While Xiaomi was the center of attention for quite a while, Meizu stepped into the background. The Chinese mobile phone giant presents the Meizu M5, a middle class smartphone with solid basics and favourable price. It is launched with an octa core processor, 3GB RAM, a 13 megapixel camera and a 5.2-inch HD display. It is a direct competition for Xiaomi’s Redmi 4. We have extensively tested the M5. In the following review we present our findings.
Design and build quality
Meizu M5’s design is very convincing, in a very simple and elegant way. Obviously, the manufacturer was inspired by Apple phones. Considering built-in materials, Meizu prefers a polycarbonate plastic casing which is available in brown/blue, black, white, gold and green. The casing is ergonomically shaped and provides pleasant holding. Haptic is further enhanced by the low weight of only 137g. Dimensions are: 147 x 72 x 7.8mm. Thus, Meizu M5 is a slim and handy device and its 5.2-inch display can be easily used with one hand.
Compared to Redmi 4, Meizu appears almost filigree which is due to its significantly smaller battery. The rear camera lies perfectly in the casing. There are no soft touch buttons under the display on the front side. Instead, the mobile has a multi-functional home button which serves as fingerprint sensor, home and back button. The ‘back’ function is triggered when touching the button. When pressing the button, you will get to the home screen. By swiping up next to the home button, you will get to an app overview. It takes a little time to get used to the handling of M5 but once you know how it works, it becomes quite simple. The integrated fingerprint sensor operates well and convinces with a high speed and low failure rate. For unlocking the home button, you have to activate it by pressing it with your finger, it is not enough to touch it.
The rear side of the phone is not removable and thus no access to the battery. Two nano SIM cards can be inserted on the side. As an alternative, you can use both SIM slots for storage expandables with micro SDs. A notification LED is also featured.
Scope of delivery of Meizu M5
Included are a charging adapter, a micro SD cable and a Chinese manual. China shops also provide a charging adapter. One of these shops is CECT-Shop from which we got our test phone.
Meizu M5 has a 5.2-inch display with a HD resolution of 1,280*720 pixels. The diagonal measure amounts to 13cm and a pixel density of 282ppi. Contents are presented sharp and in normal use, no single pixels are visible. In direct comparison to a full HD display, the sharpness is indeed lower. Brightness of the display is high and, according to the manufacturer, measures 380cd/m². During outdoor use, the operation was good, only in direct sunlight the display starts to mirror. Colour representation is accurate and seems more natural than the warm colours of Xiaomi Redmi 4.
The touchscreen detects up to 5 touching points simultaneously guarantees precise handling. Additional functions like Smartwake and a reading mode which reduces blue light in the evenings are given.
Meizu did not include a full HD in M5, the image quality for this price is absolutely appropriate, however. Contents appear luminous and colourfast. It is perfectly suitable for multimedia purposes.
Meizu M5 houses a MT6750 processor from the Taiwanese manufacturer Mediatek. It is a CPU of the lower middle class which is designed for fast operation of basic functions and occasional gaming. In comparison with Snapdragon 625 of Xiaomi Redmi 4, the M5 has considerably lower performance. The processor works with 4 cores which clock at 1.5GHz each and additional 4 cores with 1.0GHz. The phone shows good performance in practise with only a few lags during usage. Thanks to a great software optimisation of the manufacturer, navigating through the system happens completely smooth and very fast. Browsing on the internet runs excellent and no problems during website rendering occur.
This phone also offers two memory versions. The version with less performance has over 2GB RM and 16GB storage, the more powerful version over 3GB and 32GB. User operating with several apps are better-off with the more powerful version. Multitasking capability is increased with the 3GB RAM version. We chose this mode for our test and had no problems at all to use several apps at once. The speed of the featured storage components are on average. Internal memory reaches a writing pace of 76MB per second and a reading pace of 200MB/s. RAM is 5GB/s.
Current 3D games can be played on M5. NOVA 3 runs fluently, Asphalt 8, however, has to be set to the lowest graphic setting.
The phone is no performance miracle but offers a fast system which supports standard apps and multimedia with pleasant and fast speed.
Android 6 with Flyme OS
Meinzu M5 features Flyme OS which is based on Android 6. The system is strongly modified and resembles Xiaomi MIUI. Currently, there is no global ROM for this smartphone which means that the phone was delivered ex works only without Google Playstore. A few Chinese apps are pre-installed but can be removed easily.
Update: Meizu M5 is now equipped with a global ROM. It can be installed with this manual. Google Playstore is now featured. Unfortunately, this ROM does not support LTE band 20.
The installed Flyme OS runs fast and has a very pleasing look. It has no app overview which means that all apps are located on the screen. In comparison to the unmodified Android system, its functionality was adjusted. You can chose from many different themes. Apart from that the system is very clear and offers numerous functions. For example, you can already use the multitasking system with Flyme which Android implements only with Nougat. Adjusted screenshots are also possible. You can chose single sections or even entire websites. In the menu under ‘safety’ there are various setting options for app authorisations, mobile data and also an anti-virus programme is integrated ex works. In the settings you can also configure an integrated gesture control and Smartwake. Also, you can automatically switch on/off a timetable for the reading mode / blue light filter.
Overall, the Meizu M5 convinces with an optically pleasing system with clear design and great functionality.
On the rear side of the phone, there is the 13 megapixel camera with an aperture f/2.2. It is supported by an LED flash light and PDAF auto focus. Pictures taken in daylight have a brilliant sharpness and colour representation – a real good performance for a middle class phone. Auto focus operates fast and absolutely accurate; triggering time is very low. As soon as less light is available, images start to look very blurry and no nice photos can be taken.
The front camera with 5 megapixels provides average quality. Triggering time and focus work very fast and colour representation is as accurate as possible. However, the pictures have simply not enough sharpness. Videos can be shot in full HD 1,080p and have a great quality.
Meizu M5 is a dual smartphone. Two nano SIM cards, or one nano SIM and one micro SD for storage expansion can be inserted. All necessary 2G and 3G frequencies are supported. According to the Meizu website, the phone also supports the following LTE frequencies:
Except for this issue, the connectivity of this mobile is alright. Mobile internet in the 3G network can be used without any problems. Reception is great. Calling quality with or without speaker function is good. Internal loudspeaker of the mobile, unfortunately, is mediocre as the sound lacks deepness and is quite tinny. If you connect headphones you will receive a good sound quality. Dual band WIFI is also supported and has a nice reception. Alas, only Bluetooth 4.0 standard is available.
GPS signal of Meizu M5 is strong – we did not have any problems at any time to precisely determine our position. In order to further support pedestrian navigation, the phone features an eCompass. The smartphone also houses a proximity, acceleration and brightness as well as a gyroscope. An infrared remote control like in Redmi 4 is not featured.
Meizu M5 houses a 3,070mAh battery. Considered that this is a 5.2-inch smartphone, this is an average capacity. In practise, M5’s battery performs very well. Extensive 3D gaming only uses 20% battery in one hour. One hour Youtube videos in full HD resolution at 50% brightness requires only 13% battery. This results in an active usage of more or less 6 hours a day. When intensively using Meizu M5, its battery easily lasts one day. More than one day, like with Redmi 4, however, is not possible. On the other hand, the smartphone is thus considerably lighter.
As M5 does not support Quick Charge, charging takes 3 hours which is quite long.