Meizu organized a press conference in Paris this morning to announce his arrival in France, news which obviously did not surprise many in the room. However, the manufacturer did not show up empty-handed and thus had the very good idea to place several MX3s in strategic places. After jostling a few journalists and trampling on a blogger or two, yours truly managed to get their hands on a copy. Here are my hot impressions.
Before going any further, a brief recap is in order, because not everyone necessarily knows the history of Meizu (sorry for those who have a deep knowledge of the Chinese market) (at the same time it's life , we are not all in the same boat) (and I open as many parentheses as I want).
As its name does not necessarily indicate, Meizu was born in China in 2003 . At the time, the firm only produced personal music players but decided to enter the smartphone sector in 2007, when the was making its first steps on the global web. Are the two events linked? Everyone will draw the necessary conclusions. I can't say anything more or else killer ninjas might show up at my house unexpectedly.
I know ninjas are Japanese so I watch Naruto too.
But now, if the Meizu engineers knew how to make hardware, they weren't very into software. The really funny thing is that the company originally planned to launch a smartphone under… Windows! You have the right to laugh. Fortunately, a little green robot arrived on the market, saving our Chinese friends from some possible setbacks.
And today, Meizu has a 6% market share in China. Which represents the trifle of 20 million customers. Since then, the manufacturer has exported to Hong Kong and he is interested in Europe. Ultimately, it also intends to launch on North American territory and even in Latin America, but it is not yet for now.
When you want to conquer the free world, it is better to proceed in stages.
Meizu MX3: a terminal that looks good
Admittedly, the MX3 has a rather pleasant appearance. It gives pride of place to plastic, obviously, but it does not lack charm so far. If you had to describe it in a few words, you could say that it looks like an iPhone 3G from the future. I think this impression comes mainly from the LED located under the screen. There, it feels like TRON, which is sure to give you some steam. It was my case anyway.
So the MX3 is rather pretty to look at and its manufacturer has done things quite well because it remains very compact despite its 5.1-inch screen thanks to extremely thin bezels.
If not, well the power button is placed on the upper edge of the terminal, not far from the headphone jack. The volume control buttons are on the left edge, which means that this is not the most practical configuration in the world.
Meizu MX3: power but no 4G (it's balot eh)
The MX3 doesn't have much to envy the competition, at least not on paper. It is thus entitled to a beautiful screen of 5.1 inches capable of displaying a definition close to 1080p (1800 × 1080), for a pixel density of 415 ppi. It is powered by an Exynos 5 composed of four cores clocked at 1.6 GHz (Cortex A15) and four other cores clocked at 1.2 GHz (Cortex A7). Be careful, however, because they cannot operate simultaneously. It would be far too easy. The four fastest hearts will take care of the more complicated tasks while the other four will take care of the odd jobs.
These famous hearts are supported by 2 GB of RAM and by a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU . In terms of raw computing power, therefore, there is no need to worry.
Storage level, the MX3 is available in several versions: 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB . Only the last two are entitled to an NFC chip. It will be better not to crash when you buy, especially since the terminal is not entitled to a port for micro SD cards. It will therefore not be possible to expand its storage capacity and this is frankly annoying because it is not the component that costs the most. And yeah, I'm only angry writing these few lines.
The terminal's sensor is produced by Sony and it reaches 8 million pixels and it is crowned with a wide angle lens capable of opening at f / 2.0 . It will be able to capture videos in Full HD 1080p at 30 frames per second. No “slow motion”, therefore. The front camera does not exceed 2 million pixels, which will be more than enough in most cases.
Added to this is a 2400 mAh battery . Meizu could have seen a little bigger. For comparison, the battery of the Sony Xperia Z1 reaches 3000 mAh, and that of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 goes straight up to 3200 mAh. Even if it means choosing, I would have preferred a less swift, less expensive chip, and a larger battery.
I know, I'm never happy.
But the real downside is the lack of 4G. According to the representative of the firm, this is not a problem because Ms. Michu (in her own words) does not care whether her phone is compatible with this type of network. In principle, it is not necessarily wrong, but it is less and less true because operators communicate a lot about it. And whatever we say, 4G really makes the difference. She even saved my life during LeWeb'13, if you want to know.
Meizu MX3: “flat design” on all floors
The Meizu MX3 runs on Android 4.2, but this is not really important because the manufacturer only uses the core of the platform. The interface was developed by him and it does not really look like what the competition offers.
Forget the notification center, traditional multitasking or even screens listing all the applications installed on the terminal. They all respond to absent subscribers. Flyme OS 3.0 , that's the name of the thing, benefits from unprecedented ergonomics that are very reminiscent of iOS. Blame it on the ultra stripped-down visuals, no doubt.
This being the case, we must admit that the rascal is doing quite well. Apps, to start with, all have the right to a minimalist and clean interface, which makes them extremely accessible. Visual unity is respected, we immediately have the feeling of being faced with a rational and balanced ecosystem.
There are some cool platform-level stuff, too. I am thinking in particular of this scanning system which will bring up a bar consisting of quick shortcuts or the applications running on the terminal. No need to press any buttons, a simple gesture is enough and it's damn good.
So, the verdict?
The results are quite mixed. Aesthetically speaking, the MX3 is doing quite well despite its plastic shell. The technical specifications are not left out, it's top of the range. On the other hand, the absence of 4G poses a problem. For the moment, only large cities are entitled to very high mobile speed, it is a fact, but the situation is likely to change a lot in the years to come. And when you buy a smartphone, it's not to change it after a few months.
However, the Meizu MX3 has a major advantage: its price . It actually offered below 500 euros for the base model, equipped with 16 GB of internal memory, a hundred euros less than most “superphones” on the market.