Meizu m2 note Review

Interface and Functionality

The Meizu m2 Note runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop, but its visual style is completely overridden by the Flyme 4.5 skin. Luckily, it’s a great skin that runs smoothly, looks good, and features tons of neat gestures and tweaks.

The Meizu m2 Note runs on the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop, and that’s a great thing, but if you’re looking for the typical stock Android visual style – you won’t find it here. We are not particularly mad about this: the Flyme 4.5 custom skin by Meizu is one of the best skins that we’ve dealt with – a fast and smooth-running affair with fluid animations, large, easy to press icons and a ton of useful additions.

We’ve had some difficulties with Chinese Android skins in the past, and while we do have some slight mishaps here as well (more on that later), the overall functionality and polish of this skin left us impressed.

The first thing you notice about Flyme is that it does not have an app drawer – all of the icons are stored on the home screen. Android tweakers will be happy to find a one-click root solution built right in this skin, while casual users will be happy to see a lot of extremely useful gestures that are worth taking a look.

Since you don’t have the typical three-button Android navigation keys here, you need to know that these are replaced by the following:
  • Back a step -- touch/tap (not click) the home button
  • Go to Home screen – click the home button
  • Multitasking/Recent apps – swipe up from the bottom of the display

With this in mind, here is a number of interesting gestures supported by the Meizu skin. First, here’s what you can do straight from a sleeping device (without even waking the screen):
  • Double tap to wake up the phone
  • Swipe up from the bottom to go straight to the home screen (a la HTC Sense)
  • Swipe down from the top to bring up notifications
  • Use custom gestures: draw a V to start camera, for instance (but you can customize those)

And then, from the lockscreen, you can neatly swipe up to go to the home screen, but also swipe to the left to quickly open camera, or swipe right to open a custom app.

Once in the home screen, you can also swipe up on the display to go into an iOS-like ‘Spotlight’ quick search menu. Yes, you also have the Google Search, but we’re happy to have that third-party option that allows you to type the name of an app to quickly start it (something that does not work properly in Google’s quick search alternative, as Google shows search results first leaving app matches hidden behind the keyboard).

You also have the neat ‘Vault’ feature, which is basically a password-protected folder, where you can stash your private files securely. You also have the option to password-lock particular apps, which is neat (but this would be so much simpler if the phone had a fingerprint scanner…).

Also, you can set ‘Scheduled power on’ times: this way you can tell your phone, for instance, to shut down at night, and wake up in the morning, if you don’t want to be bothered.

Now, on to the peculiarities of this skin, as there are some. First, while you do get the Google Play Store pre-installed, you have none of the core Google apps like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, and more. Downloading and installing them is an easy and straightforward process, it’s just that they are not pre-installed, so no big issue here.

Another minor issue is with icons: the Flyme skin features some great-looking icons, but when it comes to third party apps, icons are often wrapped in an ugly white rectangle, and don’t look great. Luckily, you can fix that by simply opting out of the default ‘Flyme style icons’ in Settings -> Customize, where you have to flip a toggle. Some apps from the Google Play Store also don’t seem to be optimized and won’t start – an issue we have not had with devices from the mainstream brands. The Google Play Games service, for instance, required for all the rankings for gamers, could not be installed on our device, and some other apps also failed to install. This was not an issue that affected any of the well known apps that we use on a daily basis, so it was not a deal breaker for us, but it did left a sour taste.

Processor and Memory

The 64-bit, octa-core MediaTek MT6753 system chip runs the show alongside 2GB of RAM, and that proves more than enough for smooth performance.

The Meizu m2 Note runs on the MediaTek MT675 – a 64-bit chip with eight Cortex A53 cores running at up to 1.3GHz, 2GB of RAM, and the Mali T720 GPU.

Those specifications would be empty words if we didn’t mention real-world performance, though, and in the case of the m2 Note it’s just very smooth and lag-free for the most part. There is no micro lag in first-party apps, and the multitasking menu comes up practically instantly. The only place where we did notice some micro lag was the quick search menu (that you bring up by swiping up on the display).

There is one key tune-up option that you need to be aware of before we go into further performance details: in Settings -> Battery -> under the Power Mode tab, you can select between two modes for the phone: a Battery Saver, Balanced and Performance mode. We ran the phone in the default Balanced mode, which is sufficient for daily use and that’s what we recommend using to most users. Performance would squeeze the most out of the silicon, while putting an extra strain on the battery, while Battery Save mode will cap it to maximize battery life.

If you compare the m2 Note with its predecessor, the m1 Note, you’d see that Meizu has cut some corners to make the Meizu m2 Note more affordable than the M1 Note. First and most noticeable is the change in GPU: the M2 Note features the Mali-T720 MP3 edition running at up to 450MHz (an 8-cluster GPU by ARM), while the original M1 Note features the Mali-T760, a 16-cluster graphics chip with a maximum clock speed of 700MHz and much higher performance capabilities. The new CPU is also clocked at up to 1.3GHz, while the earlier one could reach 1.7GHz. Another subtle change is in the ISP that is also cut to support only 3Gbps of bandwidth, compared with 4Gbps ISP in the original.

Those changes don’t seem to result in any visible effect in daily performance, but if you’re buying the phone as a gamer on a budget, you might want to consider getting the older generation that runs more demanding games better and with higher level of details. The GPU on the m2 Note handles Asphalt 8 with no lag, but some other demanding titles do seem to stutter a bit here and there.

You have 16GB of on-board storage, but luckily the handset also supports expandable memory via microSD cards of up to 128 gigs. It’s worth noting that Meizu uses high-speed eMMC 5 flash chips from Samsung, and we were impressed with how this resulted in quick installs of apps and overall faster performance.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Meizu m2 note 30359.33
Huawei P8 lite 35438
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 22490
LG G Stylo 21530
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Meizu m2 note 916.33
Huawei P8 lite 966
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 959
LG G Stylo 793
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Meizu m2 note 1660.33
Huawei P8 lite 2147
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 2121
LG G Stylo 1952
Sunspider Lower is better
Meizu m2 note 1499.8
Huawei P8 lite 1272
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 1514.4
LG G Stylo 1522.9
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Meizu m2 note 11
Huawei P8 lite 23.5
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 13
LG G Stylo 9.6
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Meizu m2 note 4.1
Huawei P8 lite 12.6
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 6.3
LG G Stylo 4
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Meizu m2 note 720
Huawei P8 lite 800
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 561
LG G Stylo 535
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Meizu m2 note 550.33
Huawei P8 lite 681
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 464
LG G Stylo 451
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Meizu m2 note 2529
Huawei P8 lite 2597
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 1451
LG G Stylo 1407

Internet and Connectivity

The Meizu m2 Note features a fast browser and supports 4G LTE connectivity (but band support is limited). It’s also a dual SIM phone.

The Meizu m2 Note comes with a custom browser that features a very nice interface that seems to be better optimized for touch than many modern mobile browsers. Tab switching, for instance, is probably one of the fastest of any browser: it happens via a button conveniently located in the bottom of the display, and the tabs appear and switch instantly. We have not run any comparative loading times tests, but loading speeds were definitely not slow. Scrolling around and zooming in and out also happens without a stutter. We also love the fact that you have a night mode for convenient reading (backgrounds turn dark from white).

In terms of connectivity, the m2 Note adds 4G LTE support with the common in Europe bands 1/3/7. Unfortunately, those bands are not widely supported on the major US carriers, meaning that you are not likely to get 4G LTE connectivity if you use this phone stateside.

The Meizu m2 Note uses a clever SIM tray with support for dual SIM cards of the nano SIM standard (you can use LTE on both SIM cards). Interestingly, you can also use the second SIM slot for a microSD card that you put horizontally, so you have the choice of using the phone either as a single SIM phone with a microSD card, or as a dual SIM phone with no microSD card support.

In terms of connectivity, you have the standard dual-channel Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0, but there is no NFC support.

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35 Comments

1. Mena13Suvari

Posts: 32; Member since: Sep 25, 2014

Great review! For what "headphones output voltage" stands for? The higher it is, the sound is louder or...?

2. hafini_27

Posts: 951; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

It just means louder sound.

13. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Dont listen to noob. Higher voltage enable you to use higher impedance headphones.. Basically the one that's you would need to use an amplificator if you would use it on an iPhone by example.

25. TechBlue

Posts: 81; Member since: May 06, 2010

Hey phone arena I hope you do the review on the 5" Meizu M2 Since not everyone is looking for a phone as big as this Note ... look forward to it

3. hafini_27

Posts: 951; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

The true affordable phone.

4. Takeharu

Posts: 288; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

A question, what kind of apps aren't optimized/won't run? Any big ones like Whatsapp or Facebook?

6. hmd74

Posts: 541; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Good question Answer it PA

9. cigzz

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 19, 2014

I am using Meizu M1 Note as my daily driver and im on Flyme 4 with KitKat and i have never had any problems with any apps that won't run. Facebook is working same with Instagram, whatsapp, tumblr, messenger, chrome, spotify and a lot more. And also no fingerprint scanner in cons is stupid. It is an affordable phone, not flagship or sth

11. hafini_27

Posts: 951; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

On XDA, ppl report problems with Facebook, Instagram and Skype, also apps notifications like email apps.

31. 5Cents

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 31, 2015

@cigzz; @hafini_27. I just got my Note 2 day before yesterday. Spent yesterday learning the difference between a nano-sim and a micro-sim; and about broadcast bands for LTE(4G) technology, I tried to log into Facebook today (to register for this site) and it tells me my password changed over a year ago! --- can you see my point!! I think the MNote 2 is an excellent smartphone for Generation Xer's. We want a phone with good phone clarity; the ability to use communications media quickly (gmail, WhatsApp, possibly twitter); to be able to navigate when we travel (g-maps); to conduct electronic transactions (banking; shopping apps); and quickly access information (efficient browsing). Generation Xer's generally couldn't care less about gaming features (I've never used an X-box in my life) and normally have other ways of keeping things private/safe (which we've used for a long time) so fingerprint technology isn't really that important. The majority of Generation Xer's, I know, feel immodest taking selfies and so the use of Instagram also isn't really important. Our careers often make us work long hours and battery life is important. For my needs this is truly the right phone (and that it comes at the right price is a plus). Just my 5 cents worth.

32. 5Cents

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 31, 2015

Also just a quick reminder: Most Generation Xer's I know would be quite content to continue using the phones we had three years ago. If you did a study you would find that they are more often forced into a new phone due to their tech companies planned obsolescence (leading to malfunction) rather than willingly upgrade for "better screen resolution" or more advanced software etc. In this sense I echo the compliments to Meizu for giving the likes of Sony/Samsung/Apple a run for their money.

18. Victor.H

Posts: 1098; Member since: May 27, 2011

Chat heads on Facebook Messenger do not appear on top of everything as they should, and I've had Google Play Games not installing and one other, non-essential application.

21. Takeharu

Posts: 288; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Thank you Victor, will be ordering one as my secondary phone.

5. hmd74

Posts: 541; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Wow! I'm buying one

7. ryq24

Posts: 875; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

This are the kind of phones that is hurting Samsung, lg and Sony right now.

8. FoneAddict

Posts: 263; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

Meizu are on a Roll! Good for them, the more competition the better!

10. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Looks like a great phone from all areas other than its looks. Nice size battery to boot Looks very bland one front and back though

12. aReefer

Posts: 53; Member since: Mar 21, 2015

I just picked one up today myself. Just loading some apps, so nothing to offer other than first impressions so far, but it seems to run smooth and no crashes or odd behaviour so far. Just make sure to jam the little SIM drawer key *all* the way in to open it, as I used too much force on opening mine, and now it's a tad wobbly. My own fault, but no big deal. Generally I am pretty happy so far. Images and video are great, and no heating (yet). I am especially happy that I can use 2 SIM cards - one personal, and one from work. No more carrying around 2 phones. Yippee! ..oh yeah, and I love the display.

15. aReefer

Posts: 53; Member since: Mar 21, 2015

Ok, some 12th hour impressions: No issues with any apps so far because of the single button design, but I haven't tried any heavy games yet. I already dropped it once accidentally (no case or screen protector yet) as I was getting out of the car, and it fell from an angle onto gravel from about 1 meter of height, and then it skidded for another 50 cm. across the gravel until it stopped - fortunately entirely on its back - with me looking on in horror. No scratches on back panel at all - not even in the corners. One helluva first day. My poor little phone. That said, it seems to be pretty rugged overall since it has survived my abuse, except for the (now-loose) SIM tray.

14. danielxxi

Posts: 183; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

Wow display quality assessment give good to excellent score in every aspects, I wonder why PA not describing this as good achievement, but if reviewing Samsung & Apple device gotta be like "Wow, this display so accurate, bright, vivid blah blah blah" and kudos to Sharp display invent IGZO display

16. may_czos

Posts: 956; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

M2 Note with M1 Note's processor would be great. Unfortunately the one in M2 (MT6753) is much slower and than Snapdragon 615.

17. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Good review Victor. Really the loudspeaker is so dull?

20. aReefer

Posts: 53; Member since: Mar 21, 2015

I can confirm that it is very weak - something that really bothers me when using Waze while driving, since I have trouble hearing the directions over the volume of the car stereo - even when the car stereo's volume is low. Hopefully the issue will be resolved with a software update at some point in the future(?) - if not, perhaps I'll be able to work-around it by routing the sound to the cars Bluetooth speaker. In any case, it is one of two major 'bugs' in the design of this phone that I have discovered so-far, but it's a pretty annoying one for me. The second issue I have discovered is an issue with the touch screen near the edges of the screen. For example, I have trouble setting the screen brightness to maximum by tapping on the highest end of the brightness slider. I can still 'drag' the slider to maximum, but still.... Basically the touch-screen recalibration, and the speaker issue both need to be addressed in a software update from Meizu I think.

19. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Wow and they scored the Desire Eye an 8 for some ridiculous cons while this phone got a 9.. Sick s**t right there

26. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

for the price, this phone really deserve solid 9

22. mobilefuture

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

Umm PA, could you tell me where you downloaded the official Google Play app for this. It doesn't come out of the box, right?

23. Victor.H

Posts: 1098; Member since: May 27, 2011

It comes with the Google Play Store already installed.

24. anleoflippy

Posts: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

Internationally it will come with Google Apps. Only in Chinese version it won't be included.

27. najib1312

Posts: 155; Member since: May 08, 2013

I have a Meizu M1 note and like mentioned in the review, the speaker is dull. Fortunately I've been able to boost the loudness of the main speaker in both normal and headset mode through the engineering settings (*#*#3646633#*#*). Don't know if this would work in M2 note though.

28. Furbal unregistered

give these phones lte bands 2 4 7 12 17 damn you :(
m2 note
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13.1 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor MediaTek, Octa-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh

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