Meizu’s back!

Novo7 Tech’s closure around a year ago meant that many interesting brands were taken off of the market. That included rising Chinese company Meizu, who released a few solid budget devices that had good value for the money. For the past few months a few Meizu phones trickled into the market, but they were never sold in an official capacity.

That is until Meizu set up shop themselves in the Philippines back in November. The company started slow, setting up a few kiosks in the south. After getting acclimated to the local market, the local peeps at Meizu have reached out to show off a few phones that they want to sell in the market, as well as share what’s in store for them in the country.

Today we’ll be taking collective look at the company’s M5 series of devices, which compose of the M5, M5S and M5 Note. These three phones form the backbone of Meizu’s efforts in the PH, as they all fall under the highly lucrative and competitive sub 10K price range.

Meizu M5 specifications

  • 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6750 octa-core processor
  • Mali-T860 graphics processor
  • 2GB
  • 5.2-inch HD display, 1280 x 720 resolution,Dinorex glass protection, 2.5D curved glass
  • 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, phase detection AF, dual LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Flyme UI 5.2
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0
  • 3070mAh battery, non-removable

Meizu M5S specifications

  • 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6750 octa-core processor
  • Mali-T860 graphics processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 5.2-inch HD display, 1280 x 720 resolution, Dinorex 2.5D curved glass
  • 32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, phase detection AF, dual LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Flyme UI 5.2
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0
  • 3000mAh battery, non-removable

Meizu M5 Note specifications

  • 1.8GHz MediaTek Helio P10 octa-core processor
  • ARM Mali-T860 graphics processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch FHD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2.5D curved glass
  • 32GB of internal storage, expandable up to 128GB via microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, f/2.2 aperture, phase detection AF
  • 5-megapixel front camera, f/2.0 aperture
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Flyme UI 5.2
  • Android 6 Marshmallow
  • 4000mAh battery, mCharge quick charging
Meizu M5 Note

Initial Impressions: solid budget phones that will give their competiton headaches

While Meizu isn’t as well known as their other Chinese compatriots like Xiaomi, they follow the same playbook: build solid, value-for-money devices and sell them for very little money. And while rival Xiaomi stubbornly refused to adapt to the local market in terms of selling style and marketing, Meizu has taken the faults of their rivals to heart and have started to build their retail empire in addition to their online sales channels.

Meizu M5S and M5 Note

Their M5 series of devices will serve as a solid anchor here in the Philippines, as the phones don’t break the 10K mark but still offer solid value for money in terms of features, design and build quality.

Meizu M5

If you put all three phones together, you’ll see a shared design language between the devices, namely round corners, flat back and curved frames. The design looks solid, if a little boring.

Meizu M5

Obviously the main differences of the devices is size, with the M5 Note being the biggest of the three. Both the M5 and M5S are very similar in size, though the M5 is a hair shorter and thinner than the M5S.

Meizu M5S on the left, Meizu M5 Note on the right

While the phones are similar in design, they vary in the materials used in their construction. The M5 Note, being the most expensive of the three use a unibody aluminum construction. The M5S has a metal back that has plastic strips on the top for its antennas. The M5 has a polycarbonate body that’s been treated to feel like metal in the hands.

Meizu M5

All three have excellent build quality, with the M5 Note feeling exceedingly solid in our hands thanks to its unibody construction. Both the M5 and M5S have smaller than average bodies compared to the competition, which make them extremely comfortable to hold, especially for people with daintier hands (i.e. women).

Meizu M5 Note

All three phones have fingerprint scanners that pull double duty as a physical home button. True to form Meizu doesn’t use your typical Android navigation layout. The home key is your sole means of navigation, at least in the default form of Flyme, the company’s own interpretation of Android. Tapping on the home key takes you one level back, while pressing on it (it’s an actual physical button) will take you to the home screen. It takes a little bit of getting used to especially if you’re coming from vanilla Android, but it’s easy enough to adjust.

Meizu M5 Note

The layout of the physical buttons are identical across all phones as well – the power and volume rocker are located on the right side, while the SIM/microSD slot are located on the left. Both the 3.5mm jack and the USB port are on the bottom, flanked by a single speaker grille on right.

Meizu M5S

The M5 family of phones all share the same 13-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.2 phase detection AF unit, along with a dual-tone LED flash. Selfie duties are taken are of using a 5-megapixel f/2.0 front camera.

Meizu M5S

The M5 Note uses a 5.5-inch, full HD LTPS IPS display, while the M5 and M5S use a 5.2-inch HD IPS display. All of the phones use Dinorex Glass protection, made by Nippon Electric Glass. Dinorex is a direct competitor of other glass protection brands like Corning’s Gorilla Glass and Asahi’s DragonTrail.

Meizu 5S

The M5 Note uses MediaTek’s Helio P10 octa-core processor, paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. The P10 chipset has proven to be a solid performer after initial teething issues with its first deployment last year, and is perfectly capable in its role as an upper mid-range chipset for both budget and mid-range devices.

Meizu M5
Meizu M5S

The M5 and M5S meanwhile use MediaTek’s MT6753 octa-core processor. The main differences are the amount of RAM and storage – the M5 ships with 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage, while the M5S ships with 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage. Both of the phones have expansions slots built-in.

The phones felt quick and zippy, though we did notice that all three phones did not have Google’s Play Store (and its accompanying services) installed out of the box. Before you freak out, know that there’s an option to quickly install these important services via the “Hot Apps” installation folder that is inside every phone. It takes a few minutes to install, though we’re left wondering why this step wasn’t implemented on the distributor level instead of having customers do it themselves.

Lets talk about pricing – the M5 is priced at Php 6,990, the M5S at Php 8,990 while the M5 Note is priced at Php 9,990. Of the three the M5 Note has the best value for money, because of its unibody aluminum construction, processor, storage and RAM combination.

That’s it for our initial review for the three phones today. Meizu’s re-entry to the market is sure to make other players nervous, as the company has a bunch of very interesting phones to launch. We’re still waiting for them to release their high-end Pro series of devices to the market, but that will probably have to wait until there’s more interest for them.