So you thought a pimpmobile meant a big old, hooptified pink or yellow late-seventies, all-steel Cadillac or Lincoln Continental, right? Well no, suckah! Ostentatiousness is a factor that can never be underrated, especially if you earn your crust as a drug dealer or pimp. Thus in a time where even the news of a new iPhone being released causes little earthquakes before Christmas, closely followed by first-gen knockoffs and bulletins from Samsung and thenceforth a small army of smartphone big-boy wannabes, it’s understandable why one firm would cut to the chase and go straight for the garish!
The Chinese Smartphone market is truly unto itself. With no rule of copyright law, as the dust clears after the release of each new Apple and Samsung model, next along are the two biggest native companies, Xiaomi and its major rival Meizu, and then all bets are off as scores of bootleggers enter the fray.
As far as it goes in the U.S. and Japan, Xaomi may be the critical darling of tech publications, but the fact is that in the Chinese smartphone market itself, Meizu is about Street Cred, the one true warrior of the working class. Meizu’s latest offering, the Meizu MX4, was announced in Beijing on Monday, September 1, 2014. BIG is the watchword here and the word is that orders for 2.5 million units have already been placed.
So what are you getting? This is an octa-core (four 2.2GHz A17 and four 1.7GHz A7) mobile device that connects to FDD-LTE and TD-LTE networks fresh out of the box. This is bad news for the Xiaomi Mi 4 whose update is not due in retail stores until at least the end of this year. So, not only are Meizu at least three months ahead of the game, the MX4 is cheaper than the Xaomi Mi 4 by around $16 to $33, depending upon the amount of storage capacity ordered. Beyond its BIGNESS, the iPad Air knock-off-ness oozes everywhere, from the chamfered sides to the narrow bezels, rounded edges and rounded Home button off the MX3, similar to the iPhone’s Home button. Can’t blame them for stealing from the best though, really.
The MX4′s 5.36-inch IPS screen really is BIG. Big is good, right? But the 5:3 aspect ratio, with its claims of 1,920X1,152 resolution, is either being extremely enthusiastic or telling outright porky pie lies . Yes. It is eye-friendly, especially if you were born with big eyes like Barbara Bush and it will be nice on public transportation if you want to watch movies. The Meizu MX4 also makes a big point out of its convention of a screen sealant made with a material called Loctite, which helps absorb shock impact if you should accidentally, say, drop it to the floor. Such durability for less than $400 is not bad. Not to mention that it weighs only 5.2oz (147g) and is just one-third of an inch (8.9 mm) thick. Also impressive is the phone’s natural curvature, which means there are no edges to dig into your palm or the skin around your throat.
The Meizu MX4 runs Android, specifically Android 4.4 (KitKat). Its custom ‘skin,’ Flyme OS, feels exactly like the covering on the current batch of iOS products, which are, of course, exactly like the new Android skins from LG and Asus.
Finally, the MX4 comes with a fairly decent 20.7-megapixel f/2.2 main camera and a 2-megapixel f/2.0 front-facing camera. Neither one is too impressive. While the latter’s resolution is rather disappointing, it does offer a ‘live beautification’ mode, a tool which allows you to make enhancements to eyes, chin and skin before taking selfies. Both handle dark environments well and include a dual tone LED flash.
The Meizu MX4 will arrive in American and European retail stores on September 20th, 2014. It will come out at first only in gray, gray and gray, although eventually, I’m told, they’ll come in gold and white, too.