Most recently, ZTE have gave us a device that became a hit sensation back in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Twenty years ago, it was all the rage having a flip phone, that could unfold like some sort of robot, with one screen on one part of the fold, and buttons on the other. Now, ZTE have embraced the nostalgia trip, but, there’s a twist – Everyone, meet the ZTE Axon M.
As you can see, this is no ordinary flip phone. ZTE have gave us a fold-able device with two displays. Right off the bat, the Axon M brings something different to the current market, however it’s not so different if you think about.
On the surface the ZTE Axon M, looks anything but normal, for instance, sporting two identical displays, but it’s when you gaze at the specs you start to realize how normal the handset is. It’s front screen is a 5.2-inch 1080p panel, followed by another 5.2-inch 1080p display on the back of the device, both sporting an IPS LCD. It also houses last years Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (821). On a positive note, it does use 4GB of RAM and a 20 mega-pixel camera.
The M’s display hinge allows the rear screen to flip forward and slot right next to the main display, creating an almost tablet sized canvas. You can stretch the home screen and apps you use across the two displays for a larger working area, or you can run two different apps at the same time, one on each screen. You can also “tent” the phone, and mirror the displays so two people can see the same content at the same time.
ZTE have told us that they are using Androids default split-screen features to enable many of the dual screen functions. They have made sure that the “top 100” apps for Android will work on both displays, either stretched across the span of both displays or independently, it’s your choice. It’s even possible to watch two independent videos on both screens, whilst being able to choose what video audio you’d like to listen to on the fly.
ZTE is not the first company to attempt this kind of design – The Kyocera Echo from 2011 shown that for a consumer, it wasn’t a great user experience. It, like the Axon M, had a similar dual screen setup, with a hinge, that would let you use both screens side by side but due to the overall software, and technology at that time, it didn’t do very well.
But ZTE have applauded Kyocera with the design, and say that the idea of having a dual screen setup, is better now. They go on to say processors are more powerful in the present day and software features, such as Androids dual screen multitasking, are better suited for the “flip phone” form factor now.
Alternatively, you can use the Axon M, just like a normal handset, with the second screen hinged around the back of the phone, but be careful – Even though the ZTE Axon M comes with Gorilla Glass 5, you don’t want to be sliding it around or putting it down anywhere, as the screen on the back of the device will be face down on the surface. Additionally, the bezels that surround the two screens don’t really give you much leeway between the screen and the surface it’s on, it’s almost flat.
Now to the handsets battery. What would you expect to be in a dual screen, battery-draining, light emitting device? 3,800mAh? 4,000mAh? Nope, ZTE have provided a 3,180mAh battery. To me, that doesn’t really justify the additional screen that would be constantly guzzling your juice, however, ZTE says that the 3,180mAh battery is designed to provide a full day’s use between charges and has sufficient power to run both screens on and off all day.
The Axon M is 12.1mm thick and weighs 230 grams. For comparison, the Google Pixel 2 with its single 5-inch screen is 7.8mm thick and weighs 143 grams.
ZTE will initially be selling the Axon M with AT&T in the US and Docomo in Japan and it is expected to be available before the end of the year. Though the company stresses that it is not designed to be a replacement for the single-screen Axon 7, it will be priced similarly to other premium smartphones ($750).
Let us know what you think of the device in the comments below!