Read the full Meizu MX4 review, the worlds first Mediatek MT6595, LTE phone from China. Can it compete with Qualcomm phones from rivals?
Earlier this year we reviewed the Meizu MX3 and found it to be an amazing smartphone, and a difficult act to follow, so how does the all new Meizu MX4 compare? Have Meizu managed to best themselves?
The release of the Meizu MX4 was shrouded in mystery, with media and fans only learning the actual release date just over a week before the Meizu team took the stage in Beijing and showed the world what they had managed to build.
Meizu MX4 Video unboxing and hands on
Meizu MX4 review – Design and build
Looking at the Meizu MX3 and Meizu MX4 side by side the phones look very similar, and it would be easy to dismiss the new phone as simply a larger model at first glimpse. Take a good look over the body, the materials used and the feel though and the MX4 is a very different phone.
Before the MX4 launched, Xiaomi were all over the headlines boasting about the Mi4 with stainless steel body. For Xiaomi this was quite an update in quality and build, but for Meizu using steel again would be more of the same so they went for something new.
The MX4 uses an all new aircraft grade alloy for it’s chassis. The choice of alloy not only means that the Meizu MX4 is lighter, but it has also allowed the main chassis to be heavily machined thus letting the engineers in Zhuhai fit more inside.
As a added benefit the alloy wicks heat away from the octacore processor quickly and can easily be coloured. Grey models are all that have been released so far, but white and gold version of the phone have been planned too.
Taking the phone and looking from the outside, only the rounded sides and highly polished bezel edge of the phone are alloy. The rear panel matches the colour and even the feel of the alloy surface, but is actually a removable plastic cover. This time around no tools are needed to remove the rear, and all you need is a fingernail and a solid pull.
The join between the alloy chassis and plastic panel on the sample models of the MX4 is quite good but not perfect. Production models though should be made to higher tolerances for a smoother transition. That said the sample phone is very well made and I have been using for a few weeks now with no build, quality or design complaints.
Meizu MX4 vs Meizu MX3
Just as the front of the phone looks like its predecessor so does the overall look of the rear, but there are a few positive changes. I personally prefer the new logo position, it actually helps the handset look like a phone rather than a block of soap. The glass around the camera is larger and made of Corning Gorilla glass plus we have a dual tone, dual LED flash just below it.
Searching around the edges we see some nice machining where the speaker grills are located on the bottom edge next to the USB plug. The volume rocker remains on the left side, while the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack live on the top.
A sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 sprawls across the entire front of the phone. The only gap in the glass is the receiver speaker at the top of the phone. To the right of the grill you will find the light sensor, proximity sensor and further right the front facing camera.
Considering the large 5.36-inch display, the Meizu MX4 only measures 75.2mm wide. Meizu managed this partly with the use of a 15:9 ratio display and partly due to the 2.6mm narrow screen bezels which run along either side of the display.
Finally the chin of the Meizu, with only the single halo home button, is as minimal as it could possibly be.
Dimensions of the MX4 are 72.5 x 144 x 8.9mm. Its a short, narrow phone and much thinner than the figures suggest. A highly tapered rear helps the Meizu MX4 to comfortably fill your palm, and although the numbers show the phone is as thick as the Xiaomi Mi4, the added attention to detail Meizu have given the Meizu MX4 help it pull off it’s size admirably.
Meizu MX4 review – What’s in the back?
A removable rear panel normally conjures up images of removable batteries, dual SIM and a micro SD card. Not so with the Meizu MX4. The 3100mAh Sony battery is a non removable unit, there is no space for a micro SD card, there is no dual SIM, and as you can see in the photos no NFC either.
With the Meizu MX3 the removable rear panel was added so users could switch rear panels and customise their phone. I’m not entirely sure why Meizu added a removable panel on the MX4 when a simple SIM tray would suffice. Perhaps additional rear panels will be available in the future? Who knows?
Meizu MX4 review – Screen
Meizu don’t like to follow the norm when it comes to screen size, ratio and dimensions. The MX4 continues this tradition with a 15:9, 5.36-inch JDI panel with a FHD resolution of 1920 x 1152, new Nega liquid crystal technology and LED backlight module.
During the Meizu launch event a lot of amazing facts and figure were boasted about. For example did you know the the screen on the MX4 has a contrast ratio of 1100:1? Or that the new LED backlight offers brightness of up to 500cd/m? Or that the the NTSC colour gamut is up by 85%? All sounds very impressive doesn’t it? What it actually all means though is that the display on the MX4 is bright, responsive and extremely clear.
I’ve been lucky enough to use the MX4 across China, Dubai and Europe with some very intense sunshine and I very rarely push the brightness up past 3/4!
Personally I don’t like to use a screen protector and have not placed one on the MX4. So far so good, even with placing the phone carelessly in my pocket with my keys the screen has survived without scratch or chip so far.
With a 2.6mm bezel on either side of the 5.36-inch display gaming, viewing media and general web browsing is really gorgeous on the Meizu. Watching movies in a dark train carriage and it almost looks like the image is floating in the air thanks to those minute bezels.
Meizu MX4 review – Performance
Interestingly for Meizu they have decided to use a Mediatek processor in the Meizu MX4 rather than a Samsung chip which has made its way in to every other Meizu device to date. Going for the Mediatek chip has meant that the price is lower than ever, in fact the cheapest Meizu at launch to date, but has the shift meant that performance has taken a dive?
The MX4 is the first phone to be released with the Mediatek MT6595 chipset. This processor is a 2.2Ghz model with a big.LITTLE architecture which switches to and from the large and small cores depending on what you ask the phone to do. There is also 2GB RAM on board and the GPU is a powerful PowerVR series 6 unit, which Meizu say is 88% better than before.
So how does it handle? Well general everyday use is not an issue with this set up, but then again it wouldn’t be a struggle for any Mediatek chip, but what you notice from the start is just how fast the MX4 handles everything. It just reacts with no complaints or slowing down, it just does what you want and when you want it done.
Running popular benchmarks on the phone resulted in an Antutu score of over 50,000 points, but as we know now Antutu isn’t everything. 3D Mark running an Ice Storm Unlimited test gave a result of 11,285 which is truly amazing for a Mediatek powered phone and well up there against Snapdragon processors.
Meizu MX4 Benchmark Results:
- Antutu X: 50,338
- Ice Storm Unlimited: 11,285
- Ice Storm Extreme: 7,161
- Nenamark 2: 60.7fps
- Quadrant: 9,852
- Vellamo Metal: 903
- Vellamo Multicore: 2020
- Vellamo Browser: 3646
So everyday use and benchmarks are impressive, so how does the MX4 handle gaming? Well drifting around car parks in Real Drift was a breeze for the Meizu, and it even handled the 3D intros easily too, something which no other Mediatek chip so far was able to do. Blasting zombies in Dead Trigger didn’t even raise the Meizu MX4’s pulse. In fact gaming was so smooth and fast across the large screen of the MX4 I think I have played more on this than any other phone to date!
Meizu MX4 Review – Camera
For the main camera on the MX4, Meizu again teamed up with Sony but this time instead going for a lower mega-pixel camera as they did with the MX3 they went for the big guns and the top of the range 20.7 mega-pixel Sony Exmor sensor, the same found in flagship Sony Xperia devices. The sensor is a very capable unit with a pixel size of 1.2 microns, but shoppers might poo poo the sensor as it has an aperture of just F2.2. Don’t let that put you off though as even up against phones with F2.0 or F1.8 apertures the MX4 can hold its own.
The Flyme 4.0 camera app has also gone through a huge change too and is now one of the most feature packed and user friendly camera applications of any ROM!
Meizu MX4 photo samples
I do like the image quality, the fact I can shoot 25 images a second, and that I can increase the amount of content in my photos by switching to the 20 mega-pixel setting. The camera app also has some amazing features from slow motion video, face beauty, HDR, refocus mode, night mode and a very in-depth manual setting. I am especially impressed with the Night mode option, photo examples can be seen below.
Meizu MX4 low light shots
I am also really impressed with the overall clarity of the photos and the accuracy of colours, shadows and light, but I feel the camera in this beta ROM needs a polish for the final production version of the phone to give a more consistent quality.
Meizu MX4 Slow Motion video sample
Meizu MX4 review – Battery
As I look at the settings now I have been using the phone for 9 hours 59 minutes and 48 seconds, I have 32% of battery left and I have been taking photos, playing games, running benchmarks, testing the GPS, with the 3G constantly on and chat and email apps on. So I would say pretty heavy use.
The 3100mAh battery in the Meizu MX4 is quite large and I have been getting at least 1 day and a half of use out of it on average since I got the phone. I’ve been running the screen on about 3/4 brightness too so it would be simple to boost that battery time with the screen turned down and with GPS and WIFI disabled when not in use.
Meizu have finally made a phone that has a very decent battery life!
Meizu MX4 review – GPS and connectivity
One of the main concerns with anyone buying a Chinese phone with a Mediatek processor is just how good the GPS will be. Well that is not a concern with the Meizu MX4. I have tested this phone in China, Dubai and Europe and the GPS locks on in around 3 seconds and stays locked on.
Running GPS test while sat in my living room the MX4 managed to see 23 satellites and use 12 of them for an accuracy of 17feet, INSIDE! That’s something that no other Mediatek phone we have tested so far can match. Navigation and getting around the city is all good too, maybe not quite as fast to update as a Snapdragon 801 but not far behind.
The rest of the kit all works as it ought too. WIFI, 3G and LTE all work flawlessly with not dropped calls and a strong WIFI signal.
Meizu MX4 Review – Audio
Meizu were originally an MP3 maker and known for their quality audio experience. Ever since they entered the smartphone market they have always gone that extra mile to give great quality audio. In the past going from my MX3 to my Mi2S was a painful experience as the Xiaomi simply didn’t match the Meizu’s audio. I was worried that after using the Vivo Xshot for so long, which has the best audio of any phone so far, the MX4 wouldnt be able to keep up on audio especially considering it costs half the price. Thankfully I have been proved wrong!
Audio through the MX4’s external speak is clear and unbelievably loud! And with earphones plugged in you get a real treat. Sound quality is sublime and easily as good as the OnePlus One or Oppo Find 7, it’s not too far off the Vivo either!
Meizu MX4 Review – Flyme 4.0
With the launch of the Meizu MX4, Meizu also announced their latest version of Flyme, Flyme 4.0. Although the team at the launch even told us of a huge number of changes in the ROM, many of them aren’t there for international users. For example the voice assistant and weather app are designed only for the Chinese market, and for some reason it is very difficult to sign up for a Flyme account through your phone now.
Changes that everyone can enjoy though are a slightly tweaked UI, the addition of lock screen features, an all new camera app, a new notification bar and some new Flyme based icons. If you have used Flyme 3.0 then you will feel right at home with Flyme 4.0 and you probably won’t notice much of a difference. If however you come from another ROM then you will need to take some time to learn your way around Flyme. Settings and options are not where you would normally expect, and sometimes options aren’t available when they are in other systems.
However the version of the ROM that we are testing is a beta version, and on a pre release phone, so we are bound to come up against a few oddities here and there.
Once you get used to the halo home button, the swipe up to go back features and the smart bar, it is very difficult to go back to another ROM. The Smart bar is especially useful, offering exactly what you need when you need it (well most of the time). You can see more of Flyme 4.0 in the video below.
Meizu MX4 Video Review
The below video review takes around 30 minutes to finish. You have been warned! Enjoy!
Meizu MX4 review – Conclusion
So after 3 weeks of continuous use how to I feel about the Meizu MX4? In all honesty I believed that I would use the phone for a week, write up the review and then move back to my Vivo Xshot, but that hasn’t been the case. Yes the Xshot has a slightly faster and more consistent camera, and the audio is slightly better, but the MX4 packs in a much larger display in not much more space, equally amazing performance and looks amazing to boot!
The sample MX4 we have on test isn’t without its issues though, but most are down to software optimisation and we have been assured they will all be fixed once the production versions are in the hands of fans in the coming days. And even if they weren’t there are still fewer bugs in Flyme 4.0 now in beta, than I have found in other ROMs when they should have been consumer ready.
The MX4 is a bold move for Meizu. They have changed the way they build phones, they have changed to a new manufacturer for their processor, the camera is cutting edge now rather than middle of the pack and there is super fast LTE and GPS that works from a Mediatek phone! A lot has been achieved.
In China the 16GB Meizu MX4 comes in at 1799 Yuan which is a steel! I would buy one for that price and be very happy with the huge chunk of cash I have managed to save. Internationally the MX4 starts at $449 with shipping and tax included. Compare that to the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 and the Meizu MX4 is the clear winner, but when compared to the OnePlus One and Xiaomi Mi4 the lines begin to blur.
Compared to the OnePlus One the MX4 has performance and audio on par, and the screen size is only a fraction smaller yet the body is much more comfortable to hold and, in my opinion, better looking. Compared to the Xiaomi Mi4 the MX4 is only physically slighly larger but has a much larger screen, battery life is equal, the camera and audio are better, and you will get a warranty outside of China. However both phones can be bought for slightly less.
Its a tough decison, but if design, camera and warranty are what you are after the MX4 is the phone to buy. If you don’t care about warranty or what a Jack of all trades get one of the other two.
The Meizu MX4 is available to order through the official Meizu Mart online store.
Deal Extreme are also offering the Meizu MX4 at a speical price: