Interface and Functionality

The international version of the M5 runs on the custom Meizu Flyme OS based off of Android 6 Marshmallow. It is a flat skin that draws inspiration from iOS in many ways.

Meizu M5 Review

The international version of the Meizu M5 ships with the company's Flyme OS built on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Our model did not feature Google services pre-installed, so we had to use the Hot Apps application, where there is a one-click installer for the Play Store, Gmail, YouTube and all the rest. Installing them is not a tough task, but still one more hassle that you have to go through.

Like most user interfaces originating in China, the custom Flyme OS draws inspiration from iOS: it lacks an app drawer and features similar gestures like a swipe to bring up a quick search (it’s a swipe up, though, not down). You can even tap the status bar in apps like the browser to go to the top of a page.

Getting used to Flyme OS is not too hard, but it still feels slightly foreign. What you get in exchange for that inconvenience, though, is a platform that features animations that are surprisingly fluid. There are some slow-downs, though, but more on that later.

The M5 also ships with a TouchPal keyboard. It's a decent keyboard, but the keys are unsightly and in terms of accuracy and vibrational feedback, I found myself making much more errors than on Samsungs and LGs. There are some nice shortcuts to it, though: a neat slide down gesture instantly brings alternative characters (used perfectly with numbers) and this makes typing your passwords so much easier.

Processor and Memory

Running on a base-level MediaTek system chip, the Meizu M5 starts all apps with a slight pause, but once it runs them, it works smoothly.

The Meizu M5 runs on the MediaTek MT6750 system chip, and it’s a base-level SoC with an octa-core CPU featuring eight Cortex A53 cores in two clusters.

Okay, let’s not get too technical and put it this way: this chip performs about on par with the processor in the iPhone 5 from some 4 years ago. In fact, the iPhone 5’s Apple A6 chip outperforms this particular one in the popular CPU measurement benchmark Geekbench.

In reality, the Meizu M5 is fairly well optimized and runs fine most of the time: mostly smoothly and stutter-free. Stutter-free does not mean fast, though: there is a very noticeable wait time every time you start an app, the screen goes white and you have to wait for a moment for the app to load. And It happens practically with all apps, even the dialer. Once the app starts it does not stutter or drop frames, but there is this slight slow down right before an app starts.

We also noticed that app installs took surprisingly long times: inexplicably, it took us few long minutes to install Facebook and Messenger.

And this is clearly not a phone for gamers or heavy users. It takes just a bit longer to open apps and while it can handle basic games, we would not count on the M5 if we were into more serious mobile gaming.

You have two versions of the Meizu M5: a 16GB model and a 32GB variation. This refers to the on-board storage, of course, but you can also expand that storage via a microSD card on both phones, with cards of up to 128 gigs accepted.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Meizu M5 40500.33
Motorola Moto G4 46614
Meizu M3 Note 41906.66
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Meizu M5 947
Motorola Moto G4 1379
Meizu M3 Note 1114.66
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Meizu M5 2751.33
Motorola Moto G4 2808
Meizu M3 Note 2455.33
JetStream Higher is better
Meizu M5 22.485
Motorola Moto G4 22.703
Meizu M3 Note 27.747
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Meizu M5 20
Motorola Moto G4 18
Meizu M3 Note 13
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Meizu M5 7.9
Motorola Moto G4 4.5
Meizu M3 Note 2.5
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Meizu M5 269
Motorola Moto G4 894
Meizu M3 Note 864.33

Internet and Connectivity

4G LTE connectivity is not compatible with US bands, but it will likely work in Europe.

The M5 ships with a default browser that we do recommend using. Google Chrome, the most popular Android browser, for some reason performs very poorly here, it stutters and lags, so we do not recommend using it on this particular handset.

The Meizu M5 is a phone made for China, the Asian market, India and some European markets. This shows particularly in connectivity: while the phone supports 4G LTE, it does not have support for the bands required by carriers in the United States. If you are thinking about importing this phone, you should know that it will max out at 3G connection in the U.S., something that is definitely a drawback. But then again, keep in mind that Meizu is not officially selling this phone in the U.S.

The full list of supported 4G LTE bands for the Meizu M5 (international version) includes FDD-LTE bands 1, 3, 5, 7, and 20, as well as TDD-LTE bands 38 and 40. Just as a reference, here are the main bands required by each of the popular U.S. carriers.

The support for bands 3, 7 and 20 is good news for European users. Meizu is selling the phone in Spain and Italy, where it will supported the required 4G LTE bands, and even if you get it in other countries (where it's not sold officially), you would likely still be able to use 4G LTE.

In terms of other connectivity, you also have dual-channel Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, an important step up for an affordable phone, as many affordable phones only support single channel Wi-Fi and in urban areas those frequencies are already too crowded, resulting in reduced network quality. We’re glad to see Meizu stepping up the game here. There’s also Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and Glonass, but the phone does not support NFC. The latter means you will not be able to use this phone for wireless payments.

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20 Comments

1. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

5 rating is INCREDIBLY harsh for a $100 phone, Phonearena. Your cons list is a complete joke considering the price. Also - 2 of the items on your cons list are based on global availability/compatibility, which the Company chooses. When the original iPhone was released, did you knock it for only being available in limited countries?

2. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Positives, taken straight from your review - Price is great - Battery life is great, mitigating long charge time for inexpensive phone - Camera is great - Design is great - Performance is beyond acceptable - Call quality is fine - Limited Global Availability/compatibility was intentional! They should not be knocked for this! You guys state apps pause when opening, but they run smoothly once doing so. Please - Reconsider your 5 rating considering the price. You guys are expecting a flagship phone at a low-range price lol? WTF Phonearena? Rating should be at minimum a 7.5

8. Rydsmith unregistered

Did you even read the review or did you just jump to the pros - cons, and then decide to complain? "The Meizu M5 is a likable affordable phone made in China and made for China. The goal of our review, however, is to understand how it will perform for the Western customer."

13. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

"The goal of our review, however, is to understand how it will perform for the Western customer." Incredibly stupid to do this, come to the conclusion it's a great phone if it's NOT for a Western customer, then award it a poor 5 rating. This is like me reviewing an AT&T iPhone 7 Plus in Antarctica and giving it a 2 because it didn't work.

12. UglyFrank

Posts: 2190; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Also they reviewed the phone as if the intended distribution method is grey import. It's quite baffling that they reviewed the phone from a US point of view as opposed to the point of view of the intended markets. If they can do they, they should've reviewed the Exynos S7.

3. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Nice...PA gimme the phone I'll kindly have it.

4. tunewar123

Posts: 17; Member since: Mar 17, 2016

Meizu M5 (Charging time 189 mins) - Listed as con for "battery is very slow to recharge" Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Charging time 197 mins).... Slow to recharge was not even mentioned once.. Well played phonearena... well played...

5. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Meizu M5 Price: $100 iPhone 7 Plus Price: $769 Phonearena - A phone almost 8x more expensive wasn't knocked for charging time. I'm not trying to be rude here, but you guys seriously need to wake up. Consistency is crucial when you're a reviewer. This review was simply poor.

7. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and on other note.. Meizu M5 beat iPhone 7 Plus on battery benchmark :v

6. Joms_US

Posts: 200; Member since: Oct 02, 2016

It will be the end of the world before iCrapArena gives 9.xx to any Android phone.

9. Rydsmith unregistered

You mean like the Galaxy S line and several other HTC and LG phone?

10. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

*any entry level android phone.... they giving fair score back then... i.e moto G 9/10, moto G (2014) 8.5/10, moto G (2015) 9/10 and then everything change since they became tame apple press... moto G4 7/10, and other low/mid-ranger (especially chinese brands) get turd-like score, no matter how great value it was..

11. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

The 32GB M5 is available for only $135.99 on sites like TO2C. Like most Chinese phones, it comes with LTE Bands 1, 3 and 7, no good for the US but OK on 4 Canadian carriers - Rogers, Fido, Bell & Virgin all of which have LTE Band 7 (2600) - not Telus or Koodo though - need Band 4 for these carriers. A much better phone for this price range is the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime - bigger battery (4100 mAh) and SD430 - a great, speedy SOC.

14. jellmoo

Posts: 2531; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Eh, be careful with Band 7 coverage. For Bell, it is *very* limited. Outside of pockets of major cities, you won't get any coverage on Band 7.

18. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

Not a problem on Fido, but then I don't travel from home very much so I have never noticed any problem. I've been using Chinese phones on LTE Band 7 for about 3 years now with no lack of coverage.

16. Mystell

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 16, 2017

I find people stupid for not understanding Meizu and it's flyme os, it's seriously the best in out there, use a flyme os for a month snd you will understand my point

17. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

Typical review shows ignorance of Canadian LTE bands. So typical to talk about LTE availability in Asia, Europe and the US, not knowing that there are 4 carriers in Canada with LTE Band 7 (2600) so that this phone along with many others made in China DO get LTE access in Canada on those carriers. At least this reviewer didn't make the mistake of referring to North America as if that covered every country in North America.

19. salvo unregistered

Wow a really good review, but have you seen the agm a2??

20. rudra964

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 10, 2017

Absolutely every reviewer on every website somehow fails to mention while reviewing a Meizu device that every Meizu phone can be rooted from Settings without losing warranty, software updates and even OTAs.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

M5
  • Display 5.2" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor MediaTek, Octa-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 3070 mAh(37h talk time)

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