The Meizu MX5 has the same Sony 20.7MP sensor we saw on the MX4, capable of impressive 5248x3936px snaps in 4:3 aspect. The camera has been upgraded with a laser-assisted auto-focus, which should help the sensor take snapshots in the dark.
Meizu offers what it calls Super high ISO that will allow the phone to shoot at up to 1600 ISO in low light conditions. There's also a dual-color flashlight that's said to eliminate distortion in low-light. Both LEDs fire simultaneously.
The camera interface by default launches into Auto mode where the camera determines the shooting parameters. You have the option to turn on HDR (but no automatic HDR), gridlines for the viewfinder and a level gauge so that your pics are perfectly leveled compared to the horizon. There's also an option to enable a timer of either 3, 5 or 10 seconds.
There's a side-scrollable mode dial at the top of the camera UI but you can also tap it to get a full view of the shooting modes - all six of them. These are Auto, Manual (where you can set the shutter speed (up to 20s), ISO, exposure compensation and even the focus - from macro to infinity) that uses a Gmail-like icon, Beauty (which can make eyes bigger, faces slimmer, skin smoother and whiter), Panorama, Light field (which is Meizu's refocus app allowing you to put the focus in any part of the image or have it entirely in focus), Night mode, Scan (for QR and barcodes), Slowmotion and Microspur (macro).
The Meizu MX5 snaps great 20MP shots, there is a noticeable improvement since the MX4. The resolved detail is a notch better than before, the oversharpening is almost gone and the digital noise though present is also on the lower side. Meizu worked hard on the processing algorithm and sure did great.
The samples have excellent dynamic range and the rendition of foliage is lovely. Contrast and colors are also something deserving only praise. Indeed Meizu's put an effort of improving the software and they did it right. While there is no auto HDR mode, the amazing dynamic range made us use the HDR option only once in two weeks.
The HDR mode is meant to get a more even exposure of a scene - bringing back detail in the highlights and the shadows. On the Meizu MX5 it does very good job of bringing back detail, but if there is enough light it will turn out a rather unrealistic overexposed picture. The camera sensor seems to have a great native dynamic range, so we'd suggest turning the HDR on only if you are unsatisfied by the auto mode.
This is a photo shot in quite demanding weather conditions, which was outed perfectly by the Auto mode.
We played a bit with the manual mode to take a few low-light scenes. We used custom shutter speeds and exposure for those images, while the phone was mounted on a tripod. If you happen to have a small tripod, you can see for yourself that the Meizu MX5 can capture some wonderful scenes after the sun sets.
And here is another sample shot at night using the manual mode with 5s shutter speed and ISO 100.
Panoramas aren't too impressive on the Meizu MX5. There is plenty of resolution and good overall exposure but the resolved detail is low.
Finally, you can check out a 5MP image taken with the front-facing camera of the device. It doesn't shine with too much detail but it would do a fine job for selfies.
You can compare the Meizu MX5 to any of the smartphones we've tested so far in our photo quality comparison tool. It does an excellent job of resolving a great level of detail, while it also does a great job with the contrast and color reproduction across all charts.
The Meizu MX5 shoots videos up to 4K resolution (3840 x 2176px) at 30fps and 1080p videos at 30fps. There's no 60fps smooth motion option but you do get a 720p@100fps slow motion shooting mode that renders and plays back at 25fps.
The UHD videos of the Meizu MX5 are recorded in the HEVC format, which is essentially the next-generation H.265 mode that uses a much smaller footprint on the storage. While this advancement makes sense because it helps you reduce the storage requirements it means that most of your media players will need an additional codec download in order to playback the videos you shot with the Meizu MX5. The smartphone itself has no issues with the videos, though.
Sadly, YouTube doesn't support the new codec just yet so you can check out the 2176p@30fps sample here.
The 4K videos produced by the Meizu MX5 have very good levels of detail, the contrast is great as are the colors. The white balance is accurate, too.
The 1080p videos are naturally not as impressive as they are around 4 times smaller in resolution. While the resolved detail is less impressive, the contrast and white balance remain excellent. There is some unpleasant oscillation though, especially visible when you are not moving the camera, which may ruin the videos. It's quite possible that this may as well be a codec issue but it's quite noticeable regardless on all video players we tried.
Here goes the 1080p@30fps file too.
720p slow motion videos are shot at 100 fps. The phone plays those videos back at 100fps but if you export them you get a 25fps sample. Motion is slowed as advertised but the quality isn't too impressive.
And if you want to do some pixel peeping you can head over to our video comparison tool below. It will show you how the camcorder renders colors and textures and just how much resolution it fits from a 4K video.