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Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

Back in September 2014, Meizu - one of the top smartphone manufacturers in China -, released the Meizu MX4 phone running Android OS. In may 2015, this high-end, premium looking phone was made available in China running Ubuntu Phone (Ubuntu Touch), and starting tomorrow (June 25th) it will go on sale in Europe as well.

Like the other Ubuntu phones (BQ Aquaris E4.5 and Aquarius E5 HD Ubuntu Edition), the Meizu MX4 targets early adopters and developers, so don’t get your hopes up about native apps like Facebook and Instagram just yet. Still, if you are an Ubuntu user and are looking for a slick device that packs plenty of processing power and a high-end camera, you will find the Meizu quite appealing.

Courtesy of Canonical, I was one of the lucky few "insiders" who received an Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition phone. The phone I received is not identical to the one that will go on sale in Europe and for this reason there might be some differences between the phone I’m testing and the one that will be available for purchase.

Even though the recently released Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition has pretty good specs, I think it's safe to say that the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition is the first high end Ubuntu phone. The device looks top notch and feels high quality - at 144 x 75.2 x 8.9 mm, the phone is robust and the ergonomics are quite good.

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

The Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition features a beautiful 1080p display (5.36 inch, 1152 x 1920px resolution, 418ppi) with a capacitive circular button under it. Almost the entire front is covered with Gorilla Glass 3, with the exception of a small excision for the earpiece.

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

Besides the earpiece, above the display there's also a 2 MP front camera which is not exactly impressive. However, it can record 1080p@30fps videos so it should be good enough.

A small note about the circular capacitive button I mentioned earlier: after I got the phone, it was updated to version "1" and back then, this button could be used to bring up the Today (home) scope for the Ubuntu edition, but this no longer works after a recent update ("2") and right now, this button does nothing. Update: this was fixed, the button now brings up the Today scope and it glows when there are unread notifications.

From what I've read, this button allows unlocking the device (as an alternative to the power button) on the Android version but, like I said, that's not the case with the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition.

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

At a first look, both the phone frame and the matte back cover (which is removable, despite the battery being non-removable, so the only time you'll have to remove it is when you insert the microSIM card) seem to be made from metal, but in fact only the frame is, while the back is plastic. Even so, the phone doesn't just look but feels premium altogether.

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

The back features an impressive 20.7 MP camera with dual-LED (dual tone) flash, which uses a Sony premium IMX220 Exmor RS sensor that supports 4x digital zoom and is capable of 4k video - well, at least in theory because Ubuntu Phone allows 1080px at most right now, but hopefully the OS will get 4K recording support soon.

The camera takes great pictures in the sunlight and with a flash however, low light pictures are pretty grainy and unclear - you can see a few pictures I took today using Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition below:

The photos above are not in full size. If you want to take a look at the original photos, you can find them HERE.

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition
Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition (left) and BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition (right)

As far as calls are concerned, the phone works great - the sound is crystal clear and thanks to the extra microphone for noise cancellation, the person you're talking to should hear you loud and clear as well. Also, I didn't experience any signal issues.

The phone's MediaTek MT6595 chipset with eight cores (A17 2.2GHz x 4 and A7 1.7GHz x 4), quad core PowerVR G6200 MP4 GPU and 2GB of RAM make sure that the phone doesn't lag and it's as snappy as Ubuntu Phone allows it to be. I'm saying that because it is a bit annoying that each time you open an app (that wasn't already running) you have to wait about 2 seconds for it to load, but that's OS and not hardware related and it will hopefully improve.

Regarding the Internet connectivity, Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition has everything you'd expect in a high-end phone: dual band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wifi as well as 3G and 4G (it supports TD-LTE and FDD-LTE 4G networks, which can reach a download speed of 150 Mbps). 

Here, I should mention that initially, my Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition didn't connect to 3g/4g and I had to enable "Data roaming" to get it to work but after a couple of restarts, that wasn't required any more (now 3g/4g work with data roaming disabled) - I'm not sure why this occurred.

I ran some Internet speed tests (using speedof.me and not the popular speedtest.net because the phone doesn't support Flash) and the results are pretty much the same as on my HTC One M8. Although not of very much use, since it depends on the carrier, signal and so on, here's a 4G speed test taken on Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition:

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

Regarding the battery, I can't post my conclusions just yet, because I've been using the phone either heavily or not at all - after a few days of regular phone usage, I'll update this article with information about this.

According the the phone OS Build Details, the device I've received is currently running Ubuntu 15.04 (20150611 build). I didn't review the OS because there are basically no visual changes since my previous Ubuntu Phone review (of the BQ Aquaris E4.5). Check out  THIS article for information on the OS.

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition specs:
  • Screen: 5.36" 1152 x 1920px IPS LCD display (418 ppi) with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection
  • Dimensions: 144 x 75.2 x 8.9 mm (5.67 x 2.96 x 0.35 in) / weight: 147 g (5.19 oz)
  • CPU: Quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A17 & quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A7 (MediaTek 6595, Meizu customized version)
  • GPU: PowerVR G6200 MP4
  • Camera: 20.7 megapixels, dual tone LED flash, 4K video recording at 30fps rear camera and 2.0 megapixels, 1080p video recording at 30fps front camera
  • Internal storage: only the 16 GB will be available in Europe
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Battery: Non-removable 3100 mAh
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Bluetooth v4.0, A2DP
  • GPS with with A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, QZSS
  • MicroSIM
  • Colors:  silver and gold

Getting Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition (16GB internal memory variant only) will be available for purchase in Europe on 25th of June and is priced at 299 Euros. According the the official announcement, the "phone will be available through an invitation only system in the form of an interactive origami wall on Meizu's website".

More information will be available HERE (the link should go live tomorrow).

The phone is already available in China since May 17th.