- Thin display bezels, excellent display ratio
- Above average performance
- Simple and intuitive Flyme OS
- Insufficient maximum display brightness
- Unbalanced color imaging
- Flyme OS details a bit unpolished
Quick TakeThe exotic Meizu MX5 is a decent option for its price, should you be able to actually find it in the US.
Meizu’s MX5 separates itself from an upper mid-range smartphone market crowded with reasonably priced devices, with an exceptionally good ratio of display to product size. It comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED screen that occupies 74.5 percent of the phone’s surface, offering an outstandingly elegant and ergonomic design that is easy to hold with one hand, despite the size.
The MX5 bears an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone, in both the body and software. The MX5 has a single physical key, with a built-in fingerprint reader, centrally located below the display. Meizu’s Flyme OS 4.5 is built off of Android 5 Lollipop, but the MX5 skin is very similar to iOS. The Meizu MX5 features an octa-core Mediatek Helio X10 chipset, 20.7-megapixel rear camera and a 3150 mAh battery, making it one of the most attractive a devices of the increasingly popular ‘Chinese wave’ of smartphones.
Build & Design
The 7.6 mm (0.30 inches) thick metal unibody makes the MX5 equally elegant and comfortable. Not many MX5 competitors are able to combine a 5.5-inch screen that can be easily held with one hand, with a premium-class finish. The 5.5-inch screen is even more impressive when considering the 150 x 75 mm (5.90 x 2.94 inches) dimensions, meaning the display makes up 74.5 percent of the phone. The left and right bezels are exceptionally slim while there is just enough room above and under the display for the speaker, the selfie-camera, signal LED light and, the oval home key. The device weighs 149 grams (5.26 oz), which is also a rarity among 5.5-inch metal smartphones.
The bottom of the phone looks like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, but does not entirely lack originality: it comes with a secondary microphone (instead of an audio jack), a microUSB hub, and speaker perforations. The Meizu MX5’s audio slot is located on the upper side of the handset, while the power key and the volume rocker are on the right side. The left side includes two nanoSIM card slots, tucked away and accessible by pin key however, there is no microSD card slot, thus the memory of this handset cannot be expanded.
The rear side of the Meizu MX5 includes a 20.7-megapixel camera lens, which is impressive for a mid-range smartphone, and a LED flash under it. The only flaw of the MX5 design is the protruding rear-facing camera. The phone will not lie flat on its back and is more susceptible to scratches or stains of the camera lens. It is hard to blame Meizu for the aforementioned lack of originality in relation to Apple, as the success of the iPhone has bred many copycats.
The Meizu MX5 comes with a 5.5-inch (1080 x 1920) Full HD AMOLED display, with a Gorilla Glass 3 screen, resulting in a solid 401 pixel per inch density. The previous generation MX4 had a poor IPS display that had washed-out and cold colors. By introducing AMOLED to the MX5 the cold and pastel feel is no longer an issue. However this does not mean the images are perfect. AMOLED is famous for overly saturated colors, and these look very bright on the Meizu MX5. This is not a problem for many users, however, as some prefer such a screen on all smartphones. That being said, the MX5 still suffers from a slight color cast with a shift towards the greener part of the palette. No matter how bright and saturated the colors are, at the same time they are not “perfect” due to that unwanted green cast. Again, this will not be a major problem in practice for most people as the Meizu MX5 indeed offers very impressive image quality.
There are no issues when it comes to the contrast and a consistent image quality across the surface of the screen. This device measures up to high-end flagship models in these two criteria, as it offers excellent viewing angles, very dark black tones and solid visibility when directly exposed to sunlight. There is room for improvement when it comes to automatic display brightness, given the MX5 does not perform that well in dark rooms and tends to produce images that is too bright. Clearly, this is a software ‘issue’ that might be resolved with future OS upgrades. Contrast this with the fact that the MX5 also has an underwhelming maximum brightness, making it less than ideal in bright outdoor environments.