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Meizu Note 8 Review: Meizu’s Offer in 1000-Yuan Niche

“In the future, I will only own two series of smartphones: Meizu flagship series and national smartphone series.”

—Meizu founder J.Wong

The Meizu V8 and the Meizu X8 were released last month. Today, the successor of the old good Meizu M6 Note debuted today, namely the Meizu Note 8.

Looking back at the winter lunar month four years ago, the first model of the Charm Blue series was announced. As you guess, it was the first-gen Note. This was Meizu’s offer for young customers who are looking for cost-effective but powerful smartphones.

In the past four years, the development of Meizu has not been smooth. Because of an unsatisfactory cooperation with Qualcomm, it has long been trapped in the shackles that only MediaTek can use. Until recently, any product it launched, was condemned to failure.

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Starting from the Meizu 15, Huang Zhang took the development of new smartphone in his hands. As a result, the Meizu 15 series and Meizu 16 series handsets got a lot of attention and praises. The company also revised the price policy. So the new Meizu phone not only look great and sport top-end features but also cost quite affordable.

On October 25, a new smartphone from the Charm Blue series was announced. The Meizu Note 8 was named a ‘national smartphone’. It comes with a 12MP + 5MP rear dual-camera, the classic IMX362 sensor of which is accompanied by the new Spectra 160 dual hybrid ISP and an ArcSoft algorithm brought by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor. At the same time, it sports a 6-inch 2160 × 1080 no bangs full-screen. And of course, it costs too little.

Meizu Note 8 Appearance

The Meizu Note 8 has four colors of black, flame red, gray-blue, and smoke purple. We are reviewing the black variant with a 4+64GB memory combination.

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As the successor of the Charm Blue Note series, the Meizu Note 8’s packaging is different from the Meizu 16X and Meizu 16. There is the mBlu logo in the lower right corner.

The Meizu Note 8 uses a 6-inch display with a resolution of 2160×1080. It adopts an 18:9 ratio design. The four large arc R angles and the rounded screen edges make the phone great in terms of ergonomics. Though this is a Note series smartphone (that usually sport a large screen and are big), this handset causes no problems for single-hand operations.

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On the top side of the front panel, we can see the earpiece and the front camera sensor. On the one hand, it’s unusual to see such a wide-forehead smartphone in the era of the notch or drop screen smartphones. But on the other hand, the Meizu Note 8 still adheres to the independent design style that is respectable.

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Because of the comprehensive screen design, the chin has no place to put the classic waist button of the Note series, and instead, it uses virtual keys or full-screen gestures.

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Same as the Meizu V8 and other siblings, Meizu Note 8 uses the back fingerprint design, which is one of the few models that Meizu has so far designed with the back fingerprint. The camera and flash are also ingenious. Unlike most smartphones, the Meizu Note 8’s flash is placed at the top, and the dual camera is vertically aligned under the flash.

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The back body is polished very delicately. It has no rough discomfort presented by various matte and brushed metal phones launched in previous years, and the metal body is not as greasy as the glass material. The Meizu Note 8 uses an aluminum alloy middle frame, but based on the one-piece body technology, there is no color difference.

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It is worth noting that the Meizu Note 8 added a high-toughness nylon protection ring around the frame, thickening the cushion in the four corners of the fuselage.

Meizu Note 8 Performance

The Meizu Note 8 is the second model in China to get Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 632 processor after the Huawei Honor 8C. Although this chip has been released in June, it is relatively unfamiliar to most people.

This SoC features an octa-core Kryo 250 architecture, a clock speed of 1.8GHz, an integrated Adreno 506 GPU, an X9 LTE baseband (Cat.7), and up to 300Mbps download speed. Thus, this chipset is going to replace the Snapdragon 626, and at the same time, it introduces Qualcomm’s self-contained architecture, which is rare on the previous mid-end chip. This new addition improves the CPU performance by 40% and GPU performance by 10%.

However, to understand how this chip and this phone perform in real life, we have tested them through various benchmarks.

AnTuTu

The Meizu Note 8 scores more than 100,000 points, which is far ahead of the Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro with Snapdragon 625 and with the same hardware specifications.

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GFXBench

From the above comparison, it can be seen that the GPU of the Snapdragon 632 is slightly improved compared to the Snapdragon 625, and the level is basically maintained at the same stage.

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PCMark

The Meizu Note 8’s PCMark points are 5040, which is consistent with the normal running performance of the Snapdragon 632.

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GeekBench

From this screenshot, it can be seen that the CPU of the Snapdragon 632 is relatively stronger than that of the Snapdragon 625. The single core has a 44% improvement, and the multi-core capability has an upgrade of nearly 20%.

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Androbench

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Although the popularity of popular mobile games such as ‘PUBG’ and Fifth Personality is getting higher and higher, the veteran game “Honor of Kings” still has a large number of players.

On the other hand, Vulkan is an API that has been known in recent years. Once the game uses Vulkan interface to access hardware, it can provide a good performance with lower power consumption. Thus, it can save energy when playing games, but the number of frames will not decrease.

In fact, the Vulkan graphic interface of “Honor of Kings” has been opened in April this year. But due to the enormous workload of adaptation development, many flagship models are still in the development stage. So it is even senseless to talk about the thousand-yuan smartphones.

Fortunately, the Meizu Note 8 supports this feature. It is a ride in the thousand-yuan machine. It can be seen that in the Vulkan version of “Honor of Kings”, in any scene, its fluency and frame number stability are qualitatively improved compared to other thousand-yuan phones. It’s always in the 60 to 61 frame. Even in the most intense group battle scene, it did not decrease from 60 frames, and the eight cores of the CPU did not need to withstand the full-frequency high load.

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Meizu Note 8 Camera

Our protagonist continues using the much-beloved 12+5MP dual-camera module used in the previous generation Charm Blue Note 6, of which the main camera still uses the IMX362 sensor.

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On the one hand, the IMX362 is extremely advanced for the thousand-yuan machine in the Note 6 era. But on the other hand, its successor, the IMX363 has too little improvements. So the continuation of the previous generation CMOS on the Note 8 is that Meizu wants to adopt a more secure strategy. Excavating the potential of the IMX362, it was not launched with the IMX363.

Daytime Samples

When taking macro shots, and taking into account the price range this handset comes for, there is no situation of running out of focus. The boundary outside the coke is still clear and the background blur is enough. The rest of the photos also prove the Meizu Note 8 is capable of taking quite satisfactory photos when there is a sufficient light source.

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Nighttime Samples

In the low-light environment, the Meizu Note 8 can also provide good performance. Although the brightness is inferior to the flagship model, this is already a step forward.

Macro proofs and roadside shops in the low-light environment at night can be filmed at hand. Overall, the night shot performance of the Meizu Note 8 is slightly inferior to the daytime, but it has exceeded expectations on the basis of this price.

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Portraits

The rear dual-camera supports the portrait mode. It is quite pleasant to see such a feature on a thousand-yuan smartphone.

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Meizu Note 8 Battery

The Meizu Note 8 is equipped with a 3600mAh battery. It is reduced from the 4000mAh. But it’s done in benefit of the appearance and weight. Unfortunately, it will have a significant impact on its battery life.

When we started the endurance test, the remaining power was 96%. After 60 minutes, it reduced to 84%. Thus, the power consumption is 12%. So we can assume the phone will provide up to 8-9 hours of video playback.

As for the game test, we chose the Honor of Kings. The remaining power was 69%. After 30 minutes, it dropped to 60%. Thus, in half-hour its consumes 9%. So the Meizu Note 8 can provide up to 5 hours of gameplay.

From the aforementioned tests, we can assume the small reduction in battery capacity will not cause a significant endurance decrease. Moreover, the 3600mAh battery is still a large capacity today.

Wrap Up

As we can see, the Meizu Note 8 is a worthy rival in the thousand-yuan smartphone niche. Thus, if the camera performance and the game performance are the most important factors when you are looking for a new smartphone, then this handset is ideal for you. Plus, it comes with an unordinary full-screen design, which adds the recognition rate of the phone.

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Argam Artashyan

Back in 2010, he was dismissed from his position as a lecturer at the university. This made him get another job at his friend’s digital marketing company as a blog writer. After a few years, when he was thinking the article writing is his mission, Google pushed the Panda update and affected the company and websites he was working at. (Un)fortunately and surprisingly, he got an offer to head a large knitting factory. In 2016, he got his Ph.D. and resumed teaching at the University … and writing tech-related articles following his passion.

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