The Meizu M5s is a respectable upgrade from its predecessor, the M5. Despite its late release to the series (a year after the M5). It almost feels reminiscent to the Arc Reactors Tony Stark kept upgrading. Similar to altering from one palladium arc to the next, the M5s sustains the same specs as the M5, such as its display, memory, and body, but tweaks the build to a sturdier metal.

The Flyme experience

It might feel a little strange as it runs on the Flyme operating system on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, so instead of logging into your Google account, you need to sign in or create a Flyme account. The sign-in prompt will pop up once you’ve turned on the phone, but once you skip the test, it’ll block you from downloading applications on your phone. The Flyme account helps you transfer files, as well as offer a phone tracking system that’ll help you find your phone if you lose it.

The interface is minimalist with no frills and no fancy animations to distract you from navigation. An interesting feature I found was the DND (do not disturb) mode which you can easily enable, customize, and schedule. This feature allows calls and messaging to be muted for those who want to unplug from the digital space. I suspect that most people would typically use the airplane mode to shut off calls and messages, but the Meizu M5s sets this mode so you can conveniently schedule and set your very own shut off time.

For the navigations, the home button serves as the standard back button while customizable gesture control options make browsing through the phone far simpler than on other Android smartphones. You can assign many gestures to certain tasks to access everything. It has a dozen gestures to customize, from the expected swipes and double-taps to letter gestures! 

With these set features and the new metal build and stylish silver design, the Meizu M5s fulfills a little more than the practicalities demanded of a phone at the price range of $150 to $180, depending on how much built-in storage you choose.

How’s the camera?

The Meizu M5s has a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera that take respectable photos. They also have filters you can choose from, as well as settings for capturing photos and videos.

Playing with the settings on the camera is a load of fun. You can capture HDR, GIFs, slow-motion shots, and even scan QR or bar codes aside from the standard beauty and panoramic settings. Some modes, such as slow-motion, come out blurry and the camera does shift colors while attempting to focus on a subject. You can check some of the samples shots I’ve taken below. 

As you can probably notice, the Meizu M5s’ front camera takes impressive photos during the day, but the photos can suffer from a lot of noise with little lighting. It can take a while to focus but despite that, the phone has fun filters and features that allow users to experiment and play around with. As for me, I had a bit of fun integrating QR codes into my messages and conversing with my friends in code. 

A decent battery life

The Meizu M5s is equipped with a 3000mAh battery which isn’t such a huge difference from the 3070mAh battery of the M5. The phone survived an entire day of average to heavy use.

It took a bit of a beating since I played Hearthstone, listened to Spotify, and watched YouTube videos on it while I was out, but it managed to stay alive for about eight hours with moderate app usage. With light usage, you can easily extend the battery for longer. Unlike the M5, the M5s comes with Meizu’s mCharge solution which makes charging the M5s much faster than its predecessor.

It’s got the basics down pat

Before I start skipping about like Baloo in The Jungle Book, let’s plow through what the Meizu M5s actually offers.

The M5s is powered by a low-end MediaTek MT6753 chipset with 3GB of RAM. While the eight-core system works well with loading apps by themselves, performance tends to slow down when hungry apps like Facebook and YouTube run in the background. Despite the smooth gesture control for alternating tasks, the M5s can’t handle multiple applications running at the same time. Switching off apps that aren’t in use can help with this issue.

Little features you might be looking for

Not everyone looking for a phone wants one with top-of-the-line specs. And, some don’t even know how to maximize their expensive phone’s features. Here are features you might find helpful or within your baseline checklist.

This Meizu is dual-SIM just like the M5, and while the home bottom maintains its standard back button use, it also triples as a fingerprint scanner. The micro-USB port is at the bottom while the audio jack is stationed at the top of the M5s. This could seem strange while working on your phone, but it can be easy to keep inside your bag or pocket while listening to music.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For a phone that has a better build than its predecessor, the Meizu M5s can fall a bit flat on features people would or could have hoped to see, but it does well regardless.

If you’re looking for a budget phone that delivers a little more than the bare necessities, this is the phone for you. It has fun modes you can test out and play with on the camera and some customizable gesture sets to integrate an all-around personalized experience.

With decent specs for storage, performance, battery life, and camera, this phone is great for those looking for a phone that delivers on the essentials and manages to add fun features to play around, all without hitting their wallets hard.

SEE ALSO: Best Budget Smartphones below $300 (June 2017 Edition)

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