Performance & Battery Life
Meizu has been using MediaTek’s hardware in its models for years and the MX5 has the best chipset provided by this supplier – the 64-byte Helio X10, known as MT6795. The CPU comes with an eight-core ARM-Coretex-A53 running a 2.2 GHz clock. Even though MediaTek is just starting to be recognized as a relevant player in the mobile hardware platform arena, both synthetic benchmarks and the Meizu MX5’s everyday performance leave a good impression. The device does not take long to switch on and the apps run quickly. Even when it is stuffed with an abundance of ‘heavy’ apps and games, the speed does not drop and everything runs fluidly.
The MX5 is aided by the PowerVR G6200 graphic processors with 3 GB of RAM. The handset is available in 16, 32 and 64 GB versions, which is a solid available range. However the exclusion of a SD card reader makes the 16 GB option a risky purchase. The 3150 mAh battery is an impressive spec, but Flyme OS is known for being a rather demanding software platform that can drain battery quickly. Casual use of the MX5 should last users a day and a half on a full charge, heavy users will have to recharge the MX5 every night.
Software & Camera
Flyme OS is not an operating system built from scratch by Meizu, but rather an Apex Launcher applied to Android OS 5. This means that the MX5 features a user interface that looks like iOS but uses the Google Play store for its apps. The Home screen does not necessarily have to look like iOS, as elements like widgets or Google search can be added to it. Just like on iPhones, the apps are there when the phone is unlocked and there is no apps drawer, as is the case with ‘pure’ Android OS.
The notifications system and the basic handset operating principles are identical to iOS, meaning those who are switching from iPhone to Android OS might want to start with the MX5. Flyme OS may have been built off an Android OS but it feels and operates like iOS.
However, nobody, not even Meizu, can be as meticulous as Apple when it comes to the small details. For instance, there is a ‘Swipe to unlock’ sign on the lock screen, without it saying which way the finger needs to be swiped in order to unlock the phone. This hints that the swipe could be done in any direction, but it has to be done from the bottom upwards. Of course, this is easy to get used to after using the phone for half an hour, but there are plenty of similar details that take some getting used to.
The rear camera reveals has a great resolution of 20.7 megapixels, with a 1/2,3-inch sensor. While the 20.7 megapixels blow the majority of phone cameras out the water, megapixels are not the only thing that determines a camera’s quality. The photographs are not as good as the megapixels suggest, but they are more than solid for a mid-range smartphone. Due to the inclination towards the green part of the spectrum, the photographs taken during the day look better when transferred to a computer than on the device’s display. Being able to manually set the exposure and ISO sensitivity are useful options for night shots. The user interface is very clear, although hitting the pre-shot settings button while in landscape mode will show the text sideways in portrait.