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Meizu’s new $300 phone for the Chinese market comes with a surprisingly nice Sony camera

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Meizu announced its latest flagship phone on Tuesday. Called the MX4, it’s a mid-range phone with some decidedly high-end components targeted at Asian phone buyers, although interested Americans can import the device from Meizu’s website as well as resellers on eBay. It will go up against Xiaomi’s Mi4 in the increasingly competitive Chinese mid-range handset market.

The Meizu MX4 will cost 1,800 Yuan ($292) and buyers will get a lot of bang for their buck: The skinny aluminum-bodied phone will come with a 5.36-inch 1920 x 1152 screen, an LTE modem, and a Sony Exmor RS 20-megapixel camera on the back. The camera used on the MX4 is the same 1/2.3-size module also used in Sony’s Experia Z1. Similar devices, like the Mi4, use a smaller Sony sensor that’s limited to 13-megapixels and can’t pull off nifty tricks like 100fps shooting.


Meizu decided to use an eight-core MediaTek processor in the MX4, instead of a Samsung Exynos processor like the one it went with for the MX3. It’s an interesting choice, especially since [company]Samsung[/company] recently added LTE support to its Exynos line. Other devices in this class, like the Xiaomi Mi4, tend to use Qualcomm processors. MediaTek is best known for making chipsets for very inexpensive phones, and one concern about using its processors in a higher-end device like this is that it may delay firmware updates, which is more of a problem on a flagship like this than it is on cheap phones.

It’s no secret that value-focused Chinese handset makers are among the hottest companies in mobile, with companies like Xiaomi and Oppo selling millions of devices and scaring established phone makers like Samsung. Xiaomi is currently the handset sales king in China, but Meizu is up there as well, and the MX4 is very competitive with Xiaomi’s current flagship Mi4. Both phones come with 1080p screens, attractive price tags, and skinned Android software that borrows design elements from iOS. The MX4 is running Flyme OS, which is a modified version of Android 4.4.

The MX4 and the Mi4 are bound to invite comparisons because they’re two very similar devices in the same price range. The two phones present an interesting choice for Chinese consumers: Do you go with the more desirable Qualcomm processor, or do you want a superior camera?


One Response to “Meizu’s new $300 phone for the Chinese market comes with a surprisingly nice Sony camera”

  1. The SoC is the bigger news than the cam since it’s the first device to use the new quad A17 from Mediatek (yes it also has AxA7 but i’m not calling it octa-core).
    The Samsung LTE support lacks details , we don’t really know what cores those SoCs use and how good the LTE is or even if available. Meizu was the only high profile win Samsung had for it’s SoCs outside Samsung products and wondered too why they lost it . Most likely it’s the lack of LTE. Could also be that Meizu focused on cost here and they’ll have a higher end device soon,maybe use Samsung 20nm SoC there.
    As for the perf of the SoC ,i would wait for some numbers before assuming the Snapdragon 801 is faster. Might be surprisingly fast but can’t say i’ve seen proper benchmarks yet so i’m just eagerly waiting for some.
    For software updates, 3 points to be made. Mediatek is becoming a very big semi company, very few are bigger ( Q3 revenue should be some 2B and their R&D budget seems to be just above 19% of revenue and that’s quite a lot). The second point is that carriers cause pretty big delays when it comes to software updates and this one comes without those delays. Third point would be that Google might provide more support for Mediatek phones soon , at least if Mediatek makes it into the Android One project.

    As competitors guess the ZTE Nubia Z7 Mini should also be mentioned since it has similar specs and pricing but has microSD and then the Iuni U3 with it’s 1440p screen and high end specs at 325$. And ofc the Huawei Honor 6.
    Anyway the real volume for Xiaomi is with it’s Redmi 1s since 300$ is a lot in China. When Xiaomi launched the MI4 they shared some sales numbers for each model so ,if curious, look for that slide.

    Back to Meizu , nice enough device, sadly no microSD and the LTE bands seem to target the EU and China not the US. I think it works on Sprint’s TD-LTE on 2500 but i haven’t see an official list of bands supported.