MEIZU m2 unboxing and first impressions: the budget smartphone space gets a new contender

“The MEIZU m2 is a compact budget smartphone that supports 4G. Our first impressions”

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Following the launch of its budget phablet, the m2 note (review), MEIZU unveiled a the m2, a more affordable and compact version of the smartphone. A few months after it went on sale in China, MEIZU announced the device for the Indian market in exclusive partnership with Snapdeal. The m2 is pretty loaded when it comes to specs, and marks MEIZU’s entry in the popular sub-Rs 7,000 smartphone segment. The device has just gone on sale in India, and we have a unit in our labs. We’re going to begin with an unboxing and first impressions.

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The m2 comes in classic MEIZU packaging consisting a square, flat white box with blue accents. Opening up the lid, you’ll find the m2 nestled in a tray, with the trademark MEIZU SIM ejector tool pasted alongside. Underneath the smartphone you’ll find documentation like the quick start guide and warranty. Removing the tray reveals a USB cable and two-pin wall charger. The usual MEIZU quirk of inserting a piece of foam with the label ‘earphone not included’ is present in this retail box too.

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When we first set eyes on the m2, it was evident that the smartphone draws heavily on the design philiosophy of its bigger sibling. The device features the same unibody frame with a polycarbonate rear panel, and rounded edges and corners that make it very comfortable to hold. Our review unit is the new grey colour option MEIZU introduced with the m2 note, but you can also get one in white, blue and pink variants. The MEIZU m2 features a 5-inch display with HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 296ppi. The screen is sharp with decent viewing angles and good touch responsiveness. Unlike the m2 note which didn’t feature any sort of protective layering, the m2 gets Asahi Dragontrail glass which should safeguard it from scratches and minor knocks. Above the screen you’ll find the earpiece, front 5MP camera, sensors and notification LED. Underneath resides just the mBack home button, which supports a combination of physical and mechanical touch. Tapping the mBack button serves the return function, while pressing it takes you to the homescreen. The recents key is replaced by a gesture where you need swipe up from the bottom of the screen to view and/or close running apps. 

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Around the edges you’ll find the volume rocker and power button on the right, the micro-USB port, primary microphone and loudspeaker at the bottom, and the 3.5mm audio jack on top. The left spine features an ejectable tray that holds two nano-SIM card slots, both of which support 4G. SIM 2 is a hybrid slot, which can accept a microSD card as well. 

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The back panel features a soft touch matte finish. The 13MP primary camera and LED flash are placed on the top, while MEIZU branding is at the bottom. Thanks to the 5-inch screen, the MEIZU m2 is compact enough for single-handed use. 

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Powering the m2 is a quad-core MediaTek MT6753 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, assisted by a Mali-T720 GPU and 2GB of RAM. There’s 16GB of internal storage, out of which around 11GB is user available out-of-the-box. The microSD card slot supports extension by another 128GB. Connectivity wise, the m2 features dual-SIM, 4G LTE (both Indian bands supported), dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and USB OTG. The m2 draws power from a sealed 2,500mAh battery, and MEIZU says it can deliver 10 hours of video playback and 12 hours of Wi-Fi usage. 

The m2 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop overlaid with Flyme OS 4.5.3. Flyme brings a modified user interface with large, blocky icons, no app drawer, and a range of gestures. While the interface itself is clean and fluid, Flyme doesn’t come pre-loaded with the standard suite of Google apps, so while you get Maps and the Play Store, you’ll still need to download Drive, Hangouts, Gmail, Chrome, etc. 

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At its price of Rs 6,999, the m2 packs in quite a punch, and appears to be a value-for-money device. It will be up against some stiff competition from the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi 2 Prime (review), YU Yuphoria (review) and Lenovo A6000 Plus (review), but how it fares in terms of day-to-day performance is something we’ll be testing over the next few weeks. Check back for our full review.
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