Meizu unveils the Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition, an Ubuntu-powered phone that’s no slouch

meizu unveils pro5 ubuntu edition pro 5 low
Despite the relatively slow uptake of Canonical’s Ubuntu mobile, the phone-tailored version of its desktop Linux software, Meizu appears confidently committed to the nascent operating system. After debuting the sleek and beautiful MX4 this past August, the company’s back with a handset to showcase the newest version of Ubuntu for phones: the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition.

If the smartphone’s design seems conspicuously familiar (and if the “Ubuntu Edition” moniker didn’t give it away), that’s because it isn’t new. Rather, it, much like the MX4 before it, is a rebranded variant of one of Meizu’s Android-powered phones — the Pro 5.

Unlike the decidedly mid-range MX4 before it, though, the Pro 5 features top-end hardware. It’s got a 5.7-inch 1080p AMOLED display, Samsung’s octa-core Exynos 7420 chip, 3GB or 4GB of RAM (depending on configuration), and 32GB/64GB of storage. Rounding out the Pro 5’s internal accouterments is a Sony 21-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensor for the front and rear, respectively, a 3,050mAh battery, and a fingerprint reader.

On the software side, the latest Ubuntu mobile’s been upgraded in a major respect: Scopes, the pared-down search application that supports social media, calendar, message, weather, and call feeds accessible from the Ubuntu home screen, now also supports the “liking” and “favoriting” of items.

Separately, new apps have joined the Ubuntu ecosystem: Spotify recently launched a client, as did games platform Play Canvas. The new additions don’t quite put Ubuntu mobile’s app offering on an equal footing with Android and iOS — its app store still lacks first-party clients from familiar services like Whatsapp and Google Maps — but the situation’s nonetheless improving.

Unfortunately, the Pro 5 doesn’t support what’s arguably Ubuntu mobile’s headlining feature: the ability to transform any old monitor into a fully-featured Ubuntu desktop with nothing more than a dock and display cable (think Windows 10’s Continuity). It’s already built into the latest generation of Ubuntu mobile tablets — BQ’s M10 supports it — but Canonical says that phone support will require newer, as-yet unannounced devices.

If nothing else, the launch of the Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition is a sign that Canonical’s Ubuntu mobile initiative is alive and kicking. This year will be the first time that Ubuntu-powered phones will be available for purchase in brick-and-mortar stores, and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth and CEO Jane Silber say the company’s pleased with the progress it’s seen.

The Pro 5 will be available for pre-order during the Mobile World Congress next week, and will ship globally. Pricing has yet to be announced, but given the beefy hardware, you can bet it’ll be a good deal higher than, say, the $319 MX4, the $219 BQ E5 HD Ubuntu Edition, or the dirt cheap Aquaris E4.5 UE.

Photography

Photography News: Raw edits on iPad and an A.I. research lab for PicsArt

In this week's photography news, Canon launched an iPad app that allows for RAW edits on the go. Popular mobile editing app PicsArt now has a research lab dedicated entirely to A.I.-powered tools.
Mobile

Put your iPad Pro to the test with these great games

Did you recently purchase a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or are you enjoying the 12.9-inch version? If so, we've rounded up a few of the best iPad Pro games currently available on Apple's mobile platform.
Emerging Tech

This DIY kit teaches more than coding; it teaches you how to build a smartphone

Want a crash course in coding and electronics, with something to show for it at the end? The MAKERphone is a DIY mobile phone that you can build for yourself. And, yes, it actually works.
Mobile

Asus's monster gaming phone is coming October 18 with a hefty price tag to match

Asus understands you can't carry your gaming PC around with you, so it created the ROG Phone, a hardcore, high-specification smartphone designed for mobile gamers. It's coming later this month.
Mobile

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.
Mobile

Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out family, individual, and prepaid

Verizon offers lots of plans for individuals, your family, and folks who want prepaid service. Here is everything you need to know about Verizon's plans, from data packages and smartphones to Big Red's prepaid plans.
Product Review

The Huawei Watch GT’s battery life gets a tick, but the software may not tock

Huawei’s track record with smartwatches is strong, having releases two models and several spin-offs to general acclaim. This is the Watch GT, and it moves away from Google’s Wear OS to focus on fitness, yet stays ahead of the…
Product Review

If Huawei sells the Mate 20 Pro in the U.S., Samsung needs to watch its back

Huawei knocked it out of the park with the P20 Pro earlier this year, and it’s looking to do the same again with the Mate 20 Pro. The Mate series has traditionally been sold in the U.S., so will Americans finally be able to get a taste?
Product Review

You’d be crazy to dismiss the Huawei Mate 20 as an amateur

Traditionally, Huawei’s Mate series of phones has been a little staid. That started to change with the Mate 10 Pro, and now both the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro have come along to turn our heads. Here’s a look at the standard Mate 20.
Mobile

Mate 20 range now includes new 20 X model with huge 7.2-inch display

Huawei has released the Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X. With all new Kirin processors, advanced A.I. brains, and an amazing triple camera, here's absolutely everything you need to know about the new Mate 20 series.
Mobile

Safeguard your new Apple smartphone with one of our favorite iPhone XS cases

If the iPhone XS is your next phone, then you’ll want to shop for some proper protection now. That glass sandwich design is all too easy to scratch or crack, so make sure you snag one of the best iPhone XS cases to keep it looking good.
Mobile

Here are our favorite wireless phone chargers for Android devices and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Mobile

Google will start charging Android manufacturers to use its apps in Europe

Google announced that it will be charging Android device manufacturers in Europe a licensing fee to use its apps and services. The announcement comes as an effort to comply with new European Commission regulations.
Home Theater

The best MP3 players of 2018

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? No worries. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? Don't sweat it. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.