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.

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



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

63. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

I came very close to buying this phone a few weeks ago until I discovered that it did not have FDD LTE Band 7 (2600), just bands 1 and 3, which are no good for me. But I am now very glad that I could not buy it because I have recently learned that phones with the Mediatek Helio X !0 processor have poor battery life. I tried the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 for a while with this processor, awful battery life. The Meizu MX5 has this processor too and is not rated very high on battery life. The budget Meizu M2 Note with a lower end Mediatek processor has great battery life, which is what prompted me to order the MX 5. Too bad. If you like Meizu, better to get the Pro 5 or wait for the MX6.

53. tanush

Posts: 15; Member since: Aug 26, 2015

Thanks PA for the review, I was expecting this phone to be better so dissapointed. Now I will wait till Honor 7 review comes out then I will decide to go for Honor 7 or wait for Op2's 1 hour open sale. Please review Honor 7 soon.

61. Ray.S

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Honor 7 review is coming, stay tuned!

62. tanush

Posts: 15; Member since: Aug 26, 2015

Thanks a lot!

52. fyahking

Posts: 1146; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

The iPhone will get a 9.8 because of the revolutionary 3d touch and 2gb of ram.

59. TerryTerius unregistered

Or because it's a good phone. I don't know why people keep thinking that specs equals greatness. I've said this before, phones can have amazing specs on paper and turn out to be utter crap in reality. A lot of these low priced flagship manufacturers are just that. Really good on paper and disappointing in person. I am not accusing Meizu of that, I'm just speaking in general. iPhones are the opposite. Under powered on paper, and very fluid in the real world.

51. mjparc

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 15, 2015

If no one point out the problems of Flyme OS , meizu will never solve them. You did a great job with this review. The problems you described are the same on the Mx4 and the mx4 is 1 year old.... YES : _If you are moving your picture will be blurry _the video recording quality is terrible. (even on Mx4) _The translation is weird (in english and French, some words are cut.) _There is no Auto-Focus during Video recording. (Only Manual) _4K videos are impossible to read, only the phone can play them smoothly (???) But Flyme OS is really a smooth and fast OS, a pleasure to use it everyday. Hope they will drasticly improve it and adding new features like Lockscreen notifications.

45. WallStreet

Posts: 256; Member since: Sep 21, 2014

Can't wait for the Redme Note 2 and the Xperia Z5 series reviews

44. WallStreet

Posts: 256; Member since: Sep 21, 2014

Another great critical review! But 'good performance'??? I was actually expecting something better from the Helio!!! Almost in every benchmark the Xperia Z3 Compact smokes it!!!!!!!!!

42. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

PA Just Smashing Phones LOL First The OnePlus 2 Now The MX5. Looking Forward To The Next Smash Fest.

40. davthom123

Posts: 121; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

the meizu MX 5 got great reviews on android authority and gizchina.and personal reviews from nairaland(a popular blog site in my country) have also been positive.plus everywhere else the one plus 2 was seen as a good device though not a flagship killer,from android authority to MkbHD to technobuffalo only phone arena gave it a bad score

58. TerryTerius unregistered

I'm pretty sure Marques (MKBHD) never reviewed the MX5. Or any Meizu product for that matter

34. foreverjin08

Posts: 73; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

They are liars, they have no credits. No Funarena anymore!

32. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

That's kinda -ve review. Both OnePlus Two and Meizu MX5 reviewed harshly. They don't deserve 9 but should be around 7 IMO.

33. Manyci

Posts: 116; Member since: Aug 03, 2015

Look. What is the point in buying $700-800 falgships if you get the same performance (sometimes better) for around $500 from Chinese manufacturers? And as more and ore people figure this out, tech sites like this (was once) have to underrate these products to make people buy expensive stuff...

37. TerryTerius unregistered

Personal preference. How much you trust any given brand. A certain brand may have unique features for their devices that other companies simply don't. Or, you just like the way a phone looks. Or maybe price isn't really an issue for you. The thing is, this downward pressure is not a good thing. A lot of these companies selling cheap phones aren't bringing anything new to market and are more or less putting together the latest components that are available and calling it a day. True, sometimes they may add software features but it isn't exactly common that new innovative hardware ideas come along. Which is understandable, since that is expensive to do. Maybe that's not a big deal to you, but it is to me. A hell of a lot of these companies selling their phones for rock bottom prices simply don't have the money to invest into R&D. And ultimately that is what is most to being hurt by this price crunch.

39. Manyci

Posts: 116; Member since: Aug 03, 2015

Yes and it's sad (really), but tell me at least 1 company that actually researched anything in the past 2-3 years. Ok, Samsung had to use their own chips, but just beacuse it would be a suicide using the SD810 after the numerous overheating issues. And yees, Apple do some development. They paint some rotten apples on each component. But that's it for hardware development. They only calibrate software (and yes, we have to say, they doing it extremely good). And you mentioned that Chinese OEMs just put together other companies' tech. Yes, you are absolutely right. But what's wrong with it until they put together the best avaiable tech? Let's name a few bigger companies: Sony don't use their own tech, except the camera. HTC don't use any of their own tech (or used, but it was a huge fail: Ultrapixel). Samsung will go back to Qualcomm with the S7 if we can believe in leaks. Huawei go with their own Kirin SoCs but they have bad GPUs. And yes, it's frustrating, because now there isn't any phones, which don't have at least 1 problem and beacuse of it people can't say, that yeees, it's a very good phone, it worth 1000% of my money. There isn't such a phone. Not even with Samsung's, Apple's or even with the greater Chinese OEM's phones. Let's see what the future brings to us and hope for the best.

41. TerryTerius unregistered

Sure, that's easy. Just to name a few. SAMSUNG http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsungs-foldable-phone-tipped-for-January-release-with-microSD-slot-sealed-battery_id73767 http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-is-working-on-denser-mobile-batteries-and-slimmer-camera-sensors-due-out-by-2017_id69681 http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-patents-foldable-tablet-displays-invisible-buttons_id71411 http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-patents-method-to-measure-your-body-fat-using-a-mobile-device_id71480 http://www.itproportal.com/2015/09/10/samsung-creates-ram-filled-future-mobile-devices/ Not to mention creating the world's first curved display with the Galaxy round, and first dual edged display with the Galaxy S6 Edge. SONY http://www.phonearena.com/news/Sony-breaks-new-ground-with-camera-sensors-curved-like-the-human-eye_id57124 LG http://www.businessinsider.com/lg-tv-sticks-to-your-wall-2015-5 I didn't say there was something wrong with using top end components from other people. I'm saying that they use off the shelf parts but don't contribute anything new. They don't even create effective algorithms or calibrate them well half the time (camera sensors are a perfect example of this). Glad to use what's available, but nothing to show in terms of their own creations. I'm not talking about china specifically, just cheap manufacturers in general. Granted, China has had the most prolific output in that realm.

47. Manyci

Posts: 116; Member since: Aug 03, 2015

OK, you won :D I'm sorry for disturbing you. But until most people buy these R&D-full products, I will stick with the lower priced phones. And yes, maybe I'm cheap (you didn't say that, so thanks, there are some people who would have start with this), but paying my 7 month (student) salary for a mobile is just too much for me (maybe a little later, when (hopefully) I can buy 2 brand new flagships from 1 month salary :DDD). Cheers Btw the non-protruding camera on Samsung phones would be really nice.

49. TerryTerius unregistered

I completely understand & I would never judge anybody for shopping within what they feel is their price range. Everyone's circumstances and lifestyle are different, and shopping in the high end is a luxury nowadays as opposed to the only way to get a good phone anyway. Have a good day though! I hope everything goes well for you :-)

55. Odeira

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 29, 2012

I don't know... - ALL Chinese-centric phones ape the iOS interface and ethos. Every. Single. One. - Land Rovers (probably the 21st century's MOST unreliable autos) are more reliable than Oneplus Ones and Twos. - Mediatek processors are TERRIBLE because they're not at all developer friendly (no source code and kernel = no optimisation = lag) - Xiaomi, the "hero" of China, can't step foot in the US and EU because they know they copied Apple 1:1 and will sue the daylights out of them. - They generally skimp on parts for low costs. - Near-zero profit margins = after sales support is out of the question. The world must learn that cutting corners will cut YOU up eventually, and this holds ever so true for the mobile world.

60. TerryTerius unregistered

I will say I agree with your last two points and the way you ended your post. I'm not too sure about the rest, and I'm hesitant to label all Chinese manufacturers one way or another. But at the end of the day you're kind of right, quality does have a high price attached to it in most cases. I argue that lightly, because the new moto G and moto X, Asus zenfone 2 and Alcatel One Touch idol 3 are all really good phones. Really, the new Moto G is better than many phones that cost twice as much. You don't have to spend a lot to get a good phone anymore. But you do have to fork over quite a lot to get the best. But yeah, this race to the bottom is only going to hurt the entire Android industry in the long run. And honestly, I don't even know for how much longer this can possibly be sustainable for these companies that are making next to no money.

28. Manyci

Posts: 116; Member since: Aug 03, 2015

I don't know exactly what kind of home buttons have "have too much of a 'click'" and are cheap and which are good, but I can't imagine a home button that feels (and sound) cheaper than the iPhone 6's... So yes: if it's an iPhone, then "it's tactile and has very good response", while on an other phone it's cheap. Congrats PA

25. Odeira

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 29, 2012

Moral Lesson: "Budget Flagship" phones can NEVER MATCH a true Flagship phone. Their crop is like Wolf in sheep's clothing - they think they are flagships, but their true colours - bad software, bad hardware, compromises left and right, bad after-sales support - will still show. They are bad flagship phones. Really, you DO GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

30. Manyci

Posts: 116; Member since: Aug 03, 2015

I recon you probably never heard of Xiaomi's Mi series... Look after it and then speak nonsenses

54. Odeira

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 29, 2012

Yeah, I have. The Mi4i my friend has had a horrible slowdown over its Snapdragon 615 hotpack, and successive software updates made the 2013 tier one Samsungs laugh (they're faster than the Mi4i.) And they only became successful they aped shamelessly the iPhone and iOS, I mean the interface; they're not even trying!

23. TerryTerius unregistered

If all you want to do is hear how amazing any given phone is, then why not go to a site specifically dedicated to worship that particular manufacturer? A lot of people don't want honest opinions (which is all a review really is at the end of the day, some person's opinion on a product), they want fanboy circle jerks. True, bias DEFINITELY exists. But different people have different methodology and standards. Michael Fisher is different from Marques Brownlee, who is different from the folks at Phone Arena, who are different from someone like Flossy Carter, who is different from Dieter Bohn. If all you want is for someone to reinforce your opinion and world view, shop around till you find it.

22. Tronlol

Posts: 35; Member since: Feb 06, 2015

noob phone get rekt. Good review on point as always.

15. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

20mp camera yet its quality is just OK. When I try to explain to clueless people about megapixels on a phone its really easy when you have meizu failing with an amazing sensor.

18. perry1234

Posts: 655; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Very true ! This camera is EPIC fail ....clearly seen from sample pics.
MX5
  • Display 5.5 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware MediaTek Helio X10, 3GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB,
  • Battery 3150 mAh
  • OS Android 5.0 Lollipop
    Meizu Flyme UI

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