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Although I was impressed when I first got my hands on the Meizu M2 Note, I commented that the final price of the handset would really determine how successful the device would be.
Since then we've found that the M2 Note will cost as little as £144 (about $227, AU$294) – a phenomenal price that casts the handset in a very flattering light.
Meizu might not be a brand name you'd recognise, but if you're looking for a budget smartphone with decent specs and a large screen, you'd do well to become antiquated.
When Meizu announced the Chinese price of the M2 Note, I was impressed, but realistically thought the international handset wouldn't be anywhere near that price. So, I was very happy to hear that the M2 Note, although not as cheap as it is in China, offers brilliant value for money.
The design and build quality of the handset is another high point – this certainly doesn't look or feel like a budget device.
The fact that it comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop is another big plus – you're getting Google's latest operating system straight out of the box.
There's not much to dislike about the M2 Note. The Flyme interface, as attractive as it is, has an insistence of placing shortcuts for your apps on your homescreen. This can't be changed, and makes your device look cluttered and disorganised when you start installing lots of apps.
Sound could also be better, and music addicts probably won't be satisfied, even with good headphones and high-quality streaming.
Overall, the Meizu M2 Note is a solid phablet that offers plenty of bang for your buck. The international price isn't as cheap as the Chinese version, but it's still highly competitive. The fact that it's near £100 makes it an easy recommendation for anyone who wants budget smartphone, but doesn't want to make too many compromises on power and features.
With a design, specs and features that wouldn't look out of place on a handset twice its price, I was more than happy with this handset. If you don't mind a few quirks, or a brand name hardly anyone has heard of, then it's one of the best cheap smartphones you can buy.
Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.
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