BEIJING: Have you heard of Meizu? It’s another Chinese company that makes cheap smartphones. And while those used to come with the caveat of dubious build quality and buggy software, it’s no longer the case. Meizu — just like Oppo, OnePlus, Huawei and Xiaomi, among many others — makes great-looking, powerful, extremely capable smartphones, and sells them for a fair price.
Case in point: The company’s new flagship, Meizu Pro 6, has a deca-core processor — that’s 10 cores — a 21-megapixel rear camera with a ring flash, 4GB of RAM, a minimum of 32GB of storage, and it starts at about $385.
The phone shares a similar, metallic design with last year’s Meizu Pro 5, the biggest change being reduced size — 5.2 versus 5.7 inches — and slightly curvier antenna lines on the back. Some of the other specs, including the full HD screen, 21-megapixel rear camera and the 5-megapixel selfie cam, 32/64GB of memory, have remained the same.
But the Meizu Pro 6 has a lot of new goodies in stock, some of them being almost unheard of in the world of smartphones.
First, there’s the ring flash, curiously positioned below the rear camera and around the laser autofocus-assisting sensor. We’re not sure what that does for photo quality (ring flash is usually a circular LED flash that sits around the lens and provides even illumination in macro photography) but it’s definitely a novelty approach.
Then there’s the deca-core MediaTek Helio X25 processor, which makes the Pro 6 the first 10-core processor smartphone in the market, according to Meizu. For now, it’s great for bragging rights (new flagships from HTC, Samsung and other heavyweights all have octa-core processors), and tests will show how it performs in the real world.
The position of the ring flash on the back is unusual, but then again, we haven’t really seen a ring flash on a smartphone yet.
Finally, there’s the 3D Press screen, Meizu’s take on Apple’s 3D Touch technology. We’ve seen it on several other Chinese phones, and while it works as advertised, strong software support is necessary to make it useful.
Other tidbits include the new, ultra-fast fingerprint sensor (Meizu claims 0.2-second recognition time), a USB Type-C port and the Cirrus Logic CS43L36 audio chip, which Meizu claims should provide a great audio experience.
The phone comes with the latest version of Meizu’s Flyme OS. We’re hoping some of its kinks have been ironed out, as its quirkiness was the only thing keeping us from wholeheartedly recommending the Meizu Pro 5.
Meizu Pro 6 is available in gold, dark gray, silver, red, and rose gold.
All this costs 2,499 Chinese yuan ($385) for the 32GB variant or 2,799 yuan ($432) if you choose the 64GB option. Color options are gold, dark gray, silver, red, and the inevitable rose gold. Just like its predecessor, the Meizu Pro 6 will be available both in China and internationally, but with no official presence in the United States.