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The Next Big Thing

With Xiaomi in its sights, Meizu launches high-spec, low-price MX5 smartphone

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2015, 9:17am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2015, 9:30am

Chinese smartphone maker Meizu has launched its latest flagship handset and, in keeping with its strategy, aggressively priced the cutting-edge device at 1,799 yuan (US$285).

The MX5 sports a metal build and packs a 20.7-megapixel Sony camera module with a dual LED flash and laser autofocus, along with a 5-megapixel shooter in front.

READ MORE: Xiaomi takes first big step outside Asia with Brazil smartphone

Unlike some top smartphone makers - including Samsung and Xiaomi - that use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset, the Zhuhai-based company, backed by Alibaba, has adopted MediaTek’s Helio X10 64-bit octa-core processor.

“We’ve done many tests, and found that the Snapdragon 810 indeed has a heating issue, including on [competitor devices],” Meizu chief executive Bai Yongxiang said a launch event in Beijing.

The handset comes with a PowerVR G6200 GPU and 3GB RAM, and in 16, 32 and 64 gigabytes storage variants, with prices starting at 1,799 yuan.

The device runs Meizu's highly customised Flyme 4.5 operating system based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, and has adopted Samsung’s AMOLED tech for the phone’s 5.5-inch full high-definition display. It also supports dual SIM card slots.

The design of the phone - which is 7.6mm thick - does not attempt to depart from its predecessor MX4, but the very aggressive pricing is poised to render the strongly-specced phone competitive when compared with rival firms' flagship handsets, including Xiaomi, Huawei, and ZTE.

The MX5 also features a fingerprint scanner in front, promising fast detection, an improved fingerprint app and Alipay support - a nod to one of its investors Alibaba.

A new fast charging technology would also bring the device to a 25 per cent charge in 10 minutes and a 60 per cent charge in 40 minutes, Bai said.

The MX5 became available for pre-order this week, and will hit retail stores in China on July 5, along with the company's official website and Tmall.

Although unknown overseas, Meizu has built a decent reputation in China for making powerful handsets with very low price tags.

Alibaba announced in February a US$590 million investment in Meizu, giving it an undisclosed minority stake in the smartphone maker.