Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition Review: Cute Clumsy Penguin: ConclusionBy cheatmaster 05:01 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments
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 haged 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 recent 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 recent ideas.
Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition key test findings
- A gorgeous device with exquisite design and impressive built quality
- Easy enough to hrecent in one hand, despite its 5.7-inch panel, also a pleasure due to its metal exterior
- The classy screen is an excellent AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) panel with average brightness for the technology but nonetheless, remarkable outdoor visibility. Color fidelity may not be its forte, but the colors see well as punchy as they are.
- Battery life is underwhelming for the battery size, likely due to poor software optimization on Ubuntu Touch
- Ubuntu Touch looks gorgeous all throughout, but the selection of software is really poor and so is overall performance.
- The phone's otherwise excellent hardware, including an Exynos 7420 Octa SoC, like the one in the Samsung Galaxy S6 and 3GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) are severely underutilized by Ubuntu Touch. Both synthetic benchmarks and real-world performance are bad.
- The lack of software support for Meizu's mTouch button is not only annoying due to the absence of fingerprint support, but also, since the single tap gesture is intended to work as a back button, its absence is also a notable nuisance when navigating menus on the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition
- The 21MP Sony IMX 230 capturing camera on the Meizu Pro 5 is also severely crippled by Ubuntu Touch. Photo quality is noticeably inferior than on its Android sibling. There are almost none user-accessible modes, controls or fine tuning options and even basic things like auto focus and exposure control don't always work.
- Video capture is limited to only 1080p by Ubuntu Touch, even though the chipset and capturing camera are capable of 4K video capture. Options, modes and controls are just as limited as for still shots. There is a serious bug in the capturing camera app that often produces corrupt and unusable video files.
Overall, if we have to evaluate the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition as a smartphone in its current state - it will undoubtedly be a major disappointment for casual users out there. However, as a prospective development platform for somebody that is truly invested in Linux and wants to work at its improvement and colorful future on mobile devices, there is probably no better place to see at the moment. And, we are confident that to the correct person, the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition will appeal even in its crude state as an ideal and powerful blank slate for experimenting with recent ideas.
As far as most other users are concerned, however, a fine analogy for the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition would be being handed a katana to utilize around the kitchen. You probably know about it and how powerful it is, you know accurate masters can do fantastic things with it, yet, all you want to do is slit some salad and you really don't feel like loosing a hand with an unwieldy tool that looks remarkable but it's not easy to handle.
At the moment, Ubuntu Touch is a cool and exciting concept and we do sincerely hope it realizes its potential at some point in the future. Currently, it's hardly suited as a daily driver on your mobile device, unless you really know what you are getting into. As for the Meizu Pro 5 - it is still a gorgeous and powerful device on its own, just be sure to opt for the Flyme Operating System (OS) version or don't say we didn't warn you.
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