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Meizu 16s is a no-notch, no-nonsense flagship phone

If you've been following gadget news for a while, Meizu may well have been the first Chinese smartphone manufacturer you've ever heard of. The company started making audio players but turned to smartphones with the Windows CE-based M8, which both shamelessly joined the iPhone and hit it on the market with a few months.

Since then, Meizu has released several Android phones that run the deeply customized FlymeOS, and they have tended to be competitive from a price / performance perspective. Major companies such as Oppo and Xiaomi, however, have darkened Meizus sales both in China and abroad.

As far as I can say, Meizus' current answer is to go their own way and throw out solid, gimmick-free units. The new 1

6s seem to have been made with the same design ethos as last year's 15: "How can we reduce framing as much as possible without doing anything completely wild?"

This means that while they had a small capacitive fingerprint sensor In a relatively small frame below the screen, 16S has an optical display, because that technique is now ripe for virtually all Chinese answering machines to have adopted it. And that means that the only thing Meizu needs to receive is a selfie camera above the screen and the screen control below.

If you really hate hooks, this is a good design. "Haka" is about the size of an iPhone XR frame and achieves horizontal near-symmetry with the top edge of the phone capable of accommodating a small but perfectly capable 20-megapixel selfie camera. The optical fingerprint sensor also works well.

This is not a small phone, but the 6.2-inch OLED screen is a bit more manageable than most Android devices you will see this year. The 16S is also quite thin and light at 7.6 mm and 165 g, while its curved glass pane is more like Xiaomi than Apple at this time. It's an attractive phone, but I could have done without the Kevlar-esque pattern on my black review unit.

Meizu's Flyme OS is something that can take a bit to get used to, but it's basically in line with many other Chinese answering machines & # 39; software. It's minimalist and yes, looks pretty much like iOS, although it has some nice tweaks. I like the alternative approach to an appbox, for example (see above) – you swipe down the right edge of the screen to pull up an alphabetical scroll bar of apps that you can navigate with good haptic feedback.

It is difficult to argue with Meizu 16S & # 39; specs, especially for the price. It has Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor, a camera with the same 48-megapixel Sony sensor that you've seen in virtually every other flagship Chinese phone this year, a secondary 20 megapixel camera and up to 8 GB of RAM. It has a 3,600 mAh battery that charges over USB-C.

Meizu 16S sells for about $ 500 based on vendor and exchange rate volatility, which puts it against competitors like Xiaomi Mi 9 in markets where it is sold, while apparently is undercutting many competitors in markets where it is not. I do not know that I would recommend it over Mi 9, necessarily but I like to see a design that manages to be both simple and unusual at the same time.

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