Dual-screen phones are still a relatively weird, niche concept, and the few examples of them we’ve seen typically involve sticking a tiny strip of screen above the main display, as on the LG V20 or HTC U Ultra, but an upcoming handset might stick a second screen on the back instead.
Images of an unfinished Meizu Pro 7 spotted by anzhuo.cn show a weird rectangular cut-out on the back which is believed to be a small e-ink display. You can see how that might look in its finished form in the seemingly unofficial render below.
Even a rear-facing secondary screen isn’t a totally new idea, with the oddball Yotaphone and Yotaphone 2 getting there first. The first of those even used e-ink too, but turned the entire back into a screen, rather than just a small part of it.
Meizu’s approach, if accurate, seemingly sits somewhere between the Yotaphone’s and the LG V20’s, but is it the best of both worlds or the worst of both?
Are two screens better than one?
That somewhat depends on how it actually functions and on your perspective, but we can see some potential. It looks to be slightly bigger than the ticker-like secondary screens we’ve seen on some handsets, so it could potentially display more information. And being on the back it won’t necessarily cause the phone to grow.
Being e-ink, it could cause it to draw less power than other screen tech. In fact, it might even be lighter on the battery than the always-on displays found on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 or LG G6, allowing you to always see the time and notifications without draining the juice pack or waking up the main screen.
As it’s smaller than the Yotaphone’s secondary screen it could be lighter on the battery than that too. But also probably less versatile – you won’t be reading ebooks on this one, and being e-ink you won’t get the full color of LG and HTC’s takes.
Being on the back also makes it less visible much of the time, but easier for snoopers to see, since any time you’re using the phone the back is likely to be visible to onlookers.
So there are a lot of considerations, but at least it’s doing something a bit different, assuming the image of it is even accurate.
- There are some even crazier concept phones