Meizu MX6 review
First impressions of the MX6 from Meizu are good. On paper it's got a decent spec that includes a deca-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and out the box it's a well-made and good-looking metal handset with a design somewhere between the latest iPhone and the HTC 10 - and, oddly enough, it's available in rose gold, grey, silver and gold. Also see: Best Chinese phones 2016 and Best dual-SIM phones 2016
At £256.99 from Amazon this is a mid-range smartphone, but the MX6 offers more for your money than phones you might find on the UK High Street. As you've probably guessed from the unfamiliar name this is a Chinese phone, but from a company well-known in its homeland.
In the past Meizu phones have reminded us of those of Xiaomi, of which it is a competitor, offering great value for money and coming preinstalled with a similarly customised Android interface that places everything on the Home screen, but with no Google apps built-in. Flyme, the OS used by the MX6, is very different to Xiaomi's MIUI, but we'll get on to that later.
In common with those phones, the MX6 did not come preinstalled with Google services. However, upon turning it on for the first time we received a notification instructing us to install them. This might be disconcerting for new users, but installation proved a painless process and within a few moments we were able to log into our Google account and start downloading apps from the Google Play store.
The addition of Google services makes this Meizu phone much easier to use than the previously reviewed Meizu M3 Note - it's only a shame they weren't preinstalled before we took it out the box. Other than installing Google services, no tinkering is required for setting up this phone for UK use, which is reassuring for a Chinese phone. Also see: Best phones 2016
Meizu MX6 review: Design and build
Our only issue with usability regards the 'mTouch' Home button on the front of the phone. It works exactly as you'd expect for a Home button with a fingerprint scanner built-in, in that you press it to be returned Home or to unlock the screen (though irritatingly for the latter you must either press it a second time or long-press to unlock it).
Our issue is with the lack of any buttons to the side of it and, unlike the recently reviewed Elephone S7 which has a similar setup, there's no option in the Settings menu to enable a navigation bar. To go back you tap the Home button, to lock the screen you long-press it, and to access the Recents menu you swipe up from the bottom of the screen (but not directly above the Home button). You can enable a Multi-window feature from the Recents menu, too, but not all apps are supported.
But while it's frustrating in use at first, this setup does enable a very clean design with no button legends below the screen. And it's largely the same on the rear, with an inoffensive Meizu logo and a small (and very Apple-esque) scrawl at the bottom that says the phone was designed by Meizu and assembled in China. We're not entirely keen on the camera bump protruding from the rear, but it's something that is becoming increasingly common on Android phones and not so drastic that the phone will rock when used on a desk. Also see: Best Android phones 2016
The overall design is very good, if similar to dozens of rival handsets, with a metal unibody and almost edge-to-edge 5.5in display. Although it's heavier than many phones of its size at 155g it feels very small for a phablet, in part due to those slim bezels and in part to the 7.25mm ultra-thin frame and curved corners and edges - it's rounded on top with 2.5D curved glass, and on the rear. In fact, it's from the side that it arguably looks most like an iPhone.
The Meizu MX6 looks very much like a smaller version of the flagship Meizu Pro 6. We haven't reviewed its predecessor, the MX5, but from what we understand the MX6 isn't a vast improvement over it. In place of an AMOLED panel with Gorilla Glass there's a TDDI in-cell display with no protection, rather than a 20.7Mp primary camera there's a 12Mp snapper, and the battery is 100mAh lower in capacity yet the phone is wider and thicker. Also see: Best phone under £300
We're not sure why Meizu has opted for a TDDI in-cell display over AMOLED, nor why it hasn't fitted Gorilla Glass and left the screen glass vulnerable. AMOLED is our favourite type of screen tech, very thin and energy-efficient with excellent contrast and saturated colours. The TDDI panel here combines usually separate screen layers and has a two-layer touch control system. It is very responsive to touch, and still offers saturated colours, good contrast and brightness (particularly at the lower end of the scale, going right down to 1 nit for easier nighttime use), but it can appear cold.
The design is otherwise mostly standard, with a USB-C port and speaker grille at the bottom, a dual-SIM tray on the left edge and a volume rocker and a power button on the right. However, you'll note that in Flyme OS this volume rocker controls only the media volume (Silent mode is accessible from the pull-down notification bar, but to adjust the volume rather than mute the phone you need to enter the Settings menu), and that the headphone jack is unusually located at the bottom of the handset.
Meizu MX6 review continues on the next page >>
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