Motorola Triple Product Launch

Earlier this week we covered the Motorola Triple Product Launch in London with a live-blog and have discussed what was launched in a post and this week’s Coolsmartphone Podcast.

Motorola Triple Product Launch

Moto Trinity 2015

Lets look at the three products Motorola launched in a bit more detail.

Moto X Style

Motorola Triple Product Launch

Motorola’s new flagship. The Moto X Style is a refinement of the Moto X product formula, offering a high build quality, snappy and smooth user experience and running an almost Google experience Android. The design language of the hardware has been tweaked slightly, cameras and chipsets have been improved. The Moto Maker device customisation has been iterated upon with new materials and options. All round a big improvement, and with the Moto X Style the Motorola flagship also has storage expansion.

Spec sheet:

  • 5.7″ 1440×2560 screen
  • Hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset
  • 16/32/64GB sotrage expandable via MicroSD up to 128GB
  • 3GB of RAM
  • Android 5.1.1
  • 21MP camera with dual LED (dual tone) flash/5MP front facing selfie camera
  • Non-removable 3000 mAh battery

One of the things you notice while holding the Moto X Style is how relatively easy it is to hold despite the relatively large screen. The screen to body ratio is 74.9%, which is relatively high. Just as with previous Motorola devices, the curved back makes it easy to cradle in your hand and the new silicon backs give you a reassuring feeling you are not going to drop the device.

Motorola Triple Product Launch

The default/base back material is a new corrugated silicon, which Motorola claim will wear gracefully while not discolouring and getting scratched easily. Moto Maker offers you the opportunity to customise the trim colour, front colour, back colour/material and even get a small message engraved on the back. When you factor in the customisation options, including woods and premium leathers, you can have more than 300 combinations. My hearty sank a little when I found out there was no mockodile option, but my hopes remain alive for next year…

As mentioned earlier, the software is an almost Google experience of Android. Only a few icons have been customised, and the few software additions Motorola have added are mainly utilities which add value to the device.

The camera on the Moto X Style is a 21MP one which performs impressively in low light. While on paper OIS is not there, software tuning makes the lacking feature less of an issue. At the launch event we were allowed to field test the cameras in low light setups and compare to competitors. Overall Moto devices did a great job and those test environments also highlighted how good the screen on the devices were. Video recording maxes out at 4k, as you would expect from a flagship.

While using the device I noticed no lags or slowdowns. The Qualcomm hexa-core Snapdgragon chipset keeps things ticking over smoothly coupled with the 3GB RAM, and most consumers will not notice the lack of a couple of cores while benefiting from improved battery life. Fast charging is an option on the Moto X Style. Again, as Motorola have done in previous iterations of the Moto X, the flagship experience is delivered while not competing on spec sheet alone.

The Moto X Style will be on sale in September 2015, and pricing is expected to be around £400 including VAT depending on customisation options selected in Moto Maker.

Moto X Play

Motorola Triple Product Launch

The Moto X Play is the mid-range flagship few were expecting before its announcement. Sitting in a lower pricing tier compared to the Moto X Style, it delivers an excellent value proposition while satisfying most users needs.

Spec sheet:

  • 5.5″ 1920×1080 screen
  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chipset
  • 16/32GB sotrage expandable via MicroSD up to 128GB
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Android 5.1.1
  • 21MP camera with dual LED (dual tone) flash/5MP front facing selfie camera
  • Non-removable 3630 mAh battery

The Moto X Play is a more handleable and chunkier sibling of the Moto X Style. The 5.5″ fullHD screen has similar bezels to the Moto X Style, and the back has a slightly thicker curvature, so as to house the larger battery. Using the Moto X Play you don’t notice that the device is running on a slower and less capable chipset. The only real indicator of the Snapdragon 615 running the hamster wheels inside the Moto X Play is the fact the device can’t record 4K video, but most users won’t really notice that.

Motorola Triple Product Launch

Just as with the Moto X Style, Moto Maker will be available for the Moto X Play and the software experience is identical. Fast charging is available on the Moto X Play too.

The Moto X Play is expected to go on sale in  August 2015 and command a price of approximately £300 including VAT, depending on Moto Maker customisations.

Moto G 3rd Generation

Motorola Triple Product Launch

The Moto G product category has been a winner for Motorola since late 2013. Now the third generation has been launched and is on sale, Motorola have iterated on their winning formula with some relatively big changes in terms of customer choices offered.

Spec sheet:

  • 5″ 1280×720 screen
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset
  • 8/16GB sotrage expandable via MicroSD up to 32GB
  • 1GB (8GB)/2GB (16GB) of RAM
  • Android 5.1.1
  • 13MP camera with dual LED (dual tone) flash/5MP front facing selfie camera
  • Non-removable 24700 mAh battery

The 3rd Generation of the Moto G is now IPX7 certified: that means it can go under water for up to 1 metre for up to 30 minutes. You can just take it out of water, wipe it off and start using it. The same hardware design language as on the Moto X Style and Play is on the new Moto G. The silicon backs make a big improvement compared to the relatively slippery plastic of the previous Moto Gs.

Motorola Triple Product Launch

It is sleeping with the fish, see…

Readers with good attention span and attention to detail will have noticed there is something funky going on in the spec sheet as far as storage and RAM options are concerned. Yes, there are now two different base SKUs for the Moto G. While sharing the same chipset, the 8GB storage version comes with 1GB RAM. The 16GB version has 2GB RAM. Both the 8 and 16GB SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) are expandable up to 32GB with MicroSD. More choice in this area of the product allows users to choose a Moto G to more closely satisfy their needs. A consumer looking for a “toaster” (smartphone that does the job and isn’t their whole life) will be more than satisfied with the 8GB SKU, while a consumer who lives in their mobile device might prefer the improved performance the 16GB SKU offers.

The biggest part of the Moto G announcement was the fact that Moto Maker is now available for the 3rd generation Moto G. With more than 300 combinations of specs, backs and colours this is an industry first in the mid-low range of the market. All back options are replaceable on the Moto G (unlike on the Moto X Style and the Moto X Play), and all guarantee the IPX7 certification provided they are clipped on properly. Both Amazon and Motorola already sell replacement backs in a wide variety of colours, so accessorising with your shoes/handbag/car/political affiliation is easy. In the UK, Moto Maker for the Moto G is a Three UK exclusive until later this year. You can get a Moto G 3rd generation on contract from Three online or in store and you will be issued with a code which waives the price of the device at checkout. Delivery time from online order from Moto Maker is expected to be a maximum of 10 days.

Motorola Triple Product Launch

The Moto G 3rd Generation also makes a major improvement in the camera department. The same sensor which is in the Motorola built Nexus 6 is in the Moto G 3rd Generation. Optical image stabilisation is not present, however the lense has been improved. Keep an eye out on my upcoming review of the Moto G 3rd Generation for sample shots and my thoughts on the camera.

Final Thoughts

Motorola have strengthened their product portfolio considerably with the triple launch this week. Splitting the Moto X into two tiers is a great way to cover two different market segments while offering a consistent software and hardware experience. The Moto G does the same in a more subtle way, while making Moto Maker customisation in an affordable option. The winning product formula is strengthened by the commitment to have a Google-like Android experience on some excellent value hardware.

The slick presentation, delivered from three locations around the globe (London, Sao Paolo and New York), was impressive, and the hands on area event attendees used after the announcements was excellent. Motorola’s marketing department deserve a pat on the back and a mockodile case for this one (coming from me that’s a compliment).

Expect to see Motorola continue to gain market share and be loved by consumers. They are already winning back love from the original Razr days, and as part of Lenovorola their path seems to lead to a bright future. This is also testament to how Android is now a dominant and democratising mobile platform, allowing companies like Motorola to come back from semi-obscurity.

The post Motorola Triple Product Launch is original content from Coolsmartphone.

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  • Skyscanner Flights – A real world test

    Skyscanner Flights   A real world test

    What with the delightful weather we are having here in the UK, you may not have noticed that it is, in fact… summer. Do you feel that you need to get a bit of sun on your bones, or you fancy whisking your loved one away on a romantic break away from the kids?

    Well, if either of these are on your agenda then here is an app that will help you get your wish.

    The app we’re looking at is Skyscanner Flights, and it is brilliant. I have been using Skyscanner for a few years now and I can see how it has evolved over that time, from a very basic app to one that now becomes a quick and easy way to get to where you are going. It is available across all the main platforms and also exists as web version in case you are using a device that doesn’t support apps. Here, I’m going to look at the Android version on a tablet.

    Let’s look at a real world example then. IFA is coming up at the beginning of Sept and I have been looking into the possibility of going, chiefly to allow me to cover all the goodies that are going to be announced. Now, I am going to need some flights as it is in Berlin. I could go onto Trivago or any of the other search sites, but that will involve me sifting through loads of rubbish and a raft of not-particularly-useful info before I get what I’m looking for.

    So as you can see, I fired up the Skyscanner flights app and punched in what I need.
    Skyscanner Flights   A real world test

    As I have been using the app for some preliminary flight research it has remembered this as I have logged in.
    Skyscanner Flights   A real world test

    I’m using the app on a tablet, so the search reveals a nicely laid out screen with my preferences on the side and all the flight info in the main section. A similar search on phone rather than tablet looks slightly different (see below), but generally the same idea.

    Skyscanner Flights   A real world test

    Let’s keep on going on the tablet for now though. I want a direct flight and it’s pretty easy to just select the option on the filter list off to the side.
    Skyscanner Flights   A real world test

    And there we have a flight direct from Glasgow to Berlin, it is really that easy to find them. From here I click on the selected flight and the app will take me to the relevant airline’s site to book, for free and without any commission charged to me, the traveller. The whole process takes minutes and is easy to do with minimal usage of data to gain the information.

    Skyscanner Flights   A real world test

    The above is the basic functionality of the app. It does however have some other very clever features. So I don’t really want to book the flight right now but I do want to know if there are any changes to the price. The app allows me to ‘watch’ this flight and it’ll then notify me of any changes on either my phone or my tablet.

    Skyscanner Flights   A real world test

    It will also allow me to see all the prices across different days, so if cost is a factor I can assess the cheapest times to fly. As cost is a factor for me booking this trip this is very useful and I can see that from me changing my days slightly I can save £25. Unfortunately I can’t get the time out of the office and the wife will want me to return asap after the event ends, but oh well. Moving on!

    So there we have it, the Skyscanner flights app in all its glory. I personally find this app really useful and when I do finalise my plans for IFA I will most certainly be using it for my bookings. Next up I need to find somewhere to stay for a week!

     

    I wonder who can help me with that….

    Skyscanner flights Google PlayApp Store,

    The post Skyscanner Flights – A real world test is original content from Coolsmartphone.

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  • Over a million waiting for a Oneplus Two invite

    Over a million waiting for a Oneplus Two invite

    The Oneplus One launched last year amid a blaze of PR blunders.  Accusations of sexism, strange competitions and phone smashing were rife as Oneplus created a storm of publicity.

    So far however their “flagship killer” is creating a little bit of a fuss.

    Once again Oneplus are using the invitation system to create hype and control order volumes, the difference this time is that they have announced that there are now over a million people waiting for an invitation to buy a device.

    How many of those are simply curiosity or people trying to get an invite to sell on at a later date remains to be seen but for now that is a phenomenal amount of people waiting for a handset from a relatively small company that only sold 1.5m units of its original device.

    Are you waiting for an invite?  Let us know in the comments below.

    The post Over a million waiting for a Oneplus Two invite is original content from Coolsmartphone.

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  • Farewell Ouya, we never really knew ya.

    Farewell Ouya, we never really knew ya.

    It was meant to be the next cheaper and easy to get into era in gaming. I was the Ouya, based on Android and using the ecosystem that Android provided. It was a lovely dream, but that dream is now fading to black – almost. No, Ouya isn’t quite going to die. We’ve been following the innovative console for a while, so have been keeping tabs on it, especially when we heard XBMC would come on board as standard.  The Kickstarter project allegedly put itself up for sale way back in April and was looking for a buyer. It turns out, Razer couldn’t help looking for something Ouya shaped and snapped it up.

    To be fair, Ouya made a a certain number of booboos. They’d promised the ability to stream games, and the ability to stream Netflix, which they haven’t managed to deliver on yet. Eventually they hit bankruptcy.

    Farewell Ouya, we never really knew ya.

    They’d managed to deliver quite a bit of content on their platform already, boasting “…our catalog is now over 1,000 apps and 40,000 developers. We have the largest library of Android content for the TV (still more than Amazon)…”

    Right now, we aren’t really sure why Razer, which is notorious for delivering great hardware, would want with Ouya. From the current reports, the product still isn’t what you’d call polished. I can’t personally speak to that one way or another, because I’m not one of the world’s most avid gamers. It seems that gaming is the source of the problem. When Ouya launched its $1 million Free the Games Fund, it should have realised that there would be people who would *cough* game *cough* the system. Now, they’re out of pocket and allegedly owe a lot of indie developers a lot of money: some $620 000 worth. There is a clause in the contract with Ouya which may point to the reason why:

    8.3. Termination Upon Bankruptcy or Insolvency. Either party may, at its option, terminate this Agreement immediately upon written notice to the other party, in the event (i) that the other party becomes insolvent or unable to pay its debts when due; (ii) the other party files a petition in bankruptcy, reorganization or similar proceeding, or, if filed against, such petition is not removed within sixty (60) days after such filing; (iii) the other party discontinues its business

    Essentially I’m reading that as: ‘if we can’t stay afloat, then we can’t pay you, dear developer’. As to theories on why Razor bought Ouya, then the current thinking is that it has a lot to do with the deal Ouya signed with Ali Baba. Think about it. China has one of the biggest markets and is used to using forks of Android and stores that aren’t blessed by Google. Surely Indie games on a relatively cheap gaming console suddenly makes a lot more sense. Couple that with the superb hardware Razor is known for producing, and all of a sudden that company looks a whole lot more appetising to buy.

    I don’t think Ouya’s adventure has completely run its course, but I’m thinking that it’s about to take turns that it hadn’t expected.
    sources: Ouya, Fortune, Polygon, and Ars.

    The post Farewell Ouya, we never really knew ya. is original content from Coolsmartphone.

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  • Moto X Play – A compromise? – Opinion.

    Moto X Play   A compromise?   Opinion.

    Before we covered the news of the Motorola announcement, all I thought I wanted was the equivalent of a 2014 Moto X with a better battery and camera. Then the Moto X Play came along. I thought I’d hit the jackpot. I didn’t need to go up to the bigger screen (my current phone is the Oneplus One, so 5.5 inches is a screen size I’m already used to) of the Moto X Style, which starts to make me think I’m going into Nexus 6/iPhone 6+ territory.

    I got what I wanted! And then I did a little digging around in the specs. I shouldn’t have. I should have been happy to listen to the advertising, but noooo…

    There will be compromises. I know that. I just wasn’t expecting so many compromises with the Play against the Style. It felt like they too everything a step lower, and bearing in mind that Motorola hasn’t been on the bleeding edge of the specs race for a long while, it makes me wonder.

    Moto X Play   A compromise?   Opinion.Individually, none of these are showstoppers. Put them together, and I’m hesitating. Maybe I should just wait a little while for the next Nexus and see what’s been compromised on that account?

    Before you think I’m crazy, and I should just give Motorola my money for an unlocked phone, bear with me.

    Right out the gate is the processor. The Style has a Snapdragon 808 chip, which is already a step below both current versions of the Snapdragon 810 chip (a second revision is rumoured to be in the Oneplus 2). The Moto Play is using the Snapdragon 615 processor. Is this a thing? Maybe not, but the Snapdragon 615 is a bit like a 410 with more cores. Even the GPU is relatively close to that on the 410. Most of the time, I’ll bet I’ll never get to sweating the processor in any meaningful way, so it probably isn’t that important… except for one thing. The LTE radio. But I’ll get to that later.

    Moto X Play   A compromise?   Opinion.

    As mentioned, that extra battery power was a thing going well for the Moto X Play – 3630 mAh? As Motorola said at the time, that could be a 2 day battery life for someone who doesn’t abuse their phone (like I’m guessing readers of CoolSmartPhone are wont to do). The Style has an increase compared to the old Moto X, but 3000mAh on a 5.7 inch, 1440p screen will only get you so far.

    Moto X Play   A compromise?   Opinion.

    The next thing on my list was the camera, and I thought there wouldn’t be an issue there – they both have a 21MP camera module, right? Right. But there’s a chance they may not have the same module, or at least the same internals – There’s no mention on the Play’s spec sheet that the module has Phase Detect Auto-Focus (PDAF), like the one on the Style. It can’t take 60 fps video at 1080p like the Style can (30fps).

    There’s no mention of 4k video, for those who have the equipment and storage space to take advantage of that particular resolution. Now, it may be that a lot of this is due to the processor (I did say I was going to bring it up again… still not done), so at this point, as long as the camera is better, then it will be plenty good enough.

    Then I checked out the storage space. The max available on the Play is 32GB. But wait, I checked my OnePlus One. 64GB. Last years phone has 64GB. Then I remember that the Play has a MicroSD slot. I can pop a card in there. Heck, if I put a 64GB card in there, everything will be fine… Except the Style has a 32 and a 64GB option. Whatever.

    At least it has the same amount of RAM as last year’s OnePlus. Oh, wait. Silly me. The Style has 3GB. the Play comes with 2GB, and the type of RAM is slower. Well, most phones only have 2GB and they work just fine. It’s the same story for Wi-Fi as there’s no wireless AC in the Play. Where is it? Yep, you’ve guessed.

    Surely Bluetooth, lowly Bluetooth is using the same module? Henh. Not even. the Style has 4.1 for the Low Energy stuff, and the Play is 4.0.

    Moto X Play   A compromise?   Opinion.

    I won’t belabour the point any more than I have. There’s no stereo speaker on the Play, and it doesn’t have all the available bands if you work or play abroad relatively often. The GPS doesn’t have GLONASS. Seriously, what doesn’t include GLONASS support these days? Neither phone are using Gorilla Glass 4, but neither was my OnePlus One, so I’m not going to get annoyed with that. The front camera is missing a flash on the Play, because sometimes the youngsters have needs to selfie. I get that.

    They’re both water resistant/repellent, and have quick charging, so I’m over the moon about that. I don’t care about the 1440p screen, because I think 1080p does me just fine. But the kicker, the straw that made me pause was that the Style supports class 6 LTE, which will give faster speeds once the networks roll that option out. Guess why that is? Too right. That Snapdragon 808 processor. It won’t be important now, but it’s the one thing that will start to be important a little way down the line.

    All in all, there isn’t any one thing that’s annoying or irritating enough for me to say ‘no way, Jose’ to the Moto X Play. If that had been the only one offered, I’m fairly sure I’d have been over the moon at having the bigger battery, and a better camera. It’s what I’d asked for. I got what I asked for.

    So why am I seriously giving thought to the Moto X Style? Because it isn’t just a bit better. It’s a bit better in every way.

    Now the choice between the two is how much we’re willing to sacrifice for that extra all-day+ usage. After all, it doesn’t matter how good your phone is if it’s run out of juice, or you’re being extra-careful with the phone because you’re at that low battery mark.

    Choices. Good choices, but unexpected. Either way, the Moto Maker experience, stock-Android-with extra-Moto-functionality-via-app, the smart notifications technology and all the other goodies that made the previous Moto’s so interesting are available on both the Moto X Play and the Moto X Style. When you combine that with a killer competitive price, it does make one want to sit back and not be too eager to dismiss either of these two out of hand.

    The post Moto X Play – A compromise? – Opinion. is original content from Coolsmartphone.

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  • Review: Moto G 3rd-generation – an iPhone user’s take

    Moto G 3g review

    The Moto G is a budget Android smartphone line from Motorola that has nurtured a very good reputation in the tech community. The latest 3rd-generation Moto G, which debuted on Tuesday, is now available in stores like Amazon and Best Buy.

    We’ve made it our mission to review various Android smartphones over the year in order to provide you with a balanced look at what the so-called “competition” is offering. As most of you know, I’m a die-hard Apple fan, but I do have a soft spot in my heart from Android, even though I think that many of the decisions that Android OEMs make are borderline shameless.

    That said, I’ve been extremely keen on testing out the latest and greatest version of the Moto G, because I think it’s the perfect companion Android phone for iPhone users wishing to dabble into the “other side”. At a mere $179.99 unlocked, the Moto G is an outstanding value. Yes, there are other Android phones that fall within this price range, but they’re usually horrible specs-wise, or if they’re decent, they’re inundated with bloatware (I’m looking at you Asus ZenFone 2).

    The Moto G is different. Not only is it factory unlocked, but it features decent specs for a phone this cheap. But most importantly, it lacks the bloatware so popular in other phones in this class, or even so-called flagship phones. True, it’s not a Nexus device, which is 100% stock Android, but it’s very close, and arguably, improves on stock Android with some of its unique offerings.
    ... Read the rest of this post here


    "Review: Moto G 3rd-generation – an iPhone user’s take" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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    Razer’s Android gamepad is now on Google Play for $80

    If you're tired of having to pause games on your Android mobile device just to wipe finger grease off the screen, you are in luck. For $80, the Bluetooth-connected Razer Serval gamepad will ensure that you never touch that screen again (at least until playtime is over). Razer initially announced the Serval back at CES in January but it has finally hits Google Play's virtual store shelves.

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    Via: Razer

    Source: Google Play

    Samsung want you to hide the lump in your trousers

    Quite a weighty press release awaits you below, but I’ll do my best to distill it into a partially interesting news post.

    Basically the Samsung boys have been beavering away on a new image sensor for mobile phones. What this will basically do is deliver beautiful and sexy images without giving you a bulge in your trousers.
    Samsung want you to hide the lump in your trousers

    The sensor is 16 megapixels and provides high performance 1.0?m pixels, plus it’s slimmer so we should – hopefully – see less of the “pronounced camera bulge” that appeared on the Galaxy S6 (reviewed here). It’ll basically reduce that unsightly bulge by 20%, for less trouser protrusion. 
    Samsung want you to hide the lump in your trousers
    There’s also a load of other clever bobbins that’ll increase light sensitivity and will “control the collection of photons”. I’ll admit, this is all a bit above my head by the end result should be more colourful, vivid and clear shots in more varied lighting conditions.

    I’ll be off now because I think I’ve done all the trouser bump jokes available.

    The post Samsung want you to hide the lump in your trousers is original content from Coolsmartphone.

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  • XIAOMI Redmi2 pro – Quad-core and 2GB RAM for less than £85

    Sadly, I’ll need to be sending back the Meizu M1 Note that I’ve borrowed to review. The fact that it’s so cheap and so good has already got me back onto the internet looking for bargains, and I’ve stumbled across the XIAOMI Redmi2 pro for just $129.99, which is an utterly bonkers £83.12.

    XIAOMI Redmi2 pro   Quad core and 2GB RAM for less than £85
    The handset features a 4.7″ HD OGS screen at 1280×720 (312 ppi) and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 64-bit quad-core 1.2GHz CPU with 2GB RAM and 16GB of on-board storage. There’s also a microSD slot for expanding that further.

    It’ll do 4G, although by the looks of it only 1800 and 2600MHz, but there’s a quick-charge facility, WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth 4.0.

    It runs Android 4.4 and has two cameras – an 8 megapixel unit on the rear with a flash and a 2 megapixel one up front. There’s also a 2200mAh battery and you can stick two SIM cards in.

    Head to Gearbest for this one, where they’ve just reduced it and further stock has recently arrived.

    The post XIAOMI Redmi2 pro – Quad-core and 2GB RAM for less than £85 is original content from Coolsmartphone.

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  • Meizu M1 Note – Review

    Meizu M1 Note   Review
    So this has surprised me in a way. When it first arrived the box itself didn’t exactly scream “premium”. I mean, there’s nothing really wrong with the box per se, but I’ve got used to some of the recent review phones turning up in carefully sculpted containers that wouldn’t look out of place in a jewellers.

    However, after opening it up I’m met with classy handset with a blue rear and a bright, vivid 5.5″ screen at 1920 x 1080. The comments I’ve received so far range from “that’s a bit different” to “parts of it look like an iPhone”. I guess that’s a reference to the circular action key at the bottom, which glows when there’s a notification you need to be looking at. This little touch alone has saved me a lot of “screen checking” time and has helped to lengthen the battery life, which is very decent anyway. I’m writing this at 2PM and there’s 59% left. I’ve been absolutely hammering the thing all day to test it and yet I’ve still got 59% battery. Unheard of almost.
    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    Turning on the device is a slightly different experience to most Android devices. This has a UI on it called “Flyme”, which is actually known here as an OS even though it’s running Android 4.4.4 at the core.

    Yes, Android 4.4.4. It’s perhaps a little dated, and me mentioning that may put you off. Don’t be. The Flyme interface, which also asks for a login during setup (I skipped this and it didn’t affect my experience one bit) really helps here and gives the handset a modern and clean appearance which made regular tasks simple and quick. It positively slides along as if on rails and is minimalistic in appearance.

    Before I get to all that though, let’s have a look at the specs. This device comes in two versions – 16GB and 32GB of storage. There’s no microSD card slot but you do get two SIM card slots. I found that one of these was 2G only. It runs a Mediatek MT6752 octa-core CPU at 1.7GHz and has a Mali T760 GPU with 2GB RAM. It’ll do 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    Meanwhile, around the back, there’s a 13 megapixel Samsung camera with flash (f2.2). On the full 13 megapixels this’ll produce square images, so I had to notch it down to 9 megapixels to get the full wide-screen shots. Up front there’s a 5 megapixel cam for your selfie shots. It has a 3140mAh battery which you can’t remove.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    The rear section wraps neatly and smoothly around the sides and top of the handset like a cover. It’s a smooth shiny plastic but there’s very little play or bending in the phone construction. Up front, the black border around the screen is kept to an acceptable minimum and there’s that circular action / notification key. In addition to this there’s also (when required) two on-screen buttons towards the bottom of the display for going back or opening menu options. Although this might seem a little disjointed it really wasn’t.

    The left edge has the volume controls, which sit out proudly but with a certain sense of style.

     

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    On the other side, the SIM tray that’ll house two SIM cards it you have them. If not, one is fine, but no microSD here. We couldn’t find NFC while I think about it either.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    The bottom has the external speaker, microphone and microUSB charging point. You can see how rounded the edges are here too.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    Then up top, the 3.5mm audio port, power button (I hardly ever pressed that because I used the “double-tap to wake” function on the screen) and a noise-cancelling microphone.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    The setup process isn’t strictly aimed at little ‘ole me in the UK, and the browser and some other apps have Chinese options and features. It’s not a job-stopper and the browser rendered pages reasonably well, although there were a few slight discrepancies with the font sizes on some pages. I quickly installed Chrome and felt quite at home.

    Using this as my daily driver didn’t feel much different to my LG G3 in terms of performance. It chugged along quite happily and somehow kept up with my abuse without complaint. As mentioned, it also had the same “double-tap to wake” functionality that I’ve become accustomed to, so there wasn’t really a need to press the power button on the side.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    Once you’ve got past the brief and painless setup process you’re dropped straight into the main screen. All apps and games are stored in the main tray, so there’s no real “drawer” to pull down to access others. The icons have received a bit of a facelift and some polish thanks to the Flyme OS tweaks, but you can disable this and have normal icons if you wish. I was quite taken with the Flyme ones so I kept them on.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    Here’s a quick look at how the icons differ if you have the Flyme style enabled (right) or disabled (left)..

    Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review

    I then had to get my Google account setup because this actually isn’t part of the setup process. After going into the settings and adding this account I got all my contacts and calendar appointments, but there was no email.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review

    At first I found this strange, but then you realise that certain other Google bits aren’t installed. Out of the box Google Play is – thankfully – on the homescreen, so no need to side-load apps. So is Google Maps, however, there’s no Gmail or YouTube. This is quickly rectified by simply downloading the relevant apps from Google Play. I grabbed the Google Mail app and YouTube and everything worked pretty smoothly.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review

    There’s a couple of other minor bits you’ll need to get used to, like the text selection process. With this particular handset you need to press and hold, choose “Select” and then drag over the text. It’s a little gear change, but you soon get used to it. The TouchPal keyboard is pre-installed and works well, although I switched it to my favourite Google one which offers similar functionality.

    On a software level Meizu have also added a music app which lets you create playlists and navigate your tunes. There’s also a voice recorder, update checker, a “Security Center” for cleaning and maintaining your phone, a paint app and… that’s about it. To be honest this fitted me nicely just like that. It didn’t have a huge chunk of apps, features and services I didn’t want. It left the decisions up to me on what I wanted, and I liked that.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review

    The Settings screens were where I spent most of the time. There’s a range of gestures you can setup – I’ve already mentioned the “double-tap to wake” function, but you can also set the phone to do other things when you make certain gestures. For example, writing the letter “e” on the screen could open your email client if you wanted – it’s totally up to you. There’s a host of other options including an auto power off / on, a network speed notification and the possibility to start certain apps if you sweep right on the lock screen. You may want to start the camera for example.

    Camera

    The rear camera is billed as a 13 megapixel shooter and indeed it is that, but all shots will be square in appearance. If you want to have the standard landscape option you’ll need to knock things down to 9 megapixels.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    The whole camera UI is very nice and there’s a range of filters and effects that you can apply to the live preview. You can also use a countdown timer plus you’ll find HDR, a level gauge and gridlines. Plus, if you switch to the “manual mode” (which looks a lot like the Google Mail icon) you can adjust nearly every photography geeky setting going.

    Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review Meizu M1 Note   Review

    Other modes include panorama, light field, scan (for grabbing scans by snapping an image), beauty (which didn’t make me look a great deal younger) and slowmotion.

    It’s also possible to record video and pause it, so your final video is nicely slotted together with multiple shots throughout. Also, as you film, you can snap images. Ideal if you’re filming a family event and want to grab shots at the same time.

    Below I’ve added some example shots. The images came out relatively well. The focus took a little longer in lower light and, although it wasn’t a top-end performer, images looked good enough to me and the camera fired up quickly with a fairly brisk focus time. Although HDR is available I did find that it wouldn’t always remember my preference, so I’d get in the habit of checking whether it was enabled.
    Meizu M1 Note   Review

    This one was taken with HDR enabled..

    Meizu M1 Note   Review

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    Overall

    Gotta admit, this suited me. A nice punchy design that reminded me of the Windows Phone Nokia handsets to begin with, but inside there’s an uncluttered and rather beautiful interface which is a joy to use. It’s a handset that doesn’t dictate what apps you should have – instead choosing to deliver the minimum range of apps whilst you make it your own. It’s like moving into a really nice new house and making it your own, deciding where the fireplace, sofa and dinner table should go.

    It was quick, performed well, had great battery life and felt in no way cheap. I liked the little touches such as being able to swap applications just by sweeping up from the bottom of the screen. It has a lot of the premium features but this is a handset that costs £165 from Topresellerstore.co.uk. Yes, £165. Sadly it’s out of stock at that particular store but they do have the new Meizu M2 Note which is (wait for it) just £149! That’s utterly bonkers for a well-made device which could actually be my daily driver. I can actually see myself popping two SIM cards into this and quite happily using it in place of my regular “premium” smartphone. It’s that good.

    A definite recommendation from me. Top stuff Meizu.

    Even if the majority of the people I showed this to had never heard of the company, it’s still a very capable handset for the money.

    The post Meizu M1 Note – Review is original content from Coolsmartphone.

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