Over the past nine months or so, the Indian mobile phone market has undergone a sea-change due to the entry of Chinese giants such as Xiaomi, OnePlus, Vivo and Gionee. Now, the last remaining biggie – Meizu has made its presence felt in India with Meizu MX4 and Meilan Note M1 making debuts in select stores.
The phones are available both in physical stores and online stores such as eBay.
Unofficiallly, the Meizu M1 Note is available on eBay for Rs 16,500, while the MX4 is selling for Rs 25,200. However, since the handsets have not been launched by the company yet, buyers have to currently depend on the seller for warranty.
The official launch of the Meizu M1 Note and Meizu MX4 Pro (with quad-HD display) is expected in the second half of May.
Of the two, the Meizu Meilan M1 Note is definitely the value the offering, as the MX4 is slightly dated. The 5.4-inch MX4 is very similar to the OnePlus One, and was released in September last year.
It has what can be considered flagship configuration for last year — a quad-core, 32-bit MediaTek MT6595 processor, 2 GB of RAM and internal memory starting at 16 GB. The Sony camera at the back has a resolution of 21 MP, while the one at front has 2 MP. The MX4 has 2 GB of RAM.
Frankly, instead of buying the Meizu MX4, it would make more sense to go for the OnePlus One at Rs 19,000 – or Rs 6,000 less. The configurations don’t leave much to choose between the two, and OnePlus has service centers in India.
In fact, there’s a quad-HD Meizu model, the MX4 Pro, that has also been launched globally. However, it is yet to be available in India.
The second, and more interesting Meizu product available in India is the Meizu M1 Note, also called the Meilan Note.
This device has the distinction of being the cheapest full-HD, LTE-enabled phone in India with a 5.5-inch display. Of course, there are a couple of cheaper full-HD models with LTE out there — the Xiaomi Mi 4i and the Zenfone 2 16 GB — but both are 5 inch models.
While the difference of 5 inch and 5.5 inch may sound small, in actual usage, the 5.5-inch screen feels much bigger because the difference in area between a 5-inch display and a 5.5-inch display is 21%. In other words, the 5.5-inch display is more than one-fifth bigger than the 5-inch screen.
Does it really matter? In our experience, it does, though we’ve seen some people who actually prefer a compact phone, especially women. In fact, sensing the shift, brands like HTC have moved from the 5-inch form-factor to the 5.5-inch form-factor in a big way.
One of Meizu M1 Note’s competitors in India is the 5.5-inch, full-HD, LTE-enabled HTC Desire 826. However, the Desire 826 is priced at Rs 25,500 in India. The Meizu M1 Note, in contrast, is priced at just Rs 16,200, making it an excellent value buy right now. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy E7, which has very similar specifications including a 720p AMOLED display, is priced at Rs 19,500.
In fact, spec for spec, it can be argued that the Meizu M1 Note is almost as good a phone as the Desire 826. The only major difference is in the front-camera resolution, with the Desire 826 sporting a 13 MP front shooter, while the Meizu model comes with a 4 MP camera on the front.
When it comes to battery, the Meizu M1 Note scores over Desire 826 with a 3.14 Ah battery while the HTC model comes with a 2.6 Ah power unit.
Of course, it’s too early to say that M1 Note is the best LTE value phone in India, but it certainly deserves that title if you are looking for a large display model. The only other competitor is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4g, priced at Rs 10,000. However, the RedMi Note comes with a 720p display.
Another thing to note is that the Meizu M1 Note is one of the first phones in India to come with the new MediaTek MT6752 64-bit chipset.
The MediaTek platform is often compared to the Snapdragon 610 Octacore chipset, but in terms of power, the MediaTek MT6752 scores about 50% higher in benchmarking tests. The Snapdragon 610 is found in the HTC Desire 826.
Meizu, like Xiaomi, has a reputation for designing phones that ‘remind’ buyers of iPhones. However, Meizu is not just another Apple copycat. It has been in the news for being one of the first manufacturers globally to put a non-Android, mainstream Linux operating system on its phone – Ubuntu.
The Ubuntu-powered Meizu MX4 was exhibited at the Mobile World Congress in March, and garnered a lot of attention.
It is expected that with the launch of Cortex A72-powered chips over the next two to three months, phones will finally have enough power to be used as a ‘normal’ computer by connecting them to a full-size display and keyboards. When that happens, more people are likely to install Desktop-originated operating systems like Ubuntu on their phones.
At present, Meizu phones are being sold under ‘seller warranty’, under which the seller undertakes to replace or repair the phone if something goes wrong in the first six months. However, according to industry sources, the Chinese company will soon launch its models officially in India as well, offering manufacturer warranty.