Meizu m2 note Review

Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Introduction


The Meizu m2 Note comes from Chinese brand Meizu that remains out of the scope of the mainstream customer in the West. This, however, does not mean that it’s an obscure and a shady brand – in fact, Meizu has quite a loyal following in China, and recently, it’s started building a name for itself as its last year’s flagship – the Meizu MX4 – went on sale in many of Europe’s largest markets.

The Meizu m2 Note is the company’s affordable big-screen phone: a 5.5-inch phablet with a 1080 x 1920-pixel display, an octa-core MediaTek chip with 2GB of RAM, and the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop on board.

Often, however, specs don’t tell the full story. Is the Meizu m2 Note really as good as it looks on paper? That’s what we’ll try to answer in the full review right below.

In the box:

  • 2A 5V wall charger
  • microUSB Cable
  • User manual
  • SIM ejector tool

Design

The Meizu m2 Note features a plastic body, but it has a nice, non-cheap feel to it and is solidly put together. The new physical mBack button is neat, doubling as a back button and lock key.

The Meizu m2 Note features a plastic body – there are no premium materials such as glass or metal, but that’s expected for such an affordable phone. Nonetheless, build quality is great: the _phone_ is put together solidly, with no loose parts, and everything is perfectly well aligned (the camera is completely flush with the back). It comes in a choice of four colors: three glossy shells in pink, blue and white, and a matte gray body (the version that we have for review). The gray matte option is reportedly a big hit in China because it does look somewhat similar to metal, and the feel of the plastic is great, eschewing that somewhat cheap feeling (and messy fingerprint-laden surface) of glossy plastic.

In terms of pure size, the 5.5” handset features a fairly slim side bezel, so overall the _phone_ ends up being narrower than, say, the iPhone 6 Plus. The exact dimensions are: 150.9 x 75.2 x 8.7mm. The m2 Note is also surprisingly lightweight for its large size – it weighs 5.26 oz (149 grams), with the weight slightly shifted to the top. While it’s not among the thinnest phones (it measures 8.7mm thick), we found the m2 Note to be of average thickness and fairly comfortable to hold.

The more ardent readers who follow the Chinese phone industry would know that the the Meizu m2 Note comes as a somewhat rushed successor to the last year’s Meizu m1 Note. The rush is reportedly due to a lawsuit filed from ZTE against Meizu, as the larger Chinese company sued Meizu for using a round capacitive button with an LED color ring as the home button. Meizu was forced to redesign its whole lineup, and that is why the m2 Note does away with the capacitive key in favor of a physical home button (the ‘mBack’ key). Keep in mind that while there is no fingerprint scanner, this is no ordinary button: you can not only physically click it, but you can also tap it to go back a step and long-click it to lock the phone. These two additions add quite a lot of functionality and are a typical Meizu touch. The button itself is of good quality, but it lacks the sturdy tactile response of, say, the home key on the Apple iPhone, and instead feels just very slightly wobbly and not all that stable.

The physical button on the Meizu m2 Note – a lock screen and a volume rocker – are somewhat inconveniently (for a right-handed person) positioned on the left hand side. They are clicky and we had no issues pressing them, but we’ve seen buttons with better tactile response (yes, we’re nit-picking here).

 

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Front view | Side view
Meizu m2 note
Meizu m2 note
5.94 x 2.96 x 0.34 inches
150.9 x 75.2 x 8.7 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

Meizu m2 note

Huawei P8 lite
Huawei P8 lite
5.63 x 2.78 x 0.3 inches
143 x 70.6 x 7.7 mm
4.62 oz (131 g)

Huawei P8 lite

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
5.7 x 2.84 x 0.34 inches
144.8 x 72.1 x 8.6 mm
5.50 oz (156 g)

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

LG G Stylo
LG G Stylo
6.07 x 3.12 x 0.38 inches
154.2 x 79.2 x 9.7 mm
5.8 oz (164 g)

LG G Stylo


Meizu m2 note Review

Display

The 5.5” IPS LCD display comes with a 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution. It’s a sharp display with pleasing colors.

We’ve been dreaming about a perfectly well calibrated display for quite a while, but unfortunately, we’re yet to see one even in the top-shelf devices. Naturally, the Meizu m2 Note is not one to suddenly surprise us with perfect calibration, but it does manage to do better than most of its peers and its screen actually looks better than the screens of many more expensive devices.

First, resolution: the 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen is an IGZO panel manufactured by Sharp and it features a 1080 x 1920-pixel (Full HD) resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 400ppi. We find this to be more than sufficient, as the screen looks sharp and we cannot notice any pixelization in real-life usage.

What’s more important is that the phone features a good color reproduction: whites are not excessively warm or cold with color temperature of 6800K, just slightly above the reference 6500K value (notice that you can manually tweak color temperature from Settings -> Display -> Color Temperature, and we went just a notch below the default value to get closer to 6500K); primary colors are overall well balanced; gamma – at 2.32 – is just slightly north of the 2.2 standard, resulting in images looking a bit darker and more contrasty. Looking at the color charts, we are happy to see that the m2 Note sticks to the sRGB color standard – the universal color standard of the web – rather than some obscure color space. Color calibration is fairly good, with the exception of the more intense end of the color spectrum where we see color getting an artificial saturation boost, for an extra pop. If Meizu were to fix that, we would have a display very close to that perfection we’re looking for.

The screen also gets surprisingly bright: at 627 nits (Meizu officially claims that the display reaches 450 nits), this is one of the brightest screens we’ve tested, and this makes it easier to use the phone outdoors, even on a bright sunny day. What’s even more impressive is that at night, it goes all the way down to 1 nit, making reading an experience that is less harsh on the eyes, a great features for all the night birds out there.

Viewing angles are also great with almost no color tinting when you view the display at an angle. The only niggle that we have is that the light sensor does not work as well as we’d like: sometimes it goes too dim to be comfortable to use, and sometimes too bright for the conditions, which is definitely annoying, as you often times have to manually adjust the brightness. The proximity sensor works well as expected.

Finally, while the original m1 Note featured a screen protected by Gorilla Glass, the m2 Note switches to AGC Dragontrail/NEG T2X-1 tempered glass. We have not performed drop tests to test durability, but in terms of how smooth your fingers runs on the glass surface, we have had no issues.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Meizu m2 note 627
(Excellent)
1
(Excellent)
1:1102
(Good)
6809
(Excellent)
2.32
2.97
(Good)
2.37
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 417
(Good)
20
(Poor)
1:1016
(Good)
7622
(Average)
2.39
5.56
(Average)
5.65
(Average)
LG G Stylo 388
(Average)
3
(Excellent)
1:1340
(Excellent)
7201
(Good)
2.14
7.22
(Average)
3.98
(Good)
Huawei P8 lite 380
(Average)
10
(Average)
1:933
(Average)
8536
(Poor)
2.25
6.50
(Average)
7.04
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 80.8%
80%
78.9%
22.6%
8.4%
11.5%
32.6%
Huawei P8 lite 81.6%
80%
85.1%
23.3%
14.2%
2.3%
46.7%
LG G Stylo 88.9%
66.7%
89%
45.6%
15.4%
8.6%
121.1%
Meizu m2 note 90%
0%
81.9%
14.7%
0.9%
7.1%
135%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Meizu m2 note Review

Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Meizu m2 note Review
Introduction


The Meizu m2 Note comes from Chinese brand Meizu that remains out of the scope of the mainstream customer in the West. This, however, does not mean that it’s an obscure and a shady brand – in fact, Meizu has quite a loyal following in China, and recently, it’s started building a name for itself as its last year’s flagship – the Meizu MX4 – went on sale in many of Europe’s largest markets.

The Meizu m2 Note is the company’s affordable big-screen phone: a 5.5-inch phablet with a 1080 x 1920-pixel display, an octa-core MediaTek chip with 2GB of RAM, and the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop on board.

Often, however, specs don’t tell the full story. Is the Meizu m2 Note really as good as it looks on paper? That’s what we’ll try to answer in the full review right below.

In the box:

  • 2A 5V wall charger
  • microUSB Cable
  • User manual
  • SIM ejector tool

Design

The Meizu m2 Note features a plastic body, but it has a nice, non-cheap feel to it and is solidly put together. The new physical mBack button is neat, doubling as a back button and lock key.

The Meizu m2 Note features a plastic body – there are no premium materials such as glass or metal, but that’s expected for such an affordable phone. Nonetheless, build quality is great: the phone is put together solidly, with no loose parts, and everything is perfectly well aligned (the camera is completely flush with the back). It comes in a choice of four colors: three glossy shells in pink, blue and white, and a matte gray body (the version that we have for review). The gray matte option is reportedly a big hit in China because it does look somewhat similar to metal, and the feel of the plastic is great, eschewing that somewhat cheap feeling (and messy fingerprint-laden surface) of glossy plastic.

In terms of pure size, the 5.5” handset features a fairly slim side bezel, so overall the phone ends up being narrower than, say, the iPhone 6 Plus. The exact dimensions are: 150.9 x 75.2 x 8.7mm. The m2 Note is also surprisingly lightweight for its large size – it weighs 5.26 oz (149 grams), with the weight slightly shifted to the top. While it’s not among the thinnest phones (it measures 8.7mm thick), we found the m2 Note to be of average thickness and fairly comfortable to hold.

The more ardent readers who follow the Chinese phone industry would know that the the Meizu m2 Note comes as a somewhat rushed successor to the last year’s Meizu m1 Note. The rush is reportedly due to a lawsuit filed from ZTE against Meizu, as the larger Chinese company sued Meizu for using a round capacitive button with an LED color ring as the home button. Meizu was forced to redesign its whole lineup, and that is why the m2 Note does away with the capacitive key in favor of a physical home button (the ‘mBack’ key). Keep in mind that while there is no fingerprint scanner, this is no ordinary button: you can not only physically click it, but you can also tap it to go back a step and long-click it to lock the phone. These two additions add quite a lot of functionality and are a typical Meizu touch. The button itself is of good quality, but it lacks the sturdy tactile response of, say, the home key on the Apple iPhone, and instead feels just very slightly wobbly and not all that stable.

The physical button on the Meizu m2 Note – a lock screen and a volume rocker – are somewhat inconveniently (for a right-handed person) positioned on the left hand side. They are clicky and we had no issues pressing them, but we’ve seen buttons with better tactile response (yes, we’re nit-picking here).


Front view | Side view
Meizu m2 note
Meizu m2 note
5.94 x 2.96 x 0.34 inches
150.9 x 75.2 x 8.7 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

Meizu m2 note

Huawei P8 lite
Huawei P8 lite
5.63 x 2.78 x 0.3 inches
143 x 70.6 x 7.7 mm
4.62 oz (131 g)

Huawei P8 lite

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
5.7 x 2.84 x 0.34 inches
144.8 x 72.1 x 8.6 mm
5.50 oz (156 g)

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

LG G Stylo
LG G Stylo
6.07 x 3.12 x 0.38 inches
154.2 x 79.2 x 9.7 mm
5.8 oz (164 g)

LG G Stylo


Meizu m2 note Review

Display

The 5.5” IPS LCD display comes with a 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution. It’s a sharp display with pleasing colors.

We’ve been dreaming about a perfectly well calibrated display for quite a while, but unfortunately, we’re yet to see one even in the top-shelf devices. Naturally, the Meizu m2 Note is not one to suddenly surprise us with perfect calibration, but it does manage to do better than most of its peers and its screen actually looks better than the screens of many more expensive devices.

First, resolution: the 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen is an IGZO panel manufactured by Sharp and it features a 1080 x 1920-pixel (Full HD) resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 400ppi. We find this to be more than sufficient, as the screen looks sharp and we cannot notice any pixelization in real-life usage.

What’s more important is that the phone features a good color reproduction: whites are not excessively warm or cold with color temperature of 6800K, just slightly above the reference 6500K value (notice that you can manually tweak color temperature from Settings -> Display -> Color Temperature, and we went just a notch below the default value to get closer to 6500K); primary colors are overall well balanced; gamma – at 2.32 – is just slightly north of the 2.2 standard, resulting in images looking a bit darker and more contrasty. Looking at the color charts, we are happy to see that the m2 Note sticks to the sRGB color standard – the universal color standard of the web – rather than some obscure color space. Color calibration is fairly good, with the exception of the more intense end of the color spectrum where we see color getting an artificial saturation boost, for an extra pop. If Meizu were to fix that, we would have a display very close to that perfection we’re looking for.

The screen also gets surprisingly bright: at 627 nits (Meizu officially claims that the display reaches 450 nits), this is one of the brightest screens we’ve tested, and this makes it easier to use the phone outdoors, even on a bright sunny day. What’s even more impressive is that at night, it goes all the way down to 1 nit, making reading an experience that is less harsh on the eyes, a great features for all the night birds out there.

Viewing angles are also great with almost no color tinting when you view the display at an angle. The only niggle that we have is that the light sensor does not work as well as we’d like: sometimes it goes too dim to be comfortable to use, and sometimes too bright for the conditions, which is definitely annoying, as you often times have to manually adjust the brightness. The proximity sensor works well as expected.

Finally, while the original m1 Note featured a screen protected by Gorilla Glass, the m2 Note switches to AGC Dragontrail/NEG T2X-1 tempered glass. We have not performed drop tests to test durability, but in terms of how smooth your fingers runs on the glass surface, we have had no issues.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Meizu m2 note 627
(Excellent)
1
(Excellent)
1:1102
(Good)
6809
(Excellent)
2.32
2.97
(Good)
2.37
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 417
(Good)
20
(Poor)
1:1016
(Good)
7622
(Average)
2.39
5.56
(Average)
5.65
(Average)
LG G Stylo 388
(Average)
3
(Excellent)
1:1340
(Excellent)
7201
(Good)
2.14
7.22
(Average)
3.98
(Good)
Huawei P8 lite 380
(Average)
10
(Average)
1:933
(Average)
8536
(Poor)
2.25
6.50
(Average)
7.04
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 80.8%
80%
78.9%
22.6%
8.4%
11.5%
32.6%
Huawei P8 lite 81.6%
80%
85.1%
23.3%
14.2%
2.3%
46.7%
LG G Stylo 88.9%
66.7%
89%
45.6%
15.4%
8.6%
121.1%
Meizu m2 note 90%
0%
81.9%
14.7%
0.9%
7.1%
135%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

The Meizu m2 Note runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop, but its visual style is completely overridden by the Flyme 4.5 skin. Luckily, it’s a great skin that runs smoothly, looks good, and features tons of neat gestures and tweaks.

The Meizu m2 Note runs on the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop, and that’s a great thing, but if you’re looking for the typical stock Android visual style – you won’t find it here. We are not particularly mad about this: the Flyme 4.5 custom skin by Meizu is one of the best skins that we’ve dealt with – a fast and smooth-running affair with fluid animations, large, easy to press icons and a ton of useful additions.

We’ve had some difficulties with Chinese Android skins in the past, and while we do have some slight mishaps here as well (more on that later), the overall functionality and polish of this skin left us impressed.

The first thing you notice about Flyme is that it does not have an app drawer – all of the icons are stored on the home screen. Android tweakers will be happy to find a one-click root solution built right in this skin, while casual users will be happy to see a lot of extremely useful gestures that are worth taking a look.

Since you don’t have the typical three-button Android navigation keys here, you need to know that these are replaced by the following:
  • Back a step -- touch/tap (not click) the home button
  • Go to Home screen – click the home button
  • Multitasking/Recent apps – swipe up from the bottom of the display

With this in mind, here is a number of interesting gestures supported by the Meizu skin. First, here’s what you can do straight from a sleeping device (without even waking the screen):
  • Double tap to wake up the phone
  • Swipe up from the bottom to go straight to the home screen (a la HTC Sense)
  • Swipe down from the top to bring up notifications
  • Use custom gestures: draw a V to start camera, for instance (but you can customize those)

And then, from the lockscreen, you can neatly swipe up to go to the home screen, but also swipe to the left to quickly open camera, or swipe right to open a custom app.

Once in the home screen, you can also swipe up on the display to go into an iOS-like ‘Spotlight’ quick search menu. Yes, you also have the Google Search, but we’re happy to have that third-party option that allows you to type the name of an app to quickly start it (something that does not work properly in Google’s quick search alternative, as Google shows search results first leaving app matches hidden behind the keyboard).

You also have the neat ‘Vault’ feature, which is basically a password-protected folder, where you can stash your private files securely. You also have the option to password-lock particular apps, which is neat (but this would be so much simpler if the phone had a fingerprint scanner…).

Also, you can set ‘Scheduled power on’ times: this way you can tell your phone, for instance, to shut down at night, and wake up in the morning, if you don’t want to be bothered.

Now, on to the peculiarities of this skin, as there are some. First, while you do get the Google Play Store pre-installed, you have none of the core Google apps like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, and more. Downloading and installing them is an easy and straightforward process, it’s just that they are not pre-installed, so no big issue here.

Another minor issue is with icons: the Flyme skin features some great-looking icons, but when it comes to third party apps, icons are often wrapped in an ugly white rectangle, and don’t look great. Luckily, you can fix that by simply opting out of the default ‘Flyme style icons’ in Settings -> Customize, where you have to flip a toggle. Some apps from the Google Play Store also don’t seem to be optimized and won’t start – an issue we have not had with devices from the mainstream brands. The Google Play Games service, for instance, required for all the rankings for gamers, could not be installed on our device, and some other apps also failed to install. This was not an issue that affected any of the well known apps that we use on a daily basis, so it was not a deal breaker for us, but it did left a sour taste.

Processor and Memory

The 64-bit, octa-core MediaTek MT6753 system chip runs the show alongside 2GB of RAM, and that proves more than enough for smooth performance.

The Meizu m2 Note runs on the MediaTek MT675 – a 64-bit chip with eight Cortex A53 cores running at up to 1.3GHz, 2GB of RAM, and the Mali T720 GPU.

Those specifications would be empty words if we didn’t mention real-world performance, though, and in the case of the m2 Note it’s just very smooth and lag-free for the most part. There is no micro lag in first-party apps, and the multitasking menu comes up practically instantly. The only place where we did notice some micro lag was the quick search menu (that you bring up by swiping up on the display).

There is one key tune-up option that you need to be aware of before we go into further performance details: in Settings -> Battery -> under the Power Mode tab, you can select between two modes for the phone: a Battery Saver, Balanced and Performance mode. We ran the phone in the default Balanced mode, which is sufficient for daily use and that’s what we recommend using to most users. Performance would squeeze the most out of the silicon, while putting an extra strain on the battery, while Battery Save mode will cap it to maximize battery life.

If you compare the m2 Note with its predecessor, the m1 Note, you’d see that Meizu has cut some corners to make the Meizu m2 Note more affordable than the M1 Note. First and most noticeable is the change in GPU: the M2 Note features the Mali-T720 MP3 edition running at up to 450MHz (an 8-cluster GPU by ARM), while the original M1 Note features the Mali-T760, a 16-cluster graphics chip with a maximum clock speed of 700MHz and much higher performance capabilities. The new CPU is also clocked at up to 1.3GHz, while the earlier one could reach 1.7GHz. Another subtle change is in the ISP that is also cut to support only 3Gbps of bandwidth, compared with 4Gbps ISP in the original.

Those changes don’t seem to result in any visible effect in daily performance, but if you’re buying the phone as a gamer on a budget, you might want to consider getting the older generation that runs more demanding games better and with higher level of details. The GPU on the m2 Note handles Asphalt 8 with no lag, but some other demanding titles do seem to stutter a bit here and there.

You have 16GB of on-board storage, but luckily the handset also supports expandable memory via microSD cards of up to 128 gigs. It’s worth noting that Meizu uses high-speed eMMC 5 flash chips from Samsung, and we were impressed with how this resulted in quick installs of apps and overall faster performance.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Huawei P8 lite 35438
Meizu m2 note 30359.33
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 22490
LG G Stylo 21530
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Huawei P8 lite 966
Meizu m2 note 916.33
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 959
LG G Stylo 793
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Huawei P8 lite 2147
Meizu m2 note 1660.33
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 2121
LG G Stylo 1952
Sunspider
Lower is better
Huawei P8 lite 1272
Meizu m2 note 1499.8
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 1514.4
LG G Stylo 1522.9
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Huawei P8 lite 23.5
Meizu m2 note 11
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 13
LG G Stylo 9.6
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Huawei P8 lite 12.6
Meizu m2 note 4.1
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 6.3
LG G Stylo 4
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Huawei P8 lite 800
Meizu m2 note 720
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 561
LG G Stylo 535
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Huawei P8 lite 681
Meizu m2 note 550.33
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 464
LG G Stylo 451
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Huawei P8 lite 2597
Meizu m2 note 2529
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 1451
LG G Stylo 1407
View all

Internet and Connectivity

The Meizu m2 Note features a fast browser and supports 4G LTE connectivity (but band support is limited). It’s also a dual SIM phone.

The Meizu m2 Note comes with a custom browser that features a very nice interface that seems to be better optimized for touch than many modern mobile browsers. Tab switching, for instance, is probably one of the fastest of any browser: it happens via a button conveniently located in the bottom of the display, and the tabs appear and switch instantly. We have not run any comparative loading times tests, but loading speeds were definitely not slow. Scrolling around and zooming in and out also happens without a stutter. We also love the fact that you have a night mode for convenient reading (backgrounds turn dark from white).

In terms of connectivity, the m2 Note adds 4G LTE support with the common in Europe bands 1/3/7. Unfortunately, those bands are not widely supported on the major US carriers, meaning that you are not likely to get 4G LTE connectivity if you use this phone stateside.

The Meizu m2 Note uses a clever SIM tray with support for dual SIM cards of the nano SIM standard (you can use LTE on both SIM cards). Interestingly, you can also use the second SIM slot for a microSD card that you put horizontally, so you have the choice of using the phone either as a single SIM phone with a microSD card, or as a dual SIM phone with no microSD card support.

In terms of connectivity, you have the standard dual-channel Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0, but there is no NFC support.

Camera

The 13-megapixel main camera is fast and captures good-looking images, and great-looking macros. The 5-megapixel selfie cam also performs better than most in this class.

The Meizu m2 Note sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash and a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter. Megapixels alone don’t tell much about actual image quality, but in the marketing world of Chinese smartphone wars, a 13MP/5MP setup is seen as an upgrade over yesteryear’s 8MP/2MP cameras.

The Meizu camera app is not a direct clone of the camera app of a certain fruity phone maker, and that alone is good to see. Moreover, after you spend some time shooting, you start to appreciate all the versatility that this camera app offers. The default auto mode captures images in a 4:3 aspect ratio (the viewfinder shows 100% of the actual image, which is nice), and allows you to separately select the focus point and the exposure point. It’s a snappy mode with no excessive features that will be what most people end up using. Enthusiasts get a pro mode that offers shutter speed and ISO selection, for a full-on manual ride. You also have a neat slow motion mode, a mode for scanning QR codes, Beauty, Panorama, and Light Field modes.

The actual Images on the Meizu m2 Note turn out very nice: shooting is fast and focusing happens impressively quickly (while many other affordable devices struggle with speed), and the actual images look sharp, very detailed, and with nice color reproduction. They are not perfect and are inferior to pictures from high-end devices, with burned highlights being a particularly noticeable issue, but overall are definitely great for such class of a device. In lower light, images could turn out a bit blurry, but still noise is kept at a reasonable level and overall quality is way above the average. The flash also does a good job illuminating objects, and with both a cold and a warm light, lighting turns out much more balanced.

Selfies also turn out great: the 5-megapixel front shooter captures a lot of details and manages to get colors right.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Huawei P8 lite 3.1
6.3
520
425
LG G Stylo 3.3
5.1
558
507
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 4
No data
277
164
Meizu m2 note 4
7.9
636
545
View all

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Turning over to video, the m2 Note records video in up to 1080p at 30fps. Videos look good: sharp, with good-looking colors and very little rolling shutter effect. Unfortunately, there is no continuous auto-focusing, and you have to manually tap on objects on the screen to switch focus (which happens quickly). Also, the lack of stabilization results in videos that register every little tremor of the hand, and this constant shakiness is very annoying – this phone is definitely not very suitable for shooting casually while walking. That’s something that we’d like to see improved, as we’re spoiled by excellent stabilization on other phones. And not only optical – software stabilization on iPhones and Xperias also works great. The microphone does tend to pick up a lot of wind noise, and that’s also quite a distraction, ruining a lot of the audio quality of a recording.



Multimedia

Media apps are simple and utilitarian, but that also means they work out fast and straightforward.

The Meizu m2 Note comes with a bundle of first-party media apps that are minimalist and simplistic in nature: they get the job done. That’s what really matters here: the gallery, for instance, has a camera roll with three icons in a row (no option to resize them for quicker navigation), and it has separate folders for screenshots and videos. It features some basic filters, as well as editing options such as cropping and fine tuning the sharpness and other features of an image.

The video player seems like an app inspired by the popular MX Player with the option to swipe up and down on the left and right (left to adjust volume, right to adjust brightness), and you can also neatly swipe horizontally to fast forward or go back in a video. Simple, and not exactly original, but very useful and practical. The same simplistic approach goes for the music app, which categorizes songs in a straightforward manner, but again has a cool search option and, as an extra, features a full-on manual equalizer with some neat presets. There is no support for FM radio on the Meizu m2 Note.

Speaking of the music app, we ought to mention that the phone features a single speaker on the bottom of the phone. It is a very quiet speaker, and that’s annoying as often times we’d want to show friends a video or let them hear a cool new song via the loudspeaker, and here, the speaker is often times just too quiet to hear properly.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 0.901
Meizu m2 note 0.43
LG G Stylo 0.335
Huawei P8 lite 0.26
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 71.4
Meizu m2 note 68
LG G Stylo 74
Huawei P8 lite 79
View all


Meizu m2 note Review
Call Quality


Call quality on the Meizu m2 Note is generally good, and we having no major gripes. Still, we should mention that voices in the earpiece sound a bit on the quiet side and with a slight distortion. Volume is fine on the other end of the line, but there is a similar slight noise to voices. Noise is also not canceled out perfectly, so when you are in a noisy environment, side noise gets in the way.

Battery life

Battery life is good: you won’t have a problem getting through a day of even heavier usage.

Meizu points out explicitly that it has a 3100mAh battery made by Sony/ATL, two of the most renowned battery makers with advanced lithium processes.

Meizu m2 note Review
We have two points of reference for battery life: our battery life test that measures performance with the screen always on, and our impressions from real-life use.

First, our battery test results: they are nothing short of stellar. With some 9 hours and a half of battery life, this is one of the longest lasting phones we’ve ever tested. You can take a look at the results other phones got on our test, and keep in mind that we equalize conditions by setting screen brightness at 200 nits on all devices (a level comfortable for typical indoor viewing) and we run a non-stop script that mimics average phone use. We used default power/performance settings on the Meizu m2 Note.

Then, we have real-life impressions. The phone easily lasts a full day, but not much more with average use. The reason for this might be in the fact that using the phone outdoors on a bright day pushes the brightness and battery drain high, and 4G LTE connectivity is an additional drain. Overall, real-life battery impressions are good, but maybe not as great as the battery test results would suggest (for the above mentioned reasons).

Given such a large battery, it’s important to measure how much it takes to charge the phone from zero to 100% with the stock 5V 2A wall charger. Having 10 watts of power input definitely helps as the phone takes 2 hours and 9 minutes to fully recharge. That’s not quite as fast as the latest QuickCharge 2 phones, but still fairly fast for this battery size.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Meizu m2 note 9h 52 min (Excellent)
LG G Stylo 7h 43 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 6h 29 min (Average)
Huawei P8 lite 5h 30 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Meizu m2 note 129
LG G Stylo 137
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 175
Huawei P8 lite 136
View all

Conclusion


The m2 Note comes with a shockingly low price tag given what it offers in terms of hardware: it’s sold globally for around $160, and that’s the full retail price you pay resellers like PandaWill and GearBest. Do note, though, that while you can get this phone globally from English-speaking resellers like the ones above, many markets including the USA don’t have official Meizu customer service and if you encounter any issues, you might need to send the phone back to China for lengthy repairs.

If you are not the ones to get scared from this alone, the Meizu m2 Note has a lot to offer, as it’s a phone that comes with no huge compromises: it runs smoothly, has a great-looking display, its camera quality is way above the average for this class, and its battery runs a full day. The simple-looking Flyme user interface hides some nice gestures and tweaks that are also very welcome.

Quite honestly, at this price, it’s hard to find any major flaw to this phone whatsoever. The only major downside at the moment is the limited support for 4G LTE bands in the USA. For all else, we face a reality, where phones in this class from first tier brands – devices like the Samsung Galaxy A7 – cost nearly twice as much as the Meizu m2 Note. Even the affordable Asus Zenfone 2 has a higher asking price than this here device. Alternatives among other Chinese phones include the Lenovo K3 Note and Xiaomi Redmi Note, but both of them seem to be a bit less balanced offerings, and seem to run less smoothly than the Meizu phablet.

If you are not afraid to wait an extra week to import this phone from the countless resellers, you will get a great value for the money and a phone that is different than what everyone else has. With all this in mind, the Meizu m2 Note definitely ends up on our list of recommended devices.


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