The Axon 10s Pro is officially the world's first handset to pack Qualcomm's latest state-of-the-art processor, as well as the first to use the 12GB LPDDR5 memory solution developed by... none other than Samsung. While that may sound like a big coup for the Chinese company that was brought to the brink of extinction by the US government less than two years ago, its importance is greatly diminished by the fact this newly unveiled "s" version of 2019's Axon 10 Pro is not actually up for sale anywhere just yet.
The 5G-enabled mobile powerhouse doesn't even have a price tag or release date attached to its name in ZTE's domestic market, and given the company's status in relation to the Trump administration, the odds of ever seeing the Axon 10s Pro supported by a major US carrier are nonexistent.
All that being said, there's a chance the phone will be commercially released in China before the Galaxy S20 family, and that would certainly be something. For the time being, the ZTE Axon 10s Pro holds the honor of being the only mobile device officially announced with a Snapdragon 865 SoC on deck, which makes this the world's fastest Android handset.
Fully detailed just a couple of months ago, the chipset was first benchmarked shortly thereafter on a Qualcomm reference device, vastly improving on the (theoretical) speed of the Snapdragon 855 processor used by most 2019 Android high-enders. Perhaps more importantly, the hot new flagship SoC has a real shot at defeating the Apple A13 Bionic silicon of the iPhone 11 lineup.
In fact, the aforementioned reference device did manage to edge out the iPhone 11 Pro in its preliminary AnTuTu scores, while narrowly losing the GeekBench 5 battle. We'll obviously have to wait and see how an actual commercial Snapdragon 865 phone performs in these popular benchmarking tools before jumping to conclusions, with said conclusions not always representative of real-world speed anyway.
As far as the other breakthrough is concerned, Samsung claimed back in the summer of 2019 that the 12GB LPDDR5 is "approximately 1.3 times faster than previous mobile memory that is found in today's high-end smartphones", so the ZTE Axon 10s Pro also has that going for it.
The rest of the specifications seem to have gone unchanged from the 4G LTE-limited, Snapdragon 855-powered Axon 10 Pro that you can also buy in the US, including a notched 6.47-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, a generous 256 gigs of storage space paired with the whopping 12GB RAM count, a 48 + 8 + 20MP triple camera setup, a fingerprint scanner hidden under the screen, and unfortunately, the same old 4,000mAh battery.
That may not sound small by 2019 LTE-only flagship standards, but in combination with a 5G modem integrated separately from the Snapdragon 855 SoC, it might have trouble delivering satisfactory endurance scores for many Android power users.
All in all, this is definitely not what we'd call a direct rival for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, S20+, or even the "regular" S20 5G, but on the bright side, ZTE should be able to price the Axon 10s Pro very competitively, making us a little sad to know the world's fastest Android phone (for now) isn't headed to the US (ever).