Meizu, the Chinese smartphone maker, is riding high on the success of its m series budget smartphones. Considering the diverse option available, it is really difficult to gain traction in the budget space. Meizu claims to have sold over 20 million m series smartphones, which is not a small number by any means.
Meizu is banking on the success of its previous offering and has introduced m3 note in India. The company says it has brought the budget smartphone to India within days of its China launch, which proves how much of a priority India is for the company.
Meizu m3 note is the successor to m2 note and the most direct competitor yet to Xiaomi Redmi Note 3—note the note in the names. The phone (Meizu m3 note) has a design very similar to m2 note, which itself is similar to Apple iPhone. The smartphone has a really big 4100mAh battery and metal unibody design, similar to Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. What sets the m3 note apart, however, is the significantly cheaper price tag. So is this the best smartphone under R10,000? Let’s find out in our review.
What is good?
Meizu m3 note has one of the best industrial designs among smartphones priced under R10,000. It has metal unibody construction with nice chamfered edges. The silver colour review unit had a striking look, and many even confused it for the iPhone 6 Plus, which itself is a pat on the back for the Chinese smartphone maker.
Meizu m3 note has only a single navigation button called mBack. The mBack button acts as Home button, fingerprint scanner and back button. Again it’s an idea taken from iPhone design, but added with extra features.
The Meizu m3 note has a battery that will be the envy any kind of smartphone in the price range. I used Meizu m3 note as my primary smartphone and was easily able to push it over two-and-a-half days. The screen on time was over seven hours every single day, and the usage involved calls, messaging, social media, video streaming and little gameplay.
My usage does sound a lot but the 4,100mAh Lithium battery under the hood just lasts longer. An average user can easily get around three days of juice from this one while heavy users can leave home their charger for a day. It matches Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3 nicely when it comes to battery backup.
Meizu m3 note packs a 5.5-inch Full HD display upfront which offers nice detail, sharper texts and good colour reproduction. However, the auto brightness did not work well and especially under Delhi’s direct sunlight, the brightness needs to be maxed out.
My colleague was not really impressed with Xiaomi Redmi Note 3’s camera and I must say Meizu has managed to better Xiaomi on that front. Meizu m3 note’s camera is quick to focus and it manages to reproduce great amount of detail almost every time. It offers tonnes of options like 6-second gifs and the ability to refocus the image using light field mode after it’s shot. However, the manual mode works reliably well. It has a maximum ISO of 1600 and shutter speed of 16 seconds.
Meizu m3 note comes with 32GB storage out of the box which is the maximum you can get at this price.
What is not good?
Meizu m3 note runs Flyme UI 5 based on Android 5.1 and we exclusively reported that there is no Marshmallow update on the cards any time soon. The latest operating system means latest security, which Meizu m3 note will miss badly.
Coming back to Flyme UI 5 itself, Meizu claims this version brings lot of polish but my experience was not good. I often saw crashes and some of the UI animations rendered too slow.
Meizu mocked every other manufacturer implementing rear fingerprint scanner in their devices as wearing underwear reverse. I feel its own device has worn the wrong underwear altogether. To be specific, the fingerprint scanner (referred as underwear) is too moody and often failed to register my fingerprint.
Meizu m3 note is powered by a MediaTek Helio P10 processor, which is not a bad processor for smartphone in this class, but isn’t as powerful as the Snapdragon 650 found under the hood of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. That Snapdragon chipset makes for an advanced performance and better graphics performance.
Meizu m3 note could have got one thing right—speakers. The speaker set on this one sounds too tinny and won’t work even at your basic house party. Small things that matter over time.
In short, get Meizu if you want a great design, good camera and storage space and a long battery life.
Estimated street price: Rs 9,999