Slimming the bezels and avoiding the notch has ushered in some of the most interesting smartphone designs in years. Now, we’re getting a look at two new designs from ZTE in the Axon S and Axon V which try things we’ve never seen before, for better or for worse.

The ZTE Axon S and Axon V both have the same core design at a glance. Up front, there’s a near-all-screen panel which has rounded corners. However, each has a distinct quality to set it apart.

For the Axon S, the company is experimenting with a slider design. While that’s nothing new given the devices we saw launch last year, ZTE’s take is different with a “side-slide” design. Rather than the display panel moving downward to reveal cameras, the entire panel slides to the right to reveal two selfie cameras hidden underneath. The empty space on this panel is apparently also touch-sensitive, but it’s not clear what that’s used for.

The rear cameras apparently also hide in this sliding portion of the phone, with a 48MP and a 5x zoom lens making up parts of the triple-camera array.

ZTE Axon S

Further, the ZTE Axon V avoids a notch or display cutout by essentially plastering those components onto the side of the device. Two cameras sit along the right side of the phone which simply jut out of the side. It’s a polarizing look for certain. However, it makes room for the 6.8-inch(!) 21:9 display and also leaves extra space for the battery too.

ZTE Axon V

Both devices leaked courtesy of the IF Design website (via Notebook Italia, SlashLeaks 1, 2), which actually gives a slight cause for concern. Even though the site mentions a 2019 launch date, we’ve seen this before. In the past, ZTE has had devices leak via this source before, and they never ended up coming to reality. We’ll have to wait and see if the same is true of these new devices too. In the meantime, I’ll personally be looking at these as concepts.

The question begs to be asked, though. Would you buy either one?

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Ben Schoon

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