Specs of the Meizu MX4 (Price in the Philippines: 16GB - P14,990, 32GB - P16,990):
Octa-core MediaTek MT6595 chipset
PowerVR G6200 MP4 GPU
16GB/32GB internal storage
5.36-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (1,152 x 1,920 resolution)
20.7-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and Corning Gorilla Glass 3
2-megpixel front camera
Android KitKat 4.4.2
(UPDATED WITH SLIDESHOW) We reported in October that the Meizu MX4—a big-screen phone from China that exhibits many of the same qualities that make the Xiaomi Mi 4 endearing—is coming to the Philippines this month. Well, it's November, and the device is already available in Meizu distributor Novo7 Tech's stores, with the 16GB and 32GB models retailing for P14,990 and P16,990, respectively.
Take note that the MX4 doesn't include a microSD card slot, so you're out of space if you fill up the internal storage.
Having played with the device, we're sharing with you our thoughts, in case you're set on picking up a new phone this holiday season and money is a determining factor in your purchase. Because the first thing that needs to be said about the MX4 is that it's a worthy, more affordable competitor to the current smartphone elite.
Usually, when an aggressively priced handset has top-of-the-line-specs, it's the aesthetics that suffers. Surprisingly, that's not the case here, although the Meizu MX4 does borrow heavily from the design of the iPhone 6 and makes use of durable plastic for virtually every part of the device, with the exception of the front side. In fact, the easiest way to describe it is a wider, thicker iPhone 6 with smaller bezels.
The full-HD IPS display measures 5.36 inches and results in a 5:3 aspect ratio, which is unconventional, but makes for a more comfortable viewing experience when you're surfing the Web, reading an email, or watching a movie.
Other people may find it a bit too much to use comfortably in portrait mode, largely due to the awkward button layout. At least it feels good in the hand.
Besides, you're less likely to press the top-mounted power button. Depending on your settings, doing a swipe gesture or tapping the screen twice wakes the phone from sleep; long-pressing the circular home button turns off the display.
Speaking of the home button, it's the only capacitive key on the Meizu MX4. The back and recent-apps buttons are nowhere to be found, gone in favor of motion gestures that are usually easy to execute.
Swiping up from the bottom-center of the panel takes you back to the previous screen, and flicking up from the lower-right or -left side of the display lets you switch between apps. The setup adds time to the learning curve and may put off some potential buyers, but we actually found ourselves liking it just as much as having touch-sensitive keys.
The rear- and front-facing cameras have 20.7- and 2-megapixel sensors, respectively, and the camera lens around the back is protected by a layer of scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The picture quality isn't quite at the level of high-end smartphones like the iPhone 6 and the Lumia 930, though the device is, to some degree, capable of Lytro camera-like selective focusing and 4K video recording.
Thankfully, what the MX4 lacks in image processing, it more than makes up for in the performance department.
Inside, you'll find MediaTek's first LTE-capable MediaTek MT6595 chip tied to an octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and up to 32GB of onboard storage. It's a big step up from MediaTek's popular MT6592 SoC, and is one of the best chipsets you'll find in any phone these days.
Case in point: The unit we tested notched a score of 50,494 on AnTuTu Benchmark; it's the highest mark we've seen to date. It also feels as fast as our HTC One (M8)—still one of the most powerful Android handsets around—in real-world use.
The sealed 3,100mAh battery promises over a day's worth of use.
Our only reservation at this point is that Meizu's Flyme (pronounced "fly-me") OS 4.0 could use more refinement and standout features to separate it from a sea of existing Android skins. It needs to be more than a superficial redesign of a mobile interface.
All told, the Meizu MX4 is absolutely a worthy buy. It comes mighty close to what an inexpensive phone should be. It's handsomely designed and solidly built. It sits comfortably in the hand. And it performs like a 2014 flagship mobile device—and manages to do so at a much lower price.
Got questions? Tweet us at @aloraguerrero.