China’s underdog among smartphone manufacturers is once again a guest in the test lab. This time, we testes the Meizu 16 with a fingerprint scanner in the display. Meizu doesn’t seem to make any compromises and uses the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm’s top model. Two storage variants with 6/64GB or 6/128GB and two colors with black or white are available in China for 388$ and 414$. The Meizu 16th, as it is correctly called, is already listed on the English MEIZU page as a Global Version with Global ROM. We have tested the Meizu 16 for 10 days in daily use and found out that it doesn’t hurt to do without one or the other smartphone trend.
Different versions of the Meizu 16
In order to cause total confusion, Meizu (to the manufacturer’s website) has now introduced the Meizu 16 again with Snapdragon 710. In China, the model with SD710 is called Meizu 16X, but in Europe, for example, it is called just Meizu 16. The model tested in this review is a Meizu 16th, in the following, also called Meizu 16, and runs with a Snapdragon 845 processor. There is also a Meizu 16th Plus, which is simply the model tested here with a 6.5-inch AMOLED display and a 3640mAh battery. Our Meizu 16th was provided by the CECT shop for testing. There you can buy the China version of the device (To the CECT-Shop).
Design and build quality
Meizu has given to the 16th a refreshing design without notch. It remains to be seen whether the chic Twilight color will also reach the rest of the world. So far, only black and white are available. For China especially, there is also an 8/128GB version and the color Twilight. Our white version looks very stylish and is very impressive with bezels of only 2mm left and right to the display. Also above and below the display, the edges measure only 5-6mm and steal the show from any notch design without any problems. Considering the 6-inch display, the dimensions of 150.5 x 73.2 x 7.3mm are impressively small. Also the light weight of only 152g could appeal to one or the other.
Accordingly, one-handed operation is also possible here without any problems. The m-touch button in particular is a lot of fun, even though it sits in the display. The button is indicated by a line at the lower edge and understands light tapping as a “back command” and firmer pressing as a “home command”. You get to multitasking view by swiping the left or right side of the Home button upwards. Meizu offers everything you could wish for here. In addition, you can also swipe from left to right or viceversa on the bottom line in order to switch between the individual tasks. Alternatively, there are also the classic 3 on-screen keys to choose from and you can also only rely on gestures, as is now common with almost all manufacturers.
With a fingerprint scanner in the display, Meizu has a surprise in store. As soon as you pick up your smartphone, the finger area lights up automatically. After putting your finger in the right place, the smartphone is ready for use within one second, although the speed cannot totally keep up with high-end fingerprint sensors. For an in-display sensor, however it works really well. Face-Unlock is of course also available as an option. As usual with limited security, although a simple picture is not enough to bypass the unlock. Meizu did also include a notification LED, which is attached to the top of the display and only glows white.
I use 3 smartphones per month and getting used to the respective size and weight usually takes 2-3 days. The Meizu 16 reminds me most of the Samsung Galaxy S8 or the Xiaomi Mi5. On the one hand, it is unusually light and on the other hand, it is excellently built down to the smallest detail. The transition from the slightly curved glass rear to the frame is first-class and the curved metal frame leaves no room for criticism. The top of the frame is clean except for an additional noise-canceling microphone. However, there are two plastic cut-outs at the top and bottom of the frame for better reception. The dual camera is located in the middle below a great 6x LED flash.
Even if the luminosity is not much higher than with any other flagship smartphone, the circle with the LEDs looks really good in any case. The Meizu logo sits under the glass rear and looks as noble and discreet as ever. The loudspeaker, the microphone, the USB Type-C port and even a 3.5mm jack plug are accommodated on the underside. Audible stereo sound is produced by switching on the earphone. The sound is above average, but not the loudest. The SIM card slot on the left holds 2 x Nano-SIMs and the buttons on the right are made of metal and are firmly attached to the frame.
The Meizu 16th is a very compact, lightweight and simply perfectly crafted smartphone. The design without notch with minimal bezels looks extremely premium and metal and glass also provide the haptics for that certain something. If you want premium without notch, you won’t have many options in 2018 anyway.
The 6.0-inch AMOLED display of the Meizu 16 has a resolution of 2160 x 180 pixels in 18:9 format. The smartphone thus achieves a very sharp 402 pixels per inch. Even without notch, Meizu manages to achieve a screen-to-body ratio of almost 90% through extremely thin bezels. Gorilla Glass is not mentioned at all, but the glass survives a treatment with a knife without any problems. The AMOLED display inspired me from the very first day and who knows me knows that I am not a fan of the supernatural colors of AMOLED. In the options menu of the Meizu 16, the color representation continuously variable from warm to cold and I also like the standard very much. The colors are not always as saturated as you know it from many other AMOLED panels. The contrast is typically for AMOLED displays excellent and also the readability outdoors is unparalleled. In order to achieve the best readability outdoors, you have to deactivate the automatic brightness and set the control to the top, all other manufacturers do the exact opposite. In direct sunlight, the display reflects like any other display.
The finger glides excellently over the smooth display surface and the touchscreen processes up to 10 inputs simultaneously. The accuracy is well suited for typing persons and the light vibration feedback is simply excellent. I usually turn off the vibration when typing, but the Meizu 16’s vibration motor does an excellent job. If you like Double-Tap-To-Wake-Up or other Smart-Wake gestures, Meizu’s Flyme-OS is the right choice for you. Everything can be done from stand-by and almost everything works flawlessly.
System and performance
For the first time in the company’s history, Meizu is using the latest Qualcomm high-end processor. The Snapdragon 845 is currently in every flagship smartphone and accelerates the Meizu 16 to the highest level. The 8 Kryo 385 cores are divided into a power cluster with 4 x 2.8GHz and a power-saving cluster with 4 x 1.77GHz. The processor is manufactured in a 10 nanometer process, which makes it extremely powerful but also economical. Under Flyme OS there is no app and no game, which the Meizu 16 does not unwind on the highest graphics level without problems. The Adreno 630 GPU is the most powerful thing the mobile market has to offer at the moment. PubG Mobile or Asphalt 9 run perfectly smoothly and there are no lags or delays in the system either. However, there is a noticeable anomaly in the system, because right after the first unlocking, the system jerks briefly and only then runs completely smoothly. But this should be fixed by an update. After 30 minutes of gaming, the rear of the Meizu 16 heats up to a noticeable, but not disturbing 38°C.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result 3D Mark Result
Installing apps on the device is a lot of fun because there is hardly any waiting time noticeable. As soon as the app has been downloaded, it is immediately installed and ready for use thanks to the lightning-fast UFS 2.1 storage. The optional 64 or 128GB storage brings it up to a reading/writing speed of 738/202 MB/s. Also the 6 or 8GB RAM storage is on a top level at 15GB/s. Those looking for an extremely powerful smartphone with a guaranteed future will hardly be disappointed by the Meizu 16th.
Flyme OS 7 on Meizu 16th
The current Flyme OS 7 is based on Android 8.1 and belongs to the very strongly adapted Android UIs. Stock or Vanilla Android, as you might know it from an Android-ONE device, is not noticeable on the Meizu 16. On our China version, you find a bunch of bloatware that you can partially uninstall. The first days you get all kinds of notifications from Chinese apps and you have to block them bit by bit. Also the Google Play-store must first be installed.
It is best to use the global version of the Meizu 16th right away. Then you don’t have to worry about Chinese apps. Widevine L3 prevents Netflix and Amazon in HD resolution! Flyme OS belongs to the systems without app drawer (overview page with all apps), like IOS. This means that all apps you install automatically land on your home screen. There you can arrange the apps accordingly and structure them into folders. Flyme OS is optically strongly adapted in all areas. Options menu, quick start bar and home screen icons are changed and there are hardly any limits to the individual adaptation via the theme app. As with MIUI, there is a security center in which you can meticulously adjust the permissions of the individual apps in addition to a virus scanner. The same applies to the notifications of the individual apps, the background consumption and the data access. Even if Flyme needs getting used to at first, you will find your way around the system after a few hours and can make many useful settings. As you can also see in the benchmarks of the Meizu 16, the system is exemplarily optimized and runs perfectly smoothly.
The dual camera setup of the Meizu 16th consists of a 12-megapixel Sony IMX380 main sensor and a second Sony IMX350 20-megapixel sensor. The main sensor has an optical stabilizer, which is advantageous for video recordings and also completely eliminates shaky rejects from photos. With the f/1.8 lens aperture, the main camera also offers potential for low-light shooting and the second sensor has a f/2.6 lens aperture. But that’s not all, as the second sensor is a telephoto lens, which allows lossless double zoom shots. Meizu even speaks of lossless 3x zoom shots. A 20-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture is available for selfies. Of course, the camera with artificial intelligence recognizes certain scenes and adjusts the contrast and color representation accordingly. No flagship will leave the factory in 2018 without an AI, and the Meizu 16th is of course no different.
Dual camera functions and realization
The Meizu 16 achieves very good results not only in – meanwhile totally normal- bokeh shots. The separation between foreground and background is achieved immediately and the portraits look much better with the automatic double zoom than with dual cameras that simply use a second sensor to separate foreground and background. In good lighting conditions, the double zoom shots are almost lossless and the 3x shots are a really cool bonus. The image noise is very limited as well and is clearly better than with a normal digital zoom. So the Meizu 16 can score well with the dual camera functions, but what about normal photos?
Main camera of the Meizu 16
On bright days, the Meizu 16 produces sharp, detailed and beautifully color-coordinated pictures. The shutter release time is somewhat disappointing, as sometimes 1-2 seconds pass until a photo is taken. With other flagships, a delay is no longer perceptible. The laser auto focus on the other hand works lightning fast, so I don’t know why the Meizu 16 takes so long to release. The Meizu can’t convince in indoor shots and low-light shots without restrictions. Image noise occurs quite quickly here, but the results still remain at a good level. The flash also works comparatively well and provides useful shots even in pitch dark. On the PC screen, however, the low-light shots are not at the current flagship level, that should be clear. For this, Meizu simply offers too few details and a certain blur, which doesn’t occur with a S9 Plus, Mi8 or P20 Pro. However, the main camera is fully convincing for daylight shots.
The Meizu 16 offers the possibility to record usable videos with double zoom or even 3 x zoom. Currently, 4K recordings are still problematic because they lead to a video error on the PC. So 4K recordings can currently only be used on the smartphone. Neither 1080p nor 4K recordings are significantly stabilized. The recordings are strongly blurred with movement, since apparently no EIS is used here. However, the quality of the 1080p recordings is high and the focus is fast and accurate. The sound quality of the recordings is sufficient but not really convincing.
When it comes to selfies, the Meizu 16 doesn’t disappoint as long as you don’t use the AI Beauty Mode. Faces usually look natural, the bokeh selfie mode reliably blurs the background and the selfies are sharp and rich in detail in good lighting conditions. In summary, Meizu does its job neither particularly badly nor particularly well, but you should decide for yourself which functions are important to you. If you just want to take normal photos and selfies that you can also show on a bigger screen, you don’t do anything wrong here. The hardly stabilized videos (at the moment 4K isn’t even usable at all) and the moderate quality in low light are the downsides. But the LED flash is really strong and provides useful close-ups in the dark. The UI offers a pro mode and there you can even access only the second camera sensor. The double zoom function is also impressive, but with the 3x zoom you clearly notice the digital work. Keep in mind the price of the Meizu 16th: the characteristics, which a 460$-smartphone should have, are unfortunately not fulfilled.
Connectivity and communication
The Global Version of the Meizu 16 supports all necessary frequencies in Europe:
The China Version of the Meizu 16 supports the following frequencies:
- GSM: B2/B3/B5/B8
- WCDMA: B1/B2/B5/B8
- TD-SCDMA: B34/B39
- CDMA: BC0
- TD-LTE: B34/B38/B39/B40/B41
- FDD-LTE: B1/B3/B4/B5/B8
The call quality is excellent and the auricle is remarkably loud. The earpiece also functions as a second loudspeaker, which together with the loudspeaker at the bottom produces stereo sound. Rudimentary bass, good volume and differentiated clear reproduction let the speakers of the Meizu 16 convince. The hands-free speaker can be used well, but ambient noise is partially transmitted at a certain volume. The mains reception was always stable and at a good level in the test. The Meizu 16 transmits really well.
WiFi with ac standard in the 2.4 and 5GHz network with MIMO 2 x 2 support does not only sound good, it actually is, as the transfer rates and range are excellent. The Bluetooth 5.0 module does a perfect job, too. You have to do without NFC and thus do not become part of the cashless payment revolution. Navigation is excellent with GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO. The fix lasts a short moment, even in buildings the location is determined and the position outside is determined to 2-3m accurately. A compass is of course integrated for pedestrians and besides the 3 standard sensors (acceleration, proximity and brightness sensor), there is also a gyroscope and Hall sensor (for smart covers).
Via the 3.5mm jack connection, you can enjoy loud and, depending on the headphone connection, high-quality music.
BatteryBattery lifetime Result Unit: hours
The Meizu 16th houses a 3010mAh battery, which can be charged with Meizu mCharge using the included charging adapter. Behind the exciting name is probably simply QC 3.0, because the charging time of one hour and 30 minutes (0 to 100%) is about the average. A battery feels most comfortable between 20 and 80% and here the power supply also gives a lot of power. In only 30 minutes, you get from 30 to 90% battery, a really good value. Since Meizu absolutely wanted a thin smartphone, the battery capacity is limited accordingly. Nevertheless, the 3000mAh battery is sufficient to get through the day. With a DOT (time with display switched on) of 6-7 hours, the battery died after 2 days during the test week. The standby consumption with 7-8% overnight is not that well optimized yet. A day’s use should hardly be a problem even for smartphone junkies. The PC battery benchmark, unfortunately, always broke off at half; but extrapolating, you probably get 7 hours and 30 minutes.