The story of the Meizu MX is an interesting one. Meizu Technology is a Chinese electronics manufacturer, producing a range of products from music players to, now, smartphones. There currently is no official American or European release date for the Meizu MX. Rather, it has been released only in Hong Kong and China. However, we got our hands on one and we took it for a test drive.
There are two variants, the dual-core and the quad-core. The dual-core was released in China on February 1 of this year, and the quad-core came out June 30. However, to complicate things, both variants are called the MX. Though the Samsung Galaxy S III beat Meizu to market, the Meizu MX was the first smartphone based on the Exynos 4412 to be announced. In this review, we are examining the quad core variant.
The Meizu MX comes neatly packaged in a white box. When you enter the box, you have a neatly placed power adapter and a cardboard-backed book. As you turn through the book it talks about the MX’s features. Then you will find the MX at the end of the “book” like some sort of electronic prize.
The Exynos 4412 quad-core chip is the star of this hardware build. Being the flagship system-on-chips offering used in Samsung’s Galaxy S III, it’s a solid performer. The 4-inch 960 x 640 ASV (“advanced super view”) display with a reported 16 million colors is bright and smooth. Animations and videos look great, and are not choppy on this device. The 8 megapixel camera with full High Definition video recording abilities is satisfying. Quick snaps and videos are pleasing, and would make any Instagrammer jealous.
The battery life is good, going two days between charges with moderate use. The white plastic shell can be removed with the included case removal tool. And the battery is accessible, however it is not changeable. If you want to pop open the case and change batteries to continue use of the MX, you are out of luck. However, it could be possible for a knowledgeable user to replace the battery if were to go flat.
The Meizu MX uses a microSIM card, has a gyroscope among other sensors, and a dual-microphone for noise reduction. The MX supports Bluetooth and USB Host mode via its micro USB port.
The Meizu MX is running Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich with a specialized skin dubbed “Flyme OS.” This simple customization of Android is decent and doesn’t introduce any lag. Scrolling between the home screens or web pages is smooth, and lacks any noticeable jerkiness. Graphics are appealing and the layout is intuitive. Flyme includes the Flyme Store, although I’m not certain that’s what it’s called because I don’t read Chinese. Browsing the Google Play store works, though I had some issues accessing and installing certain apps. However, fear not avian flinging addicts; I was able to install Angry Birds.
The battery charging animation places a battery icon in the middle of a screen. Bubbles then float from the USB area to the battery icon. While this may not seem like an big thing, it demonstrates polish and attention to detail, which shows the level of effort that Meizu has places in creating their custom skin. Overall, the Flyme UI is polished and nice—even if a bit fruit flavored.
Let be honest here, the Meizu MX looks very much like the iPhone 3GS. With a glossy edge-to-edge glass, and curved corners and back cover, one can easily mistake the two from a distance. Even the main button is in the same spot. There are some differences, though. The MX has a larger screen, and of course packs capacitive buttons around its main button. I was actually approached by a stranger who asked if the Meizu MX was the new iPhone 5 because it had that fruity feel, but didn’t look exactly like any of Apple’s current offerings.
That said, the weight and dimensions felt comfortable in my large hands. The screen didn’t pick up much finger grease during testing either. The back cover is snug, yet the case removal tool makes removal easily.
Even though the Meizu MX is slightly fruity, the power and refined software make use of this phone enjoyable. It’s not an object of desire like the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy S III. However, if I were assigned this phone for a job or given one as a sign up bonus, I would not be disappointed. This phone is a solid performer, but it may just be eclipsed by more desirable phones. That said, I think proper marketing could change that.
However, the Meizu MX isn’t available in America or Europe, which may cause it to further get lost in the shuffle. If Meizu attempted to release the MX in western countries, they will need to be prepared the face the fangs of the evil Apple lawyers.
When I first received and saw this device I was prepared to be disappointed. The more I used it, the more I came to appreciate it. All told, the functionality and hardware offered by this device is nothing to sneeze at. This is not a cheap Chinese iPhone knock off. It is a solid offering in its own right. To compare it to your pet dog, the Meizu MX wouldn’t win Best in Show, but its a reliable puppy that listens to your commands and continues to be loyal to you. If you are in a market where the Meizu is available, it is certainly worth a look.___________________