Meizu MX 4-core review: Twice the power
Decent 8MP shooter
On the hardware side of things, the Meizu MX 4-core has an 8 megapixel camera module for a maximum image resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels and an LED flash. On paper this one is pretty much the same as the one we saw on the dual-core MX.
The user interface is similar to the stock Android 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 left side of the viewfinder are the front/back camera toggle and the flash mode setting. All the icons are orientation-aware and will automatically align to portrait or landscape.
Pressing the context menu key gives you a few extra settings -capture mode (normal, panorama, smile or burst shot), scenes, white balance, ISO settings, Wide Dynamic Range, and geo-tagging.
Similar to the iPhone, you can use the Meizu's volume rocker to capture a photo. Unfortunately, it is of no use for auto-focus. You can tap and hold the virtual shutter though and the phone will autofocus before taking the shot upon releasing the virtual button - something we hoped for in the previous version of the Flyme OS. Continuous autofocus is available too.
A really cool feature of the MX 4-core is called Gesture capture and it allows you to snap a photo by putting your hand the top part of the phone. It works with the built-in proximity sensor and lets you snap a photo without touching the screen and introducing unnecessary camera shake.
The images have solid 8MP quality. The MX 4-core does well to keep noise in check and the amount of resolved detail is pleasing. The colors and white balance are good as well. The uneven sharpness of its lens is the main problem of the MX 4-core camera.
There's a notable drop in the amount of resolved detail as you go closer to the left border of the shots and while it's not as bad as the original MX had it, this is still pretty annoying.
Photo quality comparison
Here's the Meizu MX 4-core in the 8MP category of our Photo Compare Tool. 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 4-core does worse than most of the 8 megapixel shooters, which is surprising given the good performance it demonstrated outside the studio. Once again we'd blame it all on the imperfect lens, which prevent the sensor for fulfilling its potential.
Full HD video camera
The camcorder uses the same interface as the still camera, except the bar to the right side is now transparent and there are black bars on the top and the bottom to fit the 16:9 video. You can control the video light and pick scenes before you start shooting.
The Meizu MX 4-core captures videos at up to 1080p resolution at 30fps in MP4 files. The bitrate is around 10Mbps, which is a bit low for FullHD videos, with AAC-encoded stereo sound (44.1kHz sampling rate).
Video quality on the MX 4-core is a bit better than it was on the original MX and will please most users. There may be better camcorders out there, but the MX 4-core is well above average, producing footage with a decent enough detail, low noise and decent colors.
Strangely enough the 720p videos have the same bitrate as the 1080p clips and at times the two have virtually the same amount of resolved detail. It seems that the compression applied to the 1080p footage is a bit too strong, which leads to loss of detail at times.
Sadly, the Meizu MX 4-core has the same issue with its 1080p recording as the Apple iPhone 4S and the Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II. This means that the field of view is greatly reduced compared to when you are capturing 720p footage or still shots. Obviously, despite the powerful chipset, the MX 4-core is unable to process the information from the whole sensor so it only uses the middle part for 1080p video capture.
Here go the 1080p and 720p video samples so you can see for yourself. Just don't forget to choose 1080p resolution and view them full screen.
Video quality comparison
The Meizu MX 4-core entered our Video Compare Tool database. Its results aren't too bad, but can really come anywhere near the best 1080p footage out there.
The Meizu MX 4-core will work anywhere you go - it does quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE along with penta-band 3G with blazing fast HDPA+ - the downlink reaches up to 21.6Mbps.
Locally, you get Wi-Fi b/g/n with WPS for easy and secure connections to new Wi-Fi routers. The Meizu MX uses Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, which is getting old but still gets the job done.
Unfortunately, just like the dual-core MX, the Meizu MX 4-core has rather poor Wi-Fi reception. It's not a death-grip issue, but if you move away from the router with some moderate obstacles in the way, the signal drops to the bottom threshold. It works most of the time, but it cuts out too. Other phones have little issues working in the same area. 2G/3G reception wasn't an issue.
The microUSB port is quite interesting - it supports mass storage connections with a computer as you would expect, but also does USB host for hooking things to the phone, MHL for HD TV-Out and also S/PDIF, which is a digital way to output multi-channel audio and will be used for the dock.
There is no NFC support.