The competition in the budget category of the smartphone market is getting fiercer by the day. Manufacturers are on a quest to offer power-packed devices at unbelievable price points to compete in this cutthroat smartphone market. Meizu’s latest offering – the M3 Note falls in the same category as Redmi Note 3, which has apparently redefined the budget category of phablets. Priced at Rs. 9,999, the Meizu M3 Note is aimed at buyers looking for a premium device at a budget price point. But has it got enough going on to compete against the Redmi Note 3? Or is it just another device that fades away in the highly competitive budget category of smartphones?
We review the new Meizu M3 Note to find out if its worth the buck?
- Meizu M3 Note
- Wall charger
- USB cable
- SIM Ejector pin
- User Manual
Build and Design
Despite being what you’d call an iPhone rip-off, the M3 Note exudes a premium look and feel. It looks sharp and well built. The outer casing is made from 6000-series aluminum making it rather rough and robust. Everything from the 2.5D glass screen, the camera sensor, the power buttons along with home button are seamlessly integrated with the metal unibody — pretty impressive given the phone’s budget price tag.
Though at 163 grams and 8.2mm in thickness, it feels a bit chunky for one-handed usage. Another factor that might put-off some is the implementation of a single Home button on the front. Implying it lacks the standard three-button Android key layout. Initially, its get a bit a cumbersome, but once you get used to it, it makes for a more intuitive way to interact with the device.
Overall, I have no complaints with phone’s design and build quality, besides the fact that its design gets heavily inspired by the iPhone and feels a bit chunky for one handed usage.
The Meizu M3 Note rocks a 5.5-inch full HD display which is impressive at the given price point. It’s relatively bright, looks sharp and offers good viewing angles. The screen also gets a Dinorex T2X-1 protective coating which the company claims protects it from scratches and accidental drops. It works as advertised as I did not come across any scratches on our review unit during usage.
That said, the phone’s colour reproduction capabilities aren’t as good. As they have a tendency to appear a tad washed out. The display also struggles in bright sunlight, as the screen gets quite reflective making sunlight readability a bit mediocre.
For the asking price, however; the phone’s full HD display is pretty good. The 5.5-inch screen is more than sufficient for watching movies, editing documents and spreadsheets or while playing games.
The Meizu M3 Note comes with a 1GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor bundled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. For normal routine usage such as web browsing or switching among multiple apps, the Meizu M3 Note feels pretty smooth without any noticeable lags or stutters.
Although, it’s not equipped to handle graphically intensive games. As while playing Asphalt 8 and Mortal Kombat X, I could feel the phone struggling to keep up with the frame rates. Loading times were significantly slower as well. It seems the Mali T860 MP2 GPU hasn’t got enough going on to handle these titles.
As far as benchmark scores are concerned, the device racked up an Antutu score of 43474 points. While in GeekBench 3 it managed to pull-off a single core score of 797 and a multi-core score of 2985. In comparison, similarly priced 2GB RAM variant of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 racked up single and multi-core scores of 1242 and 3053 in Geekbench 3.
The Meizu M3 Note also features a fingerprint scanner, which is quite snappy and quickly detects your fingerprint. It’s always nice to see fingerprint scanners in budget devices. They are convenient and give you that additional layer of security.
Our review unit had 16GB of built-in storage. You also get the option to expand the phone’s storage further by up to 256GB, via the phone’s dualSIM hybrid slot. Connectivity options on the phone are fairly standard which includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS, though there’s no support for NFC.
The phone comes with a 4,100 mAh non-removable battery which delivers excellent battery life. The battery indicator just doesn’t budge, and I was able to get two days of moderate usage with the M3 Note with Wi-Fi and LTE on. No need to carry a power bank here as there’s a sufficient amount of juice onboard. Though it lacks support for fast charging, which means longer charging times. It takes around 8-9 hours to get the device fully recharged.
OS and UI
The Meizu Note 3 comes pre-installed with Android 5.1 Lollipop layered with company’s proprietary Flyme 5 UI. It’s rather different from your stock Android experience and looks very similar to iOS. That said, it still looks clean, and the UI offers more intuitive ways of interacting with the device. There’s no denying its takes a bit of time getting used to. Though once you get accustomed its makes for a delightful experience. In my opinion, it’s one of the most fine-tuned Android skins out there. You get better multitasking with slick animations, and the overall experience feels pretty smooth. There’s not much bloatware either.
It also offers a multitude gesture controls such as double tap to wake up or draw a letter on the screen to launch a particular app. While swiping up when the screen is on reveals the multitasking menu. Besides, there are a few additional options in the Settings menu such as do-not-disturb mode, along with a personalisation menu that lets you change themes, wallpapers, and fonts.
The smartphone comes with a 13MP rear camera along with a 5MP front-facing shooter. The rear camera is capable of belting out fairly good pictures with a good amount of detailing and sharpness. Colours, however, aren’t as vivid as they appear a bit washed out. Macro shots captured were also pretty good, but again, color reproduction wasn’t that great. The 5MP camera on the front is also just about OK. Selfies captured often lacked the detail and appeared a tad grainy.
Images captured from both cameras were often a mixed bag. For the Rs. 9,999 asking price, however; you can’t really expect something more.
- Great build quality
- Super-responsive fingerprint scanner
- up to 256 GB of expandable storage
- Outstanding battery life
- Unoriginal design
- Poor gaming performance
Priced at Rs. 9,999, the Meizu M3 Note is a pretty decent device with its premium design, a full HD display, and an excellent battery performance. The fingerprint scanner is a breeze and super-responsive, while the FlyMe 5 UI is pure delight. The only major bottleneck would be its poor gaming performance which can be a severe let down for some. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is a better alternative if you’re looking for a more powerful device at a similar price point.