Chinese company Meizu might not be a big name in the UK, but the company has just announced the world’s first phone without a single hole anywhere on it. This is actually harder than you’d think – take a look around your phone now and see what holes it has.
You’ll see some for the earpiece, microphone and charging port. You might have a headphone jack and you’ve almost certainly got a SIM tray. But the Meizu Zero has none of these things. It also has no buttons, so there’s no home key and no power and volume controls anywhere on the device.
This raises questions about how you even use this thing, which fortunately we have some answers to. Firstly Meizu says it has touch technology that allows it to create virtual, pressure-sensitive keys. The company uses vibration to fool you into thinking you’re pressing a button.
Perhaps the biggest problem is how to let sound in to and out of the body. You need an earpiece, microphone and a speaker so you can talk to people and hear the phone ring.
Meizu has solved this problem using what it calls mSound 2.0. That uses the phone’s screen to create sound and, presumably, turn your voice into electrical signals that can be used for speaking to people. It’s hard to know what this will sound like, from either side of the conversation, without actually testing this phone. Wireless charging is an obvious solution and one that’s well established. Getting data on and off the phone is done either via Wi-Fi or using Wireless USB-3, the company says.
A wireless charger is provided too and it should be super-fast, offering 18 Watts of charging power, which is more than other devices. It makes things a little harder if you need to top up on the go though. Meizu has also used an eSIM to replace the traditional SIM card slot. That’s the same system Apple uses on iPads and iPhones and it’s supported in the UK by EE and Vodafone. So what are the actual advantages of this design? Well, it’s kind of hard to tell. The logical conclusion is that it should be “more waterproof” than other devices. In fact it’s pretty much the same amount of waterproof as most phones these days, offering IP68 water resistance, meaning 30 minutes of submersion in 1.5m of water. There’s no pricing or availability information available as yet, but it may make an appearance at Mobile World Congress in late February. The phone certainly looks great, but would you buy one? Does the seamless exterior matter to you?