ZTE Axon M Dual Screen Smartphone
Having twice as much screen as usual may seem tantalizing, but chances are you won't be using both displays all the time. When it comes to using the Axon M as you would a normal phone, the compromises ZTE had to make become especially conspicuous. When closed, the phone is half an inch thick, making it the chunkiest smartphone I've tested all year. Now, I'd gladly trade smartphone sleekness for better battery life, but the Axon M uses a 3,180mAh cell that's enough to get through just a single day and not much more. Bear in mind, that's when you're only using one screen at a time; prolonged multitasking all but guarantees you'll need to keep the charger handy.
And then there are the screens themselves. ZTE went with two 5.2-inch LCD panels: one baked into the phone's chunky body and another wedged into a sliver of metal that flips arounds on a hinge and locks into place with a satisfying click. Sadly, these displays are wholly unremarkable. They're middling 1080p panels with lackluster colors and decent viewing angles. Neither of them gets as bright as other devices I've tested this year. For a phone as uniquely screen-focused as this one, it's disappointing that ZTE didn't go with more-impressive panels. It's not hard to see why, though: The Axon M would have been even more expensive.
Performance and battery life With an older processor, the Axon M isn’t the fastest or most powerful device out there. There are animation stutters when switching from a single screen to two, or when going from mirror mode to extend mode, and so on. It’s nothing too bad, just not flagship quality by today’s standards. What could end up being a deal-breaker for some is the camera. Because the Axon M, when in its default closed-shell form factor, has a screen on each side of the device, ZTE decided to save on costs and built only one camera into the phone. The lens is front facing by default, so if you want to take photos of something in front of you, you’ll have to press a button to flip the display to the other side, then turn the phone around.
ZTE Axon M 64gb Dual Screen Smartphone, Android From FunTech