Meizu MX3 Problems

Aron Schatz
May 9, 2014
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Meizu MX3 Problems
While the specs make the Meizu MX3 look great on paper, the software and support are something to be desired. Stay clear if you're in the US market.

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At ASE Publishing, we aren't strangers to internationally based companies. We've reviewed product from many companies that have a minimal presence in the US, but most of them had no problem when it came to support. At CES, we say that Meizu had a booth showing off their product line. The MX3 had the right looks and the right hardware. What is missing? Support and the software needs work.

About Meizu


Established in 2003 and headquartered in Zhuhai, China, MEIZU designs and produces smartphones created to provide a simple, intuitive mobile experience for people whose time is expected to be simply spent in using their devices, instead of figuring out the way of using them.

MEIZU expanded into the smartphone market in 2008 and has been committed to developing high-end smartphones ever since. Based on a business philosophy and commitment to pursuing perfection and long-term development, MEIZU remains laser focused on developing innovative and user-friendly smartphones for consumers. With more than 1,000 employees and 600 retail stores, the company has built a global presence in Hong Kong, Israel, Russia and Ukraine.

MEIZU phones are characterized by their light, comfortable design with a unique wide screen, premium sound quality, high-definition camera, and simple, elegant user interface, combining performance, ease of use and functionality with the durability needed to survive the human experience.

Meizu MX3 Thoughts

We're including the box and such from the unboxing article again for your enjoyment. If you recall, when the MX3 was turned on, a completely different OS was presented. It was sort of Android, but different. The specs of the device are great. You have no LTE, but all the HSPA+ bands are in there and you've got a nice powerhouse ARM big.LITTLE type of architecture. Four A15 cores with four A7 cores. 2GB of RAM with a 5.1" 1800x1080 screen along with the PowerVR SGX 544MP3 round out the rest of the device. This is no light-weight performer.

lockscreen.jpg flyme.jpg

This is the Flyme OS. It is based on Android (some form of Jelly Bean, we think). It is highly customized and most of the base services have been tweaked or changed. There are things that you'd expect to be there given the Android OS, but they are not. The lock screen has no ability to do a pattern unlock. That's absolutely crazy that this device doesn't support the way that the majority of Android owners unlock their devices. You are forced to use a pin unlock only. You can swipe up from the home button to wake the device up.

As you can see from the screens, this takes a very iOS look. While having a skin is nice to differentiate your device, the root of Android should remain available. Sadly, Flyme rips out many of Android's basic functions. For your home screen, you can easily opt to put Nova on instead of this launcher. We did that since the Flyme launcher is very simple and didn't offer everything we expect from a home screen these days.

dialer.jpg gvproblem.jpg

The dialer seems to be fine from the looks, but the underlying services are not working like they should. The phone makes and receives regular cell network calls just fine, but if you have Google Voice, don't expect the MX3 to work with it. Before we updated the OS, Google Voice just kept crashing over and over. With a beta OS, this resolved the crashing issue, but Google Voice couldn't catch the dialer from making a call. If you use Google Voice for outgoing calls, the MX3 won't work for you. The dialer intent seems to be different. Voice calls worked just fine with Tmobile service and the device comes unlocked for use on any GSM network.

contacts.jpg cal.jpg

The contacts and the calendar applications are fine, but both require some getting used to. Unlike base Android, there are no favorites that you can quickly access in the contacts. That's partly annoying if you use that functionality. The calendar is acceptable, but we prefer the Google Calendar, instead.

settings.jpg play.jpg

The settings application shows a clear divergence from Android. Gone are many of the familiar settings that you can find easily. Android settings are there, you just have to hunt for them... if they are available. The very big positive of the MX3 is the inclusion of Google Play. With Play access, you can opt to install all of the applications that are missing on the device like Gmail and the Google Keyboard. We suggest using the Google Keyboard over the Flyme default, as well.


The camera shots are pretty good. Low light shots like the one above have a bit of noise and some focus issues, but that's par for the course with most cell phone cameras. Still, the MX3 focuses fast in good light and captures great pictures.

There is one major problem with the device we used. The touch screen broke. You can easily see what we mean in the video review portion of the review. When we tried to contact Meizu for a replacement unit to get the touchscreen working, we couldn't get them to figure out how to get us support in the USA. That's a huge problem when you buy the MX3. If you live in the USA, be prepared to buy the MX3 as-is. We've tried for months to get a replacement unit, but it hasn't happened yet.

Since the touch screen is bad, we simply can't finish the full review. We will revisit the MX3 or a future Meizu phone in the future if the opportunity is presented, though.
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Video Review

The video review covers the majority of the positives and negatives of the device. Watch it to see what's wrong with the touch screen.

Ending Thoughts

As was stated in the video review, the Nexus 5 is totally unlocked and can be had for $350. It is a no-brainer to get the Nexus 5 over this. When you buy a product, you want support if there's a problem and Meizu's support channel just isn't there for the USA. Add the software issues that we've seen and we can't recommend this product for US consumption. We'll revisit our stance if this changes in the future.

Still, we do want to thank Meizu for giving us a MX3 to review. They were at CES and we left with a review unit. With some more work, Meizu can be a contender in the US market. Just get the support and software issues taken care of and you'll see some big things from Meizu.
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