We thought 2019 would be defined by a mass reduction in the number of notched displays, and an increase of punch holes. But what we didn’t expect was for one phone to declare war on holes altogether. Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu has just launched the Meizu Zero, a smartphone with no … holes? That’s right, Meizu has stripped everything back to try and create the world’s most enclosed smartphone. It’s surely one of the most bizarre phones of the year.
The Meizu Zero launches on Indiegogo, and includes a $3,000 tier
We were expecting the Meizu Zero to be a concept phone, but we’ve been proved entirely wrong. The Meizu Zero has been launched as an Indiegogo campaign, with a very small amount of models available. The Exclusive Engineer Unit costs a stunning $1,299 — but you need to act quickly if you want to pick one up, as there are only 100 up for sale, and at time of writing, eight have already been sold. Meizu claims it will have the phones shipped by April 2019.
Another tier was available, a single unit of the Exclusive Pioneering Unit. This version costs an incredible $2,999, and it comes with the bonus that it’s shipped within five days of ordering, beating other buyers by several months. But your chance has gone if you haven’t already bought the Exclusive Pioneering Unit. There was only one available, and it’s already been sold.
Design and display
On first sight, it doesn’t look too different from the usual breed of modern smartphones. A ceramic unibody gives it a certain unique flair and polish in a world of glass builds, but a bezel-less design akin to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and a vertically stacked, centrally located dual-lens camera suite makes it look like a whole host of other devices from last year.
But look a little closer and you’ll see the differences. There’s no SIM tray at all — instead, the phone uses eSIM technology. There’s no headphone jack — hardly a unique move these days — but what is new is the complete removal of a charging port. Yup, there’s no wired charging of this device, so the Meizu Zero is entirely dependent on wireless charging to get its juice, and it can receive power at an incredible 18W.
Physical buttons? Nah, they’re too hole-y; they’ve been excised in favor of Meizu’s “Virtual Side Buttons.” These use a haptic feedback engine to emulate the feel of a real button-press. We’ve seen similar tech on the HTC U12 Plus, and we didn’t much like them then, so we’re hoping Meizu has done a better job. Meizu has even replaced the speakers with something an awful lot more interesting. Much like the system rumored in the LG G8 ThinQ, the Meizu Zero has turned its 5.99-inch AMOLED display into a speaker. This is probably similar to Samsung’s Sound on Display tech, and it’s something we’re very interested to see again. That’s not the only remarkable thing about the screen, either — it also houses an in-display fingerprint scanner.
That said, the phone isn’t completely hole-free. Check the bottom and you’ll find two small microphone holes hidden there, with these humble holes probably being the only thing Meizu couldn’t easily replace. Still, it’s an impressive endeavor.
Specs haven’t been expanded on too much. Pretty much all we know is the Zero will include 2018’s Snapdragon 845, and — thanks to being almost completely sealed off — will boast an IP68 rating for water resistance.
It will be most interesting to see how the mobile world reacts to this peculiar phone. With Apple in particular happy to cut as many ports as possible on its devices, could it eventually end up following Meizu’s example? Probably not on the 2019 iPhone, but after that? Who knows.
Updated on January 30, 2019: The Meizu Zero has just launched on Indiegogo for $1,299.
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