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Meizu M1 Note Review: Best Phone That You Can Buy Under 8K

 M1 Note 10

We review the Meizu M1 Note!

The Meizu M1 Note is one of the most hotly anticipated smartphones to ever arrive in the Philippines. While it doesn’t have the most original design in recent memory (and actually looks like an Androidified iPhone 5C) it’s what inside that counts. Sporting a fairly powerful processor, 2GB of RAM and a beautiful 5.5-inch, full HD display, the Meizu M1 Note has managed to dethrone the ASUS Zenfone 5 as the best international bang for the buck smartphone in our eyes.

(Before you start reading the review below, make sure to check out our initial impressions of the M1 Note, as well as the gaming test video that we did)

Meizu M1 Note

  • 1.7GHz 64-bit MediaTek MT6752 octa-core processor
  • Mali T760 MP2 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5.5-inch Full HD display, Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 1920 x 1080
  • 16GB/32GB internal storage
  • 13-megapixel Samsung rear camera, flash, F/2.2 aperture
  • 5-megapixel front camera, F/2.0 aperture
  • Dual-SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 4.4 KitKat, Flyme 4
  • 3,140mAh battery
  • 150.7 x 75.2 x 8.9mm

M1 Note 11

It migh be generic and uninspired, but it still looks damn good

Like we said earlier the M1 Note’s overall design is almost a direct copy of Apple’s iPhone 5C. While there are distinct differences in size, the M1 Note looks and feels a lot like Apple’s earlier offering. While it might be a problem for some, personally we really didn’t mind – there are worse designs you can copy and we’re glad that Meizu has at least had the foresight to imitate one of the leading phone brands in the world.

Meizu M1 Note 1

While the design takes liberal stylistic cues from Apple, this means that the device looks great. The M1 Note uses a primarily polycarbonate body that sports gentle curves to help facilitate a more positive grip on it. Because of this, the M1 Note doesn’t have a removable battery or an SD expansion slot – you’re limited to the 16GB of storage that’s given to you, which may be an issue for some.

M1 Note 6

The overall construction of the M1 Note is pretty solid, and build quality of the phone is top-notch. We didn’t notice any seams or gaps in the phone and the device showed zero flex. One issue that we did find was that the plastic SIM tray of our review unit didn’t sit flush with the main body, protruding about a millimeter or so. This annoyed us to no end, as we could feel the physical bump of the tray when we moved our hand along the otherwise smooth plastic body of the M1 Note.

M1 Note 7

The M1 Note uses Sharp’s 5.5-inch full HD IGZO panel, an uncommon display choice even for higher-end smartphones. Sharp’s IGZO panels essentially promise less power consumption because IGZO displays allow more light to easily travel to them. The downside is that there’s going to be a bit of ghosting in the images, but it’s not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination.

As far as overall display quality goes, the M1 Note has impressive color reproduction, good contrast and saturation and was visible even under direct sunlight. As an added bonus the speakers of the M1 Note are very loud, which makes the phone an excellent phone to watch movies and videos on.

M1 Note 4

Flyme takes some getting used to

Like Meizu’s other products, the M1 Note uses Flyme, their own take on Android. You’ve probably noticed the single halo-like button on the bottom of the display of the M1 Note, and were wondering where the rest of the capacitive keys are. Well, they’re not there – the halo button of Meizu is their trademark, and the omission of the two other Android capacitive keys takes a little getting used to.

M1 Note 2

Like the UI overlays of other companies, Flyme takes away the traditional app drawer and spills most of your apps on your homepage. We’ve also noticed that the M1 Note is devoid of Google’s services like YouTube, Gmail and other apps, though the phone has access to Google Play Store and will sync with your Google contacts when you connect to Google in the accounts setting. This, along with the theme and app center that Meizu has set-up that’s only available in Mandarin, is a vestige of Meizu’s focus on the Chinese domestic market where Google’s influence as far as apps go isn’t as prolific here in the Philippines.

M1 Note 13

The biggest issue we had with Flyme was app stability – we had a few apps crash on us randomly when we were either using them or installing them on the phone. One of our games, Modern Combat 5 would download from Google Play up to 95% and then stop abruptly. Dead Trigger 2 would install fine and run until the initial cinematic then would crash on the startup page. Waze would install and run, but its interface would be a garbled, pixelated mess which made the app unusable to us. Hopefully Meizu sends out a software patch to fix this.

M1 Note 12

Can literally run any game you can throw at it

The M1 Note makes up for its Flyme related offenses by giving you power that’s ridiculously off the charts. The M1 Note is capable of running almost anything that you can throw at it (provided it runs in the first place) without any problems at all. Real Racing 3, a game that gives headaches to Snapdragon 800 equipped smartphones managed to run without a single hitch, and we have a video to prove it. NBA Jam? Forget about it. Clash of Clans? Pssh. The phone is ridiculously fast, and is a fantastic device for people looking for an affordable but powerful smartphone.

S50320-152054

Lest we forget, the M1 Note is still a smartphone first, and as far as the actual phone part of the device goes, the M1 Note delivers solid performance. Calls made with, and to, the M1 Note were clear with no issues with call quality. The LTE capability of the phone is pretty much explained by our screenshot above. We did notice that the M1 Note took longer to acquire and hold an LTE signal compared to other devices.

P50320-175753 P50320-175555 P50320-163143 P50320-153731 P50320-153402

Really good camera with a manual shooting mode

You wouldn’t expect a great camera in the price bracket that the M1 Note plays in. You’d be wrong – the M1 Note has one of the best cameras that we’ve ever seen in a budget device, and sports a manual shooting mode with a manual focus feature that’s not present in more expensive phones in the market today. As far as actual image quality is concerned, the M1 Note scores high marks in color reproduction, saturation and overall image quality. It’s a very good camera is what we’re saying.

Meh battery life

If there’s one thing that we’ll hit the M1 Note for, it’s the battery. The M1 Note is fitted with a 3140mAh battery that should be able to power the device for days at a time. In truth, that’s not the case, and we recorded around 7 hours and 40 minutes of battery life with around 27-28% left in the tank. A few more hours and our battery ran down to almost zero at the end of the day. To be fair we were using the phone pretty heavily, and you’d probably get better battery life if you’re more gentle with the phone.

M! Note 3

Verdict: This is the best bang for the buck phone right now

The Meizu M1 Note hits all the right notes: gorgeous display, powerful processor, excellent performance and fantastic camera. We have a few issues with the phone mostly relating to Flyme and the so-so battery, but don’t let that fool you – the M1 Note is the best phone you can buy at its price point right now. Beg, borrow, sell whatever you need to sell – if you’re looking for a new phone, the Meizu M1 Note should be it.

The Meizu M1 Note is exclusively sold by Novo7 Tech in the Philippines.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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39 Comments

  1. If they JUST sell it in cebu ci’ll a be already spending 9k for it! with accesorried and all! now about your integrated camera preview… remove it, it lags so much it’s hard to read.

  2. Does third party launcher can be installed in this device? And also third party keybaord, i read somewhere that stock keyboard on this device is not that good.

    1. Third party launchers are not a problem, depending on the type of settings you tweak it to… (some launchers require ROOT permission) Keyboard is not a problem, that review about keyboard by PANDAWILL is crap. Ive been using stock FLYME keyboard since November 2014 not a problem. I currently use MX4, MX4 Pro and M1 Note and play around with system keyboard, TouchpalX and Fleksy. Please watch video demo below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJSvDUKHcBQ&lc=z12gvvjb0uuytx0dg23wdn0rcqfmg3d15

  3. dont be unfair Sir, u said so so battery but u mentioned using it heavily. U must have used video looping method not just ur so so justifications. Come on Sir, its not what Im considering a good review.

    1. Puwede but you will have to clear the default of Flyme via the Application section of setting, then press the home key then select your other launcher. Somehow, Flyme hides my downloaded Nova that the Icon doesn’t show. But it will run just takes a few more steps.

    1. Hindi naman siya “copy pasted”. Pero tingin ko medyo biased nga siya. Puro positive yung comments halos e. Parang paid ads na dating sakin eh.

  4. Wala naman akong problema kung kamukhang-kamukha ng iPhone eh…pero bakit kailangan pang kopyahin yung three “features” ng mga Apple devices na mga malaking drawbacks din naman?

    Walang menu key, walang back key, tapos walang microSD!

    1. Nakilumutan mo yung sealed battery. Galing siguro ito mula sa sobra sobrang parts/materials ng foxconn para sa iphone.

    2. meron meizu m1 may sd card slot up to 128gb p.. ung home botton nmn trademark n yan ng meizu inspired by iphone.

    3. Let me enlighten you guys;

      Menu Key: will only show when needed in the “SMART BAR”
      – Do we always need the “MENU” key all the time? on all apps and screen? – I dont… I very rarely use it.

      Back Key: The HALO button when pressed once is “HOME” swiping it up dead center will also act as “BACK”.
      More hidden features: The same HALO button acts as the LED notification light that acts like a breathing light when there is a missed or unread notification. Furthermore, long pressing the HALO button will put the phone to “SLEEP”.
      The phone can be awaken by “DOUBLE TAP” or “SWIPE UP” on the screen to “UNLOCK”. – NO NEED TO PRESS THE HARDWARE POWER BUTTON except RESTARTING or POWER OFF.

      MicroSD: It has been a MEIZU standard to keep phones compact and slim and thus adding an expandable SD card slot was never part of their plan… but come the M1 not NOTE. It will support 128GB MicroSD card! the very first MEIZU to have this feature.

      FYI:
      M1 Note – 5.5″ FHD, 3140mAh Dual SIM, LTE,
      M1 – 5″ HD, 2500mAh SingleSIM w 128GB MicroSD card support, LTE.

  5. Meizu M1 Note Best Phone That You Can Buy Under 8K?
    How about ZTE Nubia Z5s Mini P7k nalang sa lazada
    Screen: IGZO, Gorilla Glass 3, 4.7inch, 720×1280(~312ppi)
    16GB ROM
    2GB RAM
    Micro SD up to 32GB
    Quadcore Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU
    Adreno 305 GPU
    13MP primary cam
    5MP front cam
    2000mAh Battery

    1. less powerful yung cpu pero pwede na rin suggestion mo
      atleast sd card support ngayon ko lang naresearch yang nubia z5s mini na yan.
      kulang sa publicity.

    2. Hmmm… Do the math.

      Screen:
      ZTE Nubia Z5s Mini: IGZO, Gorilla Glass 3, 4.7inch, 720×1280(~312ppi)
      M1 Note: IGZO, Gori3, 5.5″ 1920×1080 (~403ppi)

      ZTE Nubia Z5s Mini: 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM+ Micro SD up to 32GB
      M1 Note: 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM NO MicroSD (free 40TB cloud storage for A/U/C FW versions)

      ZTE Nubia Z5s Mini: Quadcore Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU Quad core 4×1.7Ghz
      M1 Note: MT6752 True Octacore 8×1.7Ghz A53 64bit

      ZTE Nubia Z5s Mini: Adreno 305 GPU
      M1 Note: Mali T760 MP2 700mHz

      ZTE Nubia Z5s Mini: 13MP primary cam
      M1 Note:13MP Samsung Zero shutter lag

      ZTE Nubia Z5s Mini: 5MP front cam
      M1 Note: 5MP Omnivision OV5670 69 degrees F 2.0

      ZTE Nubia Z5s Mini: 2000mAh Battery
      M1 Note: 3140mAh

      ZTE LTE bands not supported in the Philippines.
      http://www.phonearena.com/phones/ZTE-nubia-5S-mini_id8286

    3. @Adrian Lim
      the zte nubia z5s mini available at lazada is the nx403a/nx404h not nx405 version so….
      GPU: Andreno 320 and not Adreno 305
      Chipset is Snapdragon 600 and not 400

      @tsukimoto
      Honestly ngayon ko lang din narinig yang z5s mini pero nung naresearch ko may support naman sa xda at ang daming custom roms na needroms
      advantage ng z5s mini yung 16GB internal with SD card support. tagilid ako sa m1 note since power user ako at hd games and hd series trip ko kahit maganda cpu bitin sa internal memory panget naman laging nakasalpak otg mo sa m1 note.

      @On the topic
      Kaya for me i’ll just wait for the zenfone 2 and alcatel flash plus. important kasi yung 16gb internal plus sd card support.
      This is just my honest opinion bye

    1. Yap. Wala lag yung real racing 3. hahahaha. yun lang medyo mainit kapag matagal mo ng nilalaro. Pero pwede maresolve buy ka na lang ng tpu case at least naminimize yung heat. hehehe.

  6. Anyone with a tight budget should get this beast of a phone.
    Tanong ko lang, if apps meant to save power like greenify were installed, would it last more than a day

    1. Actually it would last a day depende sa gamit. Kapag nakastand by lang baka 2 days pa nga. Personally I use it for gaming for about 2-3 hours a day mobile net for 2 hours. Usual texting and calling kaya naman the whole day. Charge nga lang sa gabi.

  7. Will wait for the Alcatel Flash plus, M1 Note 32gb version, Zenfone 2, as well as the new MyPhone RIO and Infinity before choosing.

  8. Sir John, Guys, question lang po regarding sa text messaging. Sample, magsesend ka ng test message to a 09171234567 number. So yun na ang start sa threaded messaging. Pagka reply niya, +639171234567 na yung number niya. Ang problem is hindi sasama sa threaded messaging ang reply niya instead start na naman ng panibago. Bale 2 separate messages na siya sa inbox. Bakit po kaya nagkaganito? Thanks!

  9. Napakalakas ng CPU nito. It can be comparable 2X the speed of qualcomn snapdragon 800 processors clocked at 2.2ghz when all 8cores are unlocked. In terms of performance/gaming the only major problem is the Mediatek 6752 GPU is pretty weak to be measure it’s only 1/3 the perfomance of andreno 330 gpu.

  10. Sir, GSMARENA stated that the Meizu M1 Note can use the sim 2 slot to read an external sd card??? Is this true? Please confirm..

  11. You know, this seems like a really compelling phone from Meizu. I usually focus on Cherry Mobile, when it comes to figuring out what phone to get. I like the idea of not spending so much on a phone that might just get stolen or lost, but which can still do what I want it. But after a while, I’ve been thinking about upgrading to an international brand.

    Xiaomi is the first brand to pop up for me. Their Redmi 1S and Redmi 2 seem to offer a lot of great value, at prices which are already very close to Cherry Mobile. After all, they can be bought for about P5,000 and P6,000 online. And with a good Lazada voucher, that price can drop even further. But then the Xiaomi products are still not very powerful. Screen resolution is still 720p. RAM is still at 1 GB, and I keep on hearing about how MIUI can struggle with just that much RAM. So the Meizu M1 Note seems like a good option.

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