Smartphones have become so good that they've also become so boring. Instead of adding more, manufacturers are actually taking things away, like the headphone jack on the iPhone 7; the modularity of the LG G5, which is absent in the LG G6 sequel; and the secondary display of the V10 and V20, which has been replaced by a virtual ticker display on the V30.
It's not that smartphones aren't great anymore — they're just not as exciting as they were a few years ago, because the landscape has entered a period where the law of diminishing returns finally applies, which basically argues that the more a thing gets upgraded, the less it's likely to become much greater than that. 16-bit was a huge jump from 8-bit; but can the same be said for 4K from 1080p?
The modern flagship has the following things: a bezel-less OLED or LCD display that's between 5 to 6 inches, dual cameras with optical image stabilization, wireless charging, the latest processor, and sometimes, they also have neat little extras like augmented reality or virtual reality. These are great specs to have, but is there anything new?
The smartphone standard is ripe for reinvention, and ZTE would like to take on that challenge with its new Axon M, a foldable smartphone sporting two screens.
ZTE Axon M: Specs, Features, And More
The ZTE Axon M is, at first glance, a regular-looking smartphone with a 5.2-inch 1080p display. Flip it on its back, however, and there's another identical display. But here's the kicker: there's a hinge that connects the two screens, meaning they can be flipped and joined side-by-side, essentially making it a foldable tablet of sorts.
Under the hood, however, there's very little glitz. It packs in last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon's 821 chip, has 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of onboard storage, and a 20-megapixel rear shooter. Thankfully, it even has a headphone jack.
ZTE Axon M: How Both Displays Work
But the real star of the show here are the two screens, and how they work is pretty interesting. As The Verge notes, there are four ways the displays can be used: First, there's a mirror view, which, as the name implies, allows the second display to mirror whatever is happening on the first one.
Second, there's the extended mode, which turns the extra display into a secondary monitor of sorts, making the phone function like a mini tablet.
Third, there's the A/B mode, which enables the user to use both screens for entirely different functions, essentially giving them two phones to work with simultaneously.
Finally, there's a traditional mode, which enables to users to interact with the Axon M just like any other smartphone.
Because the phone has two screens, the way it takes pictures is a little interesting. Here's the deal: There's only one camera that takes both selfie and rear shots. How would this work? Well, for selfies, the front screen is used as a viewfinder. For rear shots, the phone is flipped and the secondary display is used as a viewfinder. That's pretty neat, and it's actually perhaps the most promising element of the phone, which itself feels like a gimmick.
ZTE Axon M Pricing And Release Date
ZTE will sell the Axon M in the United States and Japan before this year ends. The company says it's not meant to replace the Axon 7, but will be priced similarly to other premium flagships in the market.
Thoughts about the ZTE Axon M? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!