased battery capacity, jumping up from 3000mAh to 3140mAh, and will have a chip clocked at 2.0GHz, which could be the Snapdragon 820.

There are a couple of notable changes from last year’s flagship phone. Firstly, the listed ZTE phone only has a single camera on the back instead of the dual camera system built in to the Axon Pro last year. Secondly, the phone looks like it’s built almost entirely from metal, rather than the curved solid plastic of 2015, and measures in at 150 x 77 x 98 mm, making it slightly taller, wider and thicker than the Axon Pro. Thirdly, it has a fingerprint sensor mounted to the back panel.

Last year, the Axon Pro was an important device for ZTE. It wasn’t just a specced-out flagship offering great performance at a low price, it marked ZTE’s first major high-end smartphone launch in the US. This year, the Chinese company could build on that with the more premium device listen on TENAA. It will certainly be interesting to see how the A2017 is branded, how much it costs and whether or not it lands in the US.

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