Meizu released their latest version of Flyme, Flyme 3.0, to bundle it with their MX3. It’s now based on Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean, an upgrade from Android 4.1.1 which was bundled with Flyme 2.4. With Flyme 3.0, one can still hardly tell it is based on Android due to the deep customisations Meizu applied, like on previous versions of Flyme. The main changes Meizu applied in Flyme 3.0 are improvements to allow better one-hand usage and simplifying the graphics. Like with previous versions of Flyme, English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Russian and Hebrew languages are supported. With the language set to English, some Chinese is still shown in settings and weather app. We believe Meizu will fix this in future updates.
When pressing the power button, you will notice Meizu has overhauled the lockscreen. It no longer features shortcuts to open the dialer or messaging app. Sliding up from the bottom unlocks the phone.
The homescreen still lacks an app drawer, but Meizu added a more than welcome feature of scrollable homescreen pages. On previous versions of Flyme, you were limited to a fixed 4x4 grid, which could lead to dozens of homescreen pages if you had installed a large amount of apps and widgets. The multitasking tray is no longer opened by double-tapping the home button but by sliding up from below the screen. It now also allows you to add custom apps to it in a side menu.
Except for the theme, not much has changed in the messaging and phone apps. They offer all functions you should expect from them, like threaded message view and the possibility to view contacts by account (both Google and Flyme). In the contact app, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media contacts can be linked to contacts, if the particular app is installed. The data that can be added to a contact is endless, including addresses, IM accounts and other notes. Call logs are integrated into the phone app. Landscape support is available in the messaging app. If you add a media file to a SMS, it will automatically turn into a MMS. When digging deeper into the settings of the messaging app, you will find a service called ‘Flyme Messages’. This is a service which allows you to send free messages to other Flyme devices.
The settings app has been completely revamped for Flyme 3.0. It now features a sidebar with shortcuts to all settings functions. The settings are now also better categorised by function. However, Meizu still chose to leave out some functions in the settings app, so one must still open Developer Options to get all functions. Some new functions are the possibility to set the spacing of the famous SmartBar and select which apps are allowed to show notifications. Of course settings for NFC (on supported models) are now also available.
A point of improvement is still the Flyme keyboard. It still lacks international dictionaries and feedback options. Typing on it feels a little uncomfortable and typing mistakes will be made. The good news is you can install many third party keyboards.
Despite the weird screen aspect ratio, app compatibility seems no problem. Of all apps we tested, none were showing issues with the resolution. In fact, we find the screen resolution helpful sometimes due to the lower screen height. This greatly helps with one handed usability.