Meizu M5 Note review: One, Two, Three, Five!

One, Two, Three, Five!

GSMArena team, 03 February 2017.

Introduction

Meizu's Note series were off to a great start with the m1 note. The m2 note did some upgrades in expense of a few features, while the m3 note turned out a worthy successor though it trailed behind the Xiaomi's mid-range crop. It's time for Meizu to freshen up its Note lineup again, and today we get our hands on the newly released M5 Note.

Fun fact! Did you notice there is a missing fourth model in the series? The number four is considered a bad omen in China and skipping it is quite usual. The fear of the number four actually has a proper Greek name - tetraphobia. And yes, we just looked this up.

Meizu M5 Note review

The M5 Note comes with a refined design, easily noticeable, but not breaking up with its roots. There is also more storage, if you are ready to pay for it, and Android Marshmallow comes pre-installed.

The rest is pretty much as we left it on the m3 note - Helio P10 chipset, a 13MP main camera, the iconic mTouch key with a fingerprint scanner, and a beefy 4,000 mAh battery.

Meizu M5 Note at a glance:

  • Metal unibody; 5.5" 1080p IPS display of 403ppi
  • MediaTek Helio P10 chipset: octa-core processor, Mali-T860MP2 GPU, 3GB/4GB of RAM
  • 13MP camera, two-tone LED flash; 1080p @30fps; 5MP front-facing camera
  • 16/32/64GB of built-in storage, microSD slot
  • mTouch v2.1 Home button with a fingerprint scanner
  • 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging (35% in 30 minutes)
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0 OS with Flyme 5.2
  • Dual SIM; LTE Cat.6; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0; GPS and GLONASS; microUSB port

It seems Meizu was focused more on the Note's appearance, rather on its performance and camera skills. And that would have been OK, if it weren't for the overcrowded mid-range market.

But we are yet to unwrap the M5 Note and put it through its paces. We are hoping Meizu has put some twists here and there, and we'll make sure to search for those.

We're experimenting with a shorter review format for this phone as it gives the spare time to review a broader range of devices. We hope it still answers all the questions you may have about the device. Our goal was to give you our impressions in a shorter, concise manner but without sacrificing the performance assessment and the results from the full tests we normally perform. We hope you enjoy it. Any feedback is welcome.

Hardware

The Meizu M5 Note has the same footprint as its predecessor, though it's gained about 12g in weight. While the M5 Note looks the same at the front, the metal back has changed a bit and it's for the better - there is a prominent chamfer between the frame and the rear surface. This tiny design twist makes for a better grip and stylish appearance.

The retail box of the Meizu M5 Note includes only the basics - a fast 24W charger plug and a microUSB cable. There are no headphones inside.

Meizu M5 Note - Meizu M5 Note review Meizu M5 Note - Meizu M5 Note review Meizu M5 Note - Meizu M5 Note review Meizu M5 Note - Meizu M5 Note review
Meizu M5 Note

The M5 Note is all-metal in the luxury kind of way - there are no big plastic strips at the back, just two tiny antenna bands. A glass covers the entire front and it has 2.5D edges - it's probably a Dinorex T2X-1 glass, but Meizu didn't share any specifics.

Meizu M5 Note review

The 5.5" screen has an IPS matrix of 1080p resolution or in other words 403ppi density. Its viewing angles are close to perfection, very wide and with no color distortion, though its sunlight legibility is below average with a score of 2.189.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Sony Xperia X Compact
    3.694
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    2.378
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Meizu M5 Note
    2.189
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
    2.145
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

The 5.5" display has a maximum brightness of 460 nits, but its mediocre black levels led to an average contrast of 1:754. The color rendering is average, too - the screen offers mostly accurate colors but blue hues interfere with the image rather obviously, and the white color is way colder than it should be. The representation out of the box has an average DeltaE of 8.7, but even playing with the color settings won't help you do much better than that.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Meizu M5 Note 0.614 463 754
Meizu m3 note 0.52 425 816
Meizu m3 max 0.46 449 976
Meizu m2 note 0.42 473 1108
Meizu m1 note 0.65 562 867
Meizu m1 metal 0.50 390 780
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) 0.00 353
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek) 0.42 403 953
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 0.38 439 1158
Xiaomi Redmi Pro 0.00 408

Below the 5.5" display is the familiar mTouch key. It's an all-in-one button with three functions - tap for Back, click for Home, and there is an embedded fingerprint scanner for when the screen is locked. While the biometric sensor isn't always on, it's very fast, accurate, and is capable of recognizing your fingerprint from any direction.

The front - Meizu M5 Note review the mTouch key - Meizu M5 Note review handling the M5 Note - Meizu M5 Note review handling the M5 Note - Meizu M5 Note review
The front the mTouch key handling the M5 Note

The M5 Note supports MediaTek's Pump Express 3.0 rapid charging, and the supplied charger has a maximum power output of 24W.

The phone is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery - that's 100 mAh less capacity than the unit inside the m3 note. It scored an excellent 98-hour endurance rating in our battery test, even though its video playback endurance is only average.

Since Meizu is not a registered Google Services partner, the international M5 Note comes without Google's services preinstalled. Instead, the phone gives you access to an installer which installs them for you hassle free. Other reviewers have been pointing out that these, essentially sideloaded, Google apps and services drain the battery faster than usual, but we assure you this behavior was only found on the reviewers units, which were sent out running an earlier pre-production version of the ROM. With the latest software build we've been enjoying great battery life.

Meizu M5 Note review

Our endurance rating is the time you can keep using the M5 Note on a single charge if you are to make an hour of 3G talks, web browsing and video playback each day. This sort of usage pattern may not apply to you but we've established it so our battery scores are comparable across devices.

Meizu M5 Note is a dual-SIM phone, but it uses a hybrid slot so you would have to make the choice of either a second SIM or a microSD card. You can opt for 16, 32, or even 64GB storage options - getting more gigabytes means you won't have to give up on the second SIM card.

The SIM tray is on the left - Meizu M5 Note review the SIM/microSD hybrid slot - Meizu M5 Note review the bottom - Meizu M5 Note review the microUSB port - Meizu M5 Note review
The SIM tray is on the left the SIM/microSD hybrid slot the bottom the microUSB port

Finally, the bottom of the M5 Note is where the audio jack, the microUSB connectivity port, and the loudspeaker are. The primary mic is also around.

The M5 Note's speaker scored a Very Good mark in our loudness test and its output quality is clean, crisp, and with deep enough bass.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Meizu Pro 6 Plus 60.6 69.5 70.3 Below Average
Meizu m3 note 66.5 64.6 71.7 Average
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) 64.5 71.0 68.9 Average
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 64.2 67.2 76.9 Good
Meizu m1 metal 68.3 66.6 73.7 Good
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 66.5 66.6 75.8 Good
Meizu m1 note 67.7 66.2 75.7 Good
Meizu M5 63.7 69.1 82.5 Good
Meizu m3 max 62.7 70.3 84.5 Good
Meizu M5 Note 65.1 70.7 86.8 Very Good
Meizu MX5 75.7 73.5 79.5 Excellent

Reader comments

  • Steve

no clear contacts on my phone

I still have a M5 note and it still performs as it did the day I got it, only thing is in the review it says all metal well mine is or feels definitely like a plastic back.

  • Antonio

I've used this phone for about a year now, in the beginning I was somewhat satisfied, decent speed and battery. When compared to other smartphones , the camera is really bad. I completely gave up on taking photos as they were completely terrible, the...