Chinese company ZTE just announced the most recent member of their Axon line, the Axon M. ZTE has been marketing the Axon M as a “revolutionary” device that will ushering in a new-era of smartphones. I decided to take a look at the latest Axon phone to learn if it is as much of a game changer as some are claiming.
So What’s So Special About the Axon M Anyhow?
The Axon M features dual screen technology. This means that the phone consists of two screens that are connected on a hinge. This actually isn’t the first smartphone to feature two screens, that honor belongs to Kyocera’s 2011 Echo phone. While the Echo obviously never caught on, ZTE seems think that their phone is the wave of the future. They might be right...but maybe for the wrong reasons (more on that in a bit).
Now this might be the part where you are scratching your head and asking, “why would I want two screens?” The idea is that the dual screens of the Axon M will change the way that you stream media and look at information on your smartphone. The “M” stands for "multi-mode." This phone can operate as a (faux) tablet in Expanded mode, which combines your screens, doubling your display size. You can also utilize Mirror mode, so you could place your phone vertically on a table and watch the same video as a friend sitting across from you. And of course there is the more conventional Traditional mode, where you fold the second screen underneath the first and use it like a “normal” phone.
The Hard Data
With the exception of the two 5.2-inch Full HD displays, most of the Axon M’s specs are comparable to the Axon 7’s. The Axon M runs on Android 7.1.2. Nougat. It contains a Snapdragon 821 Quad-Core processor (which is a little obsolete already). It features 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. The Axon M has a single rear-facing 20 MP camera. However, the camera has a front-facing mode.
The Down and Dirty
While the Axon M might be a unique device, and while its dual screens might be indicative of smartphones to come, it has some problems. For starters, when the phone is in Traditional mode, it has a 12.1mm thickness, which is pretty clunky when compared to the 7.7mm thickness of the iPhone X. ZTE is really pushing the dual screen aspect of the phone, but there is the obvious line between the screens where the hinge is. This can distort the image, so it might be a problem if you are planning on using Expanded mode frequently. If that doesn’t bother you, having a crease in the middle the display might. Probably the biggest design flaw of this phone is that you can’t actually protect both screens at once (the hinge doesn’t go a full 360 degrees). This means that one of the screens is going to get scratched.
Foldable phones will probably be next big thing, but I would probably refrain from purchasing the Axon M and wait until the Galaxy X comes out, which will be a truly foldable, bendable device. Until then, I’ll satisfy myself with my iPhone. Let us know what you think about foldable smartphones @GetUnboxed on Twitter.