Meizu 17 and 17 Pro hands-on review

Last Update 2020-05-09 00:00:00 Views 7148


Meizu’s biggest smartphone launch of 2020 is here and the company has unveiled not one, but two new flagship-grade smartphones. Staying true to its minimalistic design, the phone slims down the bezels on the side and adds horizontal camera housing at the back featuring four cameras in total. The Meizu 17 Pro is the company’s most powerful flagship for the first half of 2020 while Meizu 17 comes as a slightly cheaper alternative. The Meizu 17 duo is built around 6.6-inch Super AMOLED displays with a 90Hz refresh rate and a first for Meizu punch-hole cutout for the 20MP selfie camera. Around the back, both phones rely on the 64MP Sony IMX686 as their primary shooter. The batteries are rated at 4,500 mAh and support 30W fast wired charging while the Pro can also do 27W wireless charging.

Price and availability

The Meizu 17 comes in green, gray, and white colors and is already up for pre-order. The 8/128GB version goes for CNY 3,699 ($525) while the 8/256GB trim will retail for CNY 3,999 ($565). The Meizu 17 Pro is available in mint green, black, and white colors with a starting price of CNY 4,299 ($605) for the 8/128GB model while the 12/256GB one will go for CNY 4,299 ($665). Both models will go on sale via online and offline sales channels in China from May 11. The Meizu 17 Pro Collectors edition will be priced at 9999 yuan and will go on sale on May 25. There’s a special Meizu 17 Aircraft Carrier Limited Edition which will feature cool graphics at the back and customized themes for hardcore fans. This limited edition will also feature customized accessories such as a unique charger, customized case, badge, and even a SIM card ejector pin. This special limited edition is priced at 4299 yuan ($607) and goes on sale on May 27. Meizu will also offer a bunch of PANDAER 17 series funky cases for the Meizu 17 series starting at 49 yuan ($7). The cases go on sale from May 20.

Design and display

The Meizu 17 and Meizu 17 Pro arrive with a simple punch-hole design upfront. The two phones have an advanced CoF packaging technology which increases the screen to body ratio by limiting the lower bezel to just 3.3mm. The Meizu 17 duo released with a 6.6-inch custom Samsung AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 92.2% screen to body ratio. The AMOLED panel supports 100% DCI-P3 color gamut with a 90Hz high refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate. The display panel has a peak brightness of 1100 nits with a pixel density of 390 ppi. You get a 0.15-sec fast screen fingerprint sensor on the front as well. The new Meizu 17 weights 199 grams and is just 8.5mm thick. The phone isn’t top or bottom-heavy as Meizu has used a balanced design to make it comfortable to hold. Note that the biggest difference between the Meizu 17 and the 17 Pro is in the material of the body. The Meizu 17 Pro comes in a premium ceramic body.

The company also justified its decision to add a 2.9mm diameter camera on the top right corner because it believes this position creates the least amount of visual interference. Meizu explained at the event that “we are used to reading from left to right and having the selfie camera on the right won’t hinder our reading experience.” Moreover, the company is making full use of the punch-hole camera by using it as a battery indicator. The phone also boasts of stereo speakers and Meizu claims that the sound output has increased by 30% as compared to its predecessor. On the back, you'll notice horizontally-aligned cameras, and the design of that camera module is also quite unique. A ring flash sensor is in the middle, while it is flanked by two cameras on each side. Meizu's logo is placed on the back of this phone as well, and the device is curved on the back, towards the sides. The power/lock and volume up / down buttons are located on the right-hand side of these two phones.

Front and rear cameras

The Meizu 17 series announced with a quad-camera setup in the horizontal camera housing. The standard 17 model has a 64MP Sony IMX686 f/1.8 primary camera with a 12MP f/1.9 portrait camera, a 5MP dedicated f/1.9 macro camera that can take shots as close as 2.5cm, and finally, a 118-degree 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens. The Meizu 17 Pro has a much more powerful camera setup. It consists of the same 64MP IMX686 f/1.8 primary camera but features an 8MP f/2.4 79mm telephoto camera too. With the help of these two sensors, the phone can capture up to 8x lossless zoom samples with a focal length range of 26mm-210mm. Another big highlight of the Meizu 17 Pro’s camera setup is the brand new Sony IMX616 32MP ultra-wide-angle camera sensor. This f/2.2 aperture lens can capture extremely wide 129-degree samples.

The Meizu 17 Pro is also the world’s first phone to use the Samsung S5K33D 3D depth-sensing camera that brings hardware-level portrait blur to photos and even videos and adds unique features to the device like 3D wallpapers and AR tools. Meizu has said that “it will add more AR features to its Flyme 8.1 OS in the future to take advantage of this hardware.” On the front panel, both phones have a 20MP camera for selfie experience. The company claims that the front camera now features the third generation night mode algorithms (Super Night Mode 3.0) which ensure clear and bright selfies even in low light situations. Further, both handsets record 4k videos at 30/60fps.

Software, processor, and battery

Both the phones come with the flagship 2.84GHz Snapdragon 865 5G chipset under the hood with support for SA /NSA 5G. The company employs a new mSmart 5G technology inside its new flagships which can improve its battery life when using the new-age cellular network. Meizu claims that mSmart 5G is fast and stable, so the Meizu 17 can last up to 4 hours and 25 minutes longer after turning on this special mode as compared to the regular 5G mode. The phone’s battery efficiency is also attributed to the 360-degree surround antenna design that will ensure a stable network connection. The Meizu 17 offers 8GB RAM onboard with up to 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The biggest difference between the standard and the Pro variant is the presence of LPDDR5. The Meizu 17 Pro comes with the new-age LPDDR5 standard and UFS 3.1 as standard across its variants.

Meizu confirms that the Pro version’s AnTuTu score goes up to 600K. Both phones run Android 10 OS skinned with the latest Flyme 8.1 layer which was also released alongside these two phones. The new Flyme 8.1 is an incremental update to Flyme 8 released last year. The new version integrates over 300 deep Android customization improvements and optimizations according to the company. It also brings enhanced Aicy voice assistant as well as better AI and gaming performance. Flyme 8.1 brings a new OneMind 4.0 AI Engine, which is 30% better than its predecessor OneMind 3.5. The new software also adds small window mode 2.1 with improvements. The Meizu 17 and the 17 Pro pack 4500mAh battery inside with 30W Super mCharge fast charging technology that promises 56% in half an hour. Note that only the Pro variant comes with the Super Wireless mCharge 27W charging solution that can charge up to 47 percent in 30 minutes. The Pro model also supports reverse wireless charging.

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