Going back to 2014, getting a highly spec'ed phone often cost a lot. Fortunately, Meizu was there as they started the revolution of providing handsets with good power at a very low price with the release of the M1 Note in the Philippines last March of 2015.

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Meizu M1 Note review!
We had a quick date with it and was able to do our quick impressions, but that left us to crave more on what this beautiful handset can do in the actual life scenario. Fortunately, we were able to secure our demo unit and share with you now our complete thoughts with this phone.

Unboxing / Accessories

I was extremely excited when I got the M1 Note as it is really one of those devices I've been targeting to review. It comes with a good quality looking package.

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Accessories included
Upon opening, you'll immediately see the gorgeous big screened Meizu M1 Note. I got the pink unit which I see as a very "manly" handset compared to what others may think. When I dig deeper into the package I saw the good quality micro USB cables, the micro SIM ejector and the USB wall charger adapter rated at 2A. You also get a free Globe SIM by the way. :)

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
The Flyme labeled SIM ejector
Build Quality and Design

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Looks gorgeous in pink :)
For a handset priced under 10,000 pesos with this power, I don't know how Meizu was able to make this a solid looking handset. It feels great to hold, as I've said earlier it feels durable and that heat / age resistant polycarbonate plastic used here doesn't feel cheap and appears to be on par to what the higher end Lumia's and iPhone 5C are using. Definitely even better than the lower end Lumia's like the 730 and 535. The screen of this device is also protected by a true Gorilla Glass 3 to prevent scratches and breakage.

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
On the top of the phone, you'll see the 3.5 mm jack on the upper left side
 and the oddly placed power button on the upper right side,
there's also a microphone placed on the side of the jack.
Design-wise it looks like the Meizu MX4 except that its bigger than it's more powerful brother which is actually even than the MX4 Pro in appearance. Don't get me wrong there this is still one of the slimmest looking 5.5 Inches device out there. When you look at it you can clearly see that the bezels look very small. Some of you may think that the glossy finish of the M1 Note will make it feel slippery to hold,  but you're wrong as it's giving me a good grip of the phone better than those with matte texture. I also liked that it's a lightweight phone at 145g only.

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
In this side the volume rocker is visible
M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Say hello to the 13 MP Samsung Sensor w/ the LED flash
The dual microSIM spot is also visible here
M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Microphone, micro USB port and the speaker found at the bottom
The M1 Note simply puts most the newer competition under 8K to shame when it comes to design and build. It's also the thinnest among them.

Display

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
The M1 Note looks great on all angles
At 401 ppi and the use of a IGZO 1080p display, the M1 Note has a very good display. The viewing angles are fantastic, the colors has that slightly warm near balance feel, vivid, isn't over-saturated and has decent color reproduction . I also would love to point out that I was able to use this unit for hours without my sensitive eyes hurting. While I'm looking for more color accuracy and a little it more brightness here that's present with higher end displays, the Meizu M1 Note arguably has the best display you can get at this price point with me preferring it over the likes of the AFP and A7000.

Battery Life

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Check out that battery life!
With the use of a 5.5 inch screen at 1080p and octa core processor with 3,150 mAh of power, I never expected the Meizu M1 Note's battery to last me this long. I had over 12 hours of battery life in it with my real world usage which is 35 mins longer than their promise. All of that with my WiFi or LTE on all the time at an auto brightness setting. I was playing games casually and browsing the social media all the time too. That's more than what I experienced even when you compare it against some 5 - 5.5 inches phone with octa core processor that has an average life of 8-9 hours. Overall, the M1 Note's power is good enough to last you a day of use. The power optimization used by Meizu here was simply good. Wait, before I forget it also has power saving features to further extend your battery life.

Audio

Speakers - The speaker quality is good, it doesn't distorts and can provide decent / clear sounding tunes across the spectrum, but it sounds a bit weak to my full liking. Could be remedied by installing audio boosters, but that's in your own risk as it may distort the sound and damage the drivers.

Audio Out - The best way to describe the headphone audio output of the M1 Note is flat and clean. It can't go too loud, but the sound was great! It was also fairly detailed with good mids and treble. There are just some sub-bass tunes that doesn't have too much extension when you used a balanced sounding can. Fortunately, most headphones readily available in the market are targeting towards the bass loving crowd and that slight lack of sub-bass makes them sound balanced and great. Sound separation and staging was also decent with this. In general this would be an above average IEM and low impedance headphones on the go driver.

Microphone - again Meizu has proven their worth with this. There are some highly spec'ed phone but forgot to use some high quality microphones. Fortunately that's not the case here as the M1 Note has that dual mic setup to make your calls and recording clear and accurate.

Note 1: it sounds fantastic with the ATH IM70, ATH MSR-7 and RHA MA750i.
Note 2: Audiophiles, it's fantastic to pair even with just the FiiO E11K portable amp

Camera

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Meizu M1 Note Camera Modes
Meizu clearly did their homework on what people needs on a camera smartphone. It has that modes which includes auto, panorama, light field, scan, slow motion, beauty and the for the pros Manual mode. It also has that double tap to square mode where-in you can take squared photos instantly. This is perfect for those who love to post via instagram without worrying on cropping their shots.

Sample shots

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Auto, HDR and Flash
The auto mode looks decent but with less detail and colors, the HDR mode brought more life and range into it and the Flash shot may be a bit toobright for this lighting but didn't overexposed the subject to my surprise.


Lowlight shots (Outdoor and Indoor)
The M1 Note performed really well in this test, it was almost on par with most cams that performs well in this kind of lighting. The keyboard keys on the ultrabook on the photo still shows some details in it.
M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Selfie shots!
Rated at 5 MP with 4 elements lens, the front camera shooter of the M1 Note lives to the hype! It performed really well, the colors looks natural, it was fairly detailed and has that very quick shutter speed! For example my alone selfie shot was taken while walking and it was still able to focus on my face properly.
M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
50% Zoom
Of course, it will appear with too much grain if you zoom this to the max, but in an actual life scenario at 50% the rear camera of this handset performed really well.
M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Dim light - foodie shot
Look at that naturalism and the range!
Sample videos

Sample video using the rear camera, also check out that good voice clarity!

Selfie camera video test

I clearly enjoyed my time with the camera of the M1 Note, it's amazing for the asking price, has that cool for the pro's manual mode and one of the fastest shutter speeds I experienced from a midrange handset. It was also able to perform quite well even with bad lighting. Both the rear and front camera performed great when taking videos shots. However, I prefer the front camera better as it's less shaky compared to the back cam video shots. While it's far from perfect, it's definitely one of my favorites in this price range.

Performance

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
The FlyMe OS
When you combine that 64 bit MT6752 octa core processor and pair it 2 GB of RAM, expect a beastly phone. It was able to run all the games smoothly from Dead Trigger 2, NBA 2K14 and UFC. Multitasking was also good, I was able to open multiple apps with me switching from one app to another with a lot of ease. There were occasional heating, but not to the point that it's alarmingly hot. Connectivity-wise, I never had a problem with this handset. I was able to use the 3 main networks in the country and both Smart and Globe LTE worked just fine.

Another aspect of this phone that I liked is it was able to retain most of the gestures found in the more powerful yet pricier MX4, it has that double tap to wake, hold home button to lock, swipe from home button up to wake and a lot more other shortcut gestures.

With my M1 Note and Flyme OS experience, the use handset for several days is a delight even if it took me 2 days to get familiar with it. Once you're used to it, it's absolutely one of the easiest and fastest to use UI in the Android world. That FlyMe OS is simply a mature type of custom Android OS that simply gets the job done. Almost all the important features that I needed was there, it's very fast, responsive and looks extremely neat / pleasing. This makes me hope that all handsets are integrated with this type of custom Android OS.

Note: While it's not yet on Lollipop, Meizu promised a software update this June. :)

Benchmarks

M1 Note Full Review, The Phone Who Started The Bang Per Buck Madness This Year!
Monstrous 2014 flagship like scores for a very affordable phone!
Antutu - 19,236
Geek Bench - 1110 (Multi Core), 351 (Single Core)
Vellamo - 1,575 (Browser)
Quadrant - 5,640

Meizu M1 Note Specs

  • Display: 5.5 inches IGZO display at 1080p (401 ppi) Gorilla Glass 3
  • Processor:  64 bit MT6752 with an octa core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
  • GPU: Mali-T760 
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • ROM: 16 / 32 GB
  • Rear Camera: 13 MP f/2.2 Samsung Sensor
  • Front Camera: 5 MP f/2.0 with 4 element lens
  • Battery: 3140 mAh Capacity
  • OS: Android 4.4 Kitkat with Flyme 4.0
  • Connectivity: WiFi / Bluetooth / LTE / 3G
  • Dimensions: 75.2 x 150.7 x 8.9mm
  • Price: PHP 7,990 / 8,599

Pro's - to be honest, at this price almost everything, display, raw computing power, headphone out, microphone, OS (UI), camera, battery, build quality and design

Con's - Almost none except for the lack of microSD card slot, no free IEM w/ mic, quite weak speakers minor things like the quick charging tech and the plastic is a bit prone to hairline scratches.

Verdict

The M1 Note is amazing! The craft and effort Meizu was able to put here was near unbelievable. Even with the release of other handsets with almost the same specs. The Meizu M1 Note is still arguably better compared to its direct competitors. The UI and software unparalleled, the camera is great and the design / build is a notch ahead of the competition. This is perfect for those who wanted a solid performing world phone that don't need storage above 16 or 32 GB. The M1 Note is that good!

Where to get this? Click Here!
How do you feel?
Share this article :)
Magpress

Geeky Pinas

Geeky Pinas is a Tech News, Reviews and a Lifestyle Site