Meizu M2 Note Review: One Step Backward, Two Steps Forward

Meizu M2 Note 04
We review the Meizu M2 Note!

Meizu’s M1 Note was the first bang-for-the-buck phone to really take off in the PH at the beginning of the year. When we reviewed it back in March, it was the best phone you could get under 8K. Things have changed drastically since then – multiple international and local companies have stepped in and have inundated the local market with their own bang-for-the-buck offerings. Puzzlingly, Meizu’s newest entry in its Note line of smartphones has taken a step back in terms of hardware, but there’s a method to the madness – the new phone may have taken a step back, but it makes up for it by taking two steps forward in terms of design, features and battery life.

Meizu M2 Note specs:

  • 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD Sharp IGZO display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, F/2.2 aperture, dual LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera, F/2.0 aperture
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop, Flyme UI
  • 3100mAh battery

Meizu M2 Note 05

Similar design compared with the M1 Note, with new twists

Meizu’s not exactly a company that thrives on original designs, and one only has to take a look at the original M1 Note to see why. The M1 Note copied many facets of Apple’s 5C smartphone, and the M2 Note follows suit – it uses the same, unibody polycarbonate body patterned after Apple’s multi-color iPhone released a few years ago. Of course, the M2 Note isn’t an exact clone of the previous device – there have been subtle tweaks to the design to make it easier to use. The sides of the phone are slightly rounder, to make the phone easier to grip in one hand. The bezels are a tad smaller, though they’re still impressively thin, especially considering the price point.

Meizu M2 Note 10

The biggest design change that you’ll immediately spot is the addition of a physical home key. Meizu’s trademark halo capacitive button is nowhere to be found – instead, it’s been replaced by a physical home button on the bottom bezel. While the home button doesn’t hide a fingerprint scanner (it would have been awesome if it did) it does allow users to navigate through the phone without touching the display. Tapping the button (dubbed the Mback) takes you to the home screen while swiping left to right works kind of like the back button. Meizu designed the button to help people navigate the phone one handed, and there’s even haptic feedback built-in so you know that you’ve pushed the button. Using this arrangement does take getting used to, but once you’ve mastered it you’ll be swiping away like a pro.

Meizu M2 Note 08

Other controls include the power and volume rocker that’s located on the left side of the device. The speaker holes flank the USB port on the bottom though the volume output wasn’t as great as we were expecting. The 3.5mm jack is on the top while the SIM card slot is accessible on the right.

Meizu M2 Note 09

Speaking of SIM slots, Meizu’s addressed one of the biggest issues with the M1 Note this time around with the addition of a microSD expansion slot, though you will have to sacrifice one of the SIM slots on the phone to get it. Still, that’s preferable than sticking with the 16GB of storage on the device which was the biggest flaw of M1 Note.

Meizu M2 Note 07

Like we said earlier, the 5.5-inch display on the M2 Note is rather big and has minimal bezels compared to other phones in the same price range. The M2 Note’s full HD display is essentially identical to the one on the M1 Note. That’s not a bad thing – the M1 Note used an IGZO panel and had impressive color reproduction, good contrast, and saturation and was visible even under direct sunlight. That’s the same story with the M2 Note – and the phone is a definite pleasure to use when you’re watching movies and playing games.

Meizu M2 Note 11

Flyme is mercifully fast and fluid this time around

Flyme, Meizu’s UI that’s overlayed over Android 5.1 Lollipop on the M2 Note, is the company’s own take on Android. While it follows the same vein as the UI overlays of other Chinese manufacturers, forgoing the traditional app drawer for a more Apple-like approach, Meizu has put in a few nice touches that make it easier to navigate through the phone one-handed: swiping quickly down from anywhere pulls down the notification screen, while doing the same going up brings up the search bar. One thing that we didn’t like was that most of Google’s default apps that you’d usually find in an Android phone isn’t present (though the Play Store is there) which belies the phone’s Chinese roots.

Meizu M2 Note 12

The downgraded processor isn’t that bad

While the M2 Note is technically a successor of the M1, its hardware has taken a hit – 1.3Ghz MediaTek MT6753 compared to 1.7GHz MediaTek MT6752 on the M1 Note. The phone’s GPU has also been downgraded, Mali-T720 compared to the Mali-T760 on its bigger brother. Does this mean that the M2 is less capable than the phone that came before it?

Meizu M2 Note 15

Not really – the phone still manages to fly through Flyme without any issues, and is completely capable of taking on whatever game you throw at it, though you won’t be able to power through graphic-heavy games without experiencing lag. Modern Combat 5, for example, had a few performance issues in areas that had a lot of smoke around, but it never really got down to game-breaking levels. Simple games like Clash of Clans shouldn’t have any issues with the M2 Note.

As far as LTE connectivity goes, the M2 Note is able to surf the web on high-speed networks, though we found that MediaTek’s LTE modems are still no match for the ones that Samsung, Huawei and Qualcomm makes.

Meizu M2 Note 06

Good camera

We were impressed with the M1 Note’s camera, and we’re happy to report that the M2 Note is able to match its older brother’s performance.

This is why we're fat
This is why we’re fat

Meizu M2 Note 01

Death by lechon
Death by lechon
There's always time for tea
There’s always time for tea
Today's menu
Today’s menu
Shot with the front facing camera
Shot with the front facing camera

A majority of the shots in this review were taken in challenging low-light areas like restaurants and cafes, and the M2 Note still manages to capture a good amount of detail despite that. The front facing camera is also able to produce okay photos indoors, though it’s good enough for uploading to social media. You will be a little constrained with the device since the front camera has a rather narrow-angle of shooting, which requires you to extend your hand a little bit more.

Meizu M2 Note 13

Better battery life than its older brother

One perk of having fewer cores and a slower clocked processor is better battery consumption. The M2 Note managed to score an impressive 6 hour and 58-minute score on PCMark’s battery benchmark, which equates to more than a day of actual use. That’s a massive improvement over the M1 Note – we struggled to get to the end of the day with moderate use with it, and we’re happy to see that the M2 Note is a more capable smartphone when it comes to battery endurance.

Meizu M2 Note 14

Verdict: A solid bang-for-the-buck offering, but it’s not an upgrade from the previous device

If you’re someone who already owns an M1 Note, the M2 Note isn’t for you. The change to a slower, less powerful phone may be jarring, though if you’re looking for a phone that has better legs and expandable storage option then the switch may be more palatable to you. For people who are upgrading from entry level phones to something better, the M2 Note is a great choice. It’s solidly built, easy to use and has more than enough battery to last you a day, with a little more left over. It’s a great all-around device, and for only Php 7,490 at Novo7Tech stores, it’s more than enough to give its competitors a run for their money.

Read more about the Meizu M2 Note:

Meizu M2 Note Unboxing: Downgraded Successor?

Meizu M2 Note Will Arrive In Lazada on July 22

Meizu Officially Reveals M2 Note

Watch: Meizu M2 Note Video Unboxing!

 

21 comments

  1. Avatar

    Does mtk 6753 support both globe and smart lte networks? Coz i have the elephone 8000 with the same processor and only globe lte works…

  2. Avatar

    wait, didn’t we already have a review of the m2 note here a few months back? and another thing.. 7,990 php? made me dig for the receipt of my m2 note, has the price changed or is it just a typo? i bought it at novo7 for 7,490.

  3. Avatar

    Your correct Sir John. I’d rather stick with my M1 Note than upgrade. Will just wait for the PRO 5 probably. hehehe

  4. Avatar

    This or Zenfone Laser?

  5. Avatar

    It’s P6,990 at Lazada. P7,490 at Novo7Tech.

  6. Avatar

    will it still able to install and play other graphic-heavy games like marvel:future fight, contest of champions,injustice etc….i dont mind getting minor lags as its understandable naman considering its price range and specs…tnx!! nice review (as usual) by the way sir!!

  7. Avatar

    I’ve heard somewhere speakers have low volume! and Call quality is not good no mention of it on this review.

  8. Avatar

    Flare X or Lenovo A7000 Plus pa rin. At least available nationwide (kung may stocks, that is.) Or wait for the Redmi Note 2 10 core.

  9. Avatar

    “That’s a massive improvement over the M1 Note”

    sir john, bakit massive? ano resulta ng m1 note sa pcmark? TIA!

  10. Avatar

    Are you sure there’s a swipe left and swipe right on the Mback button? Have you even tested an actual M2 note? Pakiedit naman please.

    For the readers being misled by the article, yes the M2 note has an Mback button. Capacitive touch (or TAP) works like a back button, while completely,physically pressing the button will redirect you to the home screen (ala Home Button sa iPhone).

    Plus, if you swipe up from the left bottom or right bottom part of the screen, you will bring up a multitasking bar (similar to iOS double tap home button).

  11. Avatar

    In previous reviews, some users have issues on M2 Note for not having Google Play store. Does the problem still exists in the current stocks of M2 Note in the Philippines? Thanks in advance.

  12. Avatar

    This or the cherry mobile flare x? TIA

    • Avatar

      lenovo a7000 plus ka nalang,its just 8k at lazada, with a promo for 7.5k.
      at least you (in theory) get better support with that than either the m2 note (my current phone, serviced by novo7) or the flare x (cherry mobile, enough said).
      mas conventional din ang control layout compared to the m2 note, but if may konting patience ka makukuha mu din naman gesture controls ni m2 note.

  13. Avatar

    i wish you could include sensors in the specs. im considering this phone because it has a gyroscope for google cardboard. you could do a gyro/cardboard capable phone review in the future? for example i know the galaxy s5 works perfect, but in some lenovo phones you have to remove the magnet due to the display spinning. anyways, best local unboxing/review channel =)

  14. Avatar

    Gearbest only 162$ right? Is that cheap or not good, Can I buy it on Gearbest? Thanks

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: