A few days back Meizu has launched a phone that made a huge stir around it. The newly launched Meizu Pro 7 Plus and its lighter variant, the Meizu Pro 7 come with a secondary screen on the back mainly designed for notifications. Don’t know how useful it can be, but this is for the first time in last years when Meizu comes with something different. Really? If you look at the Meizu Pro 7 Plus from the front it will be identical to the Meizu Pro 6 Plus.
There are a few little changes we’ll talk about later. Actually, nothing has been changed in design (front) of this handset, and that’s a BIG problem. Of course, many can say thanks to it, Meizu solves the problem with phone identification. But there are myriads of phones looking similar to it. So, Meizu has to do something with this, otherwise, it will be lost in the crowd. That’s why we want to explore the pros and cons of this handset. On the on hand, we are dealing with a great smartphone packed with the first 10nm process technology chip, Helio X30. On the other hand, many things remain the same.
Appearance: Nothing New in Design
The dimensions of the Meizu Pro 7 Plus and its successor are almost the same. The former one comes at 157.3 x 77.2 x 7.3 mm and weighs 170 grams, while the Meizu Pro 6 Plus comes at 155.6 x 77.3 x 7.3 mm, but it weighs 158 grams. The first thing we have to write down is that the phone size has remained the same.
The front panel of the device has the same shape – rounded corners + 2.5D arc glass + oval-shaped Home button. The only change refers to the light sensors that are hidden in the phone. Generally, if not looking attentively those two handsets can be confused easily. This means the Meizu line handsets look similar to each other, and a certain model can’t be distinguished. That’s a big problem because it turns out a 1000 yuan-smartphone has the same design as a 3-4000 yuan smartphone.
However, some technological processes have been improved. Say, the Meizu Pro 7 Plus uses a traditional matte treatment process. Another thing, the antenna ribbons are merged with the housing. The Meizu logo is rotated by 90 degrees.
The back of this handset looks more attractive than the Pro 6 Plus. It uses an all-metal with CNC crafting that has passed a list of processes making the phone more charming. But are these changes really important? Many people pay a lot to buy good protective cases. I guess the same will happen with the Meizu Pro 7 Plus because people care of their handsets longevity rather their look. The same happened with the red iPhone 7. Though it has a color no other iPhone comes with, many people use it with cases.
Screen: Are They As Great As Thought?
The painting screen (as we used to say) is 1.9 inches diagonally, and it uses AMOLED technology at a resolution of 240 x 536 pixels. Thus it should provide good performance. It does. But it can’t be compared with the main screen in terms of response speed and touch response accuracy.
The line where the glass and metal meet each other is seamless. So, it proves this is a premium class handset at the highest build quality.
This screen is actually capable of providing only a few functions such as time, pedometer results, music playback, and a few notifications.
You can also choose one of a few animations that are viewed when charging.
However, there are two problems related to this painting screen. First, there are no third-party apps that can run on this screen. Meizu has announced it will provide SDK and API to developers. But it’s a big question how many of them will make apps for this phone. Second, these screen settings don’t allow users to customize what should be displayed. Thus it has a poor privacy control.
Like the Meizu Pro 6 Plus this model also comes with a 5.7-inch AMOLED screen at a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels. Therefore all screen parameters are the same – brightness, contrast, color performance, etc.
The photo below proves the visual angle performance is identical as well.
It provides great viewing performance, and thanks to the 2K resolution and AMOLED matrix it can be compared with top models such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 Plus.
To test the screen we used Datacolor Spyder5 Family. The results are better than expected. The color temperature is slightly lower than on the Pro 6 Plus. It is closer to the standard color temperature. The maximum brightness of black is too close to 0.
Hardware: MediaTek Helio X30 Works Miracles
We know Meizu can’t afford itself to make smartphones based mainly on Snapdragon processors. It even can’t make its own chips like Huawei and Xiaomi. So the only thing it can do is to cooperate with other chip makers behind Qualcomm. We know most of the Meizu products are packed with MediaTek chips. They are not as fast and stable as Qualcomm products, but they still provide acceptable performance. Not all MT chips are capable of fighting against SND SoCs, but this statement is not true for the Helio X27 and the newly launched X30.
The Helio X30 is the first deca-core chip in the world running on 10nm process technology. There have been other deca-core chips carrying this brand, but they have some problems with heating and other important features. Seems, the chip-maker has fixed all those problems. The Helio X20 used 2 x A72 + high-frequency 4 x A53 + low-frequency 4 x A53 cores. As for the X30, it uses 2 x A73 + high-frequency 4 x A53 + low-frequency 4 x A35 architecture.
Thus the manufacturer has replaced the low-frequency cores with A35, which is ARM’s new-gen low-power core architecture. It is targeted at integrated devices, IOT and intelligent gateways, smart home, wearable devices that require higher power. In comparison to the same 28nm process technology chips that use A53, the power consumption decreased by 32%.
Read: Meizu Pro 7 Antutu Benchmark is IN – Does Helio X30 compare with Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895?
It terms of A73 cores, this can’t be taken as an upgrade. It’s just the cheaper variant of the A72. The latter is a 15-level pipeline architecture, while the A73 comes with an 11-level pipeline. But the X30 A73 is the way faster than X20 A72 due to frequency boost up.
This chip has been tested via 3DMark’s Sling Shot Extreme Unlimited program. As you see, the highest score belongs to the Samsung Galaxy S8 running on Snapdragon 835. Honestly, such a result can be achieved due to Kyro 280 custom core, which is the public version of the ARM A73. Plus, that chip runs on a 10nm Finfet process technology (high-frequency A73x4 + IF A73x4).
Actually, the Pro 7 Plus comes with higher frequency A73 and A53 cores, while the Pro 6 Plus has only two high-frequencyA72 cores clocked at 2.1GHz. In this sense, Huawei Mate 9’s Kirin 960 is the fully designed version of these cores (ARM A73x4 + A53x4), but it runs on 16nm process technology.
As for the graphics, the MediaTek Helio X30 doesn’t use X20’s GPU. It has switched to Power VR, GT7400 Plus. Though this moment Power VR is losing its positions, and most of the chip makers use ARM’s graphics, the Power VR 7 is one the best options in the market. Shortly, it’s the same as the iPhone 7 A10’s GT7600 Plus. The only difference is in the quantity of USCs – the GT7600 Plus has six groups of USC, while the GT7400 Plus has only 3. On the other hand, X30’s GPU runs at 800MHz, while A10 GPU does only at 650MHz. lastly. Theoretically, X30 graphics performance is about 82% of the iPhone 7.
At higher display settings the King of Glory will be played at 30fps. But if using the default settings it will reach 55fps. One more thing, after a minute of playing this game at higher settings, the power was decreased from 41% to 32% (9%). While you can think such a power consumption for high frame rate mode is satisfactory, I think not many users will play it in that mode.
The Meizu Pro 6 Plus uses a high-standard eMMC storage and it doesn’t support UFS. Agree this is not for a PRO level device. Fortunately, the Pro 7 Plus and its X30 chip support for UFS 2.1.
We used Androbench 5.0 to test the storage performance. According to it, the storage performance is 2-3 times better than what we have seen on the previous model. It is too close to the Mate 9.
Battery: Advantages of 10nm Helio X30
As I said, this is the first 10nm commercial chip. According to TSMC, X30 uses 10nm FF, which means the power consumption decreased by 40% while the performance increased by 20%.
We have used PCMark For Android Work 2.0 to understand how well this device behaves in real life. As a result, we got 5 hours and 36 minutes for the Pro 7 Plus, and 5 hours and 22 minutes for the Meizu Pro 6 Plus.
However, we have to pay attention to the performance. If the Meizu Pro 6 Plus shows 3500 minutes, the same parameter is 7000 for the Meizu Pro 7 Plus.
Plus, the off-screen power performance has been greatly improved. It consumed 1% only from 11PM to 6AM. This improvement depends mainly on two things. First, the TSMC 10nm process technology power consumption is the way lower. Second, Android 7.0’s wake up feature works very well. If you are not aware, it’s called Doze mode. It took too long to enter the Doze mode on Android 6.0. It’s the way faster on the latest version.
Thanks to aforementioned factors the Meizu pro 7 Plus charges the way faster than the same 3500mAh battery on the Pro 6 Plus. After 30 minutes the phone will be filled with 64%. It will be fully charged in 50 minutes.
However, faster-charging causes overheating. So we decided to test it as well. After 10 minutes, when the phone reached 30% of power, the Meizu Pro 6 Plus had 33 degrees of body temperature, while the body temperature of the Pro 7 Plus was 26 degrees.
The Meizu Pro 7 Plus continues using the IMX386 camera sensor seen on the Pro 6S and Pro 6 Plus. But one has become two.
Thanks to it we can enjoy three awesome effects of dual photography:
- Optical Zoom: it works like the iPhone 7 Plus.
- Distance Between Objects: thanks to this effect it provides 3D effect
- Better Performance in Low-Light Conditions: the camera obtains color info and details, and shoots better photos in the night.
The sample photos below showcase how the depth of field works. Without going into detail for the same focal length the greater the aperture the DOF effect will be more obvious.
- 2K resolution screen
- Painting screen
- X30 chip
- Great dual-camera
- Fast charge support
- Large memories
- Unchanged design
There are more than one selling points considered for the Meizu Pro 7. So, it’s difficult to say which of them will attract customers. Agree, some will acquire it for the innovative secondary screen. The others will buy it to test the first 10nm chip. Other Meizu fans will do it for the dual-camera. But one thing is clear – Meizu could design a handset worthy attention. I am not saying there is no handset with such hardware. Vice versa, the Helio X30 is close to the Snapdragon 820 in terms of performance. The market is full of dual-camera handsets. Finally, we have already seen a phone (YotaPhone) with a secondary screen. So what’s the trick? The answer is obvious – the Meizu Pro 7 Plus is a true flagship that could make competition to any top brand.