Meizu M1 Note Review
In our previous post, the Meizu M1 Note impressed us with its chic design and very respectable benchmark test result. Now we’re here to find out if this handset has the complete package and if it really is the new phone to beat in the sub-Php8k category.
In case you missed it, you can check out our first impression of the Meizu M1 Note to get your feet wet for this full review.
Design and Construction
Despite the lack of creativity in designing their handsets, we’ve always been impressed with the phones that Meizu have churned out – and the M1 Note is no exception. As mentioned in our first impression, the said handset looks like an iPhone 5C on steroids, albeit far from being a cheap knock-off.
A 5.5-inch IGZO IPS display occupies the vast majority of the handset’s front panel. It’s bordered by a pair of thin bezels on each sides and another pair of thicker bezels at the top and bottom portions that houses the other components such as the earpiece and 5MP front-facing camera at the top, and a single capacitive button at the bottom.
The physical buttons, along with the other external components, are situated along the edges of the M1 Note. Apart from the Power button, which is inconveniently placed at the top right corner of the device, we’re happy to report that all the other components are where they’re supposed to be – volume rocker on the left, MicroUSB port at the bottom neighbored by the loudspeaker, SIM card slot on the right, and an audio jack on the top left.
Not much can be said on the M1 Note’s back side other than the fact that it looks and feels exactly like the iPhone 5C’s posterior. Other than the company’s logo, accompanied by an obligatory “Designed in China” disclaimer down at the bottom, the only thing that’s worth writing home about is the handset’s 13-megapixel rear camera unit that was sourced from Samsung along with the dual-tone LED flash unit below it.
Display and Multimedia
One of the many things that made the M1 Note such a standout is, in large part, because of its respectable display setup which is a little hard to come by in this price range. But it’s not just the screen size alone that impressed us, rather a combination a lot of niceties which include a respectable 1920 x 1080 resolution (which we still consider to be a sweet spot for this size), a sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 laid on top of the actual screen, not to mention an outstanding viewing angle and color reproduction courtesy of IGZO panel made by Sharp.
Needless to say, we didn’t have a lot gripes with the M1 Note’s display, apart from the fact that it’s rather too dim for comfort even at 50% brightness. Other than that, users should be pleased with the handset’s screen has to offer, especially at this price point.
With the kind of display setup, the only thing that’s missing is a good set of speakers for an immersive multimedia experience. Luckily, the M1 Note also has that covered, and its loudspeaker is easily one of the best out speakers we’ve listened to – never mind the price point.
The sound we got out of it was loud enough that we didn’t have to cup our hands in order for the sound to be audible, and the quality is pretty respectable even at high volumes.
OS, UI and Apps
A good portion of the M1 Note’s non-expandable internal storage is occupied by the handset’s operating system – a skinned version of Android KitKat which the company dubs as FlyMe OS (version 4). As mentioned in the past, Meizu’s custom UI may take some getting used to, especially for first time users, before you can comfortably make you way around the different options and menus.
Once you get accustomed to it, however, you’ll definitely appreciate the refreshing look and feel of FlyMe OS, not to mention its intuitive and clean UI layout that truly deserve some accolades. But in case you really didn’t get along well with the skinned Android UI, you can always download a third party launcher that suits your taste.
As far as apps go, we’re happy to report that the M1 Note didn’t come with a lot of bloatware that would otherwise further eat up the handset’s rather limited internal storage. Installing third-party apps was also a breeze and we didn’t bump in to any hiccups when using downloaded apps from Play Store during the course of our review.
Unlike other manufacturers, Meizu isn’t one to skimp on the camera units that they use on their devices just to keep the price at a minimum. That holds true with the M1 Note which boasts a Samsung-made 13MP unit at the back and 5-megapixel shooter at the front.
The former is accompanied by a dual-tone flash unit that really works as advertised. It’s better than the typical flash unit, both in getting the right color temperature when using the flash, as well as the power it provides which comes in handy during low-light conditions.
On top of your usual set of camera options, the M1 Note’s native camera app also offers a bunch of other shooting options to get the most out of its rear camera. These include Manual mode, which allows user to control various camera settings (Shutter speed, ISO, Focus and Exposure), Beauty, Light Field and Slow Motion capture.
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The resulting image we got out of the M1 Note’s rear snapper were pretty good – the image sharpness was admirable, the colors are life-like and the camera was able to get the right exposure 90% of the time. The same can be said for the front-facing camera, albeit the quality is not that good compared to the one at the back.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is how well the two cameras are able to lock on in a subject. The autofocus system (as well as the exposure meter) of the two snappers are quick to react and are able to get the right exposure even when shooting at tricky lighting conditions.
Our delight with the imaging prowess of both the M1 Note’s cameras extend to its video recording capability. Both shooters can record 1080p clips and the quality, both the video and audio, are commendable.
Performance and Benchmarks
During our first impression, you guys already had a glimpse of what kind of performance you can expect out the M1 Note’s engine through the various synthetic benchmark tests we’ve ran on it.
Quadrant Standard Edition: 15428
Vellamo: 2835 (Browser) / 1126 (Metal) / 1712 (MultiCore)
NenaMark2: 57.1 frames-per-second
3DMark IceStorm Extreme: 10737
Luckily, the M1 Note’s respectable internal components aren’t only good at getting high scores at benchmark apps, but it also provided solid performance in real life use. It was able to breeze through menial tasks and held up quite well in all of the resource-heavy 3D games that we’ve ran on it.
Call Quality and Connectivity
We’ve never had any issues with the basic phone functionalities of the M1 Note. It was able to detect carrier and LTE signals when it’s available, regardless of what SIM card we’re using. The same can be said for the other wireless modules – once we’re past with the initial connection setup, the M1 Note connected to our Wi-Fi network and/or paired Bluetooth devices without any hitch.
The M1 Note is equipped with two microphones placed at the top and bottom portions of the device. This ensured that our voices were heard clearly, regardless of the orientation of the device, and the earpiece at the top did a fine job of providing audible sound output that we never had to place any of our calls on loudspeaker just to hear the person in the other line.
We’re nearing the end of our review, and so far we have nothing but praises for the M1 Note. Judging by its beefy 3,140mAh battery pack, it seems that that notion isn’t gonna change anytime soon…
True enough, the M1 Note didn’t disappoint, in fact it even surpassed our expectation by providing remarkable mileage-per-charge that we rarely see from a mid-range smartphone at this price point.
The mileage we got from it was so good that we had to redo our standard battery test to make sure that the results were legit and that we didn’t overlook any of the phone settings that might affect the result.
Battery Test Parameters:
Device State: Airplane Mode, GPS turned OFF
Display Brightness: 50%
Volume: 50% with Earphones plugged in
File Type: mp4
File resolution: 1920 x 800
Media Player: MX Player (Loop One mode)
From 100% state, the Meizu M1 Note lasted more than 13 hours (2 minutes shy of 14 hours in one instance) on all of three occasions that we’ve ran our battery test with the set parameters listed above. This only goes to show that the processor of this smartphone is not only good at providing respectable performance, but also efficient in using the power resources of the handset.
In addition to our standard battery test, we’ve also ran PCMark’s “Work Battery Life” test with the display brightness set to 100% and the device set to Airplane Mode. The test yielded an extrapolated result of 13 hours and 20 minutes during the test.
Our mileage dropped when we ran Asphalt 8 on the M1 Note which is understandable considering that more resources are required to keep the game running smoothly. It only took 33 minutes for the M1 Note’s battery percentage to drop by 10% from 100% state which, when extrapolated, equates to 5:30 hours of battery life.
There’s not a lot of negative things that we can say about the Meizu M1 Note apart from the lack of creativity in its design. This is, in large measure, due to the fact that Meizu didn’t skimp on the components of the handset in order to maintain the phone’s cheap price tag – which is often the case with other manufacturers.
This is not to say though that M1 Note is a perfect handset. It’s just that the shortcomings that we noticed with this smartphone can easily be swept under the rug thanks to the many positive things, both in the physical and performance aspects, that it has to offer.
Meizu M1 Note specs:
5.5-inch Sharp IGZO Full HD display, 401ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
1.7GHz MediaTek MT6752 octa-core CPU
Mali T760 MP2 GPU
16GB / 32GB internal storage
13 megapixel Samsung camera w/ LED flash, F/2.2 aperture
1/3.06-inch CMOS sensor, 300-degrees panoramic lens
5 megapixel OVS670 front camera, F/2.0 aperture
FDD-LTE / WCDMA / GSM
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0, BLE
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
Flyme 4 OS (Android 4.4 Kitkat)
150.7 x 75.2 x 8.9mm
White, Blue, Yellow, Green, Pink
To conclude, there’s really no reason why shouldn’t go for the Meizu M1 Note if you have the money to buy it. The handset offers respectable performance, it’s got great design albeit undeniably patterned to the iPhone 5C and the battery life is outstanding, making it difficult to pass up the sweet Php7,990 deal that Novo7 Tech is billing for this exceptional mid-range smartphone.
What we liked about it:
What we didn’t like about it:
Meizu M1 Note: 5.5-inch Full HD, LTE, octa-core CPU
Meizu M1 Note Slated to Arrive in PH for Php7,990
Meizu M1 Note to be available tomorrow for Php7,990
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Meizu M1 Note First Impressions