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Meizu Pro 6 review: This 10-core smartphone sacrifices Android functionality for Apple aesthetics

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The Good The Meizu Pro 6's 10-core processor delivers speedy non-gaming performance, the phone has premium touches like USB-C and a fingerprint sensor and its sub $400 price is relatively cheap.

The Bad A jarring copycat iPhone design, poor gaming performance and awkward navigation that makes the Pro 6 clumsy to use.

The Bottom Line The Meizu Pro 6 packs impressive specs into a relatively cheap frame, but it loses key Android functionality in its attempt to look like an iPhone.

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6.9 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Camera 7
  • Battery 6

One of these phones is not like the others.

Dave Cheng/CNET

The Meizu Pro 6 looks a lot like an iPhone.

The similarities can be hard to get over, but that's likely by design, given the energy the Chinese vendor has clearly put into making an iClone. And though it houses some respectable tech, the Pro 6 tries too hard to be an Apple product to really excel at being an Android.

The three main areas the Pro 6 is a let down are clumsy navigation, an operating system not fit for western users and, despite having a 10-core processor, surprisingly weak gaming capabilities.

The conspicuous absence of a return (back) button is perhaps most bothersome. With no button, you swipe across the home button panel to go back (or forward). You can also use "smart touch", which puts a small thumbstick on the screen which you can tap to go back, toggle side-to-side to navigate between apps, and so on. Both methods are functional but feel awkward. I never noticed how important the back button of an Android was until I didn't have one.

Meizu's customized software layer, FlyMe 5.6, is a modified version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It's designed to look a lot like Apple's iOS operating system, with almost identical lock-screens and, as is typical of many Chinese phones, no app drawer -- that means that app icons spread out across multiple home screens. Unlike iOS, though, you can add widgets.

FlyMe works well, but is built for the Chinese market. Apps will push notifications in Chinese, even with English set as the default language. There's also no support for Google services, like the Google Play Store. All of this can be fixed by manually installing the Play Store and a custom launcher, but it's bad news for those who want a phone they can unbox and use right away.

One considerable downer is the phone's poor gaming performance. It scored low in our benchmark testing, and 3D games like Sonic Dash didn't feel completely smooth to play.

Meizu's new flagship isn't officially available in the US, UK or Australia, but you can buy it online. It comes in black, gold and silver variations, and retails in China for 2,499 yuan, which converts to roughly $385, AU$510 and £265.

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