Meizu M3 Note

meizu-m3-note-r

Hello, friends. Long after I reviewed the Karbonn Titanium S5, here I am, this time with a Chinese entrant. I guess entrant would undermine the company’s presence in the Indian market. Unbelievably true… they have been around for quite some time now. I remember the days when Meizu launched its erstwhile ‘smart’phone, the MX. It was touted as the perfect cross between the likes of Samsung Galaxy S2 and iPhone 3GS. I, a top ranking ‘iphone’ophobe, mentioned the Steve Jobs overpriced phone only for its 1-button design that Meizu carried. A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then.

That was 2011-12. They didn’t sell Meizu phones in India. One had to order them from their Singapore-based retailer and could take up to 3-4 weeks to reach you. We’ll I preferred a hands-on experience with my prospective phone and hence, trashed the idea. Cut to 2016, I, a wiser, married man with salt n pepper all over my head considered Meizu once again. Now I had gotten over the ‘hands-on’ bug and had started buying phones online. My first online purchase was a Karbonn A9, followed by a Karbonn Titanium S5. Finally, after a good deal of deliberation and spec-hunting, I placed my finger on the Meizu M3 note.

The first thing that comes to my mind, when I hear the word Meizu is crystal clear calm waters. That’s precisely the feel I get when I touch the screen to unlock it. Feather touch is what could aptly describe the touch sensitivity of this phone. After a 4-day wait, the phone finally was in my hands. It was a warm Wednesday afternoon when this Chinese beauty entered my living room – the black-grey one. The phone boasts of a metallic unibody… so no user-removable batteries. Undressing… oops, unboxing was accomplished in a flash. Clumsy as I am, I just ripped the packaging apart and got the white carton out. The box had a basic design, contained the bare essentials of the phone viz. a 2A charger, a micro USB data cable and the instruction manual. The absence of hands-free made itself very obvious. I guess Meizu wants you to decide from the best options available in the open market. I had no issues, though.

A peek under the hood – the phone sports an Octa-core Cortex-A53 processor with a Mediatek MT6755 Helio P10 chipset. The phone renders excellent graphics thanks to Mali-T860MP2 GPU. the phone runs Android OS, v5.1 and shows no signs of an upgrade to Android 6.0 anytime soon. Meizu officials agree that they are focussing on FLYME (native user interface) development and hence consider that Marshmallow / Nougat can wait. This one clearly disappoints me. My Lava Pixel V1 comes with Android Marshmallow straight out of the box. The phone’s memory is the deal clincher with a 3GB – 32GB combo. I was clean bowled over this one. The only other phone that matches this department of specs is my Lava Pixel V1 with a 2GB – 32 GB combo – just that it’s a 3G-only phone.

Talk about clarity and this phone has it in plenty – boasting of a 1080 x 1920 pixels display rendering @ 403 PPI pixel density. This translates to an almost crystal-gazing experiencing. Simply beautiful display. The screen though sports a 2.5D curved display – causing trouble choosing a good screen guard. At the bottom of the screen is a physical home button that doubles as an embedded fingerprint scanner. It also acts as the ‘back’ button. All-in-one, just like the home button on an iPhone. The touch response is fast and reliable. This combined with the Octa Core processor renders excellent graphics – be it gaming (I mean HD games viz. Asphalt 8 a.k.a. Airborne, GTA 2 etc.) or videos (it plays 1080p videos without as much as a flutter).

Browsing, an almost lost art, works fine on this phone – be it the stock browser or one of your choice (viz. Chrome, Firefox, Opera etc.). These days, most activities work best via apps – hence the relegation of browsing to a lost art. Never had any issues with any internet based apps yet. The phone is powered by a non-removable 4100 mAh battery that clocks an Endurance rating of 93h (3G Talk time: 48:35:00, Web browsing: 11:33:00, Video playback: 11:18:00). Just some stats here – with a rating of 93h, this phone stands at #25. The topper being Gionee Marathon M5 and the last being HTC Titan II at #367.

The flipside is the dated OS – Android 5.1 that works behind the front-end UI called Flyme. This is a proprietary UI and this is what Meizu is focussing on completely at this point. So much, that they are accepted without mincing words that a Marshmallow update (while the whole world is waiting for Nougat) can wait. They would rather launch a newer version of Flyme first. This could be due to the fact that their UI team has not ruled out the creases in the Marshmallow-Flyme nexus. Or just that it’s too much for them to handle at present. Whatever, the reason, I’m not impressed. I’m just waiting for Nougat to be released for Android One devices so I can  get it on my Pixel V1.

To sum it up, the Meizu M3 note delivers and does a neat job at that. Here’s a ready reckoner:

NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
3G bands HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
TD-SCDMA
4G bands LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 7(2600), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500)
Speed HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE Cat6 300/50 Mbps
GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
BODY Dimensions 153.6 x 75.5 x 8.2 mm (6.05 x 2.97 x 0.32 in)
Weight 163 g (5.75 oz)
SIM Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
DISPLAY Type LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.5 inches (~71.2% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels (~403 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Dinorex T2X-1 scratch/shock resistant glass
– Flyme UI
PLATFORM OS Android OS, v5.1 (Lollipop)
Chipset Mediatek MT6755 Helio P10
CPU Octa-core (4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.0 GHz Cortex-A53)
GPU Mali-T860MP2
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
Internal 16 GB, 2 GB RAM or 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
CAMERA Primary 13 MP, f/2.2, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash, check quality
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
Video 1080p@30fps, check quality
Secondary 5 MP, f/2.0, 1080p
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.0, A2DP, LE
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
Radio No
USB microUSB v2.0, USB Host
FEATURES Sensors Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Browser HTML5
Java No
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC player
– MP4/H.264 player
– Document editor
– Photo/video editor
BATTERY Non-removable 4100 mAh battery
TESTS Performance Basemark OS II: 930 / Basemark OS II 2.0: 852
Basemark X: 4567
Display Contrast ratio: 816:1 (nominal), 1.923 (sunlight)
Camera Photo / Video
Loudspeaker Voice 66dB / Noise 64dB / Ring 71dB
Audio quality Noise -91.9dB / Crosstalk -91.3dB
Battery life Endurance rating 93h

And finally the pros and cons:

Meizu M3 Note Cons

  • Android 5.1
  • Non-removable battery
  • Non-upgradable storage (if you go down the dual-SIM route)
  • No FM Radio?
  • No NFC support

Meizu M3 Note Pros

  • A polished Design
  • Big camera upgrades
  • Octa-core processor and plenty of RAM
  • Bigger battery
  • An excellent display

Verdict: Simple – you decide!!! I’ve made the decision and am using it!!!

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