Meizu is well known for their mid-range and entry-level smartphones that are surprisingly low-cost, but the Chinese OEM does have some solid high-end phones on offer as well, that continue to be priced quite aggressively.
For Meizu, these high-end devices are seen in the form of “Pro” iterations of their base “MX” flagships. This time around however, the company seems to have done away with the MX line altogether, by jumping directly into the releasing the latest Pro edition smartphone.
As has been the case with previous Meizu smartphones, the inspiration in terms of design is quite obvious at first glance. However, with the Pro 6, Meizu attempts to do things a little bit different and includes a few unique design elements, that allows for some separation from the design of the iPhone, and previous generation Meizu smartphones as well.
The Pro 6 does come with a full metal unibody construction, with the aluminium used appearing to be of a higher quality grade. There are no sharp or flat edges on this phone, with the back curving in along the sides to meet the front. The antenna bands appear at the top and bottom on the back as well, but with a unique look that certainly hasn’t been seen before. The rear camera is actually HTC 10-esque in its appearance, below which can be found a 10 LED flash.
The volume rocker and power button are on the right side, and at the bottom is the headphone jack, USB Type C charging port, and single speaker unit, in a design that will be extremely familiar. In fact, the overall design of the Meizu Pro 6 will be rather recognizable, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Helping the well known design language is a high quality build that allows for the device to feel fantastic in the hand, and design is an aspect that most will consider to be a positive.
Unlike previous Pro iterations that featured large 5.7-inch displays, the Pro 6 features a 5.2-inch screen, that allows for a more manageable handling experience, and the AMOLED display comes with a Full HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 424 ppi.
This display offers everything you’d expect to see from a high quality AMOLED screen, including vibrant, saturated colors, and deep, inky blacks. While some AMOLED displays tend to have a pinkish tinge when setting the display at the lowest brightness level, that doesn’t seem to be the case here either. It may not boast the highest resolution or pixel density when compared to its flagship brethren, but 1080p is more than enough at this screen size, and the display of Pro 6 proves to be quite impressive.
The display comes with a few interesting software and hardware features as well. On the software side, these features include eye protection, which results in an orange hue to help avoid the harmful effects of blue light, and is especially useful when you are trying to sleep. You can also manually change the color temperature of the display, and there are also various display modes that let you adjust the level of color saturation on this display.
However, the new addition, that will also result in more comparisons with the iPhone, is the availability of Meizu’s take on 3D Touch, called Force Touch. If you’ve used 3D Touch on an iPhone before, you will find the experience to be largely similar here. A force press will display different shortcuts, like video mode or selfie mode with the camera, and there is also a peek and pop gesture, where a bit of pressure will bring up a a preview of an image, and adding more force makes the image larger and larger, until it becomes a full size. Unfortunately, the number of third-party Android apps that support Force Touch is extremely limited, so for now, you are restricted to using these with Meizu’s apps only.
Under the hood, the Meizu Pro 6 comes with a deca-core MediaTek MT6797T Helio X25 processor, clocked at 2.5 GHz, and backed by the Mali-T880MP4 GPU, and 4 GB of RAM. You can see the benchmark scores in the screenshots below, but as far as real world performance is concerned, the device handled everything very well.
The Pro 6 didn’t really slow down in any instance, and everything from opening, closing, and switching apps, to all other everyday tasks is smooth and snappy for the most part. There are some issues as far as gaming is concerned though, with load times being a touch slow, and a few instances of lag and stutter seen when playing processor-intensive games.
32 GB or 64 GB are the in-built storage options available with the Meizu Pro 6, but users with storage concerns will have to opt for the higher version, with the device not coming with expandable storage. You do get dual SIM capabilities here, which can be useful for some, depending on the market.
Below the display is a lone home button that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner. The performance of the scanner was actually very surprising, and is one of the fastest we’ve seen on a smartphone so far. Granted, you do need to press the home button and turn the screen on before the device can be unlocked, but when the screen is on, just a tap of the home button is enough to unlock the device. Of course, the sensor is very reliable as well but it doesn’t quite compare to other smartphone fingerprint sensors that allow you to unlock your phone without waking the phone first.
There are no on-screen of capacitive navigation keys to be found on this device, and Meizu has quite an unique implementation in place. The back button functionality is actually a part of the home button as well. While a press of the home button works as expected, a simple tap on it will work as a back key. This can take some getting used to, especially when considering that the majority of Android smartphones has a dedicated back and Recent Apps key, but is a nice way to keep the front of the device clean, and avoids using up any additional display real estate.
As far as the Recent Apps page is concerned, this can be opened by a swipe up from the bottom of the display. The app you are currently using will slowly shrink as the Recent Apps list comes up, with a good looking animation, and this works really well, for the most part. It can be a touch frustrating to trigger this action, with only a slow and steady swipe up guaranteeing a result every time, and this can get quite annoying for users who switch between apps often.
The single speaker unit sits at the bottom of the device, and as is always the case, this isn’t the best position for a speaker. Not only is the sound going away from you when watching videos or listening to music, but the speaker is also easy to cover up when holding the device in the landscape orientation. However, Meizu does manage to impress when it comes to audio quality. The sound is clear and loud, and the speaker delivers a good amount of bass as well, and this is easily one of the best bottom-mounted speakers we’ve seen on Android smartphone thus far.
The Meizu Pro 6 comes with a rather small 2,560 mAh non-removable battery, but the battery life is still quite good. You will get around 3 hours and 45 minutes of screen-on time with moderate usage, and for the most part, that may be enough to get you comfortably through a full day of use. Depending on your usage, you may find yourself needing to recharge the phone half way through your day, but the good news is that the Pro 6 does come with a USB Type C port (USB 3.1) and some form of fast charging capabilities, that will allow you to be up and running in no time.
The Meizu Pro 6 comes with a 21 MP rear camera, with a f/2.2 aperture, a laser-guided auto focus system, and a 10 LED dual tone flash, along with a 5 MP front-facing camera with a f/2.0 aperture. There is no optical image stabilization here however, which is quite disappointing to see.
21 MP does allow for you to zoom in a lot into shots and crop in a good amount, but unfortunately, images don’t appear very sharp, with a lot of detail being lost as well. There is some noise to be seen, even in well-lit conditions, and the color reproduction is lacking as well. The camera is capable of taking some decent shots, but the lack of color is noticeable no matter what. HDR does help a lot in some situations, but sometimes that is often to a point where the shot begins to look unrealistic.
Image quality is definitely a mixed bag when it comes to this camera. The usual issues crop up when taking pictures in low-light conditions, with the loss of a lot of detail, colors being even more lackluster, and the overall image being generally dark and noisy. HDR is also hit and miss in poorly-lit situations. Sometimes, it will brighten the image just enough to create a good shot, but at other times, it will brighten the image way too much, which does bring out more detail in the shadows, but also results in overblown highlights.
You can shoot 4K video with the Pro 6, and while the video quality is decent for the most part, the lack of OIS is very noticeable here, making for some very shaky videos. The camera also sometimes struggles when it comes to focusing on objects when shooting video as well.
The 5 MP front-facing camera has a larger pixel size than most, in order to capture more light, but selfies are also below average. In brightly-lit outdoor situations, you can get a decent selfie, even though the image will often end up quite soft, and with some amount of noise. If you’re taking a selfie in anything other than well-lit conditions however, the images will turn out to be very blurry, or with lots of distracting noise.
On the software side of things, the Meizu Pro 6 is running the latest version of the Flyme OS, based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Past iterations of the Meizu’s custom OS weren’t the best, but the company has been making some useful changes the help make the user experience a lot better.
There’s still no app drawer available though, leaving users dependent of creating folders to keep things organized. Some of the changes include the Recent Apps screen that can be opened with a swipe up from the bottom of the display, and comes with a cool animation and is presented in a nice layout. The pull down menu isn’t divided into two sections anymore, with the quick toggles and notifications all housed in a single page. Finally, Meizu has also added a Settings icon and shortcut at the top of the notification drop down, something that was surprisingly missing from previous iterations of the Flyme OS.
There are some nice features baked in as well, such as a slew of gesture controls, that include double to wake, a gesture input to pull down the notification shade, and up to eight different letter inputs that can be assigned to bring up specific applications. The Flyme OS offers a very different take on Android than what you may be used to, but different doesn’t have to mean bad, and it certainly doesn’t in the case of the Meizu Pro 6.
5.2-inch Super AMOLED display Full HD resolution, 423 ppi
21 MP rear camera, f/2.2 aperture, laser auto focus, 10 LED flash 5 MP front-facing camera, f/2.0 aperture
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Bluetooth 4.1 NFC GPS+GLONASS USB Type C 1.0 (USB v3.1)
Flyme OS based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
147.7 x 70.8 x 7.3 mm 160 grams
So there you have it for this in-depth look at the Meizu Pro 6! The latest flagship Meizu managed to impress in more ways than one, and while there may not be anything unique to help this device stand out from the crowd, it does really well with the features it does have to offer. The fingerprint scanner is fast, and while the placement of the bottom-mounted speaker isn’t ideal, the audio quality is surprisingly good. Meizu has also managed to clean up their software experience to some extent, and while it will still take some getting used to, the additional features end up being quite useful.
That said, the camera isn’t particularly impressive, which can be a deal breaker for a lot of users. The Pro 6 isn’t the most affordable when importing the device to the US, but in markets where the phone is officially available, what you do get is a solid smartphone that proves to be dependable for the most part.