Only one product was announced by ZTE Tuesday morning in New York City, but the company created something with the benefits of two products. The Axon M is a high-end phone with two identical displays attached by a hinge. What you get is a multitasking beast that lets you see and do more at one time.
ZTE’s latest phone improves on efficiency, and it does that through different modes. Need an email and your calendar open for cross-referencing? No problem. Want to watch a video with the person sitting across from you? Simple. Interested in getting more of your Twitter timeline to see at once? Done. The folding nature of the Axon M allows you to do all of those things and more. Its displays can be separated, folded, and merged as needed.
Productivity and entertainment benefit the most from the Axon M’s hinge and multiple displays.
It’s unclear just how useful the two-screen design can be, though. Over the years, Google has implemented excellent multitasking features for Android. Marshmallow introduced a split-screen mode for apps while Oreo brought picture-in-picture support. When I used the Axon M today, I was initially impressed by how normal the phone seemed. But then I realized the design wasn’t that practical if you constantly use it traditionally with one hand. And most people are going to be using just one screen, not two.
The phone features two 5.2-inch Full HD (1920×1080) TFT LCD displays with Gorilla Glass 5, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, a 20MP camera, a 3180mAh battery, and Android 7.1.2 Nougat.
Here are the modes, as described by ZTE:
- Dual mode: Provides unlimited potential in app combinations so consumers can do more, all at once. With Dual mode, you can watch your favorite professional basketball team or PGA Tour tournament on one screen, while answering and catching up on work emails on the the other screen.
- Extended mode: Stream, email and play games on a full 6.75-inch Full HD display. Extended mode lets you watch your favorite shows and movies on a larger screen, when and where you want to.
- Mirror mode: Sit across from your friends and watch the same content on one device. Simply fold the device in Mirror mode and place it on a table for easy viewing from two separate sides.
- Traditional mode: When you aren’t watching sports, catching up on your favorite shows, or surfing the web, Traditional mode gives you a great everyday smartphone that’s easy to use and hold in one hand.
The Axon M will make its way around the world, but only one carrier in the United States is going to sell it. ZTE has partnered with AT&T to make the phone availability exclusively on its network. If you’re not an AT&T customer, you’re out of luck. But you might not be missing out on much. While it looks cool, the Axon M is way too expensive considering the dated specifications.
AT&T will begin selling the Axon M next month for $24.17 per month on a payment plan.