MWC: Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition first impressions


meizu mx4 ubuntu

The Ubuntu version of the Meizu MX4 is was the device I really wanted to get my hands on at MWC. Keep reading for my first impressions of the Meizu’s latest below.

Having had a lot of hands on time with the regular Android version of the Meizu MX4, I was eager to try out the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu edition to see if the powerful hardware could happily run Ubuntu as well as it runs Flyme.

meizu mx4 ubuntu

From a hard wear point of view the Ubuntu version of the Meizu MX4 is exactly the same as the Android model. You get the same 5.35-inch display, 2GB RAM, octacore MT6595 processor, LTE and Sony 20.7 mega-pixel main camera, but what you don’t get is Meizu’s Flyme OS.

As Ubuntu is just coming to phones there aren’t many people out there familiar with the gestures or controls which makes using Ubuntu on the Meizu MX4 quite the learning experience, being familiar with Meizu devices and Flyme makes things even more confusing.

With no onscreen smartbar to navigate around the OS, and the fact that gestures controls on the home button (and the home button itself) don’t work you really are starting from scratch. Navigating through Ubuntu on the Meizu MX4 is all done with swipes.

meizu mx4 ubuntu

A swipe from the left edge shows you your applications, a swipe from the right shows the apps that are running in the background and lets you flick through them or clear then away with a flick, and swiping down bring up the settings (swiping left and right lets you move through different options).

While I was being talked through the Ubuntu Meizu MX4 it was made clear that this is not a final production version of the phone and if I wanted to experience that I should move on to the BQ device also on show. Ubuntu on the Meizu MX4 runs very smoothly but in it’s current form it does have bugs and not everything is working how the Ubuntu team would like it too.

Performance of Ubuntu on the MX4 is very good, but having no prior knowledge of the system really made navigation and operating the phone a hit and miss affair. I feel with a day or so with the device I could finally get to grips with it, but compared to an Android device (or iOS) it is a much more complicated UI than some users will be use to.

No launch date was offered for the Ubuntu version of the MX4, but the team did confirm that they hope in the future you would be able to plug your phone in to a display and run Ubuntu in PC mode. Whether that feature will come to the current Meizu and BQ phones wasn’t confirmed.

Previous MWC: Gionee Elife S7 first impressions
Next Three UK will offer the dual-rear camera Huawei Honor 6 Plus

14 Comments

  1. Simon Hrovatin
    March 3, 2015

    can we install ubuntu on meizu mx4 which has flyme os?

    • E8hffff
      March 3, 2015

      I can’t see why not if your can get access to the roms, and have fastboot access.

  2. E8hffff
    March 3, 2015

    It’s a pity Meizu hasn’t updated the phone to a 64bit Mediatek chipset.
    Yeah there is a Pro version but it’s not Mediatek. Ubuntu Phone is
    where I ultimately want to be when using a phone. I want mobile
    computing with user power. Example you could run your own servers, and
    have access to multitudes of existing Linux software.

    • Xiaolu
      March 3, 2015

      +1 I want so bad the coming of a polished version of Ubuntu Touch! But they are aiming high, to the desktop capabilities, and that takes time. Imagine next Meizu MX5 (drooling!) connected via dock to a display and keyboard + mouse, being capable of running a full Ubuntu desktop smoothly. That will make a HUGE difference.

    • MexiDroid
      March 4, 2015

      MT6595 is more powerful than any 67xx so far, isn’t it?

      • E8hffff
        March 4, 2015

        It may be as it would be the high end of that 32bit series, but once the OS is 64bit then the MT6752 may outperform that. Sometimes the higher product coding means more features like supporting greater camera component resolutions. Example the MT6752 is capped at 16mp, where the MT6792 may cap at 20mp matrix.

        • Danil bilousov
          March 4, 2015

          mt6752 can’t 4k video for recording and playing, it can’t handle so big screens like mt6595, it hasn’t so powerfull gpu. So it’s more powerfull then mt6595. You can remember the intel’s first Atom cpu’s, they were in netbooks and they were 64bit, but 1.6ghz single-core atom was slower then previos netbook processor, intel celeron ulv 900Mhz(clocked at 630Mhz). So not always 64bit is make faster. mt6752 has 8 cores, but it’s 8 little cores, the 64bit version of cortex a7, and mt6595 has 4 cortex a7 and 4 cortex a17(twice more powerfull then a7), and they can work together. a53 has 2.1 DMIPS for Mhz, a7 has 1.9, so it’s only 0.2 can be given to this core by 64bit.

        • balcobomber25
          March 5, 2015

          Too many people are confused into thinking that just because a chip is 64 bit it means it will be faster/better. That is only one small component to the performance of these chips.

          • E8hffff
            March 5, 2015

            Well in this case it’s actually faster.

            • balcobomber25
              March 6, 2015

              Judging by benchmarks alone they are about even. But the 6595 is a better chip because it has better support for high end components.

    • balcobomber25
      March 4, 2015

      There are a few reasons they didn’t update to 64 bit. The main reason is the cost, they already heavily invested in the 6595 and have tens of thousands of phones already built with that chip. To offer a new phone with a 64 bit chip would be very costly. Another reason is the camera, the only 64 bit chip from MTK that can support a 20+ mp camera is the 6795 which hasn’t been released yet. That would mean they would now have to ditch the amazing camera they have and use one of the Sony 13mp units, which is another added cost. And finally there is the display. The current 64 bit MTK chips don’t support a 2k screen, which means the pro version would need to be 1080p.

    • March 4, 2015

      Have you ever used a Windows CE palmtop or Windows Mobile 6 phone back in the day? This is probably what using current Linux software on a Ubuntu Phone would feel like. Linux software would need to be “ported” over before it can offer a good user experience in a mobile touch device, and this process is not trivial. Ubuntu on the phone now is where Android was when the T-Mobile G1 first came out (circa 2008).

  3. Miko
    March 4, 2015

    Am I the only one that didn’t like the Ubuntu? I 100% prefer the Flyme over what we saw now.
    I know it’s not opted yet for going out in retail but still, I didn’t like it and the useless cap. button is really bad advertisement… it seemed to me they hurried up to deliver in order to be in time for the MWC 15.
    Hoping soon we will have an update (talking about the international version) on our Flyme and maybe in the near future another lollipop update!

  4. Aeonia
    March 4, 2015

    a dual boot solution(android+ubuntu) from the developer community would be a killer feature…