We have seen phones that have had secondary screens like on the Galaxy Note Edge, LG V10 and V20, but not a phone that truly has dual-displays. We have also never seen a mainstream phone that folds in half. Enter the new ZTE Axon M.
DISPLAY AND PROCESSOR
Foldable phones are officially here! While not exactly a foldable screen, the newly announced ZTE Axon M offers two full-sized 5.2-inch Gorilla Glass 5 FHD displays that are separated by a hinge that allows the device to fold. Both displays have an identical resolution of 1080p and 426 ppi (pixels-per-inch).
The ZTE Axon M has a dated 2.15 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM and has Android Nougat 7.1.2 on board. Even with a year old processor, the Snapdragon 821 is still quite good and Android 7.1.2 is the version right behind Oreo.
CAMERA AND BATTERY
As far as the camera goes, there is a single 20-megapixel snapper on the device. This camera works as both the main and front-facing shooter. If you have the camera on selfie mode and want to switch to the rear, hit the appropriate button on the screen and flip the phone over so that the lens is facing away from you. The second screen will automatically be on and ready to snap. Additionally, the Axon M has a f/1.8 aperture, dual LED flash, and dual image stabilization for both photo and video. It also records video in 4K UHD and can capture slow motion videos up to 240 fps (frames per second).
You definitely need a big battery to power two screens right? Well, ZTE packed in a decent sized 3180 mAh non-removable battery in the Axon M. ZTE claims the battery should provide up to 28.7 hours of talk time and 290 hours on standby. Additionally, the phone supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and takes roughly 125 minutes to fully charge. Charging the device for 30 minutes should provide you with 47% of juice. Will be curious to see how the battery holds up powering two screens.
In an era where headphone jacks seem to be fading, ZTE keeps it alive by including a 3.5mm jack on the Axon M. The device is on the thick side, but I believe it has to do with the dual screens more than having a headphone jack. Unfortunately, the handset does not support wireless charging and is not water-resistant. On the bright side, there are features that take advantage of this unique dual-screen design.
Dual Mode - A mode that gives users the unmatched ability to multitask. You can have one app opened on one screen and another app opened on the other. For example, you can be on a call on one screen while getting GPS directions on the other. You can even use a gesture swipe to move what is being displayed on one screen to the other.
Extended Mode - With this mode, both screens are combined to give you more screen real estate
for viewing. It gives you a tablet-like viewing experience on a combined 6.75-inch display. For example, if you're browsing the web, extended mode will show you more of whatever website you're on. You can even play Candy Crush across both screens (see image below)!
Mirror Mode - This mode is exactly what it sounds like. When activated, both screens will mimic each other. This is ideal when watching videos that you want others around you to see. Imagine sitting across from a friend and you want to show him or her what you're watching, all you have to do is fold the device in half and place it in front of you. The video would be played on both screens and now your friend does not have to get up and come next to you to see what you're watching.
Traditional Mode - This is the simple mode of just enjoying the smartphone on one screen in one hand.
Lastly, it has a power button that has an integrated fingerprint sensor on the side of the device. This is very similar to a Sony Xperia smartphone.
RELEASE DATE AND PRICING
The ZTE Axon M comes in black and will have 64GB of internal storage with the option to expand via micro SD up to 256GB. AT&T will be the exclusive carrier in the US and will be releasing the device within the next month for $24.17 per month for 30 months on AT&T Next. The device will also be sold in China, Japan and Europe.
Personally, I have to give ZTE a lot of credit for making an intriguing device that stands out in a rather stagnated smartphone market. Hopefully this encourages other smartphone makers to bring change to smartphone design in the very near future.