ZTE Axon 7 launches
The ZTE Axon 7 is another cheap but powerful smartphone from China ZTE

ZTE has pulled back the curtain on the Axon 7, a hugely powerful Android 6 flagship that the company says will be one of the first to ship with support for Google Daydream. ZTE unveiled the device on 26 May in Beijing, China, alongside its very own virtual reality headset.

The Axon 7 is a follow-up to ZTE's 2015 namesake flagship, and is being marketed as a low-cost alternative to devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the iPhone 6S. Carrying a price tag of 2,899 yuan (approximately £300, $440), this is significantly cheaper than what mainstream manufacturers have been offering for their 2016 flagships. Pre-orders open in China from Thursday and the device is expected to reach international markets including the UK and US in the coming weeks.

For that price, the Axon 7 by no means skimps on the specs. Carrying a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset powered by 4GB RAM, Dolby-engineered Hi-Fi audio and with 64GB storage by default, this is a smartphone firmly at the high end of high-end. Oh, and it's been designed by the folks over at BMW.

ZTE is also brandishing what it labels an SLR-quality 20MP primary camera with dual optic image stabilisation, which is joined by an 8MP lens round the front. Despite the option of up to 128GB on-board storage (this model comes with 6GB RAM), the Axon 7 also has microSD support. Additional goodies include a fingerprint sensor, voice over LTE (VoLTE) support and a Quick Charge 3.0-enabled battery packing 3250mAh of juice.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Axon 7, however, is its native support for Daydream. ZTE promises that its new flagship will be one of the first to support Google's virtual reality platform, which presumably means the device has been built to Google's VR specification. The company also announced its VR headset – simply called ZTE VR – which will work much like the Gear VR and will take advantage of the Axon 7's 2560 x 1440 display and built-in surround sound.

All in all, it's an extremely promising-sounding proposition from the Chinese device maker, and we look forward to seeing what the Axon 7 and its VR companion can bring to 2016's already stellar smartphone line-up.

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