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Meizu's new M5s has one important change over the old M5: Android

Why it matters to you

The older Meizu M5 wasn't the phone for international buyers looking for a bargain. The updated M5s is.

It’s one small step for a man … Well, it’s just a small step, period.

Popular Chinese manufacturer Meizu has announced its first smartphone of 2017: The Meizu M5s. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Meizu announced the M5 in October this year, making the M5s a slightly — and we really do mean slightly — updated version of that phone. One feature in particular makes this a more desirable version for potential international buyers, however.

The design is typically Meizu, a firm that really does stick to a theme with its hardware. It’s no bad thing. The M5s is attractive, and comes wrapped in an aluminum body, with a 2.5D curved glass panel over the 5.2-inch screen. The screen only has a 1280 × 720 pixel resolution though, which is a shame, but does help keep the price low.

Meizu’s being coy about the processor inside the M5s, claiming it’s a 64-bit, octa-core chip, but stopping short at telling which in the press release. Exploring the official M5s page reveals it’s the MediaTek MT6753, a small step up over the MT6570 used in the M5. It’s supported by 3GB of RAM, and there’s a MicroSD card slot to boost the internal storage space.

There’s a Sony 13-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 aperture and phase detection auto-focus on the back of the M5s, and a 5-megapixel selfie cam with a lower f/2.0 aperture above the screen. Also on the front of the phone is Meizu’s mTouch fingerprint scanner, which has always been a strong performer, and promises to unlock the phone in just 0.2 seconds. Power comes from a 3,000mAh battery, and with it the first major difference between the M5s and the older M5: Fast charging. The 18w system takes the M5s’s battery from flat to 56 percent capacity in 30 minutes, almost matching phones like the OnePlus 3T.

Finally, and the reason anyone wanting a cheap Meizu phone would be advised to check the M5s over the older version, is the presence of Android. The M5 used Yun OS, which is developed for China by Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, as its operating system. Both phones have Meizu’s Flyme user interface over the top.

Meizu will release a 16GB and 32GB version of the M5s, in a choice of four colors, with prices converting over to a very reasonable $115 or $145.