Home Phone Reviews ZTE Axon M Review: Halfway Happy

ZTE Axon M Review: Halfway Happy

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ZTE Axon M Review: Halfway Happy

I’ve had more fun in my week with the axe on em than with almost any other phone this year it’s a crazy dual screen clamshell half phone half tablet that I would love to carry if its execution lived up to its concept the company behind this change of pace is ZTE and even though it’s the fourth largest phone brand in North America you might not have heard of it well that’s because ZTE is typically focused on affordable phones instead of mould breakers like this and to the company’s credit very little about this hardware feels substandard peel that second screen off the backside and it spins on a hinge so sturdy feels like it came off a truck door the lock is strong enough to keep it in tablet mode no matter how much jostling you do and when you shrink it back down to phone size it slams shut with a satisfying clack worthy of the best clamshells of yesteryear it’s thicker than most phones and 17% more massive than even the ponderous note eight but that makes room for a programmable shortcut key and a power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor ZTE even took a note from HTC and Apple pressing the earpiece into service as a secondary speaker when you don’t want to use the headphone jack and phone calls are just as clear as on a conventional phone from a hardware standpoint the ax on em does its predecessor the ax on seven proud it doesn’t take long though to start seeing the compromises it’s something let’s cut in between it’s like halfway happen Android has come a long way since the last phone like this but it’s still not optimised for a second screen CTE had to do a lot of custom work to bridge the gap and that took time so out of the box the phone ships with Android nougat instead of the Oreo update that’s promised soon it’s also running on older silicon Snapdragon 801 soon to be two generations behind that means you don’t get the energy optimizations of newer processors so the ax on em drains it’s moderately sized battery quite quickly when both screens are on and speaking of those screens you might notice a significant failure in quality control when both are open on my review device and several others the two displays have two different white points with one appearing much warmer than the other this is the kind of thing that might pass muster in the budget phone space but doesn’t really fly on an expensive flagship what can you do with that second screen more than you might expect actually the screen mirroring feature might come in handy for showing off photos across the table at a restaurant I admit that’s kind of a stretch so more useful is the full-screen view which stitches the two displays into one canvas now this isn’t great for video since the resulting super screen is both squarish and bisected by a big ugly bezel but it is handy for things like google maps where the bigger area makes it easier to see while driving and the fact that Amazon Kindle lets you split a book across pages makes this my new favorite phone for reading if you stack the screens vertically you get an insane amount of room for the keyboard or game emulator controls or a handy spot to leave a comment and subscribe to a YouTube channel without ever leaving the video finally the a/b mode is for hardcore multitaskers who can run two apps side-by-side and almost simultaneously CTE obviously put a lot of thought into not just the how of making a dual screen phone but the why as well and that makes the acts on em genuinely useful a lot of the time unfortunately it’s also genuinely frustrating a lot of the time sometimes an app thinks it’s in dual screen even when it’s not so half the content gets chopped off there’s no way to rotate the home screen to landscape in full canvas mode nor is it possible to make use of the wasted space opposite the dock continuing on switching between single and dual screens can be slow since the displays face outward when the phone is closed it scratches very easily Gorilla Glass 5 notwithstanding and in a world where haptic feedback just keeps getting better the vibration motor in this thing feels and sounds straight out of 2011 lastly we’ve got to talk about this camera it’s a single 20 megapixel shooter which is logical for a phone with two screens but in practice shooting photos with this thing is a comical circus of rotations and delays wrong sides and upside outs if you lock the ax on em while it’s in camera mode the next time you turn it on it’s gonna wake up on the wrong side and when you flip it back to the front you’ll be lucky not to change your wallpaper or move some apps around by scraping your hand across what you thought was the back really wasn’t and for all this trouble me you get quality selfies sorta but only adequate regular photos and to stay adequate you need to stay in the Sun at night you’ll get brighter shots from phones that cost half the price of this one that’s pretty weak the axon M is available exclusively from AT&T in the US as the ponderous load of bloatware may explain the carrier wants 7:25 for the phone for 24 bucks a month for 30 months which is a bit easier to swallow if you can also snag the $100 gift card being included at press time and you know if the phone delivered a more consistent experience I’d say it might be worth it to some folks but as adaptable as Android is it’s not quite flexible enough to deliver on ZT ease vision here and just because something is novel doesn’t give it a pass it has to provide more functionality than frustration in everyday life and to me this phone fails that test it feels like a beta product a test run at a better axon m2 but let me add in closing that if such a sequel ever appeared I’d be first in line to try it out because for all its failings the axon M gets a lot closer to good than I expected it to if you managed to find it at a discount be sure to give it a go and to find more discounts than you’ll know what to do with you know where to go drifter is a new way to save money on everything from gadgets to home goods by shopping based on value not hype drifter is mr.

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