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Foldable ZTE Axon M smartphone now official

AT&T-exclusive ZTE Axon M foldable Android smartphone (Source: ZTE USA)
ZTE Axon M (Source: ZTE USA)
The ZTE Axon M features the slightly outdated Snapdragon 821 processor, but it is the only handset to feature a dual display folding design with four operating modes nowadays. Sadly, it will only hit the market via AT&T next month.

After spending a while in the rumor mill, the foldable ZTE Axon M is finally official. Although it comes more than five long years after the Kyocera Echo, the ZTE Axon M uses a similar two-screen design that connects two displays with a hinge instead of a single foldable touchscreen as seen in a few prototypes lately. While the Kyocera Echo launched exclusively on Sprint back in 2011, the new ZTE Axon M will only hit the market via AT&T.

Most of the specs and features of the ZTE Axon M confirm what we heard last time or come very close to the latest leaks and rumors. For example, the processor is not a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, but the slightly younger Qualcomm Snapdragon 821. This handset also features 4 GB RAM, 64 GB internal storage, and a microSD slot.

The two 5.2-inch touchscreen displays use Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection and have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels each. The 20 MP main camera with an f/1.8 aperture can be used to take selfies by folding the phone, so ZTE decided to drop the secondary image snapper.

The battery of the ZTE Axon M provides 3,180 mAh and features Quick Charge 3.0 support. According to ZTE, this power pack can provide almost 29 hours of talk time and an "all-day" autonomy when used for multiple tasks. It would be interesting to know for how long does it last when performing heavy tasks with both screens turned on, but this kind of information is not available yet.

In addition to all the above, the Axon M features a dual speaker system with Dolby Atmos support and, fortunately, the 3.5 mm audio jack that other brands seem to enjoy killing these days is also present.

Although it uses an aluminum unibody design, the ZTE Axon M is quite heavy, weighing 0.5 pounds. It only comes in black and runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box. Although it would be logical for this device to receive Android Oreo, ZTE still has to confirm this.

Sadly, only AT&T customers will be able to get this handset once it hits the market next month. The full retail price of the ZTE Axon M is quite high, but those who do not want to pay US$725 upfront can choose to go with 30 monthly payments of US$24.17 each.

Thanks to its design, the ZTE Axon M can be used in four different modes, similar to those provided by the now ancient Kyocera Echo. These modes are the following: traditional, extended mode (a single 6.75-inch display with a noticeable black space in the middle due to the fact that the two displays have bezels, so the resulting touchscreen is not perfect), mirror mode (similar to the tent mode of a convertible, only that two people can watch the same content while facing each other), and dual mode (different tasks on each screen). To get a better idea of the whole experience this handset can provide, please check the hands-on video embedded below.


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Codrut Nistor, 2017-10-17 (Update: 2017-10-17)