You know what the problem with budget phones is? Yeah, yeah, I mean ASIDE from the often dreadful cameras, storage space and battery life. Yes, that’s right, screen size! Fed up of being able to reach each bit of the screen without having to employ that second hand of yours? Well, Meizu feel your pain and are here to take fight to Motorola’s dominant G with their newest entry level handset, the M2 Note, which as the name suggests, pairs a big screen with a low price.

It’s a pretty wild thought that a phone that’s just six months old could spawn a sequel, but that’s what we’ve got with the M2 Note. It’s the follow up to the M1 Note, a phone which was met with positive reviews but some hesitation from customers who found the device a little cumbersome to handle, thanks primarily to that rather generous 5.5″ screen. Well, this time around Meizu have set their minds to fixing what customers didn’t love about the first version. That is, except the size of the screen, that’s not going anywhere.

As such, the M2 does away with the rounded iPhone 3G style back and replaced it with a more squared off design that’s 0.22mm thinner than the previous version. It’s still made of polycarbonate for price and durability reasons, though (hilariously) Meizu claim that the new design will now make you feel like “sticking out your hand in a 60mph car”. No, I don’t get it either. Also on the list of improvements is the processor, which has jumped to a 1.3GHz octa-core Mediatek unit capable of 64bit processing. It’s supported by a 450MHz Mali T720 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

The camera units have also seen a bump, moving to a 13MP unit (of unspecificed origin) for the rear and a 5MP front facing unit. Elsewhere, the screen remains that excellent 5.5″ Full-HD IGZO panel and now there’s expandable storage up to 128GB to make use of it. By default, the M2 Note will come with either 16 or 32GB of built in storage.

m2 note 1

On the connectivity front there’s support for dual 4G nano SIM cards, Bluetooth LE, dual-band WiFi, GPS/GLONASS and A-GPS. It’s powered by a newer version of their divisive FlyMe OS, which is based on Android 5.0.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering where the bizarre hardware and software features are, aren’t you? Well, don’t fret, they’re still here. Gone is the circular capacitive button which adorned the M1 Note in favour of a physical button, shaped like a rounded rectangle. The advantage of such a change? The new ‘mBack’ button lets you pull off some relatively neat tricks.

Based on the pressure your apply to the button, the mBack button can perform different functions. For example, a light press takes users to the ‘recent apps’ page, whilst heavier presses take you back to the home screen. In paper, that’s probably not a bad idea (though why not just go with software buttons, Meizu?), but in reality I can’t imagine it being anything less than a total pain.

m2 note 2

Nevertheless, the Meizu M2 Note is startlingly cheap, with the 16GB unit available for ¥799 Yuan and the 32GB model at ¥999 Yuan, which works out to around £85 and £105 each, heavily undercutting the Moto G whilst throwing in features like that Full-HD panel and dual SIM 4G support, not to mention much superior cameras.

Colour options include black, blue, pink and white, and will be available to Chinese customers immidietly. If you’re looking to buy it in the UK or elsewhere, I’d suggest checking out our buyers guide here.

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Ten fingers, five senses, one man, loads of Chinese smartphones.

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