The only time the home button isn't used for navigation is for multi-tasking, which was covered before by swiping up anywhere on the bottom bezel. A hovering circle called SmartTouch provides some additional navigation options for users who don't want to use these home button and bezel gestures, with some minor customizations that can be made to switch up each gesture a bit.
Lastly we'll cover some gestures that are common on modern Android phones, but nonetheless are incredibly convenient. Double tapping the screen when it's off will wake the phone up and display the lock screen, and the phone gives the option to draw over half a dozen different letters like c, o and e to launch any app of the user's choosing on the phone.
There's even a "palm rejection" feature that's oddly named, but keeps these actions from happening when in a user's pocket, preventing embarrassing pocket dialing or messaging. Once a much more heavily modified and slightly annoying take on Android's standard navigation and UI design, Flyme has followed positive industry trends to pare back the heavier skin designs and instead keep the base designs of stock Android and only modify things visually.
Major changes on this phone and version of Flyme versus past generations include a more stock looking and feeling Overview multi-tasking interface, as well as the double pull-down notification shade with large quick toggles that provide quick information and ways to quickly change things like WiFi connection and Bluetooth devices. There are still a few leftovers from old Flyme navigation and style that can be a bit odd if you're used to how most Android phones work at this point though. Adjusting the volume via the volume rockers, for example, only adjust the media volume and doesn't present options to adjust any of the other system sound levels.
To change between silent and regular modes you'll need to toggle the Mute button in the quick toggles section of the notification shade, which is absolutely confusing at first but becomes less annoying after prolonged use.
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Still not being able to quickly adjust ringtone or notification volume is an irritating design decision that requires users to go all the way into system settings just to adjust such a common setting. Fingerprint readers are finally common on even many of the least expensive smartphones nowadays, but that doesn't always mean these are quality or fast readers. Much like many of the other components on this phone, the speed and accuracy of the fingerprint reader rivals even the most expensive phones out there, and yet again shows Meizu's quality testing wins the day even on its least expensive phones.
Unlocking takes just a fraction of a second from pressing the home button to wake the phone up, or just to tap the home button to scan when on the lockscreen.
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Functionality is limited to this, however, since the phone is not yet on Android 6. The security center found on previous generation Meizu phones is here and provides just as much excellent functionality to keep users going from a security standpoint.
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It's here where users can quickly clean up free space on their phone, monitor the data that apps are using both through WiFi and cell data connections, block phone numbers from calling or texting, control permissions for each app, apply different power profiles and even scan for account vulnerabilities and malware.
Meizu's camera software hasn't changed much through the years, which is alright in some respects and a bit disappointing in others. Considering what the software looks and acts like on many phones in this price range, Meizu's software is miles ahead of the competition in terms of performance, quality and even features.
As might be expected it visually looks like an iOS camera, however instead of swiping left and right to switch modes, a button next to the shutter button is used to toggle a grid of 9 selectable modes. Much like the iOS camera there's only a large shutter button here, and you'll have to switch back and forth between video and photo modes just to take a picture or start a video. This is made less efficient since the software is lacking any fast way to switch between modes, and it's very difficult to quickly start a video to say the least.
Shutter speed is instant on all but HDR mode, which takes a handful of seconds to take the actual shot. In fact it's not just taking the HDR shot that's slow, it's actually navigating to and enabling it that makes it less likely to be commonly used. In fact switching modes in general could be a little quicker, especially for commonly used ones like photo and video, and the labeling for mode switching isn't clear at first either. All things considered this is a pretty amazing camera, especially for the price range.
At megapixels the rear-facing camera on the M3 Note packs a punch that most in this price range could only dream of, delivering consistent results that will very likely make you say wow. Easily on par with flagships only two years ago or so, this megapixel sensor has all the makings of greatness and is only held back by a few negatives. Low light performance is decent overall, but often times the software prioritizes ISO over shutter speed, holding the shutter open a little too long and allowing hand jitter to blurry up the image.
I found this to be a problem anywhere that doesn't have direct sunlight, effectively, so as you'll notice from the gallery below even shots indoors in well lit conditions can turn out blurry. The picture also gets a tad muddy when moving into actual low lighting conditions; times of the day like dawn, dusk or night.
Dynamic range is pretty average, but the lack of a competent HDR mode hurts the possibility of getting better dynamic range at any point. HDR mode is just too slow to make it useful, and unless you can hold your hand perfectly still the shot is going to turn out blurry. This has been a problem on Meizu devices for some time now, unfortunately, but will hopefully be rectified in a future software update for the camera.
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Zoom detail is normally fantastic, especially during the day, and shows a more raw, or pure, output from the software than some other OEM cameras provide. This presents a pleasing image that's free from heavy processing, and one that allows more details to enter the frame than some other cameras out there, even on phones considerably more expensive. Even the front facing camera is excellent and takes some seriously impressive selfies at 5-megapixel resolution. Great overall balance is present here, although since there's no front-facing flash the night-time selfies are going to suffer from being overly soft due to noise needing to be filtered out.
Overall the performance of the camera exceeds expectations, especially for the price range, and I found myself to be incredibly pleased with most aspects of the picture taking abilities of the phone. Video mode is just as good too, delivering solid p video, although there's no image stabilization present. Details are clear and the mp4 codec used is much higher quality than the codec many phones at this price range use to say the least. BBOS It's important to remember that in-built usage monitors might measure the data slightly differently to your network, so if you're setting limits, it's often a good idea to set them a little lower than your actual allowance.
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