ZTE have announced their new Axon M smartphone, and it packs a very unique form factor. The Axon M is a foldable smartphone. Yes, you read that correctly – a foldable smartphone.
The Axon M packs dual 5.2" 1080p LCD displays, either of which can be used at any given time. One is mounted on the front and the other on the rear, which can then be slided outwards to allow you to use both displays in conjunction with one another.
The dual monitors work in conjunction with one another in what ZTE is calling 4 different modes: Dual Mode, Extended Mode, Mirror Mode, and Traditional Mode. Dual Mode allows for seperate applications to be run on each display, leveraging Android's multi-window support – a feature that makes sense for watching movies while texting friends.
Additionally there is extended mode, which allows you to essentially turn the phone into a tablet, with both displays working as components to make one, large display. While this looks useful, smaller side bezels would have made this much more manageable, and we're surprised as to why ZTE didn't make the bezel smaller. C'mon ZTE, it's 2017.
Mirror mode does what it says on the tin; mirrors your display, so you can do things like show a document or watch a movie with someone else on the same device.
And finally, traditional mode is…again, what it says on the tin, using a single display as a traditional phone would. This phone seems to have a variety of functions built in to take advantage of the dual display setup, showing that ZTE have thought this implementation through well.
Internals are nothing to shout about at all – aside from the displays, it houses last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, Android 7.1 Nougat and a massive 3180 mAh battery. Interestingly, the device packs a single 20MP camera, as opposed to seperate front and rear cameras. This is because you can simply flip to use the other screen depending on whether you want to use your front or rear camera at the time. Additionally, ZTE is planning on upgrading this device to Android Oreo very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
This isn't a budget smartphone by any means though – it will set you back around $730 in the States, and pricing and availability in other markets is yet to be announced. Furthermore, it's AT&T exclusive in the US, which may be a hurdle for many. All things considered while we love seeing innovation like this hitting the smartphone space, there's no doubt that due to the aged hardware and high price that this device will be a tough sell.
What do you guys think? Do you think this phone will take off? Do you like the idea of a dual screen foldable phone? Let us know in the comments, or post over in the forums with your thoughts.