“MEIZU has just unveiled its latest flagship in China’s capital, Beijing. Here are our hands-on impressions of the metal-clad smartphone”
Gone are the days when the ‘Made in China’ tag resulted in a frown on most faces. Chinese brands are counted among the top manufacturers across industries, and the dynamic world of smartphones is no different. Brands such as Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi have successfully put their names on the global map with their devices, and now another brand from the country is following their footsteps.
MEIZU, which ranks among the top 10 manufacturers in China, took the veils off its latest flagship offering, the MX5 at an event in Beijing yesterday. However, what’s more interesting is the fact that just a few weeks ago, the company introduced the successor to its affordable smartphone, the m1 note (first impressions). This shows that the company is covering all its bases by targeting both the voluminous budget segment as well as the high-end category to take on the likes of Samsung and Apple.
The MX5, as the name suggests, represents the fifth generation of MEIZU’s flagship MX series, but is perhaps is its biggest and boldest offering. While the MX4 and MX4 Pro sported top-shelf internals, the MX5 goes a step beyond by not just offering powerful hardware, but also packing all that in a gorgeous body too. We were able to get our hands on the handset and its retail box, and will be taking you through its unboxing followed by our hands-on experience.
The MEIZU MX5 comes packed in a standard rectangular-shaped white box. It sports a minimal design by mentioning the name of the device at the front, whereas at the rear, it has a sticker towards the bottom mentioning some key specs. When you pry open the lid, you’re caught by surprise as unlike most sales packs where you find a phone upfront, the Chinese company has opted for an interesting format. The box is book-shaped, wherein a few pages at first detail the highlights of the MX5 and towards the end, you’ll find the phablet neatly tucked inside.
Then you’ll come across a cutesy SIM ejector tool and in the same wrapper, there’s a safety information guide and a warranty card. Below that, you’ll get the regular accessories comprising the earphones, a wall charger and a micro-USB cable. The brand has made sure that the MX5 is a premium offering, and its box contents also give the same impression as there’s a proper plastic box holding the stereo headset, although it seems odd that they aren’t in-ear type.
Now, let’s move our attention back to the device, the MEIZU MX5. The brand is highlighting the use of metal as a construction material for its latest handset and we can see that why. The MX5 sports a exquisite look and our appreciation is only increased when it’s held in the hand.
Built from aluminium, the MEIZU MX5 can definitely give most smartphones a run for their money in the style department. The good thing is that the device doesn’t feel bulky because of the use of metal and tips the scale at a mere 149g. The unibody smartphone is also quite lean with its waist measuring 7.6mm.
While the MEIZU MX4 was armed with a 5.36-inch display, it’s successor is quintessentially a phablet with a 5.5-inch display. However, thanks to its slim bezels along with the lightweight and slender frame, the mobile gives the impression that it’s smaller than other handsets with the same screen size.
The placement of buttons and ports on the MX5 seems like a standard affair, but the brand has aimed to change the way we use navigation buttons on Android. Below the display, there’s only one button, which looks remarkably similar tothe oval-shaped physical keys available on Samsung’s Galaxy devices. However, the button does too many things – it can jump to the home screen, return to the previous screen and doubles up as a fingerprint reader. The support for multiple actions is possible because of mBack technology, which allows it to distinguish between a press or a tap.
Bearing a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, the 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display reproduces brilliant visuals with good colours and impressive sharpness. The brightness levels are also nice and the screen offers wide viewing angles.
Inside the bonnet, the device relies on MediaTek’s latest Helio X10 MT6795 chipset, which offers eight Cortex-A53 cores running at 2.2GHz. The 64-bit SoC is coupled with PowerVR G6200 graphics processor. The combination is loaded and should be able to handle heavy games or apps quite easily. Multitasking on the MEIZU MX5 shouldn’t be an issue either as it ships with 3GB of RAM. While we couldn’t test out the hardware mettle in a short while, but in our usage, the performance was buttery smooth without any trace of lags.
Being a unibody phablet, the MEIZU MX5 doesn’t allow for storage expansion, but comes in three storage flavours of 16, 32 or 64GB. After accounting for the space consumed by OS and its resources, the device has a little more than 10GB left for use.
When it comes to imaging, the MEIZU MX5 appears all set to be your go-to camera. It’s equipped with a 20.7-megapixel shooter at the back featuring a 1/2.3” sensor. The camera is assisted by a dual-LED flash to shoot in poorly-lit environments. It can also focus on the subjects quickly thanks to laser autofocus. For selfie enthusiasts, the device comes with a 5MP secondary snapper. While the rear camera supports video recording in full HD and 4K resolutions, the shooter at the front can capture videos in 1080p.
For connectivity, the phablet supports 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. Fuelling the MEIZU MX5 is a 3,150mAh non-removable battery. Like most smartphone manufacturers these days, the Chinese company has implemented quick charging functionality in the phone labelled mCharge. It claims that the MX5 can charge from zero to 25 percent within 10 minutes.
The softer side of things comprises MEIZU’s proprietary customisations dubbed Flyme 4.5. The skin is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop and follows its Chinese counterparts when it comes to changes and features added on top. Along with the homescreen that doubles up as an app launcher, the OS offers variety of personalisation aspects such as the ability to change themes. While there isn't much preloaded content, the phablet does come with useful apps such as a Security Center.
Keeping in line with previous MEIZU’s flagship offerings, the MX5 is priced at a mid-range price point of 1,799 RMB (for the base model offering 16GB non-expandable memory). While there’s no official statement if and when the device will be landing on Indian shores, it’s converted pricing of roughly Rs 18,000 makes it an enticing offering. Things are getting more exciting for users and with the OnePlus 2 also on the anvil, this year might have not one but quite a few “flagship killers”. We’ll have more to say on the MEIZU MX5 over the coming days, so keep an eye out.