One screen is nice for a smartphone, but would’t it nicer to have two screens? The ZTE Axon M set out to answer that very question by affixing a second screen onto itself. Other devices have tried this before to little acclaim, but does ZTE’s smartphone fare better?


Given its second screen, it’s important to remember the ZTE Axon M is particularly bulky; its dimensions are 5.94 x 2.82 x 0.48, so it will be a struggle to fit the device in your pocket. Moreover, its weight is given at 8.1 ounces, so it’s uncharacteristically heavy for a smartphone. Utilizing two apps simultaneously can be a boon, but it is very detrimental to the M’s battery life.

With regards to its specs, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip powers the machine. ZTE’s Axon M offers 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, though the latter can be expanded by as much as 256GB with microSD cards. Additionally, competing phones will harbor two or perhaps three cameras, but the Axon M only has one front-facing camera. While it’s a capable 20 megapixel camera, the M is not an ideal phone if taking snapshots on the go is important to you. Ultimately, the M’s specs aren’t bad, but they are weaker than competing products.

There are four ways to utilize the phone’s two screens: single, mirroring, expanded and independent. Single is when you’re only using the primary screen, which therefore means the second display is folded behind the phone. Mirroring the display means both displays are displaying the same content. Independent means both screens are displaying separate images whereas both screens can synchronize into one display spanning 6.75 inches diagonally if expanded.

ZTE Axon M

However, the expanded view is marred by the phone’s unsightly black hinge that cuts down the middle of the display. (Image: ZTE)

The ZTE Axon M is available through AT&T for $725. This Android is an interesting experiment, and there certainly is value to it. However, unless the ability to multitask is that essential, you would probably best be advised to purchase another phone.