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

GSMArena team, 03 February 2017.

Camera

The lack of upgrades continues with the Meizu M5 Note's primary camera. It has the same 13MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture we saw on the m3 note. The snapper is capable of capturing 4208x3120px snaps in 4:3 aspect. There's also a dual-tone LED flash that should allow for more pleasing colors in low light flash photos.

Meizu M5 Note review

There are quite a few shooting modes available - HDR, Macro, Manual (where you can adjust the shutter speed up to 10s, ISO, exposure compensation, and the focus), Panorama, GIF, Beauty, and even Light Field. Light Field is Meizu's refocus feature, which allows you to defocus any part of the scene after the photo has been taken.

The Meizu M5 Note snaps very good 13MP pictures, rich in detail. The level of noise is a bit higher than we'd like, but it's not nearly enough to ruin the positive impressions. The colors are accurate and the contrast is very good. Finally, the dynamic range turned about above average, which is a rare among the mid-rangers.

We experienced some issues with the focusing, so we'd recommend double-checking important photos for sharpness and proper focus in case you need to redo them.

Meizu M5 Note 13MP camera samples - Meizu M5 Note review Meizu M5 Note 13MP camera samples - Meizu M5 Note review Meizu M5 Note 13MP camera samples - Meizu M5 Note review
Meizu M5 Note 13MP camera samples - Meizu M5 Note review Meizu M5 Note 13MP camera samples - Meizu M5 Note review Meizu M5 Note 13MP camera samples - Meizu M5 Note review
Meizu M5 Note 13MP camera samples

You can check out a 5MP image taken with the front-facing camera of the device. Those aren't peachy, though - the resolved amount of detail is rather poor.

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

If you like to compare the M5 Note's camera to the M3 Note, among others, head over to our Picture Compare Tool.

The Meizu M5 Note shoots videos up to 1080p resolution at 30fps. There's no 60fps smooth motion mode. All videos from the M5 Note camera are captured in an MP4 container. The video bitrate is about 17Mpbs, and the framerate is stable. The audio recorded in the video is stereo - it uses an AAC codec with 128 Kbps bitrate and 48 KHz sampling.

The resolved detail is rather poor, but the contrast and colors are very good. Here is a sample we've uploaded on YouTube.

You can also download the 1080p@30fps (9s, 20MB) video sample taken straight off the Meizu M5 Note.

If you'd like to compare the M5 Note's video camera to the M3 Note, among others, head over to our Video Compare Tool.

Final thoughts

The Meizu M5 Note is a decent mid-ranger with an attractive design, a nice and crisp 1080p display, capable camera, and a feature-rich Flyme launcher. It has just one issue - everything about the phone is average, while the competition goes above and beyond the understanding of the term average.

Meizu M5 Note review

While we applaud the refreshed all metal design, everything else with the Meizu M5 Note is the same as we left it on the m3 note. There isn't a single meaningful upgrade over the predecessor, which may be worth jumping on the newer M5 Note.

The Helio P10 chipset is the biggest insult to the M5 Note - it's widely considered by both reviewers and regular users as a big letdown because of its poor performance. We've met quite a few phones running on the P10 and it has always left us disgruntled.

The good news is the main 13MP camera turned out very good, but the video capturing turned out a huge letdown. The mediocre 5MP selfie shooter didn't help the M5 Note's case either.

We really tried to like the Meizu M5 Note, but we couldn't find a single feature to allow it to stand out in the crowd of midrangers.

The Meizu M5 Note isn't a bad device, but it's just not on par with the competition. Most of its specs are outdated and Meizu didn't bother to do anything about that. The m3 note was already behind the curve last year, but the M5 Note is already a lost cause.

If you are looking for a good mid-range smartphone, just opt for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, no matter the MediaTek or Snapdragon flavor. Even the Redmi Note 3 is far better, yet it's a one-year-old model already.

You may even get the Redmi 4 phones cheaper than the Meizu M5 Note, and they are far superior.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (MediaTek) Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek) Xiaomi Redmi 4
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (MediaTek) Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek) Xiaomi Redmi 4

You may also want to give the Lenovo's K6 Note a try. Or maybe the pricier Moto G4.

Lenovo K6 Note Motorola Moto G4
Lenovo K6 Note Motorola Moto G4

The reality is the Meizu M5 Note is just not a worthy successor over the m3 note. It's not even a worthy purchase as the competition is way ahead of it, and yet its price doesn't suggest Meizu realizes that. The M5 Note is not a phone we'd recommend to anyone, not even to the brand's loyal fans.

Editorial note: We don't intend to suspend our regular longer reviews, but we are experimenting with this shorter review format so that we get more spare time to cover a broader range of devices. Our goal is to give you our impressions in a more concise manner but without sacrificing the performance assessment and the results from the full tests we normally perform. Any feedback is welcome.