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

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?