Meizu M2 review: A budget phone that borrows its design from Apple, HTC

The Meizu M2 looks and feels like a prized steed that can win any equestrian event. Set an obstacle and you will see the M2 clear it without breaking its gallop. The M2 borrows its design liberally from the iPhone and HTC Desire series like an art student putting together a pastiche of classic works. Though it doesn’t set the bar, it has certainly tried to meet the benchmarks in design set by its global peers. This Chinese creation is lighter than a feather duster. In the two weeks that we used the M2, it took us some time to adjust to the buttons, but it never faltered.

Specs: 5-inch 720p HD display with Dragon Trail Glass protection|1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor| 2GB RAM and 16GB storage| 13-mp rear camera and 5-mp front camera| 2500 mAh battery|Flyme 4.5 UI on Android 5.1|

Price: Rs 6,999

The Meizu M2 has no capacitive buttons; only a single home button in the shape of a miniature ice rink, with a silver strip marking its edges, at the bottom-centre of the phone. This acts both as a back button and the home button. A slight tap would take you back and a press of the button would take you home.

The M2 has a different way of switching between apps. Slide your finger up from any side of the bottom edges and an app tray with the ones currently running will open. The volume rocker and the power button are placed at the left of the phone. The bottom of the phone – like the HTC Desire 620 — has a pockmarked opening for the speakers. A bonus considering that one does not have to turn the phone turtle to amplify the sound.

The only disadvantage, we felt was the sim tray on the right side of the phone. The phone comes with a specially designed pin to access the sim and memory card slots. Here is a word of advice: Lock the pin behind a 10-ton reinforced alloy of aluminium and titanium vault door and secure it with a Godrej lock just in case. Carry it around in a pocket and risk losing it like yours truly did on day one.

When the feeling of losing this magical pin that would open doors subsided, the phone’s display caught our attention. Nothing spectacular about the 720 x 1280p LCD display, but at this price range there is not a lot more you could ask for. Hoping to use the phone under bright sunlight is as foolhardy as using a butter knife to saw a 20-inch thick timber.

The icons on the screen are bigger and brighter. The FlyMe OS is a fresh coat of paint over the Android 5.1. The user interface is plain and simple, and doesn’t need a lot of explaining. However, a quick look at the user manual is recommended. One aspect of the M2 that we found particularly interesting was the “Easy Mode”.  Activating this would strip the phone down to its bare necessities: Call, text and camera. It does however list all the apps under one icon. The text, icons and everything else balloons to thrice their size. It is a nifty functionality for those whose eyesight has diminished after years of staring at a screen.

The M2’s 13 mp camera lens has a fast shutter and there is no lag while taking pictures. It comes with a slow motion option for shooting videos at full HD. The problem with the camera UI is that it gets tedious swiping the screen to access all the camera modes. The 5 mp does the job when it comes to basics such as taking a selfie.

The one thing that Meizu doesn’t get right is the audio-quality. The volume is loud but the quality is reduced to something where one would find beating a tin can with a stick more melodious.

If you are looking for a phone under Rs 7000, then the Meizu M2 can be one of the options on your list.