Meizu m1 metal review: Glitter in the dark

GSMArena team, 23 November, 2015.

Final words

Meizu m1 metal gets a few things right - the premium design, a big high-res screen, snappy performance and a bargain price tag. And that's enough for the fans to love it, and we are sure many people are already eyeing it for the upcoming holiday season.

Meizu M1 Metal review

The Chinese mid-rangers have redefined the mid-range segment during the last couple of years and are forcing the major manufacturers to rethink and reinvent their mainstream lineups. Companies like Meizu, Xiaomi, Oppo, and even OnePlus, are making a clear statement that you can get better value for your money and the competition had to run with the new rules of the game.

Meizu m1 metal key test findings

  • The Meizu m1 metal offers great build quality and solid construction, though its back shell doesn't feel metal on touch. The curved 2.5D front glass edges are nice;
  • mTouch home button is the most practical home button we've seen - accepting fingerprint reading, presses and taps though it needs some time getting used to;
  • The screen is a mixed bag - below average brightness levels produce uninspiring contrast ratio but color rendition is good. Viewing angles and sunlight legibility are good as well;
  • The battery endurance rating of 61h is slightly above average, the scores across all tests are very good, but the standby endurance is average;
  • Flyme OS is fluid and responsive, unlocking gestures are just as good here, mTouch button has some great added functionality (closing apps, going into previous menu). Great customization options via themes;
  • Using Yun OS in the Western world doesn't see to pose any limitations as long as you have the Google Services sideloaded additionally;
  • The Helio X10 chipset offers flagship performance inside a mid-ranger, which should please even the most power-hungry users;
  • Video player has rich video and audio codec support;
  • Audio output is very clean, decently loud;
  • Subpar still camera performance - good dynamic range and colors, but poor resolved detail, lots of noise, soft corners and over-sharpening plague all photos;
  • Disappointing panoramic images, unimpressive selfies;
  • The 1080p videos came out with uninspiring detail and bitrate, over-sharpened and with visible oscillations.

Sure, Meizu has cut a few corners here and there, but nothing really major to ruin the overall positive impressions, though honestly, a good quality camera is all but essential these days. Still, this isn't unexpected (we're looking at you Meizu m2 note) and the snapper should do fine to capture the occasional memorable moments. We can certainly give it some slack at this price point.

The reality however is there is lots of competition out there and the toughest ones are coming from Meizu's homeland - it's Xiaomi and Lenovo. Xiaomi's Redmi Note 2 is selling hot worldwide and there is a reason - it costs about 170 and offers identical specs sans the premium design.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

The 5.5" Lenovo K3 Note is even cheaper, but there is a reason - it's MediaTek chip is an older version with inferior GPU and the phone has got a less premium shell. The rest is a match for the Meizu metal.

Lenovo K3 Note
Lenovo K3 Note

The metal's predecessors - the Meizu m1 note and m2 note are worth checking out - both offer 5.5" displays and MT chips with 8-core processors, but basically they run on older hardware and cost more. If you are into Meizu's phones and a proper camera is a must have - then the Meizu MX5 will give you a great camera, an AMOLED screen and even better design for some extra 130.

Meizu m1 note Meizu m2 note Meizu MX5
Meizu m1 note Meizu m2 note Meizu MX5

The Meizu m1 metal costs 210 for its 16GB flavor and throwing extra 30 will double the storage. This is probably the best priced mid-ranger right now, plus it has the looks and the horse power to prove its worth. Meizu did a great job of making yet another worthy mid-ranger and even as a grey Chinese import, running the Chinese YunOS, it's still a nice smartphone and we are looking forward to seeing what the international version would bring to the table, hopefully making the deal even sweeter.

Special thanks to HonorBuy.com for providing the review unit.