Review Meizu 16 & 16 Plus: In-Display Fingerprint Sensor – 6/128 GB for $539.96
As a manufacturer, Meizu is no longer a blank page, even though they can’t keep up with Xiaomi from the company’s point of view. Recently, the Meizu 15 convinced us with its classic 16:9 format and good hardware. Will the successors, the Meizu 16 and the Meizu 16 Plus, once again play the role of insider tips?
- Meizu 16 (6/64 GB)
- Meizu 16 (6/128 GB)
- Meizu 16 (8/128 GB)
- Meizu 16 Plus (8/128 GB)
|Meizu 16||Meizu 16 Plus|
|Display||6″ AMOLED Display with 2160 × 1080p||6.5″AMOLED Display with 2160 × 1080p|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa Core Processor @ 2.45GHz & 1.8GHz||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa Core Processor @ 2.45GHz & 1.8GHz|
|Graphics chip||Adreno 630 @ 710 MHz||Adreno 630 @ 710 MHz|
|Memory||6 GB||6 GB|
|Internal memory||128 GB||128 GB|
|Main Camera||Dual Camera with 12/20 MP, Sony IMX380 & Sony IMX350||Dual Camera with 12/20 MP, Sony IMX380 & Sony IMX350|
|Front camera||20 MP||20 MP|
|Battery||3.010 mAh, mCharge||3.640 mAh, mCharge|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi AC, BT 5, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Hybrid SIM, LTE||Wi-Fi AC, BT 5, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Hybrid SIM, LTE|
|Features||USB Type-C, Fingerprint sensor in display, Face Unlock||USB Type-C, Fingerprint sensor in display, Face Unlock|
|Operating system||Android 8.1||Android 8.1|
|Dimensions / Weight||150.5 x 73.2 x 7.3 mm | 156 g||160.4 x 78.2 x 7.3 mm | 180 g|
Meizu 16 – this time in 18:9 format
In contrast to its predecessor, the Zhuhai-based manufacturer does not rely on the tried and tested smartphone design. The new flagship appears with 18:9 aspect ratio, but without notch. Above and below the screen there are thin screen edges. In direct comparison, however, these are rounded and not as straight as on the 15. This is due to the display, which is now equipped with rounded corners. In general, Meizu relies on a rounded design that runs through the entire smartphone.
Due to the thin screen edges, there is room for the front camera and earpiece, but not for the mBack button. This served as a home button like you know it from iPhones. The round, but very small design is now omitted. This generation uses an on-screen solution that also functions as an mBack button. There is no fingerprint sensor on the back, as both smartphones are equipped with a fingerprint sensor in the display, as we know it from the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition.
The rounded design concept also awaits you on the back, which was designed in the very noble ceramic white of our test device. The surface is rounded towards all four side edges, where it then merges with the housing frame. The gap between the back and the frame is actually hardly visible, Meizu has really worked very precisely here. On the back you can save some markings and only attach the company logo and the dual camera with flash. The antenna strips are located at the top and bottom of the housing frame.
With dimensions of 150.5 mm in length, 73.2 mm in width and 7.3 mm in thickness, the Meizu 16 is a truly compact smartphone by today’s standards. The small dimensions in combination with the excellent workmanship make the flagship in my hands my favourite when it comes to feel. Although it is noticeably larger than its predecessor, it is also slightly smaller than an already very compact Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S.
So if you want to save every millimetre, can do without a notch but still want a lot of display space, the Meizu is the right choice for you. The design, the workmanship and the technical implementation achieve the full score here.
Operation via mBack button
The mBack button placed on the screen is Meizu’s own interpretation of a home button. The handling isn’t completely intuitive, but it works wonderfully after a very short period of getting used to it. A click on the digital button corresponds to a back function, so you jump to the menu item or screen shown before. A wipe to the left or right jumps to the app that is located in the task manager at the left or right of the currently opened app. The Task Manager can be opened by wiping upwards from the lower left or right corner of the screen.
But the actual home button is not intuitive at all. Back to the Flyme Launcher is only possible by pressing the mBack button firmly. Thus, the display is pressure sensitive at this point, comparable to Force Touch at Apple. Once you have internalized this, it works very well and reliably. Those who can’t get used to it can either rely on wipe gestures in the settings or on the classic three navigation keys of Android.
AMOLED display with many setting options
Speaking of display: both versions rely on an AMOLED display, as was the case in the previous generation. The Meizu 16 is the small version with a 6 inch display, the Meizu 16 Plus is larger. This is equipped with a 6.5 inch display. But both work with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels, which gives the Meizu 16 the higher pixel density due to the smaller display. The resulting 403 ppi are now a standard value among the flagships.
The screen of the Meizu 16 does a good job overall, but the big strength isn’t in the brightness. The AMOLED panel is above average bright, but in my opinion it can’t quite keep up with the quality of a Mi 8. Maximum brightness doesn’t seem like maximum brightness and the viewing angle stability leaves something to be desired in places. But I like the colors very much and also the sharpness is very pronounced.
But the software in connection with the display can really score here. Because Flyme leaves a lot of adjustment possibilities open, with which you can individualize the display. In addition to an easy mode, which enlarges the font and icons, and the eye-friendly mode, which can also be scheduled, you can select four different presets for color adjustments. These include an adaptive mode, a standard mode, a photo mode and a dynamic mode. “There’s no double tap to wake, but there’s raise to wake mode.
You can also adjust the color temperature independently and activate or deactivate the Always On mode. There are even four different styles for how this is displayed. I really like that and so Meizu manages to get some more points out of it – bravo!
Fingerprint sensor in the display
The killer feature of the Meizu 16 is the fingerprint sensor in the display. It’s still one of an elite group of smartphones that only have it. In my experience, Meizu has solved this minimally better than Xiaomi in the Mi 8 Explorer Edition. The speed is about the same, but the success rate is better for me with almost 100%.
If you don’t want to use this fingerprint sensor, you can also unlock your phone via Face Unlock, which also works well. Of course, there is no “real” fingerprint sensor, otherwise it is only unlocked with a pattern or PIN.
Snapdragon 845 processor – stronger than Xiaomi
Both the Meizu 16 and the Meizu 16 Plus are equipped with the Snapdragon 845 processor, currently Qualcomm’s most powerful CPU. We already know it from the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S or OnePlus 6. As expected, we don’t have to worry about the performance because everything is right at the front. Coupled with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB internal memory, this is a true flagship.
Meizu has adapted the Flyme operating system well to the hardware and so the whole power of the Snapdragon 845 comes into its own. Opening and closing apps goes smoothly, multitasking doesn’t make the 6 GB RAM sweat and gaming also works very well. With PUBG we were able to play on high graphic settings, whereby a certain heat development was noticeable on the back.
This is also confirmed by the benchmark tests that we carried out here again. To be honest, all other results would have been a bit surprising, because Meizu really uses top hardware here. You don’t get much more performance in a smartphone at the moment and it’s absolutely on a par with the Pocophone F1 or OnePlus 6.
Good camera, but no flagship level
The camera of the Meizu 15 already convinced us to a large extent in the test. Of course, the Meizu 16 is also a dual camera again, whereby the primary sensor offers a 12 megapixel resolution and is equipped with a ƒ/1.8 aperture. In fact, not only the Meizu 16 and 16 Plus are the same here, no, they are also the same as their predecessors. The new generation relies on old hardware, with both the combination of 12 and 20 MP, the Sony IMX380 & Sony IMX350 sensor, is used.
Accordingly, we are also very satisfied with the quality of the final results. The camera app itself offers some functions, whereby the normal photo and portrait mode are probably the most interesting ones. I like the photos quite well in terms of color intensity, although they are not quite as saturated as on Xiaomi smartphones. The focus is really lightning fast, the shutter release time is a bit too long for that. This is especially annoying here and there when you want to take a snapshot. But the pictures can score with a good sharpness and the resolution of 12 megapixels is more than sufficient.
I also like the portrait mode for the main camera very much. Here the bokeh is quite natural, the cropping of the focused object works well. Again, you have to live with a somewhat long shutter release time of 1 to 2 seconds. In my experience this would have been avoidable. Especially with people this mode is brilliant, the edge detection is really strong and the bokeh is very soft and natural.
Speaking of the front camera: the Selfie-Cam can score with its sharpness. The colors are a bit neutral and don’t knock me off my seat. Nevertheless, the camera completely fulfills its purpose and who wants can conjure up filters directly integrated in the camera app on the face. It definitely doesn’t come close to the quality of a Xiaomi Mi 8. The portrait mode for the front camera is too aggressive for me, you can’t get any information from the background anymore, so the bokeh is very unnatural – too bad!
First we need a software update to make the Meizu 16 look better overall. The recordings in 1080p are now better stabilized in any case, but in my eyes there would still be air upwards. Before the recordings were much more blurred.
Altogether I would describe the camera of the Meizu 16 as good but not very good. It’s probably most comparable to a Xiaomi Mi A2, which costs only half as much for the same quality.
Meizu 16 with Flyme OS
On the internal memory Meizu has pre-installed the Flyme operating system, which is very far away from pure Android. So it has adapted so much that the Android core is almost invisible. With the menu structure and without App-Drawer it actually reminds more of iOS than of Android. Nevertheless it is of course possible to install Widget here as well. Positive to emphasize are in any case the setting possibilities that Flyme offers. Especially with the aspects and display you have relatively many options and you can individualize the system according to your ideas.
Even though I like Flyme in itself, the China version that we are testing brings a lot of bloatware on board. Many pre-installed apps that you can’t use and don’t understand, only English or Chinese language and missing Google services are points of criticism. Even if you can at least install the Google services easily with the Google Installer from the Meizu App Store, we clearly recommend the Global version of the device!
Battery – the biggest weakness
Another difference between the normal version: the battery. The Meizu 16 comes with a quite small 3.010 mAh battery, the larger version uses a 3.640 mAh battery. And somewhere, unfortunately, there had to be a weak point in the hardware. In the battery benchmark test, the screen-on time of approx. 7 hours is of course quite low and unfortunately only sufficient for one day of effective use.
However, the mCharge technology brings your smartphone back to 100% in a good 90 minutes. Those who need more battery life for the same performance should have a look at the Pocophone F1, which is more blessed with 1,000 mAh battery capacity.
The Meizu 16 makes hardly any compromises in terms of connectivity. It comes with a USB type C slot on the underside, right next to the 3.5 mm jack connector. This is no longer a matter of course nowadays. There is also a dual SIM slot, which unfortunately doesn’t have room for a microSD memory card. A memory expansion is therefore not possible.
Meizu uses stereo loudspeakers that have it all. The speaker on the underside brings depth into the sound spectrum, while the speaker in the auricle is limited to the higher frequencies. In symbiosis, this results in a really loud, rich and clear sound that we have rarely heard in this form in a China smartphone before. Here Xiaomi can really cut himself a slice.
The manufacturer hasn’t been ambitious about wireless connectivity either. For local Internet there is Dual Band AC-WLAN, for mobile Internet in the China version LTE Band 1/3/7/8. Other LTE Bands are only available in the Global version; another reason why we definitely recommend the Global version! There is also the current Bluetooth 5.0 standard, as well as GPS, GLONASS and A-GPS.
Conclusion – the next insider tip!
After the test report it should be clear: I really like the Meizu 16! There are several reasons for this. On the one hand there is the design of the smartphone, which is not only very high-quality, but also classic and compact. I also like the AMOLED display overall, even though it’s not the best one we’ve tested so far. The performance is at top level, the connection possibilities are very satisfactory and I also like the Flyme operating system as a whole.
Even though the camera can’t keep up with Xiaomi’s flagship, it’s very solid overall. The only negative thing I would like to emphasize is the battery, which unfortunately only lasts for one day with a runtime of about 7 to 8 hours. Also the price is unfortunately a bit high, especially in contrast to Xiaomi.
All in all: the Meizu 16 is a great smartphone. The biggest catch is that Xiaomi can cross-finance the smartphones with its product range and with the Pocophone F1 you pay significantly less for similar performance. The surcharge on the Pocophone, which is the benchmark in terms of price-performance, would only be worth it to me for the design and the fingerprint sensor in the display.To the gadget