In Wuzhen, China today, Meizu unveiled the much anticipated Meizu 15 lineup of Android-powered smartphones. These include the Meizu 15 and Meizu 15 Plus. These are being released to celebrate Meizu's 15th anniversary in the smartphone space, and they are a beauty. The two smartphones are largely the same, aside from the usual differences between a regular and a plus model. These are not the high-end flagship smartphones that you'd see out of Samsung, LG and others, but instead these fall in the "premium" mid-range area. The Meizu 15 sports a Snapdragon 660 processor and the Meizu 15 Plus comes with the Samsung Exynos 8895 chipset. The Meizu 15 features 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage, while the Meizu 15 Plus sports 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage.
With the Meizu 15, the company is really touting its design, and it should. Meizu claims that this is the "world's narrowest screen bezel" with the bezel coming in at just 1.175mm. The smaller Meizu 15 comes with a 5.46-inch Full HD Display, with the Meizu 15 Plus sporting a 5.95-inch Quad HD display. Both of which are using Samsung's OLED displays, so you're getting a really good looking display out of both models here, and that is something that really popped out at us as soon as we turned it on. The bezels on the left and right are about as thin as you can get without going with a curved display like Samsung which hides the bezels a bit more. The top and bottom bezels aren't quite as thin as some other smartphones out there, but still fairly thin. And on the black model, it does a good job at hiding things like the sensors, front-facing camera and even the earpiece.
It's interesting that Meizu did not go the route of using a notch on the Meizu 15 series here, seeing as it seems that literally every other smartphone maker is doing just that, these days. But where Meizu did get the earpiece very thin and small, at the top of the phone, it wouldn't be surprising if the company were able to get the top bezel to disappear completely - providing it finds a way to get rid of the front-facing camera, or hide it. The bottom bezel is where the fingerprint sensor is found - as well as the physical button used to navigate through Flyme OS. It's a pretty small button, and if Meizu wanted to, it could move it to the back of the phone.
The body of the Meizu 15 is made of stainless steel aluminum composite material, and the white model has a ceramic look and feel. In the black model that we have here, it actually looks really nice and feels great in the hand. The back has slightly curved edges, which help it feel great in the hand, and keeps it from slipping out of your hand. However, the black model is prone to collecting fingerprints. Within five minutes, the phone had a ton of fingerprints on the back. Which isn't surprising, but it is rather annoying for those that want to keep the phone clean. Meizu still has pretty minimal antenna lines on the back. These are dark gray and are pushed to the top and bottom, to stay out of the way of the nice and clean design here. On the bottom of the phone, you'll find a speaker, USB-C port and a headphone jack. A bit interesting to see that Meizu has decided to keep the headphone jack here, but definitely appreciated.
Meizu is boasting that the 15 sports the latest version of Flyme, which is version 7.0. That's the newest version of Meizu's own software that lives on top of Android. Speaking of Android, it's running on Android 7.1.1 with the February 5th, 2018 security patch. There's a good chance that this gets updated before it goes on sale and starts shipping, as smartphones do typically get announced with unfinished software on-board. But Meizu has not said yet, whether it'll get Android Oreo before launch. Flyme 7 isn't actually a huge update, to the user. There's not a ton of new big features here for the user to enjoy. Instead, Meizu has gone ahead and made a ton fo improvements to the operating system and has also added in some artificial intelligence to Flyme to make it more efficient. Meizu says that it is smoother than previous versions, and that appears to be true in our short time using the Meizu 15 so far. It's also still very colorful, and it does bring in Facial recognition. So instead of having to use just the fingerprint sensor to unlock the Meizu 15, you can also use your face. That's another trend that has become pretty popular this year with new smartphones.
Finally, the camera. Meizu is making a pretty big deal about the camera this time around. Saying that this is the best handset in Meizu's history, when it comes to the camera. Both smartphones boast the same camera setup. Which is a dual-camera setup with a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 20-megapixel zoom lens, with a f/1.8 aperture here. It is using the Sony IMX380 sensor here, and on the Meizu 15 you get optical anti-shake, with the Meizu 15 Plus getting dual anti-shake. Meizu touts that this is the best camera for night photography, now we have not yet used this at night, so we can't say whether it is or not. But it does have quite a bit of competition right now in that space, with the OPPO R15 Pro and the Huawei P20 Pro both doing really good at night. It also features the industry's best lossless zoom technology, with three-times lossless optical zoom and 10 times digital zoom here. THe font-facing camera sports a 20-megapixel sensor, along with some AI smarts to help you get even better selfies out of this camera. Meizu claims that this surpasses any camera from OPPO, and puts it right up there with the Huawei P20. And in our short impressions with the Meizu 15, it comes in close to the OPPO R15 Pro that launched last month. Of course, we'll talk more in our full review.
With the Meizu 15, the company is looking to release a smartphone that checks all of the boxes. And it definitely appears to do just that. Meizu is looking to make the 15 the "one-size-fits-all" in terms of smartphone. Giving users a large display with a smaller body, and still giving users the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio instead of a taller display here. We've only spent a few hours with the Meizu 15 so far, but expect plenty more about the Meizu 15 in our full review.