The Meizu PRO 5 might be almost a year old now, but it is still a gorgeous and exquisite flagship device. The only real question is, could Meizu have possibly made it better by ditching the tried and true Android and by taking a shot on Ubuntu - a rarity on the smartphone scene to say the least. But, we won't dive into that quite yet.
First up, lets quickly recall what the Meizu Pro 5 offers users and what made it stand out from the otherwise excellent MX5 model. The Pro moniker usually stands for a bigger screen, flagship chipset and greater camera, and the Meizu Pro 5 bumps exactly those features over the MX5. Plus, we get the trending 2.5D screen glass to complete the aluminum unibody, which is very welcome.
But besides its gorgeous appearance, the Meizu Pro 5 also offers flagship 2015 specs. It has a phablet-sized 5.7-inch, 1080p AMOLED display. Power is also ample in the Pro 5 even by today's standards, thanks to the Samsung-made Exynos 7420 SoC, that went into the Galaxy S6 lineup as well, plus 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a Sony IMX230 camera sensor.
• 5.7" 1080p AMOLED display of 386ppi
• Ubuntu Touch 15.04 at the time of writing the review. Updates are often, just like with most Linux distros.
• Samsung Exynos 7420: octa-core processor with 4x 2.1GHz Cortex-A57 and 4x 1.5GHz Cortex -A53, Mali-T760MP8 GPU, 3GB of RAM
• 21MP Sony Exmor RS IMX230 camera sensor with two-tone LED flash, 1080p video recording @30fps
• 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p@30fps video recording
• 32GB of built-in storage; expandable via a microSD slot
• Cat. 6 LTE (300/50Mbps); Dual SIM; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.1; GPS/GLONASS/Beidou; USB Type-C port, USB On-The-Go
• Active noise cancellation via a dedicated mic
• 3,050mAh battery with 24W mCharge 2.0 (up to 65% battery capacity in 30min)
• No 4K video recording, unlike the Android version
• The mTouch Home button with a fingerprint scanner is present but does not work under Ubuntu yet
• No FM radio
• No IR blaster
Overall, all the bits and pieces that made the Meizu Pro 5 great are still present, but even on paper, we can already see quite a lot of compromises brought about by the new OS in the Ubuntu Edition at hand. The camera has lost its high-res video support, which might actually be the least of its problems, but more on that in the dedicated section.
The lack of fingerprint support is undoubtedly a whole lot more disappointing when you are fully aware that the hardware is there, the software just doesn't want to play nice with it.
Unfinished as it may be, however, it is also worth noting that Ubuntu Touch was first announced back in 2011 and the first Developer Edition saw the light of day in 2013. So, the OS itself isn't quite so young in the traditional sense of the word. Thus, even though we acknowledge its developing nature, we also have reason to expect at least some modern-day features on the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition.
We have to admit that at least a few of us over at the office had high hopes about the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition. After all, the hardware has already proven its worth in powering a splendid Android smartphone experience and if Ubuntu Touch ever had a chance to spread its wings and truly impress, it would definitely be through such a capable device. However, despite the open mind and our best efforts, there is no way around it, in its current state, at least, Ubuntu Touch has done nothing else, but spoil an otherwise excellent ex-flagship.
Now, to keep things on a slightly more positive note, we can't fail to acknowledge all the hard work Canonical has done over the years and appreciate the potential of having a unified cross-device experience, powered by a full Linux shell with the convenience of an Ubuntu wrapper on top. Experimenting with new concepts and battling it out through the tough initial stages is never easy and in the absence of major third party support for Ubuntu Touch over the years, it is encouraging to see that companies like Meizu and BQ are trying to experiment with new ideas.