Review: Meizu M5 is all about good looks and design
Meizu M5 offers modest specs and performance, but looks and feels better than most entry-level budget smartphones
After a brief period of calm, Chinese smartphone company Meizu is back with a new smartphone called the M5 in the affordable segment. It is available in two variants both of which are available on Amazon.in. The 16GB+2GB RAM unit is priced at Rs7,490, while the 32GB+3GB RAM variant is available at Rs10,999. We reviewed the more affordable 16GB variant which is competing with the Redmi 4’s 2GB RAM+16GB variant (Rs6,999).
Design: Light and good-looking
The M5 has a similar design language as the earlier Meizu smartphones and is available in cool colour options such as sapphire blue, matte black and champagne gold. The metal back adds solidity and lifts its overall personality.
It weighs just 138g and due to the matte finish and curved side panel feels good in the hand.
The trademark oval-shaped home button is the only navigation button on the M5. It also works as a back button and fingerprint sensor. The former can be accessed by pressing it once or by swiping right to left. The fingerprint sensor is accurate but feels a little slow at times. For multi-tasking you need to swipe down to the edge of the screen. These gestures are easy to carry out once you get the hang of them. The Redmi 4 has a metal finish, is equally good looking, but is heavier at 156g.
Display: Big but dull
The 5.2-inch IPS display has a resolution of just 1,280x720p, which is a bit low for the screen size, and it shows in movies and games. Colours look a bit dull and text in webpages and ebooks don’t look very sharp. However, visibility from odd viewing angles is good.
Like most smartphones with custom UIs, you can customise the display in the M5 as well. There is an Eye Protection mode which can block the harmful blue-light and the Colour Temperature mode which allows users to switch between warm and cool colour tint. The Redmi 4 has a slightly smaller but brighter 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1,280x720p.
Software: Clutter-free custom UI
The smartphone runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with Meizu’s Flyme OS over it. For a custom UI, it is surprisingly less bloated and has very few pre-loaded apps. It offers a few online themes and has a Lite mode which switches on another interface with bigger app icons and limited features.
It is designed for senior citizens or first-time users. A similar feature is available in the Redmi 4, which also runs Android 6.0 but with a highly cluttered MIUI 8 over it.
Performance: Works smoothly until stressed
Driven by an entry-level MediaTek 6750 octa-core chip with 2GB RAM, the M5 delivers a fairly consistent performance, until stressed. It is adequately powerful for day-to-day tasks and some basic gaming but started feeling sluggish when we had multiple apps running simultaneously in the background. In terms of storage, you get 16GB internally and 256GB which can be added through a microSD card. The only niggle here is that you can’t use the other SIM slot if you want to expand the storage, as the micro SD card slot is built on one of the SIM slots. The Redmi 4 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 octa-core chip with 2GB RAM. For a resource-intensive UI like MIUI, the RAM size is pretty less.
The M5’s 3,070mAh battery lasted slightly less than a day on a single charge. It’s adequate but not at par with the Xiaomi smartphone’s 4,000mAh, which can muster about a day and half comfortably.
Camera: Average picture quality
The 13-megapixel camera is fast, but its picture quality is average. In daytime shots, colours look a bit darker but the level of detailing is better than the Redmi 4. Low-light shots look blurred and washed out. The camera offers plenty of cool filters and camera modes such as macro, slow motion, beauty, and GIF. The 5-megapixel front camera works best in good light and is wide enough for group shots.
Meizu’s new smartphone is meant for first-time smartphone users who find a 5-inch screen small and a 5.5-inch screen too big. The light form factor also helps in day-to-day use.
At this price, there are very few smartphones which can compete with it in terms of looks and user comfort. The Redmi 4 has a smaller but brighter display and offers more battery, but is heavier, and has a more complex UI.