July has rightly belonged to the Lenovo K3 Note, Yu Yureka Plus and OnePlus Two – the three hottest kids on the block.
That is just as well, because August is likely to belong to another big disruptor – the Meizu M2 Note phone with Worldmode.
UPDATE: The phone has been launched on Amazon at just Rs 9,999 and will be available starting August 10.
These last three weeks have seen a revolution in the Indian mid-range market, kicked off by the highly successful Lenovo K3 Note, followed by the Yu Yureka Plus and the Motorola G3 (3rd Generation). The new kids were all priced in the Rs 10,000-13,000 bracket. OnePlus Two was the only exception, priced as it was at Rs 24,999.
Yet, ultimately, all these phones are scheduled to meet their toughest competitor in the shape of Meizu M2 Note.
Many of you may not be aware of Meizu. It is very similar to OnePlus, and to some extent, Xiaomi. Like these two, Meizu specializes in efficiency and value.
A highly efficient sourcing, manufacturing and delivery mechanism means that Meizu is able to out-price many of its competitors, without compromising on quality. And that is where the Meizu M2 Note comes in.
The M2 Note, which will be launched on Amazon in the first week of August, will be priced in the Rs 12,000-13,000 range. Most probably the price of the Meizu M2 Note is likely to be the same as that of its predecessor, the M1 Note, which was launched in India for Rs 11,999 two months ago. (UPDATE – Ahead of the launch of the M2, Amazon has cut the price of the M1 to Rs 9,999.)
The M1 Note, when launched, was the cheapest full-HD 4G phone in India, and overshadowed the Xiaomi Mi4i with its superior value proposition.
The M1 Note (like the M2 at present) offered high-quality components at a budget price.
For example, the display on the M1 (which has also been carried over to the M2) came in for much praise from most of the people who used the phone.
The LCD, made by Sharp Corporation, is made from Indium gallium zinc oxide or IGZO, a recently technology that improves the appearance and reduces power consumption.
Most people who have bought the phone have called the display ‘amazing’. In addition, the front camera too has come in for much praise.
Still, the Meizu M1 Note had a drastic drawback – nothing short of a ‘deal breaker’ for youngsters — the target group for such phones. It did not have expandable memory. There was no microSD card slot.
As explained by buyer Anup on Amazon: “The phone comes only in 16GB with NO EXPANDABLE MEMORY. You get around 11.5 GB of space free. I keep a lot of songs and games on my phone so this much space is insufficient for me. Only because of this reason, I had to return the phone back to amazon because they had mentioned previously that the phone has expandable memory where second sim card slot can be used as memory card reader, but it cannot.”
Another problem was that the M1 Note did not support one of the two key bands of 4G LTE in India, Band 40 (the other being Band 3, which was supported.)
These two key shortcomings forced many to go for other, costlier models.
And of course, soon after came the Lenovo K3 Note, which brought Lenovo’s value touch to the full-HD market.
Yet, as buyers are realizing, the Lenovo K3 Note is a phone that has been designed as a low-priced phone with a full-HD display. It lacks in some key areas, such as the fact that it does not come with screen protection like Gorilla Glass or Dragon Trail. Besides, it carries over the rather bland and basic looks of its cheaper cousins – the Lenovo A6000 Plus and A7000.
Similarly, Yu Yureka Plus users are complaining about poor battery life and a laggy experience as well.
In other words, the Lenovo K3 Note is a phone made to a budget, and it does show certain weaknesses from that perspective.
The Meizu M2 Note, though cheap, does not feel like it was made with Rs 12,000 in mind. Moreover, the M2 Note has fixed both the problems that prevented its predecessor from achieving ‘hot’ sales in India – lack of expandable memory and lack of support for 2300 MHz LTE (Band 40). At the same time, it has retained the good parts (IGZO display with protection, affordable price etc.)
One of the key reasons why manufacturers leave out microSD card slots is looks. Adding it often increases the thickness of the phone, and while that may not be an issue for pure budget-oriented models, the Meizu M2 Note designers have focused as much on the looks of the phone as on the features and specifications.
Meizu M2 gets over the conundrum by making one of the SIM slots dual-use. You can use it to insert a MicroSD card of up to 128 GB instead of the second SIM – though you cannot use both at the same time. In addition, support for Band 40 has also been added in the new model.
Frankly, the mere fact that these two key shortcomings have been addressed would have been enough to force many to consider the Meizu M2 Note as a strong contender for their money.
But that’s not all that Meizu engineers have done.
The M2 Note comes with another key advancement – ‘Worldmode’ or support for CDMA and GSM on the same phone, and a better graphics processor.
Of course, Worldmode is not a big deal for most users, but the fact is that in India, the call rates offered by CDMA operators (25 paise per minute) are about half of what the GSM operators charge. Similarly, the CDMA operators offer 4 GB of high-speed mobile data (EVDO) for Rs 250, while GSM operators provide only 1 GB. In other words, it’s nice to have a choice. The reason for Worldmode support is the inclusion of the MediaTek MT6753 chipset. Another Worldmode phone in India with the same chipset is the Gionee F103
“We unveiled the MEIZU m2 note 6 months after the launch of its predecessor, which it outperforms in many aspects,” Meizu said.
The display offers a brightness of 450cd/m2 – about twice as much as a regular laptop screen. In addition, the M2 Note uses GFF full lamination technology minimizes reflection and improves display quality.
It has been made with a special unibody molding technique and comes with a polycarbonate (plastic) body covering the magnesium-alloy frame.
“This creates a texture which is both soft and durable.It’s the first time we use mBack on an m-series phone. The CNC processed aluminum alloy ring enriches your visual experience by offering 360-degree reliability,” Meizu said.
The MEIZU M2 note is equipped with a Samsung 13 megapixel CMOS camera at the back. It comes with dual-tone flash to prevent pictures from looking too blue or yellow, and has zero-delay shooting technology.
Again, the 3100mAh batteries in the M2 Note is supplied by SONY and ATL. “It is rarely seen in phones in this price range, but we utilize it in the MEIZU m2 note so you are assured of a long-lasting battery,” says the company.
You can check out a review of the handset below: