Meizu MX4 review: Alternadroid

While Xiaomi’s busy conquering the world with hardly leaving China, and the likes of Oppo and Huawei think globally, as they act locally, Meizu is somewhere in between. Some three years now and several generations of supercharged smartphones to match the flagships of the industry’s major players. The Meizu MX4 is the company’s latest creation with the fourth generation of the custom Flyme OS.

Built on the same formula as its predecessor, the Meizu MX4 isn’t short on premium features. It’s got a gorgeous 1080p display with a 5.36-inch diagonal, a single multi-functional capacitive button below it, and Meizu’s colorful, almost iOS-like, approach to Android. And it doesn’t end there – there’s a Sony-made, Meizu-optimized 20.7MP camera on the back capable of 2160p (4K) video recording. Meizu has also worked with Sony on the battery, a 3,100mAh unit no less.

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Meizu MX4 official photos

To keep things running smoothly Meizu has added an octa-core MediaTek chipset and 2GB of RAM. The ample 3,100mAh battery should power things along nicely and we’re eager to see what kind of numbers it puts up. Here’s a close look at the full specs.

Key features

  • 5.36″ 1152 x 1920px IPS LCD display of 418ppi
  • Heavily customized Flyme OS 4 on top of Android 4.4.2
  • Octa-core MediaTek MT6595 chipset, quad-core 2.2GHz Cortex-A17 & quad-core 1.7GHz Cortex-A7, 2GB of RAM
  • 20.7 MP Sony sensor camera with two-tone LED flash, 2160p video recording @30fps
  • 2MP front-facing camera with 1080p@30fps video recording
  • 16GB or 32GB built-in storage
  • Active noise cancellation via dedicated second mic
  • 802.11ac Wi Fi connectivity
  • 3,100mAh battery
  • Screen lock/unlock without ever touching the high-perched power button
  • Thin bezels allow great screen to body ratio
  • Very attractive pricing for both storage models

Main disadvantages

  • Hard to find outside Asia
  • No microSD card slot
  • 64GB option hard to find
  • Lower resolution front facing camera compared to some rivals

As with every major Chinese manufacturer in the smartphone space, we’re looking at a device that’s almost exclusively sold in Asia. Chances are slim that you’ll see a Meizu smartphone on a store shelf in the western hemisphere but Meizu has an online store that ships around the world.

And while that’s a viable option, users looking for carrier subsidized deals won’t be able to get the MX4 with a discount. But that may not be too much of a problem as Meizu’s starting price isn’t as high as you’d expect from the quality of hardware provided.

Still, the limited retail channels certainly don’t help Meizu’s case and also, there is a fair amount of people who don’t trust online stores for overseas orders in fear of poor after-sales support. Meizu shares this issue with Oppo and OnePlus. But if you’re living in Asia or aren’t worried about getting a phone shipped half across the globe, the Meizu MX4 could be worth a serious look.

So what does the Meizu MX4 offer you that the Xiaomi Mi4, Oppo Find 7 and OnePlus One don’t? All these phones follow mostly the same strategy, offering creative design, solid build quality, a personal take on Android, top notch specs and a price lower than your average top-tier Galaxy, Xperia, LG or HTC phone. Maybe not much after all, but the feel of the device is different, and so is the feel of Flyme OS compared to say, Xiaomi’s MiUI.

Flyme OS has come a long way since its first installment, offering neat visuals and stutter free operation. There’s more than a superficial kinship to Apple’s flat, colorful iOS with some icons or apps looking and working the same as their iOS counterparts. Some may find this copycat strategy unacceptable, but users in China welcome a droid that looks and feels like an iDevice.

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Meizu MX4 at HQ

Flyme OS does a fine job of easing some of the hardships related to using a large display and having a top-placed Power button. The capacitive home button can lock the Meizu MX4 and a swipe on the locked screen will unlock the device.

By the looks of it, the Meizu MX4 has what it takes to be relevant in the smartphone high-end. We’ve yet to find out whether it has what it takes to do better than its main rivals from China, but it certainly looks good on paper. Let’s move along – next we’re going to look at the build and finish. Stay close.

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