Before we start
This review can be updated based on your input. Would you like to see a certain test? Give me a message and I will try to incorporate it in the review.
Vragen mogen ook in het Nederlands!
25-12-15 - First release
Buying a phone from China is not for everyone yet. However, in the last years people are importing steadily more phones to the Benelux. There are ample advantages of importing a chinese phone. Chinese phones tend to be cheaper than their counterparts sold here. The question that I got a lot with my second Chinese phone (a Newman N2) was ''does it work''. Well of course! However, my Newman was ageing and will be put to use for my SO. Therefore I could go go-go-gadget shopping again.
My budget was ~ 130 euro, and with help of this GOT topic
I bought a Meizu M2 Mini for about 120¤ including delivery from an European warehouse.
So what does 120¤ get you nowadays in China?
GSM / HSPA / LTE
Body & Size
140.1 x 68.9 x 8.7 mm (5.52 x 2.71 x 0.34 in)
131 g (4.62 oz)
Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
5.0 inches (~71.4% screen-to-body ratio)
720 x 1280 pixels (~294 ppi pixel density)
Dragon Trail Glass
Android OS, v5.1 (Lollipop)- Flyme 4.5
Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53
16 GB internal storage
2 GB RAM
Back: 13 MP, 4208 x 3120 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Front: 5 MP
Non-removable 2500 mAh battery
Unfortunately no LTE or full Dutch 4g, which makes this phone less future proof than its competitors. Also, you can choose between dual sim, or single sim+ mSD card. So dual sim and micro sd card is not possible.
Packaging, looks and UI
The box the phone comes in looks quite nice and contains the following:
In the box we find an (in my case) 220v charger, usb cable, 'flyme' key to open the simcard and micro sd slot. No screenprotector is included, which is a pity.
The exterior of the phone looks quite sleek and expensive in my opinion. Bezels are small and the phone has the right amount of weight, not too heavy to feel like a brick, not too light to feel like a flimsy toy.
The micro usb charging port and speaker are located at the underside of the phone.
On the right side we find at the top two volume keys, and below the volume keys the power key.
The upper side of the phone has a headset jack.
The left side of the phone only has the sim and mSD card slot.
The phone has rounded edges and a hard plastic non-removable backside. This makes that the phone sometimes is slippery. Also, fingerprints are easily made.
When first starting the phone the screen draws attention: it is very bright and nice (at least, compared to my Newman N2).
I don't like flyme that much. The settings menu is all different from the normal android so you are always searching for the option that you want. You cannot see the amount of data that apps have used. You need to register a Flyme account to be able to use the phone and to root it. Rooting is easily done with setting a checkmark in the Flyme options:
This allows to install apps like Adaway.
With respect to bloatware there are a few apps that are installed when first starting.
Most of these I have frozen with Titanium Backup.
I have installed Novalauncher as I dislike the stock Flyme home screen with its few options:
What I very like about this phone is the hardware key.
It is both capacitive and can also be pressed. When using it as a capacitive key, it functions as a 'back' key. When pressing, it functions as a home key. When long-pressing, you can assign a function. It works, after a few days of use, really intuitive.
Benchmarks were conducted with the phone out of the box and software version 188.8.131.52A. The device is very snappy and quick. There is almost no lag in launching apps and multitasking is perfect due to the 2gb ram.
Geekbench 3 single: 621
Geekbench 3 multi: 1841
Antutu score is 26787 which puts the M2 Mini in the field of the HTC One and Galaxy S4
Geekbench 3 single: 621
Geekbench 3 multi: 1841
This shows that the Mediatek 6735 is comparable to the Snapdragon S4 Pro (which can be found for example in the Moto X which is almost twice the price of the M2 Mini), which is not bad for a 120 euro device.
The sound of the device when calling is good. No distortion or low volume. The only bad thing is the speaker. When calling via speaker you will have to turn the volume up to maximum to hear anything. And even then the volume is low. Bad speaker! Also when playing music the sound is very tinny and lacks bass and depth.
The camera app is easy to use, with enough settings.
The speed of the camera is very good. You can start it from the locked device screen for quick access. Both volume keys are used as a camera shutter button. Autofocus is quick and I did not have issues with it. The speed of taking pictures is very good. Quality of the pictures is reasonable, with details lacking when zooming in on a picture.
For more pictures see THIS LINK
The front cam is actually pretty good, sporting auto focus. Here are a few samples:
(Yes, in secret I'm actually a bear)
Signals & GPS
Cell reception is good, outperforming an Oneplus Two and a Jiayu G2 of a friend. No problems recorded, almost everywhere 3g connection and a quick connection when browsing through 3g.
Wifi is also good, before I did not have signal on my toilet (which is of course very important during long number two sessions..:P) and now I have. No problems noted with the wifi, it is fast and works as required.
GPS is accurate. When sitting indoors Sygic has a fix in less than 10 seconds. I have to yet use it for navigation in the car. Will update when I have done this.
Indicator light is white and no lights are on when the device is charging.
The screen looks very nice in my opinion. A pixel density of ~ 294 is high enough to have difficulty spotting individual pixels. The screen brightness is very good and viewing angles are pretty decent (although you always look straight at your mobile right? Whatever
Battery is 'only' 2500 mAh according to the specs. For me, it lasts at least 1.5 to 2 days, but I not yet try to drain it fully. Most of the times at the end of one day >50% remains with moderate use (Firefox, whatsapp). Battery consumption is low in stand-by and no noticeable battery drain is recorded.
(set power mode is 'balanced' for all of these screens)
Stability and software updates
Having no option to remove the battery to reset the phone I was a bit worried. These worries are not required. The phone is very stable. I have the phone now for 6 weeks and there were two times when I had to give my SIM unlock code when activating the phone, indicating that it rebooted. Other than this, the phone is very stable. OTA updates work like a charm so far.
Featureset 4*, as there is no LTE and 4g. No two sim cards and
mSD card possible.
Screen: 4*, nice screen but I do not have a lot of references
Design: 4*, very nice but slippery
Build quality: 4*, phone feels sturdy due to the unibody hard plastic shell. No noises when trying to bend, and buttons feel reasonble sturdy.
Stability: 5*, phone is stable, OTA works good, root as a setting
Picture quality: 4*, camera is quick but lacks detail. Front cam is ok. Video is ok.
User friendliness: 3*, I would like Flyme to have more options. Luckily, Flyme tools can be installed through Xposed.
Battery: 5*, can easily do 2 days with moderate use which is good. No drain.
Signals: 5*, fast GPS, good Wifi, good cell signals, fast browsing on 3g.
Price: 5*, for the price, I can only recommend this phone. Would you like a more 'tweaker phone' go for its direct competitor, the Redmi 2.
For 120 euro, this is a recommendation. A quick phone, with a nice screen and good battery life. Downsides are the Flyme software and lack of custom roms. As an alternative one could also look at the Redmi 2, which has no flyme and alot of custom user support. But if you want a snappy, stable phone that works right out of the box with not a lot of tweaking required, this is definitely a recommendation. Merry christmas!
Tweaks and tips
Updating the firmware
To be able to root, update the firmware to the (at time of this writing) latest international version Flyme OS 184.108.40.206A. here
. This will remove some bloatware and the root option in Flyme will actually work. Note that some localization languages will be removed due to this update.
Play store can be installed by going to the Meizu App centre and searching for 'google installer'. Note that the app centre is still in Chinese.
on how to install Xposed. Be sure to enter cd/sdcard in the terminal emulator after setting SU. Flyme tools also works, which gives alot of advanced options to the Flyme shell.
Running apps can be shown by swiping up from the bottom side of the screen. Apps can be locked here as well, to keep them in memory.