11:23 20th Jun, 2016
Meizu M3 Note: Good Looking Hotchpotch
It should have been a bargain at INR 9,999, but this Chinese smartphone has too much of a downside.
Put some metal into a phone, and people will fall for it. When you look at the Meizu M3 Note from the front, it's like any other phone. From the back though, it could almost be an iPhone. That, of course, seems to be the ambition of every smartphone these days with the result that most phones are looking like iPhones.
That said, if you don't put the Meizu M3 Note into a case, you're holding an overall good looking device. It also has a pretty good build and is surprisingly light. The aluminium back is shot through with metal antenna lines and looks expensive. But it isn't. This Chinese phone costs a mere INR 9,999.
Still, I'd be very careful and you'll soon see why.
The M3 Note has a nice enough screen that is crisp, good with colors, and comfortable to use. It's a 5.5-inch full HD (1080p) display with 2.5D curved glass. It doesn't have perfect viewing angles however and doesn't stand up to sunlight that well.
The Home button has cleverly been made to triple up as a fingerprint sensor and back button in addition to what Home buttons usually do. The problem is the fingerprint sensor doesn't work reliably. It's rather smart to just have to swipe softly on that Home button to go back, but that's where the smartness ends. Once you're on the inside, you need to figure out Flyme, what Meizu calls its interface.
There are all sorts of customizations hidden and left to the user to discover. One of these is the swipe up from the bottom of the screen for card style multitasking. This works anything but smoothly because the gestures don't flow in intuitively enough with the way a screen is used. There are obscure settings that would leave you looking around for a good long time. For instance,the factory reset was hidden somewhere in the Storage settings.
This phone has a 4,100mAh battery and is light inspite of it. There's no FM Radio but it is a Dual SIM and it supports 4G. You can use two nano SIMs or a nano SIM and micro SD card. It's powered by Mediatek’s Helio P10 but heats up when anything high performance is demanded of it.
The 13MP camera is a washout with colours. I thought perhaps a filter had been set by mistake but was surprised to find it was in normal Auto mode with no changes to default settings. The 5MP front camera was actually a little better.
Just because a device can look faintly like the iPhone doesn't mean it is one. Neither the back of the phone nor the interface with its attempt to be simple and do away with the app drawer the way iOS does, could redeem it.
The M3 Note competes most closely with Yu Televentures' Yunicorn and Xiaomi's Redmi Note 3. I'd head for one of those.
Meizu M3 Note Rating: 3/5
Nice looking back panel
Good build and hand feel
Clever home button
Big battery and yet light
Camera doesn't bring out colours
Unreliable fingerprint sensor
Upgrade to Marshmallow is thought to be doubtful
The Meizu M3 Note is another Android phone trying to look like an iPhone -- but not doing too good of a job of it
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