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Meizu M5 Note Review – Better Than Xiaomi? A Solid Budget Phone!

by Linus 6

Meizu is a well-known Chinese manufacturer that loves saying that its phones are better than Xiaomi’s. The Meizu M5 Note is one of the company’s latest budget offerings that has a flagship-grade build quality, decent specs and a lot more. Learn more in our full review.

Thanks to lightinthebox.com for sending the Meizu M5 Note for a review.

VIDEO REVIEW

UNBOXING

In the box, you get all the usual stuff that includes some paperwork, SIM ejector pin, USB cable and a fast charger.

DESIGN and DISPLAY

What I absolutely love about the M5 Note is a flagship-grade build quality.

Just look at it, the phone is made entirely of metal, a silver aluminum finish does not attract fingerprints and smudges quickly and the phone feels nice in the hand. I am so excited because I prefer metal phones over the glass-made ones.

The M5 Note has a 5.5” 1080p display that is just gorgeous to look at. It is sharp and vibrant but the sunlight legibility is just average.

We have a 5MP selfie camera and a notification LED light on the top and on the bottom, there is just a home button that can be either physically pressed or just tapped if you want to use it as a back key. Also, the home button doubles as a fingerprint scanner, which is very accurate but you have to wake the phone up first in order to use it.

As far as optics go, there a 13MP shooter coupled with a dual LED flash.

I love that the buttons are tactile and they do not rattle once pressed.

The sound via the headset jack is great. No distortions and great overall quality for a budget phone. The loudspeaker is also good. In fact, it is one of the better ones in this price range.

HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

When it comes to hardware, things don’t sound that great. Well, the Meizu M5 Note definitely has enough power for most of the daily tasks since it has 3GB of RAM and optional 16/32 or 64GB of expandable storage but the Mediatek Helio P10 chip can’t handle the most intensive tasks like gaming.

If you play games like Asphalt 8 on the highest graphics, you should expect a lot of stutters and quite a few skipped frames. You can fix this issue only if you switch the graphics setting to medium. Other games like Nova 3 run fine.

BENCHMARKS

USER INTERFACE

I have always loved the Flyme Os because of the way it looks it works. Sure, it would be nice to see the latest version of Google’s OS but the Android 6.0-based user interface is fast, there is no stutter or lag no matter what you do with it.

Also, there are some cool features like gesture and motion controls and they work perfectly. I just love those basic gestures that allow you to use the phone in one hand quite easily. You can also customize the phone by changing themes, wallpapers and so on. Finally, my international review unit comes with most of the languages, google play installed and there is no chinese bloatware.

CAMERAS

I like Meizu’s camera app because it is fast and responsive. However, there are a few things the company didn’t fix for a long time, e.g. the shooting modes and settings menus work only in portrait mode for some reason. You can select from a few shooting modes that include a manual mode or slow motion in 720p video mode.

IMAGE QUALITY

Meizu M5 Note takes one of the best pictures you can get on any sub-$150 phone. You will usually get photos that have plenty of detail and sharpness, and the colours will look nice. The dynamic range and white balance may be off in some of the shots but the HDR mode does a decent job bringing the detail back to the shadows (at the expense of a bit unnatural looking picture).

The low-light shots have qutie a bit of noise and grain but this is usually a case with all budget phones.

The 1080p video looks okay. Not very impressive in general but pretty good for a budget phone.

The selfies look pretty good except for the fact that the colours look a bit washed out.

The 1080p selfie video looks good but again, the colors are washed out. Finally, the sound recording quality is really good for a cheap phone.

Download full resolution camera samples

CONNECTIVITY

When it comes to connectivity, the M5 Note remains solid. Call quality and signal reception are great, wifi and 4g speeds are good and the Bluetooth works fine. However, I found the GPS to be less accurate than flagship phones.

BATTERY LIFE

A 4000 mAh battery is one of my favourite features of the Meizu M5 note. Your results may vary but with my usage, I could constantly get over 5 hours of screen-on time with 2 SIM cards and quite a heavy usage of the phone.

If you need to recharge the battery, you can do it quickly in just over 1:30 h with the supplied fast charger.

CONCLUSIONS

The Meizu M5 Note is a very solid budget smartphone that delivers in a lot of ways. I absolutely love the design and build quality of it, the speed and feature set of the UI, the camera, and outstanding battery life.

My main complaints would be that the phone uses Helio P10 chip which is not designed for gamers. Also, the phone still runs on Android 6.0 and we still have a regular micro USB port for charging.

Other than that, Meizu M5 Note is a great offering for the price if you don’t mind those shortcomings.

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4.5

Design and Build
Display
Hardware
User Interface
Camera
Connectivity
Battery Life
Overall Performance
Value for Money
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  • Mr.Flying Zoom3rz

    Nice review. The same cons for me – cpu and no Nougat, so based on that the Redmi Note 4X is still the budget king. For a little more I like to recommend Lenovo P2 to a people looking for decent all-rounder phone. Screen, RAM, battery, build quality, stock 7.0 all is better than 99.9% of the phones in it’s price range.

    • Great battery on the P2, but like the Redmi Note 4/4X, no fast charging so you’d need to plug it in for what about, 3 hours? Also, does the P2 have a global ROM available like the Redmi Note series? No deal for me otherwise.

      • Mr.Flying Zoom3rz

        Hey, the P2 has a fast charging, it fully charges 0-100 in less than 2 hours. Also the stock 6.0 and 7.0 are global, they are named ROW (Rest of to world). For the price you’re right, it’s a bit overpriced. I’ve got mine from a dude in my country who recorded a video review of the phone and I paid $276 with the shipping.

        • You’re right, my mistake re fast charging but still way more pricey than the Xiaomi Note 4 which can be had for only $175 to $180. Still, if the P2 has a global ROM it sounds pretty good.

          • Mr.Flying Zoom3rz

            No doubt that the P2 is more expensive, but it has more ram (only the Indian version of Redmi Note 4 is 4GB)., better screen, better build quality, better software, better battery and more. I’m planning to get the 4X as my backup phone so I’ll never run out of juice lol.

  • I like Meizu phones as well. My main complaint is the lack of a global ROM. Many Xiaomi phones have a global ROM available after a while, which makes them far more attractive to me. I tried the Meizu Pro 5 – great phone but all apps in Chinese and I had to install Google apps myself. Not a deal breaker but not ideal. Some retailers install their own ROMs that give multilanguages and Google with no Chinese apps but the ones I have come across do not allow OTA updates so you are stuck with the phone as it is when you order it.

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