Meizu started making smartphones since 2008, in these few years, not only has the company established to become a top player in their territory. Taking a look at what the Chinese manufacturer has been able to bring with the MX4 Pro is something mind blowing. The Meizu MX4 Pro is the re-hash of the company’s 4th generation flaghsip – the Meizu MX4, which was launched last year. We unboxed the Meizu MX4 Pro a while back and have been testing the phone for a good two months to get used to the Flyme OS and the overall package that the phone comes with.
Meizu MX4 Pro : Design
The design of the Meizu MX4 Pro is very much like its earlier iterations. The phone is built with a combination of premium quality materials like Airplane grade aluminium and then there is also plastic. While it would be difficult to be believe by simply taking a look, the back cover of the phone is actually made of plastic that is made to look like metal. A removable back cover exposes the non-removable battery and gives access to the SIM card slot. What keeps the phone together is the strong aluminium frame that the plastic back merges into very seamlessly. Let us get this out of the way – the MX4 Pro feels extremely well built. You are mostly touching metal when you are handling the phone and the plastic back only helps in making the phone feel that much lighter. Infact, it is striking how light the phone feels. I was using the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 before the Meizu and that is the first thing that struck me, it is just 158 grams in weight and that is with the battery.
The front of the Meizu MX4 Pro is covered with glass and a Fingerprint sensor that the company calls ‘M-touch’ that is protected by actual sapphire glass. The entire phone feels sturdy and the in-hand feel makes you realize that it is well though out.
Meizu MX4 Pro : Hardware and Performance
Taking a physical tour around the MX4 Pro, one can find the power button up top with the volume rocker at the left hand side. There is a speaker grill at the buttom that houses the single speaker module – more about this later, along with a USB 2.0 port for charging and data syncing with a primary mic. On the back there is a lens that protrudes out a bit. The rear facing camera is a 21 MP sensor which is a 1/2.3 inch sensor from Sony -the same IMX220 sensor found on the Xperia Z3. Meizu promises that the camera achieves a blazing fast auto focus, while we don’t want to get to millisecond measurements, it was indeed quick, even in low light.
The MX4 Pro really shines when it comes to the spec sheet, indeed that is what the “Pro” is all about. The Meizu MX4 Pro comes with a Samsung made Exynos 5430 OctaCore chip. The chip uses the new big.LITTLE architecture consisting of two QuadCore clusters – 4 A7 cores clocked at 1.5GHz & 4 A15 cores clocked at 2.0GHz. The RAM is a generous 3 GB with 16/32 GB of onboard storage. The display comes in shy of 5.5 inches with a resolution of 2560 x 1536 which brings the pixel density to 546 PPI. Everything and we mean it, everything looks very sharp. There is no fake sharpening algorithm working here like on some other QHD displays in the market, but you can spot the difference very quickly. A Mali T628 keeps the graphics running smoothly and pushes those millions of pixels on the screen.
There is a 5 MP front facing camera from Omnivision. We really appreciate that Meizu has used a wideangle lens on the front, the field of view significantly improves. A wide f/2.2 aperture enables selfies even in not so ideal light conditions. On the connectivity side there is WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n and even ac. There is Bluetooth 4.0 with GPS and GLONASS support for navigation worldwide. Talking about that new display, the newly employed high resolution display brings the NEGA negative LCD display at an aspect ratio of 15:9. One of the benefits of the odd aspect ratio is that there is more space to fit text on the screen. The pixels are in their rested state and hence, blacks do look darker, bringing LCD displays closer to true black AMOLEDs. To keep all this powered, there should be enough battery and the MX4 Pro delivers, a 3350 mAh battery is available for usage in three different options – Power saving, Normal and High Performance. Power saving delivers exceptional standby performance with High Performance focusing on delivering a better gaming experience.
The bezels of the MX4 Pro are extremely tiny, so even in those long lasting gaming sessions, your hand wont have to perform too many gymnastics. While the device is not exactly thin at 9 mm, it feels comfortable in the hand thanks to its curved design on the back that fits naturally in the palm of your hand. Another gem that is hidden is the new fingerprint sensors. Meizu jumped very promptly on the security front by implementing what they call a ‘mTouch’ fingerprint scanner which is integrated in the home button. The fingerprint scanner can recognize upto 5 fingers and in a dry/wet state. The precision at which it works is phenomenal as well and makes the execution of Samsung’s on the Galaxy Note 4 look like a joke. The unlock times are around a second and the key can also double up as a touch enabled capacitive key which can perform various functions as programmed. Let us talk about the speaker for a bit, the bottom facing speaker on the MX4 Pro is seriously a competitor to the HTC Boomsound. The sound is loud and clear and we never found ourselves wanting an extra boost. With the sort of chips Meizu has used to precisely tune audio, you can expect a wonderful audio listening experience. The MX4 Pro as hifi sound decoding capabilities with a built in audio amplifier. Meizu started off making audio players in the electronics industry, audio being their roots, you can trust them when they say that an ES9018K2M is the audio engine that powers the headphone jack. This DAC with a Passive filter blows everything out of the water when it comes to the audio listening experience. The user has the option to select between high-gain or low-gain or leave it to the phone on auto.
Meizu MX4 Pro : Flyme OS
The beauty of Android is that it is highly customizable and each manufacturer can install their own version of a software skin and provide a new user experience, unique to its devices. Meizu’s Flyme OS is in the fourth iteration with Flyme 4.0. The lack of an app drawer is nothing new but subjective, while most of the people who saw the MX4 Pro liked the flat, minimalistic interface, there were some who only found comfort in the stock Android app drawer solution.
There is a unique approach to multitasking that the Flyme 4 brings. There is no task switcher that prompts up. The sides of the home button are capacitive in nature and active capture swipes, one can swipe up to bring the list of applications. In one way, the screen real estate is better used since no buttons take up the space. Buttons behave contextually, that means whenever an app uses an option button, home or back button, they appear on the screen and they disappear when not in need. A gesture, swipe up from the home button is the universal back gesture. It takes a while to get used to, but then life is much more easier.
The good thing is, the Flyme team is very dedicated. In the last two months alone there have been two updates for the international version. We liked a neat addition in particular, the vault function in the file manager uses the mTouch fingerprint sensor to unlock special files that the user can store. A security centre app can periodically scan for viruses and junk files in addition to managing permissions on a per app basis. Flyme makes good use of folder that aggregate apps together. We must report that the international version of the Meizu MX4 Pro does come with Google services inbuilt. That means one has access to the Google Play store and all the other apps. Again, all of this is neatly arranged in folders, flyme folder are much useful since it arranges contents and reduces the number of scrolling pages to a minimum.
Meizu MX4 Pro : Conclusion
The Meizu MX4 Pro is a very interesting product. Meizu is taking big risks in innovation and it shows. We really appreciate that there manufacturers today that are ready to go out of the way and employ better hardware and software, although different from the rest. This definitely adds to the value that the product brings. Would we recommend the MX4 Pro? That would be a straight yes. At a price of around $450 for the 32 GB model, one gets a fully loaded device with features like the mTouch fingerprint scanner and a QuadHD + display that are a rarity in the current Android space. One also gets LTE connectivity. While US bands are not fully covered yet, but that would happen eventually and the MX4 Pro would be the device to beat. Considering the commitment of the team in delivering better performance via regular OTA updates, this device will last longer and perform equally good and is a great investment for a couple of years.
- Great Build Quality
- Fantastic Display
- Great Sound
- Limited LTE bands
- Limited availability in all markets (although this would change soon)
[easyreview title=”Install or Not Scorecard” cat1title=”Hardware” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Performance” cat2detail=”” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Design” cat3detail=”” cat3rating=”4.5″ cat4title=”Value for Money” cat4detail=”” cat4rating=”5.0″]