Meizu MX review: Amaze U
8MP camera fails to impress
On the hardware side of things, the Meizu MX has an 8 megapixel camera module for a maximum image resolution of 3264x2448 pixels and an LED flash.
The user interface is pretty decent, similar to the stock camera app. The three main controls are on the right side of the viewfinder – from top to bottom, they are the still shot/video switch, the virtual shutter key and the gallery shortcut (which shows the thumbnail of the last photo taken).
On the top side of the viewfinder are the front/back camera toggle and the flash mode setting.
You get the usual settings – scenes, color effects, image adjustments but also a Wide Dynamic Range option. Photos can be geotagged and there's a smile detection option too.
Similar to the iPhone, you can use the Meizu's volume rocker to capture a photo. Unfortunately, neither that nor the virtual shutter can be pressed and held to autofocus, you have to rely on the continuous autofocus instead (and that gets it wrong sometimes).
Actually, it would refocus all the time, which got really annoying. Also, framing a shot turned out to be difficult to get right because of a discrepancy between what the viewfinder shows and how the gallery displays the captured image.
The image quality is average for an 8MP shooter. The MX does well when it comes to noise suppression (it left only traces of color noise, but there was image grain) but the levels of fine detail are average at best. Colors are accurate but shadows are often underexposed. Overall the results are quite passable if you're not expecting excellence.
We should note that our sample had very prominent lens issues in the left part of the frame, plus some problems on the right edge.
We also shot a couple of photos in Wide Dynamic Range mode, here they are. The photos were taken with WDR set to off and set to high, respectively. What it does is lighten up the shadows and while it helps to even out lighting in high-contrast scenes, it also reveals the generally abundant noise in the shadows.
Photo quality comparison
Here's the Meizu MX in our Photo Compare Tool in the 8MP category. The tool’s page will give you enough info on how to use it and what to look for.
In the synthetic resolution chart, the Meizu MX does really well but that doesn’t translate into actual performance. The work of the noise reduction algorithms is easy to spot in the second chart - not the worst we've seen, but there have been others that spare more fine detail. The third chart is shot under artificial lighting on auto and shows a strong blue tint, which is something to keep in mind.
The camcorder uses the same interface as the still camera, except the bar to the right side is now transparent to make room for the 16:9 video. You can control the video light and pick scenes for the video before you start shooting.
The Meizu MX captures videos at up to 1080p resolution at 30fps in MP4 files. The bitrate is around 8Mbps, which is much too low for FullHD videos, with AAC-encoded stereo sound (with 44.1kHz sampling rate).
Video quality is far below the leaders in the field, with noticeable compression artifacts. The framerate of 30fps is achieved easily but the practical resolution is nowhere near 1080p. 720p mode doesn’t help the situation either.
Here are a 1080p and 720p video samples so you can see for yourself. Just don't forget to choose 1080p resolution and view them in full screen.
Also, here's an untouched 1080p@30fps (11MB, 0:10s) video that comes straight from the phone without any re-encoding.
Video quality comparison
The Meizu MX is in our Video Compare Tool database. The third chart shows decent (but not great) synthetic resolution Compression artifacts are very noticeable in the blue background of our setup. With the lights off, most of the fine detail disappears.
Still, the setup shows that the Meizu MX shoots better videos of close subjects that distant ones.