Meizu 16Xs review: An impressive, budget-friendly smartphone with some concessions

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We’re back with the Meizu 16Xs which comes in even cheaper at US$245 but does sacrifice some essentials for the price.

8.8/10 rating

Meizu seems to be releasing new smartphones every week these days. That’s an over-exaggeration, but they are churning them out rather quickly. We just recently reviewed the Meizu 16s, which we found to be an excellent mid-tier budget smartphone. Now, we’re back with the Meizu 16Xs which comes in even cheaper at US$245 but does sacrifice some essentials for the price.

The 16s handled itself really well for the price. The Meizu 16Xs is a similar beast but with some features stripped away which you may or may not care about. We tested the Meizu 16Xs on Mint Mobile’s network and it seemed to work just fine in the Des Moines area. If you’re worried about connectivity in the United States, be sure to check your carrier’s LTE bands to see if the 16Xs is compatible. Now, let’s get into the Meizu 16Xs review right after the specifications list.

Specifications

The Meizu 16s has the following features and specifications:

  • Display:
    • 6.2″ Samsung made AMOLED
    • 91.53% screen-to-body ratio
    • 1080 x 2232 resolution
    • 403ppi
    • Always-on display
    • Brightness 430 nits
  • OS: Android 9 Pie with Flyme 7.2.3 UI
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 675
  • CPU:  11nm FinFet process with low power consumption frequency up to 2.0GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 612
  • Memory:
    • Internal – 64GB/128GB
    • External – No card slot
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Cameras:
  • Single Front:
  • 16MP, f/2.2, HDR+, 1080p @ 30fps
  • Triple Rear:
    • 48 MP, f/1.7
    • 5 MP, f/1.9, (telephoto), PDAF
    • 8 MP, f2.2
    • LED flash
  • Audio: Single-speaker system
  • Features: Under-display fingerprint sensor, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • Battery: 4,000 mAh
  • Colors: Atlantean Blue, Coral Orange, Knight Black, Silky White
  • Dimensions:
    • Width: 74.4mm
    • Height: 152mm
    • Thickness: 8.3mm
    • Weight: 165 g
  • Carrier connectivity:
    • GSM: B2/B3/B5/B8
    • CDMA: Bc0
    • WCDMA: B1/B2/B4/B5/B8
    • TDD: B40
    • FDD: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B20

What’s In The Box

  • Meizu 16Xs
  • 24W fast charging brick
  • USB Type-C to Type-A cable
  • Sim ejection tool
  • Manual and documentation

Design

The design of the Meizu 16Xs is pretty much identical to its older brother, the 16s. It fits nicely in your hand and the screen-to-body ratio is the same as the 16s. The materials used for construction do not feel as premium as the 16s, but the construction still feels solid, given the cheap price tag.

Around the back, you’ll find the triple-camera setup as well as the LED flash. There’s nothing but the SIM tray along the left side of the phone, but the right side houses the volume rocker and power button. Both of these buttons are very tactile with great feedback.

At the top of the phone, there is a single noise-canceling microphone. At the bottom of the phone, you’ll find the headphone jack, USB-C port, speaker, and second microphone.

Like the 16s, the slim bezels have allowed Meizu to get that 6.2″ display into a small footprint. Holding the 16Xs is very comfortable and it feels just right. It doesn’t feel beastly and overbearing to hold at all and just sits in my hand perfectly.

Overall, the design of the 16Xs is not far off from the 16s. There are subtle differences, but it’s nearly the same.

Meizu 16Xs budget-friendly wallet
Screen does decent outdoors.

Display

The 6.2″ AMOLED display will give you FHD+ resolution which is actually just fine for smartphone use. While higher-end phones are giving you QHD+ resolution, it’s really hard to tell the difference on such a small screen. Even displays with higher resolutions generally come out of the box set to a lower resolution than it’s capable of, and most users never change it.

That being said, this FHD+ display looks great! The AMOLED display was made specifically for Meizu by Samsung and we all know Samsung makes some great displays. Colors are nice and vibrant, blacks are deep and whites are clean. Text is crisp and everything looks like what we expect from an AMOLED display.

Scrolling and pinch-to-zoom work well, and using the display day-to-day was just as you’d expect. There is an eye-friendly mode which will help with blue light in the evenings. You can also tune and optimize the color and range of the display using the preset tunings which include:

  • Adaptive
  • Standard
  • Photo
  • Dynamic

This is basically the same exact display that’s in the 16s, and there’s little more to say about it. Overall, especially at this crazy low price, this is a great display and you’re fortunate to have the same one as the higher-priced big brother.

Meizu 16Xs budget-friendly wallet
Flyme OS is okay but some may want to use a custom launcher.

Software

There is very little to add about software. Android Pie 9 is great, and it’s awesome that Meizu included it here. Flyme OS is the overlay on top of Android. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but you can change that with a custom launcher. Overall, the software works just fine. There are a few Meizu added extras that are typical of these Chinese made smartphones but nothing too outrageous. Just know, if you’ve never used a Chinese smartphone before, you will get some things you don’t get in other Android phones.

Performance

Performance is going to be one of the key areas the Meizu 16Xs differs from the 16s. The 16Xs doesn’t have the stronger Snapdragon 845 like the 16s but instead sports the weaker Snapdragon 675 and the smaller Adreno 612 GPU.

This doesn’t mean the phone is slow or bad in some way. It just means you will experience some lag and stutter, mainly in some intense games and maybe some multi-tasking situations. It’s really not a deal-breaker unless you intend on gaming very heavily on this phone. Most users are going to be just fine with this CPU/GPU combination.

Daily tasks are no issue here. Web browsing, email, text, social media, YouTube, YouTube Music and everything else ran just as you would expect. Switching between apps was clean and smooth. Scrolling and gestures were all clean and fluid. I felt no lag on this phone for basic tasks, but heavy gaming did cause some lag issues.

Overall, this phone can handle the day-to-day of most users, it will lag a bit on heavy loads, particularly gaming, but I don’t really think that most people who buy this are heavy gamers.

Speakers/Sound

The Meizu 16Xs speaker is dismal at best. It doesn’t have the nice stereo sound of its older brother but that is the price you pay for a cheaper phone. I would say this is a very basic speaker which does well enough for spoken YouTube videos and podcasts but isn’t very dynamic for music and movies. It does really great a speakerphone though.

Meizu 16Xs budget-friendly wallet
Triple camera

Camera

The triple camera setup on the Meizu 16Xs is supposed to exude something of high quality. I mean, three cameras are always better right? But you have to take into account the price of this phone as part of the camera quality. This is the rear camera setup:

  • 48 MP, f/1.7
  • 5 MP, f/1.9, (telephoto), PDAF
  • 8 MP, f2.2

For the most part, you are getting nearly the same camera quality as the 16s with some sacrifices, mainly, OIS or EIS. This is especially evident in video as footage does suffer from shaking. Stills, for the most part, come out okay and they come out the best in good lighting.

Low lighting will cause some grain issues and some blur here and there. But I have to remind you that we’re talking a US$245 smartphone here. We would never expect flagship camera performance from a budget phone like this. That being said. Photos generally come out great, with good color, good dynamic range, deep blacks, and clear whites. This all happens in the best of lighting. It’s when you get into poor lighting that your quality will degrade.

Overall, this camera will be just fine for most people. The majority of people looking at a phone this affordable are willing to make some sacrifices when it comes to camera performance. I think the camera performs well enough for the price range, but I also think adding better video stabilization would have given it a better value.

Reception/Call Quality

Bluetooth reception is spot on and call quality is great, no issues here at all.

Battery Life

The Meizu 16Xs does have its older sibling beat in the battery department as it sports an ample 4,000mAh cell. This phone can easily last you two-days without a problem. It can last up to a week on standby when you don’t use it at all. The battery life is just amazing and adds to the value of this phone tremendously.

Price/Value

Coming in at US$245, this phone is priced right for those looking for a decent performer that isn’t going to break the wallet. While it falls short of its older (and pricer) sibling, the 16s, its price tag to features ratio gives it a good price to value ratio.

Wrap Up

The Meizu 16Xs has its shortcomings, but they’re not too bad compared to the 16s. The price tag is smaller and so are some of the features and performance. But not everyone needs the features and performance the more expensive 16s offers. That’s why the Meizu 16Xs is a great budget phone that gives you enough at a price that’s not going to overstretch your budget.

*We received a sample of the Meizu 16Xs for the purposes of this review.

Meizu 16Xs

US$245
8.8

Design

9.0/10

Display

9.5/10

Software

9.0/10

Performance

8.5/10

Speakers/Sound

7.5/10

Camera

8.0/10

Reception/Call Quality

9.5/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Same basic design as the Meizu 16s, which is a good thing
  • Very nice display, especially for the price
  • Android 9 Pie
  • Decent performance from the Snapdragon 675
  • Monster battery life

Needs work

  • Materials don't feel as premium as the 16s
  • Speaker is pretty dismal
  • Cameras are just okay
  • Video stabilization is poor

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