6.5/10
Informr score
The ZTE Axon M currently has an Informr score of 6.5 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 14 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

If having dual screens is important, the Axon M is one of the best -- and only -- options available. However, it requires compromising both battery life and portability to achieve it. That trade might not work for everyone.

What's good

  • Innovative dual-display design
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Generous storage and microSD support
  • Decent camera
  • An all-day battery in single-screen mode

What's bad

  • Heavy
  • Limited availability
  • Low battery life in the dual-screen mode
  • Confusing camera arrangement
  • Lack of accessories
  • Fiddly fingerprint scanner

While still not a household name, ZTE has proven it is possible to make a high-end phone with mid-tier prices. With their latest release, they’re diving into uncharted territory.

We usually start by describing a phone’s design. But in this summary, we must start with screens... 

The Axon M sports two 5.2-inch 1080p LCD panels. There is a screen on the front and the back. An aluminum hinge in the middle makes it possible to use the phone in a tablet-like mode or stand it up like a tent.

The panels are both bright and reasonably accurate when it comes to colors. Gorilla Glass 5 coatings on both screens also meant that reviewers had no problems with scratches and scuffs when tossing the phone in their pocket or bag.

That said, the design has its downsides… 

The phone is both thick and heavy. Many reviewers likened it to holding a deck of cards. Also, since there are screens on both side of the phone, finding a compatible case is next to impossible. 

Lastly, while you can unfold the phone and span content across both screens, this creates a 10.4-inch square display, not a larger rectangle display. So for most content, you’re almost getting more black bars than added space.

The phone uses a 2.15Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 821 with 4GB of RAM. Reviewers had no problem launching two apps or a game and a movie at the same time using each display. The processor had no problem keeping up, and the experience remained fluid -- even when reviewers pushed the phone to its limits.

You’ll find a generous 64GB of internal storage for your favorite apps, games, and media. Support for microSD cards up to 256GB means you can expand anytime.

Software changes are minimal, with a few extra buttons and settings to account for the dual displays. Otherwise, you’re greeted with a stock Android 7.1.2 interface and features. ZTE planned support for Android 8.0 -- however, exact dates are unavailable.

The camera was a major point of contention among reviewers. The phone sports a single 20MP rear camera. There is no dedicated front lens. If you want to use video chat or take selfies, you’ll need to be sure you’re facing the correct display and use the software to trigger the camera.

Reviewers found this approach clunky and confusing. 

However, once they got the camera running the way they wanted, they captured decent pictures. Low-light performance is only so-so, but still acceptable for quick snaps or social sharing images. 

With two screens, the 3180mAh battery has quite a range of run times. In single display mode, reviewers had no trouble hitting a full day on a single charge. With both displays running resource-intensive apps, the battery died in roughly 2 hours. 

Charging speed was decent, with a full charge taking around 1.5 hours. However, if you’re planning on using the dual display features often, you’ll want to keep a charger nearby.

Reviews on the phone are mixed overall -- mostly revolving around the design. This isn’t a slim, trim, flagship device. And if you don’t have an interest in dual displays, there are cheaper single screen options with similar specs. 

TechRadar summed up opinions well, saying, “The Axon M is obviously a niche device, and to that niche it delivers something special in a surprisingly polished manner.” Gear Diary was less positive with their verdict, stating, “... as a proof of concept, the ZTE Axon M is fascinating, but it’s too small and too limited by the lack of third-party software to truly be a daily driver.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
2.15 GHz
Screen Size
5.2"
Camera
20+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Notebookcheck

Considering the system performance, the Axon M from ZTE is nothing special. But with the second display which can be unfolded, it becomes a real alternative for those to whom the conventional smartphone displays are too small and tablets or notebooks too big.

- Mike Wobker, Notebookcheck
Gear Diary

Basically, as a proof of concept, the ZTE Axon M is fascinating, but it’s too small and too limited by the lack of third-party software to truly be a daily driver. I am excited for what ZTE could do with it in the future though!

- Carly Z, Gear Diary
G Style Magazine

I think it has potential but I’d like to see maybe if ZTE can do it without the glaring fold in the middle, utilize more screen real estate and also not make the glass so glossy.

- Jason Million, G Style Magazine
Talk Android

I’ve had more fun with the Axon M than any other smartphone in 2017. The novelty of the second screen wore off a little, but I continued to find myself trying to find a reason to flip it open. It was just too cool working both simultaneously. It’s also the ultimate party trick with frien...

- Erik Slaven, Talk Android
TechRadar

Foldable phones are the future, but ZTE’s present-day take on the concept is here, bringing along some clever functionality to extend your work and play to a second screen.

- Cameron Faulkner, TechRadar


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


ZTE released the Axon M on November 17, 2017.


The Axon M price will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. You can compare ZTE Axon M prices from around the web here on The Informr.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the ZTE Axon M user manual here.


ZTE backs up the Axon M with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Axon M has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact ZTE support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find ZTE's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Quick view

Screen Size
5.2"

The ZTE Axon M's screen size is 5.2 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

Processor
2.15 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 pro Quad core 2.15 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 7.1.2 Nougat operating system (OS).

Camera
20+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 20+ megapixel camera.

There's no secondary front camera.

Storage
64 GB

Internal memory is 64 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 256 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
3180mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3180 mAh battery.

Axon M Specs

Overview
Release date November 17, 2017
Regions available USA, UK
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/1700/1900 MHz
LTE:
1700/1900/700/850 /2300 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 7.1.2 Nougat

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 pro Quad core 2.15 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 64 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.05 W/kg
Body: 1.20 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Data Cable
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3180 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Unknown
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 538 minutes
Talk Time Unknown
Standby Time Up to: 12 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Flip
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Carbon Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.1 x 7.2 x 1.2 cm (5.9 x 2.8 x 0.5 in)
Weight 230 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof No
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 424 pixels
Size 5.2 inches
3D No
Secondary Display Color LCD (TFT), 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.2 inches, 16.7 million
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 256 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 1.8
Resolution
20+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Geotagging, Night mode, Panorama, Self-timer, HDR, Slow motion recording, Time lapse, Exposure
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Zoom
No
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, M4A, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Stereo
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): ZTE Z999

Related Links Manual (PDF)
ZTE Axon M Reviews
Where to buy ZTE Axon M
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Critic Reviews


Notebookcheck

Not just any smartphone

from Notebookcheck

Considering the system performance, the Axon M from ZTE is nothing special. But with the second display which can be unfolded, it becomes a real alternative for those to whom the conventional smartphone displays are too small and tablets or notebooks too big.

Read full review

Considering the system performance, the Axon M from ZTE is nothing special. But with the second display which can be unfolded, it becomes a real alternative for those to whom the conventional smartphone displays are too small and tablets or notebooks too big.

Read full review

Less

Gear Diary

Literally a two faced phone

from Gear Diary

Basically, as a proof of concept, the ZTE Axon M is fascinating, but it’s too small and too limited by the lack of third-party software to truly be a daily driver. I am excited for what ZTE could do with it in the future though!

Read full review

Basically, as a proof of concept, the ZTE Axon M is fascinating, but it’s too small and too limited by the lack of third-party software to truly be a daily driver. I am excited for what ZTE could do with it in the future though!

Read full review

Less

G Style Magazine

A combo of hits and misses

from G Style Magazine

I think it has potential but I’d like to see maybe if ZTE can do it without the glaring fold in the middle, utilize more screen real estate and also not make the glass so glossy.

Read full review

I think it has potential but I’d like to see maybe if ZTE can do it without the glaring fold in the middle, utilize more screen real estate and also not make the glass so glossy.

Read full review

Less

Talk Android

Two screens, one camera, unlike anything else

from Talk Android

I’ve had more fun with the Axon M than any other smartphone in 2017. The novelty of the second screen wore off a little, but I continued to find myself trying to find a reason to flip it open. It was just too cool working both simultaneously. It’s also the ultimate party trick with friends.

Read full review

I’ve had more fun with the Axon M than any other smartphone in 2017. The novelty of the second screen wore off a little, but I continued to find myself trying to find a reason to flip it open. It was just too cool working both simultaneously. It’s also the ultimate party trick with friends.

Read full review

Less

TechRadar

This solid attempt is marred by its price

from TechRadar

Foldable phones are the future, but ZTE’s present-day take on the concept is here, bringing along some clever functionality to extend your work and play to a second screen.

Read full review

Foldable phones are the future, but ZTE’s present-day take on the concept is here, bringing along some clever functionality to extend your work and play to a second screen.

Read full review

Less

Gizmodo

ZTE’s ambitious dual-screen phone shouldn't exist

from Gizmodo

Look, I appreciate that ZTE really went for it, especially in a year when the hottest trend has been making screens a tiny bit wider and bezels a tiny bit smaller. But for $725, the Axon M isn’t something any sane person should buy.

Read full review

Look, I appreciate that ZTE really went for it, especially in a year when the hottest trend has been making screens a tiny bit wider and bezels a tiny bit smaller. But for $725, the Axon M isn’t something any sane person should buy.

Read full review

Less

The Gadgeteer

A vision of the future

from The Gadgeteer

ZTE has done an admirable job with the Axon M, especially for a first gen device. But we’re even more excited for a second gen Axon M which we hope will be thinner, sporting a better camera, rocking borderless displays and running less buggy software.

Read full review

ZTE has done an admirable job with the Axon M, especially for a first gen device. But we’re even more excited for a second gen Axon M which we hope will be thinner, sporting a better camera, rocking borderless displays and running less buggy software.

Read full review

Less

Phone Scoop

An entirely unique handset in today's market of slim slates

from Phone Scoop

The ZTE Axon M is a curious beast of a phone. There's no question ZTE attempted to pull off something ambitious here, and yet I don't think it quite succeeded.

Read full review

The ZTE Axon M is a curious beast of a phone. There's no question ZTE attempted to pull off something ambitious here, and yet I don't think it quite succeeded.

Read full review

Less

PhoneArena

It is a bit half-baked

from PhoneArena

This isn’t the worst effort ZTE could have made, although it is a bit half-baked, and the Axon M falls short in key areas. Unfortunately, software is the one of the most deficient areas of the M. Simply stretching and splitting content in accordance with the in-built functionalities of...More

This isn’t the worst effort ZTE could have made, although it is a bit half-baked, and the Axon M falls short in key areas. Unfortunately, software is the one of the most deficient areas of the M. Simply stretching and splitting content in accordance with the in-built functionalities of the Android OS leaves the user with a rather slapdash user experience.

Read full review

Less

Tom's Guide

This foldable phone falls flat

from Tom's Guide

The Axon M is ideal for those moments when you absolutely need to multitask. But most of the time, it's simply not as fast and doesn't last as long, feel as comfortable to use or take pictures as well as similarly priced flagships from Samsung or Google.

Read full review

The Axon M is ideal for those moments when you absolutely need to multitask. But most of the time, it's simply not as fast and doesn't last as long, feel as comfortable to use or take pictures as well as similarly priced flagships from Samsung or Google.

Read full review

Less



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