Meizu MX5 Review

Introduction


Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu came up with an unusually strong proposition last year, when it launched the MX4. A well-rounded phone that managed to find a rather good balance between features and affordability, the Meizu MX4's main asset was the combination of a stupendously large, 5.4" display, and a relatively compact body that almost didn't feel too big.

Meizu MX5 Review
Meizu MX5 Review
Meizu MX5 Review
Meizu MX5 Review
Meizu MX5 Review
Meizu MX5 Review
After the strong flagship that the MX4 was, Meizu is now ready to follow up with its successor – the MX5. The company has shaked things up considerably, but the overall formula has remained unchanged: the same design language, the same software, but accompanied by an even larger screen, and a continued emphasis on what is once again a class-leading screen-to-body ratio. Let's dive deeper and explore the essence of this promising new star from the East!

Design

The MX5 takes the evolutionary path, fusing its tried and true body shape with metal.

The overall appearance of Meizu phones has always gravitated around a single design concept: one that's very iPhone 3GS-like. That's not a bad thing, as while Apple and most other manufacturers have moved on in different directions, Meizu has decided to stay and evolve this type of exterior, coming up with some very interesting results along the way.

Slimming bezels all around, the company reached an impressive 75% screen-to-body ratio with the MX4, producing a phone that felt manageble, all the while being equipped with a larger than average 5.4" IPS LCD screen. With the Meizu MX5, the screen-to-body figure has slightly dropped to 74%, but the phone feels even easier to handle than its predecessor, party thanks to it being significantly thinner: down to 0.30 inches (7.6mm) from 0.35 inches (8.9mm). Thankfully, while the display diagonal has grown even further to 5.5", the phone has actually become just a tad narrower: 2.94" (74.7mm) vs 2.96" (75.2mm). That's possible, because Meizu has transitioned from the wider 3:5 display aspect ratio of the MX4, to the more standard (and narrower) 9:16 one.

Overall, we're pleased with the in-hand feel of the Meizu MX5. The phone even manages to feel lighter than its predecessor, all the while actually being heavier with .07 oz (2 grams). Due to being thinner and less top-heavy in comparison with the MX4, the Meizu MX5 is a lovely device to handle and use. The metal back plate also adds to the premium look and feel of the handset, as do the shiny, chamfered edges surrounding the front. Sadly, the MX5 continues to be heavily "inspired" by the iPhone's design, which is now most evident by the arrangement of the bottom side, where the microphone, charging port, screws and speakers look in an almost identical way to those of the iPhone 6 (or 5c). Meizu needs to realize that such blatant copying of design elements doesn't speak well of the company's overall efforts, so if it wants to be taken more seriously, it should instead focus on nurturing originality within its design team.

Button execution, on the other hand, is something one can hardly copy, so it's interesting to see how Meizu has managed. We're mostly pleased with how the buttons react; the volume rocker and power/lock key (which is now conveniently situated on the right hand side) have a terrific response that makes you want to press them again and again. Sadly, the same thing cannot be said about the Home button, which now also incorporates a fingerprint scanner of the touch type. The problem is that it seems to have too much of a 'click', and it's also a bit on the wobbly side. As a result, it makes a defined and audible sound upon being pressed, but it has so much presence that it comes off as cheap, rather than satisfying. Still, we'd take this button over a shallow one that lacks movement.


Meizu MX5

Meizu MX5

Dimensions

5.9 x 2.94 x 0.3 inches

149.9 x 74.7 x 7.6 mm

Weight

5.26 oz (149 g)

Meizu MX4

Meizu MX4

Dimensions

5.67 x 2.96 x 0.35 inches

144 x 75.2 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.19 oz (147 g)

Xiaomi Mi 4

Xiaomi Mi 4

Dimensions

5.48 x 2.7 x 0.35 inches

139.2 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.26 oz (149 g)

OnePlus 2

OnePlus 2

Dimensions

5.98 x 2.95 x 0.39 inches

151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85 mm

Weight

6.17 oz (175 g)

Meizu MX5

Meizu MX5

Dimensions

5.9 x 2.94 x 0.3 inches

149.9 x 74.7 x 7.6 mm

Weight

5.26 oz (149 g)

Meizu MX4

Meizu MX4

Dimensions

5.67 x 2.96 x 0.35 inches

144 x 75.2 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.19 oz (147 g)

Xiaomi Mi 4

Xiaomi Mi 4

Dimensions

5.48 x 2.7 x 0.35 inches

139.2 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.26 oz (149 g)

OnePlus 2

OnePlus 2

Dimensions

5.98 x 2.95 x 0.39 inches

151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85 mm

Weight

6.17 oz (175 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


Meizu MX5 Review

Display

Meizu goes AMOLED; the results aren't pretty.

If there's one thing that we like about the Meizu MX5's display, it has to be its size! At 5.5 inches, it's a screen we'd wholeheartedly enjoy, considering the reasonable footprint of the phone. Due to a combination of its impressive 74% screen-to-body ratio and thoughtfully rounded back plate, the MX5 allows us to work with a giant screen at little cost in the way of comfort.

Resolution-wise, we're grateful to Meizu for being level-headed and sticking with 1080x1920 pixels, delivering the outstanding 401 ppi density. What we're not so grateful for is its decision to switch to an AMOLED screen, which has compromised some crucial aspects, such as color balance and brightness output. Last year, the Meizu MX4's IPS LCD panel had problems of its own, most notably a low gamma of 2.0 (somewhat washed-out looks) and a white point of about 7750 kelvins, making for a rather cold tone. Unfortunately, things haven’t really improved this year, as other problems have arisen in the place of the solved ones.

While the gamma has been fixed, now sitting at 2.28, maximum brightness has suffered greatly, as it now peaks at the very modest 335 nits. In comparison, the Meizu MX4 reached 535 nits. At least the MX5’s 1-nit minimum brightness is ideal. Making matters worse, however, is the inaccurate color balance, which throws way too much green in there, taking the life out of whatever comes on screen. The oversaturated colors help negate that to an extent, but the effect is similar to trying to balance out a salty dish with sugar. Meizu has clearly used an outdated piece of AMOLED tech, which is truly an absurd thing to do these days. Anyway, it’s not so bad if you aren’t too picky, or if you don’t necessarily want to see colors in their natural state… Either way, this display is so 2013.

Sorry for being the bearer of bad news, but the troubles with Meizu’s latest display don’t end here. This particular issue was actually present in the MX4 as well, so it looks like Meizu has been busy with something else during the last twelve months. Anyway, the automatic brightness control is definitely not up to snuff in the MX5. It cannot keep brightness at an optimal level as you are going through environments of various lightning level. Most of the time, it defaults to a brighter display state than needed, so if you are not OK with that, you’ll have to constantly adjust it manually. Meanwhile, if you enter a completely dark room, the display will not go all the way down; instead, it’ll continue to needlessly shine stronger than it needs to, requiring you to once again go manual. We guess this is mostly a software issue, so here’s to hoping that some day, an update will arrive that’s going to fix the MX5’s auto brightness problem. But we wouldn’t count on that.


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65 Comments

1. gaming64 unregistered

I don't know why phoneArena writers are giving harsh reviews. Just wait for the iPhone 6s review. Instant 10/10.

2. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I hope not, new iPhones don't deserve more than 8, recently PA got very reasonable, but we all know how Apple magic works here :d

4. kriistofor

Posts: 6; Member since: Sep 14, 2015

And because of "3D Touch" and (finally) 2gbs of ram it will get good grades I'm sure. Even though I agree with you, 5.8 for this device (considering review from other sites) does not seem fair

12. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

You are from the future and you have had an iphone 6S in your hands for days so you can say it deserves 8 and nothing more? For the 55.000.000th time. SPECS MEAN NOT AS MUCH for iOS as much as they do for android. 1-2gb of RAM is more than enough for any 1080p iOS device. 8mp iphone 6 had one of the top 3 camera for a whole year. With its 1gb ram it worked smoothly and you could open as much apps as you liked. Seriously stop with the trolling and try to elaborate otherwise you sound like an old bitter man who hates seeing kids playing sports and enjoying life.

19. gaming64 unregistered

Yes specs do not matter but in Apple's case, I beg to differ. I really wish they could do more than just giving like 2-3 features in their products every year when some may or might have had them for a long time now.

20. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

You know I thought the same thing after I posted my comment :d For now 6S seems just like 6 would do in 2015 and IMO every iPhone after 4S deserves 8, no more, no less I can't agree about camera, it was inferior at launch to such phones like 930, S5, Note 4 and G3. I hope though, this time it will be again on top. 2GB on iPad Air 2 does great job and 1GB was the only grip I had with iPhone's performance. You could open as many apps as you liked but only 3 tabs in Safari :D And why only 8? Apple is deliberately holding back features that other phones have just because and offer it for incredibly high prices.

7. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Phonearena is flooring Chinese phones. The MX5's display is so 2013? Well I have got a Note 3 from 2013 and if that is what you call so 2013...then that's pretty damn good even by today's standards. Appreciate Meizu for what it is...a really good device for the sweet sweet price!

26. uggman

Posts: 58; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

totally agree, they've been bashing a lot of android smarphones lately and i think its because the iphone 6s its official, i would really hate it if apple is shedding some money to this tech sites in preparation for the launch of their new iphone, i mean the totally killed the oneplus 2, not that it wasnt as revolusionary as the first one but still a great phone.

31. TerryTerius unregistered

If you want to step back and look at device reviews from various companies, that is absolutely nothing new. And it's spread out throughout the year, in no way being concentrated around the time of iPhone releases. I don't know why people automatically think that it's impossible for phones to genuinely be bad/average and any score that is lower must mean that Apple or Samsung is somehow involved. For what reason would they even care? The two of them outsell every other manufacturer on the entire planet by HUGE margins, do you really think they're concerned about some proportionally tiny company that is in no way a threat? Just because a device looks great on paper, doesn't mean it'll be great will in person. Although I do think something was up with that One Plus 2 review... But I suspect they got a bad review unit like Michael Fisher from PocketNow did. That being said, everyone is human that reviews these devices and everybody has their own subjective metrics. The only way to give a supposedly objective review would be to list or compare the specs of a phone and leave it at that. Once you interject opinion you open yourself up to whatever that person's personal ideals of greatness may be. Non bias is only possible to a point.

43. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I Doubt It, At Most It Gets The Same Score As The iPhone 6 Or A Slightly Better 9.1, Even PA Doesn't Like The iPhone's Poor Battery Life.

3. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Are those China OEM's getting sloppy! ?

8. MaryPoopins

Posts: 324; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

No, it's just PA being s**te. :/

27. TerryTerius unregistered

Are you really sure that these phones are as good as they appear to be on paper? AcBugatti Veyron, on paper; should thrash any car around the track. And yet, a McLaren p1, LaFerrari, Porsche 918, Lamborghini Aventador SV, or Pagani Huayra will absolutely monster it around a circuit. Specs only tell a portion of the story.

56. P3rsona

Posts: 23; Member since: Aug 25, 2015

says the guy who drove all of them.

57. TerryTerius unregistered

I don't have to have driven them to know how to read and use logical inference. http://fastestlaps.com/tracks/top-gear-track There aren't many places the Veyron has set an official lap time, the only one really being the Top Gear test track. It is slower than both the LaFerrari (granted, not driven by the stig) and the Pagani Huayra. Considering the 918 and P1 are around the same ability as a LaFerrari and the Lamborghini Aventador Super Veloce was only a few seconds off the time of the 918 at the Nurburgring it isn't a stretch to assume the Veyron a slower than all five. Granted, that does partially depend on what track you're talking about. In theory, a track like the one in Abu Dhabi or the Nurburgring should favor the Veyron because of their long straights... in theory. Vmax isn't really a useful metric for understanding track performance, and there have been a slew of advancements made in the decade since the Veyron came out. And its a heavy a** car.

5. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

iPhone - Blindly close one eye, find as less cons as possible, give a high rating. Other phones - Hybrid AF Pure Image 2.0+ OIS+ 2 eyes activated, find as many cons as possible, give a low rating (unless the phone has less cons they'll have no choice but to give a high rating). I do like if PA becomes harsh and honest in their reviews, but I hate when they blindly give so much credit to Apple products. I'm glad I unsubscribed their Youtube channel and stopped watching their videos for a long time. One conclusion I found is, PA hates Chinese manufacturers and biased to Apple products. Sorry, I'm just being harsh and honest here, just like you guys.

36. Ghost04

Posts: 494; Member since: May 03, 2014

They are just anti-Chinese . If you hate something you just can rate it highly . I can guarantee they will rate Iphone 6s 9-9.5/10 . Their findings will be : 1. Fastest and smoothest UI . 2. Best prossesor in the world . 3. Best graphics in the world . 4. Best camera in the world , even a 3000$ DSLR can't match it . 5. 4K video recording is just out of this world . 6. Battery is small but can easily run 2-3 days . 7. Display is better then 6K . 8. Build is just awesome . Can stop a 50 calibre bullet .

38. TerryTerius unregistered

Yeah, they totally never give Chinese manufacturers good reviews -_- http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/ZTE-Axon-Pro-Review_id4047 http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/BLU-Vivo-Air-Review_id3924 (BLU phones are all rebranded Chinese products) http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Huawei-P8-Review_id3994 Http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Huawei-Ascend-Mate7-Review_id3790 http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Huawei-Ascend-P7-Review_id3682 http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Xiaomi-Mi-4-Review_id3873 http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Oppo-Find-7a-Review_id3669 http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/OnePlus-One-Review_id3758 All those "terribly" scored Chinese phones with 8's and 9's smh. Although I do think they had a defective unit for the 1 + 2 review, because that one doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Granted, I don't think that it deserves to get a 9 either because they objectively omitted a lot of features that current flagship phones have, let alone their bragging that it's a supposed 2016 flagship killer. Which is literally the first thing you see when you pull up their website for the 1 + 2. Did it ever occur to you that iPhones are simply good phones?

48. Ghost04

Posts: 494; Member since: May 03, 2014

But recently they have gone insane . Maybe the person reviewing the the phone now is Negative about Chinese phones .

50. fyahking

Posts: 1146; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

Oops, I reported you by accident.

64. Souzd

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 19, 2016

Nice one

65. Souzd

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 19, 2016

Nice one

6. MaryPoopins

Posts: 324; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

WTF is up with PA giving all the "non-flagship/mainstream" type phones really crap scores. Are they REALLY worth getting lower than 6? Are they really shoddy and not capable? Or are you just all phone snobs waiting to hand out your 9.5s on Samsung/Apple/Sony ?? Sheesh !!!

21. Shocky unregistered

Phone snobs, it's best not to think of them are real reviews.

24. TerryTerius unregistered

The Alcatel One Touch idol 3 and ASUS Zenfone 2 both scored well over an 8, and they are definitely budget Phones from non mainstream manufacturers. As did the BLU Vivo Air. LG got pretty high scores with the g3 and g4. HTC did well with the m8. If I remember correctly, Huawei and Motorola scored in the high 8's as well.... I think. Just because a product sounds amazing on paper doesn't mean that's the way it turns out to be in real life. A lot of these phones that are cheap have that price tag because they come from companies more interested in simply copying what everyone else is doing then actually taking their time and polishing a product, slapping parts into a phone and calling it a day. I'm not necessarily saying that's what happened here. But I do know that a hell of a lot of manufacturers that sound like they make amazing phones have decidedly average or sub par results in person. And even if we're going to use price as a metric, the new moto G and X from what I understand are both really good Phones. To a lesser extent, so are the Idol 3 and Zenfone 2. Price may not really give you leeway anymore. That's the result of the downward pricing pressure on Android. Price isn't really a safe haven anymore.

29. MaryPoopins

Posts: 324; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

I dunno man, when a phone can score 1-10, this means 5.5 is the average, are they really REALLY saying that this phone is only a smidge above 'middle of the road'? Is it REALLY only a tiny bit better than "Meh"? Although never having used THIS particular phone, I have used previous Meizu and I am very sure they would never do 'average' as a flagship device. Maybe I'm cynical, maybe I'm right, maybe I'm not. But it seems a lot of other PA commenters are also noticing the recent trend of unnecessarily bashing what's not considered cream of the crop. Still, that's why God invented more than 1 review site, right? ;)

35. TerryTerius unregistered

But that's just it, the thing about reviews is they are by definition subjective to that person's opinions. So you, or me, or whomever may have a particular opinion of a device... And someone who reviews phones for a living may disagree wholeheartedly. Especially since they often have access to multiple devices to compare it to. At the end of the day, even when these articles aren't direct comparisons that is the only way to really gauge how good a product is. I kind of wonder to what extent price plays into this? Like I said the BLU Vivo air, ASUS zenfone 2 and Alcatel One Touch idol 3 are all budget devices that scored well this year. You also have a handful of devices that have gotten between a 4 and a 6 this year. Some from those very manufacturers. You also have you have the Moto G and Moto X Style/Play reviews around the corner. So we shall see. But if you just take a few seconds and peruse through their review history, they give low and high scores throughout the entire year. You could of course be right, I am in no way trying to discount your theory. Bias exists, be it intentional or subconscious... But I don't think you are right on this. At least not when I step back and look at things in context. But I do think that they got a bad review unit for the 1 + 2 like Michael Fisher did.

9. perry1234

Posts: 613; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Thank you Phonearena . I was about to go for Meizu MX5 but the niggles you pointed out are surely noteworthy. Will wait a bit more.

11. Ray.S

Posts: 432; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

So glad to be of use!

16. perry1234

Posts: 613; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Seriously , the little things that you point out are what other reviews miss. I especially thank you for pointing out about the incomplete titles in settings and other menu options! That is a huge deal-breaker for a mainstream phone user in my opinion. Keep 'em great reviews coming !
MX5
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor MediaTek Helio X10, Octa-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3150 mAh

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