Meizu Blue Charm unveiled: the best affordable Android phone you've never heard of
When it comes to affordable Android smartphones, China is king. You might have heard about the huge success of Xiaomi, a company often referred to as the 'Apple of China', but sharing nothing of Apple's affinity for premium pricing and large profit margins.
Now, a new star has risen on the horizon of affordable Android smartphones that are reliable: it's Meizu, another brand from China having its roots in the music player industry, and building a competitive portfolio in a direct rivalry with Xiaomi. This battle for Asia is driven by sales for ultra-affordable devices, which are now dominated by the Xiaomi Redmi (or Hongmi), a device sold for just $100 off contract.
The newly unveiled Meizu Blue Charm (aka Meizu M1) is a direct answer to that: with a full retail price of $112 (元699), it brings even more to the table: a larger, 5" 720p display, a modern quad-core Cortex A53-based MediaTek MT6732 running at up to 1.5GHz, a 13-megapixel camera, and a large, 2610mAh battery. All of that runs on Meizu's simple and modern-looking Flyme 4 skin on top of Android 4.4 KitKat.
The Meizu Blue Charm offers great value for the money
phone in Meizu's portfolio. Slightly more expensive, at $160 (元999) is the Meizu M1 Note (aka Blue Charm Note), a 5.5-inch 1080p handset with an octa-core MT6752 chip and a 13-megapixel camera.
Then, you have the Meizu MX4 priced at $288 (元1799), boasting a 5.36" display, a more powerful, MT6595 octa-core chip and a 20-megapixel camera.
Finally, you have the Meizu MX4 Pro ($400, or 元2499), the current flagship phone for Meizu, boasting a 5.5" Quad HD-ish display with an Exynos 5430 system chip, a metal frame, 20-megapixel shooter, what Meizu calls 'hi-fi' audio, and a fingerprint scanner.
The Meizu Blue Charm release date is set for February 5th, but unfortunately, initial availability will be limited to China only. Experience shows that third-party resellers put a slight premium on the official $112 price, but we do expect the price for Western markets (if you buy the phone via unofficial channels) to be around the $150 mark, which is still very competitive.