(Update: Pricing, Preorder, And No Video Out) U.S. Gets Ubuntu-Flavored Continuum Competitor With Meizu Pro 5 Global Launch

Update, 2/23/16, 11:52am PT: We received one rather curious detail about the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition: The USB Type-C port does not support video out. Therefore, although it otherwise could function as a de facto PC as described below, the lack of video support renders that particular functionality moot. The decision to omit that crucial detail had to do with the cost, we were told.

In any case, you can now preorder the device. Surprisingly, it costs just $369.99.

It’s notable enough news that there’s now a fifth Ubuntu phone--not to mention that it’s available globally, unlike most of the other handsets that were limited to just a few regions--but buried in Canonical’s announcement of the high-end Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition is the fact that this device offers the same mobile-device-as-desktop capabilities as the just-announced BQ Aquaris M10.

“The software running on the Meizu Pro 5 is the latest code which also powers recently announced tablets and other devices and is capable of providing a traditional desktop experience,” read the post.

Ubuntu Core vs. Microsoft’s Continuum

With Ubuntu, Canonical has developed its Ubuntu Core that can run across all manner of devices and display sizes. This is distinctly similar to Microsoft’s strategy with Windows 10, which extends to (the still not finalized) Windows 10 for mobile. With Windows 10, an appropriately-appointed handset, and Continuum, you can use your smartphone as a de facto PC.

We saw Canonical’s version in action in a recent web demo with the BQ tablet, and we noticed that Canonical’s Thibaut Rouffineau also used an unnamed smartphone. We suspect that may have been the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition, although we’ve been told that it was likely just a reference Nexus device.

Of further note is the fact that the performance concerns we discussed relative to the ho-hum specs of the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition are alleviated by this smartphone. After all, you can’t just plug in any old mobile device into a huge display and connect a mouse and keyboard with a dock and expect any sort of workable performance. In the M10 demo, the device performed several basic tasks fairly fluidly, but we question how it could handle significant multitasking and intensive applications. The Meizu Pro 5, however, is loaded and should offer much stronger performance.

The Phone: Meizu Pro 5

Regardless of what OS and software runs on the Meizu Pro 5, it’s a high-end device with choice specs. It has on a Samsung Exynos 7420 SoC and boasts up to 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM and up to 64 GB UFS 2.0 storage with up to 128 GB more storage via a microSD card. The rear camera is 21.6MP with a Sony IMX230 CMOS.

The network specs include LTE and GSM, but we aren’t sure if the speeds will be hamstrung or not. (This was an issue with an earlier Ubuntu phone.)

Aside from the fact that the Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition will run Canonical’s OS, the most notable item below is the presence of a USB Type-C port. We have asked for more details about this port--neither Canonical nor Meizu have declared what speed it offers, and we don’t know if it runs any Alt Modes--but in any case, this port is the linchpin for the convergence of mobile and desktop. Canonical did say that the port doesn’t offer MHL, but that’s not necessarily a big deal.

Pricing and availability are yet to be announced, but the handset will be up for preorder next week during Mobile World Congress.

Meizu Pro 5
Display5.7-inch AMOLED @ 1920x1080 (387 PPI), 1000:1 contrast, 350cd/m2 brightness, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 2.5D curved  glass
SoCSamsung Exynos 7420
CPUARM Cortex-A57 (4x @ 2.1 GHz) + ARM Cortex-A53 (4x @ 1.5 GHz)
GPUMali T760 GPU
Storage32 GB/64 GB UFS 2.0 storage, microSD (up to 128 GB)
Battery3,050 mAh
Front Camera5 MP, f/2.0, FotoNation 2.0 smart selfie enhancement, Face AE face light boost
Rear Camera21.16 MP, Sony IMX230 CMOS
f/2.2, six-element lens, blue glass filter, burst mode, panoramic lens, laser-aided focus, PDAF phase focusing, dual-tone flashlight
GPSGPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, digital compass
ConnectivityWi-Fi (802.11 ac/b/g/n) with dual-band support, Bluetooth 4.1, BLE, USB Type-C
SecuritymTouch 2.1
• Capacitive touch sensor, 0.2s response, five fingerprint modules, 36-degree identification angle
Misc.Hall Effect sensor, Gravity sensor,
IR proximity sensor, Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor, Touch sensor
• Hi-Fi: TI OPA1612, ESS ES9018K2M, four pairs of NXP high current transistors, solo amp circuit, supports balanced line headphones
•Bottom-facing speaker
•USB Type-C
OSUbuntu Core
Size156.7 x 78 x 7.5 mm, 168g
ColorsDark gray, light gray, gold, two-tone gray/black
Price/AvailabilityTBA, but preorders begin week of Feb 22

Seth Colaner is the News Director for Tom's Hardware. Follow him on Twitter @SethColaner. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

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  • RyBread_916
    Why so many cores on a phone?
  • sykozis
    Considering this phone doesn't support Ubuntu's "Convergence" feature.....there really is no need for an Octa-core processor. There also seems to be a question as to whether or not this phone will support 4G LTE or even 3G in the US....
  • wussupi83
    Take my money.