Interface and functionality

Android Marshmallow is most welcome, but Flyme OS takes getting used to


First of all, it should be mentioned that the Meizu M5 Note does not come with Google's framework pre-installed right out of the box. Thankfully, you can download the vital Google Installer app straight from Meizu's Hot Apps store, which is a 2-minute business. No biggie.

The M5 Note we reviewed came with the company's own Flyme OS 5.2, which is based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow yet draws inspiration from Apple's iOS. Users familiar with Chinese smartphone firmwares will probably feel right at home, but for the uninitiated user, getting personal with Flyme OS will likely by an exotic experience. It might look intuitive, but that is deceitful – certain essential features might not work as you'd expect. A prime example is trying to set your ringtone volume with the rocker – in order to do that, you have to go to a separate menu in Settings, which is totally not intuitive. Additionally, Flyme OS is far from perfect and has certain aggravating quirks that can ruin your overall experience. In particular, a great bunch of the stock apps (think Messages, Phone, Gallery, etc) lack landscape mode and are locked in portrait orientation. Thankfully, this doesn't apply to the camera app which rotates in accordance to the phone's orientation.

Couple that with the out-of-place design regularities that mar the interface and you are left with the feeling that Flyme OS is in some kind of a beta stage.

Don't think we entirely dislike Flyme OS, though – it has its upsides. We loved the multi-window feature as well as the system-wide search function that pays some very serious homage to iOS' Spolight Search, but is a neat addition nonetheless. Meizu has also thrown in a trendy blue-light filter that employs a pleasant red hue which aims to relax your eyes and help you sleep better.

Processor and memory

Don't push it too hard or you will end up displeased


If you were to dissect the Meizu M5 Note, you'd find a mid-range octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 chipset clocked at up to 1.8GHz as well as 3GB of RAM. Enough technicalities, we know these mean nothing when viewed out of context.

Performance is mostly okay for basic everyday tasks, like texting, streaming music, browsing the web, and killing time with less complex games. Just as we mentioned before, Meizu's interface is well-optimized and will seldom exhibit any hiccups or lag, though you should be prepared to encounter such issues from time to time. It's worth noting that you can switch between three different performance modes at will, namely Saving, Balance, and Performance, which are pretty self-explanatory.

Fire up a fast-paced 3D game and you're in for some really bad time, even with Performance mode enabled. Apart from the lowly frame rate, you will also be treated to frame drops here and there, not to mention that the phone becomes noticeably warm even after a brief gaming session. You'll experience the same after heavy usage, too.

With merely 16GB of storage in the basic version, you'd likely want to throw in a microSD card in the hybrid dual-SIM slot as soon as possible or otherwise you might run out of space rather quickly – you'll find less than 4 gigs of native storage available on the unit I reviewed after merely a week of light usage.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Meizu M5 Note 46722
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 47205
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 75698
Honor 5X 35183
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Meizu M5 Note 1343.33
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 1460
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 2574
Honor 5X 1108
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Meizu M5 Note 2966.33
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 2856
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 4217
Honor 5X 2327
JetStream Higher is better
Meizu M5 Note 26.129
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 21.993
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 49.425
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Meizu M5 Note 14
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 18
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 32
Honor 5X 15
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Meizu M5 Note 3.6
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 4.5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 9.4
Honor 5X 6
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Meizu M5 Note 289.33
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 1001
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 1407

Connectivity


The M5 Note is equipped with a hybrid dual-SIM card slot – one of the slots accepts microSD expansion cards for a few extra gigs of storage.

The phone is LTE-enabled, but have in mind that it only supports FDD-LTE bands 1, 3, 5, 6, 20, as well as TDD-LTE bands 38 and 40. This means that you can only use the phone on AT&T's 4G network in the States; using it with any other carrier will only let you reach 3G data speeds. LTE with most European and all Chinese carriers is a given, though.

The Meizu M5 Note comes with Bluetooth 4, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, as well as dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, a pleasant surprise for such an affordable phone. No sign of NFC, so don't keep your hopes up for Android Pay support.

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13 Comments

1. xeroxchap

Posts: 68; Member since: Oct 11, 2016

Its a 130$ phone....Reviews are a joke on this site!

2. xeroxchap

Posts: 68; Member since: Oct 11, 2016

Also basing a review on just US based market is absurd... then y review it at all.. i dont get the point!

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

give it 5.5/10 and then recommending another phone with twice that price... nice logic :v pros&cons really short, and the whole article seems half-baked

3. deanylev

Posts: 234; Member since: Mar 11, 2014

What a f**king stupid review. You get all that for $130, yet it gets just over half of a perfect score because you don't like the interface, the display colours aren't great, and it's got limited LTE support in A MARKET IT WAS NEVER MADE FOR.

5. Todyo

Posts: 5; Member since: Jan 20, 2017

Nicely said deanylev! Its not made for US! The target of Meizu is China, Russia, Europe. Flyme OS is among the best interface for android out there. Meizu M back button is ages ahead of apple's home button. Stop making Meizu phone reviews! So inadequate!

6. zeppo

Posts: 200; Member since: Jul 21, 2015

every Meizu phone got an avg. score of 5 lol. They didn't bribe enough to iPhonearena

7. androidwindows

Posts: 216; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

I wish I could "like" this comment 100 times.

8. androidwindows

Posts: 216; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

It's a good phone. With its price tag, it deserves a 7.

9. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah right... btw, this phone's big brother (Meizu M3 Max) get 7.6/10 on androidauthority which is more acceptable

10. Sidewinder

Posts: 515; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

"While its design is a bit mundane and fails to excite on any level".. You mean the iphones for the past 3 years right?

11. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 407; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

I have always admired Meizu out of all the Chiense OEMs but am weary of issues such as lack of after sales care, potential spyware (BLU), quality control (my xiaomi note 2 was trash), new flagships refreshes every 6 months etc. Have noticed prices are gradually getting higher with each iteration (unless the phone is bought in/from china).

12. bvalde09

Posts: 191; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

I have test many Chinese phone coming from somebody who use the m3 note . The m5 note its an improvement over previous generation. Sure the UI takes time to get used to it but 5.5? Cmon the device should be at least an 8 in my standards.

13. salvo unregistered

Wow a really good review but have you seen the agm a2?
M5 Note
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor MediaTek Helio P10, Octa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh

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