Meizu 17 hands-on: High-end specs, mid-range price, and attractive balanced design

There are many phones today that come from China, including those made by Huawei, ZTE, Oppo, OnePlus, and more. A couple of weeks ago the new Meizu 17 arrived for testing.

Last month Meizu announced the 17 Series that includes both the Meizu 17 and Meizu 17 Pro. Both handsets offer 5G in China and are Meizu’s first 5G models. They offer a similar experience to the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro.

While the Meizu 17 is not available in the US, it launches at a reasonable US$522 price point. A phone with these high end specifications can typically be found for hundreds more from companies like Samsung, LG, and Apple. Given that the phone is a Chinese model with limited support for Google’s apps, my usage of the phone was very limited and primarily focused on the hardware and default software experiences.

Also: TCL 10 Pro review: Stunning $450 Android phone rivals Apple’s iPhone SE

The Meizu 17 Pro offers some increased specifications and improved hardware features such as an ultrawide 32MP camera, ceramic body, LPDDR5 RAM, and wireless charging. The Meizu 17 Pro starts at a price just US$82 more than the Meizu 17.

Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
  • Display: 6.6 inch 2340 x 1080 pixels resolution Super AMOLED
  • Operating system: Android 10 with FlymeOS
  • RAM: 8GB/12GB
  • Storage: UFS 3.1 128GB/256GB internal
  • Cameras: 64MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide lens, 5MP macro lens, and a ToF sensor for bokeh and AR use. 20MP front facing camera.
  • Wireless technology: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, GPS
  • Battery: 4,500 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support
  • Dimensions: 160 x 77.2 x 8.5 mm and 199 grams

Hardware

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The Meizu 17 is an attractive, professional-looking phone with a glossy gray/black finish that I understand has many layers of glass to build up the radiating gray. The Samsung built Super AMOLED screen is impressive with extremely small bezels (3.3 mm) that are the same on the top and the bottom. The side bezels are also tiny with a screen-to-body ratio of 92.9%.

Another aspect that I love about the display is the 90 Hz refresh rate. After testing high screen refresh rates on the latest OnePlus and Samsung phones, it’s tough to go back to a 60 Hz display on an Android smartphone. Blue light radiation is also managed with this display on the Meizu 17.

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The front-facing 20MP camera is embedded in a right side hole punch area, but is one of the smallest holes I’ve seen for this front camera. It’s just about the size of the text next to it showing the battery charge status.

The fingerprint sensor is positioned under the display. Power and a long volume control button are found on the right side. The USB-C port and SIM card slot are on the bottom, along with one of the two speakers. The other stereo speaker is fit into the top edge of the phone.

Also: OnePlus 8 review: Least expensive 5G phone with flagship specs, minimal compromises

Software

The phone launches with Android 10 and Flyme 8.1. The Android experience appears fairly stock with the typical Android 10 gestures. Since it is a Chinese variation it is hard to know what apps and utilities are specific to FlymeOS, but it doesn’t appear to be overwhelming.

English apps I tested on the phone performed well and the experience was smooth. The camera software is fairly typical for an Android smartphone with many different options, including macro, slo-mo, time-lapse, pro, and SuperNight modes.

Hands-on impressions

In all of the product materials and on the Meizu website it is clear that Meizu is focused on a balanced experience with the Meizu 17. The four lenses on the back are symmetrical with the flash positioned in the center. The bezels around the display all look to be about the same. The phone, while a bit thicker than other phones, honestly feels great in the hand.

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The camera performed well in my limited testing with a solid assortment of lens options. You can use the 64MP main camera to pixel bin images since there is no telphoto camera on the phone. Audio sounded good through the dual stereo speakers too.

Overall, the Meizu 17 looks to be a solid Android smartphone with high-end specifications available at a reasonable price. It’s available now in China and will likely be available later in other countries. Americans interested in the phone may be able to import it later this year.

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