Earlier today ZTE launched an innovative new smartphone which leverages dual 5.2-inch colour displays. The foldable ZTE Axon M opens up and can operate in dual, mirror, and extend screen modes, offering up some useful and unique possibilities. Dual screens obviously offer some excellent multitasking options for users, if not significantly “transforming the mobile experience,” as touted by Lixin Cheng, CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices.
The key feature of the ZTE Axon M revolves around the utility value of dual 5.2-inch LCD displays. Each screen is identical, offering 1980 x 1080 pixels, 426ppi and covered by Gorilla Glass 5. Unfortunately, the dual screens make for a rather thick smartphone, measuring 150.8 x 71.6 x 12.1mm and weighing a chunky 230g.
Inside the phone ZTE employs a 2.15GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of storage (plus microSD options). There is a 20MP f/1.8 rear camera with PDAF, image stabilisation, and dual-LED flash. Connectivity is afforded by LTE (nano SIM), Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5GHz, USB Type-C and USB 2.0. The device is powered by a non removable 3180mAh battery which is Quick Charge 3.0 compatible. A fingerprint scanner is built into the side power button.
Let’s get back to the special appeal of this Android 7.1.2 smartphone – the screen modes and their usefulness. Alongside the usual back / home / multitasking icons at the bottom of the screen, the ZTE Axon M has a dual-screen mode switching ‘M’ icon (see pic above). When pressed you get four options as follows:
- Dual Mode: Two screens for second screen multitasking. Each screen can run an app of your choice – Twitter could reside on one screen, while live sports are streamed on the other, for example.
- Extended mode: Creates a single 6.75-inch diagonal screen from the two displays. Apps will sense tablet mode with this option but there is the dividing bezel between the screens, of course, which might prove distracting.
- Mirror mode: This is good for sharing / viewing content with friends sitting across, for example. The phone can stand up on its own in this mode.
- Traditional: Simply disabling the second screen provides a traditional smartphone experience and likely saves battery power.
There isn’t any pricing mentioned in the official press release and I couldn’t find an official video. However, I’ve shared a hands-on overview video by MrMobile below, which is worth a watch to see the folding mechanism in action, for example.