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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- 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