You may not be familiar with the name Meizu, as they mostly supply the Chinese market, however they've started making more waves over here lately by offering well made Android devices for lower prices than the bigger players such as Samsung.
I've spent a good two weeks with one of their popular Android devices called the 'Meizu Note 3' or 'M3 Note'. The device was released in April of this year, and features a 5.5-inch display (1080 x 1920 pixels, 403 ppi) display, a Quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 and quad-core 1.0 GHz COrtex-A53 CPU with a Mali-T860MP2 GPU, 16GB of internet storage, 2GB of RAM (32GB and 3GB RAM option available), dual-sim slot, a 13-megapixel primary camera with phase detection autofocus, dual-LED flash and 1080p video recording at 30fps. The front facing camera comes in at megapixel and also shoots 1080p video.
The m3 Note incorporates a fingerprint sensor within it's front hardware key at the bottom of the display, and it works really well, actually one of the quickest and most accurate sensors I've come across.
Included with the m3 note is a microUSB cable, 2A charger, and a SIM extraction pin, you won't find any headphones, however considering that you can pick this up for under £200 it's not a big deal.
The m3 note comes in at 153.6 x 75.5 x 8.2mm and a weight of about 163g. It's a little bigger and heavier than the m2 note, however you're getting a better quality build.
The m3 thankfully doesn't go the route of a plastic body, it's fully metal (except for the antennas), which improves the feel and looks over previous generations. Overall it's a great looking device, however it's clear it's been inspired by other smartphones.
The display is covered in dinorex T2X-1 scratch/shock resistant glass that gives the phone a thinner look and improves handling as the glasss meets with the metal body. While I haven't dropped the device myself, I have heard that Dinorex T2X-1 has been praised for it's durability.
The display of the Meizu m3 note features a 5.5-inch LTPS IPS LCD with a 1080p resolution. The colours pop and viewing angles are good. The high resolution and 403ppi gives a sharp display, it's great quality and really quite surprising considering the low price point. Outdoors the display can be quite reflective, but it's usable, again though for the price range it isn't really a massive issue.
One of the most impressive things about the M3 Note is the battery life. It holds a massive 4,100mAh battery, which is 30% more than it's predecessor. I was able to get a 3 days of moderate use before having to charge, on heavier usage it easily lasted 2 full days.
The device is running Android 5.1 Lollipop which may sound a little outdated, however you hardly notice thanks to Meizu's customised layer on top of Android they call Flyme OS 5.1. The design is minimal and does what you would expect, the lock screen allows for passcodes and unlocking patterns as well as unlocking with your fingerprint. You don't get shortcuts on the lockscreen however you do have quick access to the camera. The homescreen is a standard affair that displays all your app icons. Don't expect an app drawer though, the homescreens are where all your apps live, however you can of course install a third party launcher if you prefer one.
While it's not the quickest performer, for the price point it's above most of the competition. Apps run quickly, transitions are smooth and games I tried ran without performance issues. It's perfect for most tasks, but don't expect lightning performance if you're doing anything super intensive.
The m3 note's front 13-megapixel camera sensor captures shots at 4208 x 3120 pixels in a 4:3 aspect ratio. It also has a dual tone LED flash that allows for better colours in low light. It features HDR and gridlines for the viewfinder as well as a useful level gauge so you can get your photos straight. You also have an option to enable a timer of 3, 5, or 10 seconds.
You get quite a few different shooting options with the m3 note. Auto, Macro, Manual (control shutter speed, ISO, exposure, focus), Beauty (make faces slimmer, smooth the skin etc), Panorama, Light field (allows refocusing and defocusing of images), and Scan (for barcodes and QR codes), and slow motion.
The photos produced by the m3 note are just good enough, shots often looked better when manually focusing rather than auto focusing. The dynamic range is good, as well as the colours, and contract and white balance are accurate. The front 5-megapixel camera offers good detail for a front camera, and the colours are great.
Overall the Meizu m3 note doesn't disapoint. Thanks to it's well built metal body , good performance, and excellent battery this is a device you should be looking at if you're on a budget.
View more at the Meizu website.