Meizu is a Chinese manufacturer active in smartphones since 2008, the brand was mainly present in China but the latest models are now available everywhere. Meizu is not a major manufacturer (11th worldwide) but it benefits from the support of Alibaba, which has invested more than 500 million dollars in the company. I had never had any of these devices in my hands before but the Meizu Note 9 comes on the market with a powerful smartphone for a small price, it competes directly with the Redmi Note 7, so I had to try it.
How are my tests different from others on the web?
- I usually buy the devices with my own money, so price is just as important as you are! - I keep the devices for at least a few weeks (sometimes more) to see what they are worth in real conditions. - I answer (when possible) your questions to help you decide before you buy - no one pays me to do these reviews, so I'm completely neutral and independent... - My pages are not filled with ads
The Meizu Note 9 will be launched at around €200 at the end of April/beginning of May 2019. It is already possible to get it for sale flash below this price, I advise you to subscribe to my alert system below to take advantage of it.
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24/04/19: purchase of the Meizu Note 9, the official launch is scheduled for late April / early May, the device will probably be shipped in the second half of May 24/05/19: reception of the device 25/05/19: outdoor photo test 26/05/19: cpu/gpu benchmark, screen test 10/06/19: network test
Why this phone?
I have just finished testing the Redmi Note 7 which has proven to be an excellent device and may even be the best device in this price range. Meizu Note 9 was officially released two months later with the stated aim of competing with Redmi Note 7, Meizu makes no secret of it. The Meizu Note 9 should in theory be faster than the Redmi Note 7 because it has a more powerful processor on board but it doesn't stop there.
I test the phones according to a pre-established structure (see below) to provide you with as much information as possible. Unfortunately, this takes a long time. Some tests like network performance tests take several days and for camera tests I sometimes have to wait until the weather is favorable to take pictures in good conditions. I am therefore obliged to publish test results step by step, so I invite you to come back if the test is not complete at the time of your visit.
The Meizu Note 9 comes in a compact blue box that looks pretty much like what Xiaomi does with its Redmi. In the box you will find the phone, a charger, a cable and an envelope containing the needle to open the SIM drawer as well as 3 small documents. The box does not contain a protective cover or protective film for the screen.
Length : 153.1 Width : 74.4 Thickness : 8.7 Weight : 170 Jack output : Yes USB Type : Type C USB norm : 2.0 Infrared port : No
This is the first Meizu I've tested and since it's not a big manufacturer like Samsung or Xiaomi, I expected to see a basic configuration. Meizu Note 9 follows the same trend as Xiaomi or Samsung by offering its own version of Android, this version is called FlyMe. When a manufacturer offers these kinds of things, they often try to get you to create an account in addition to your Google Account and offer you applications that you may not need. It's exactly the same with this Meizu Note 9, it offers you to create a FlyMe account and install recommended applications. Even if you disable all the applications in the list, you will still find some other pre-installed applications. It's not dramatic, but I know some people don't like it.
During the configuration I encountered a problem when I was retrieving my account, the backup ended in an error and I ended up with an empty phone. I then synchronized it with to my Google Account to get my data back, everything went well except that it didn't download most of the applications I was using, I had to install them manually. It's the first time I've seen this kind of thing and it's quite annoying because you have to go back to the PlayStore to get all your applications.
The Meizu Note 9 is an entry-level phone that is positioned at the same level as the Redmi Note 7. The Meizu takes up some of the aesthetic codes of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite with a plastic rear facade imitating glass, this facade reflects light from several angles. On the front side is a 6.2 inch screen with a drop-shaped notch that takes up a minimum of space. The edges are also very thin. The Meizu Note 9 is slightly smaller than the Redmi Note 7 but its screen covers 85% of its surface area compared to 81% for the Redmi. Overall the Meizu has a pretty good finish for this price range, it may give a little more of a plastic feel than the Redmi but it's very subjective, the whole thing is pretty good.
At the back there is a small fingerprint sensor, sometimes you have to search a little bit to find it. The photo sensor is placed vertically and stands out much less than on the Redmi when it is exactly the same sensor. On the right side we find the classic power on and volume buttons but these buttons do not come out of the edges very much, it is almost as if they weren't there.
At the top of the notch is the LED diode for notifications, the SIM drawer is at the top too. At the bottom you have a Jack port, a USB type C port and an output grid for the loudspeaker.
The phone is thicker than the Redmi but it is a little less wide, it is also lighter and you can feel it when you take them each in one hand. The plastic on the back of the Meizu is soft, it sinks slightly when pressed, it gives a slightly less solid impression but the device is generally well designed for this price range.
I took the pictures below with another device I'm testing (Samsung Galaxy S10+)
Meizu Note 9 supports the following frequencies: 3G: B1,B2,B4,B5,B8 4G: B1,B2,B3,B4,B5,B7,B8,B20,B40 With these frequencies it is possible to use the Meizu in 4G throughout Europe, it only lacks the B28 frequency for the French carriers Free and Bouygues.
Choose your country to check if your phone is compatible:
The frequencies displayed below will allow you to see if this phone is compatible with your operator or if you will be able to use it in the country where you are going on vacation.
3G frequencies : B1,B2,B4,B5,B8 4G frequencies : B1,B2,B3,B4,B5,B7,B8,B20,B40 Bluetooth : Bluetooth 5.0 LE Volte : Yes NFC : No Number measurements : 937 Average signal : -96.68 Download speed : 80 Upload speed : 50
The ability to pick up the network correctly is essential for a telephone but it is only very rarely measured. To measure a phone's ability to pick up the network, I make a large number of measurements on the same cells to be able to compare phones under similar conditions. The signal is measured in dBm, a value of -90dBm indicates a worse signal than -70dBm. The signals can vary from -40dBm (excellent signal) to -140 dBm (poor signal). These measurements are taken under real conditions and not in a laboratory.
On the graph below, I compare 2 phones on the same cells to see which one picks up the network best. The phone that receives the best network reception is the one that occupies the most space.
On all measurements, the Meizu Note 9 obtains an average signal of -96.68 dBm. With this score the Meizu ranks in the good average of the table and is above the Redmi Note 7. If I isolate the 48 common cells between the Redmi and the Meizu to be sure to measure the same thing, the score is reversed in favour of the Redmi which is imposed with a good score of -93.92 dBm against -96.191 dBm for the Meizu. Why this difference? When I make my measurements, I cannot choose the cell to which I am connected and it is only by taking a large number of measurements that I can get signals on the same cells. We see here that on this selection of common cells with Redmi, the Meizu remains very close to its average while the Redmi deviates more significantly from it. Without entering into a scientific debate, the Meizu seems to have a more stable performance than the Redmi while remaining lower on average.
Network signal sensitivity rating
Average signal (dBm)
Number of measurements:
Xiaomi Mi 9t Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite
Samsung Galaxy A70
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
Xiaomi Mi A3
Huawei Y6 2019
Meizu Note 9
Motorola G8 Power
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
Umidigi S3 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
Samsung Galaxy A21s
Ulefone Armor 7e
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s
Poco F2 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9
Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5g
Download / mobile
To test the Wifi signal, I place the phone near the router and measure the signal. I then move the phone remotely from the router and repeat the operation. I take measurements at the same places for all phones and take the average signal.
The Meizu is a device that has already surprised me on several points and the Wifi signal will be another strong point of this device. Near the router, the signal goes above -30dBm, it's the best signal I have measured so far. Remotely the signal is not bad either but it is just a little better than the others, the difference is not as marked as near the router.
Download / Wifi
For the download test, I obtained a download speed between 190 and 200Mbps while with other devices I went beyond 250Mbps. So it's clearly not the fastest phone but 200Mbps is more than enough to stream in HD. For upload speed, as usual, the speed is limited by my ISP.
To test the quality of the GPS signal I use the Offline Maps application and I do the same train trip in pedestrian mode. Why? In pedestrian mode, GPS does not artificially correct the signal to make it stick to the road, it has no reference, so you can see the real position.
I was not very convinced by the Meizu's GPS performance because the positioning was not accurate and I had several signal interruptions whereas this had never happened to me with any other phone. The orientation of the GPS is defined from the side of the phone, so it must be kept in a horizontal position for the orientation to be correct. I don't go so far as to say that GPS is bad because it isn't, but Redmi Note 7 is much better at that level.
The Meizu battery has the same capacity as the Redmi Note 7 battery, so it will be difficult to distinguish them on their capacity. During the first days of using the Meizu, I was surprised to have to recharge my phone before the end of the second day while with the Redmi I arrived without any problem at the end of the second day. In the overview of battery consumption, I saw that the screen was responsible for nearly 50% of the consumption because the brightness was set at 100%. By reducing the brightness to 50%, I manage to reach two to three days just like with the Redmi. I have the impression that the light sensor doesn't do its job much because my camera was in automatic mode and yet it remained at 100% all the time.
Capacity : 4000 Fast charge : Yes W max : 18
To test the quality of the phone's audio output, I connect the device's audio output to a measuring tool, then play sounds on all frequencies and measure the differences between the original sound and the sound produced by the phone.
This test is intended to test the device's ability to correctly reproduce all frequencies. The white line in the middle of the graph is the ideal situation and the other colors come from tests on different phones. A deviation from the reference line indicates a deviation from the ideal situation. To see good sound at all frequencies, it is therefore necessary to get as close as possible to the reference line
This test is designed to test a phone's ability to play sounds at different volume levels. Here too, the white curve is used as a reference and therefore the phones must be as close as possible to it.
This test aims to identify whether the device under test is capable of reproducing sounds without too much noise. A high score indicates a low parasite rate, a lower score indicates a higher presence of parasites.
The Redmi is a good audio device but it is not the best in this segment. The Meizu ranks just below the Redmi Note 7. It has a slightly less powerful sound and the distortion is slightly more pronounced. The differences are not very large, but the figures allow me to rank the Redmi Note 7 higher.
Performance CPU / GPU
The Meizu Note 9 is equipped with a Snapdragon 675 processor and an Adreno 612 graphics processor, this combination gives it a significant performance advantage. It is probably the most powerful phone in this price range. I didn't notice any difference in performance for common tasks like surfing the Internet or checking my emails. On the other hand, performance provides a real benefit for games and heavy applications.
Meizu highlights the power of Note 9 as the main argument against the Redmi Note 7 and they are right because the Meizu outperforms the Redmi in every possible way. The biggest difference comes from memory performance, it has always been a weak point with the Xiaomi devices I have tested so far.
Antutu score : 174486 Antutu CPU : 79676 Antutu GPU : 35886 Antutu UX : 45964 Antutu Mem : 12960
As with other phones, I tested PUBG Mobile on the Meizu Note 9.
As you can see, the Meizu is able to run the game in advanced graphics mode where the Redmi Note 7 is stuck with the average graphics level. The game is perfectly smooth and does not stutter at all. The Meizu Note 9 is really the most powerful phone in this price range, it outperforms all the other phones I have ever tested.
The Meizu Note 9 is equipped with the latest Samsung sensor with 48 Mio pixels, it is exactly the same sensor as the Redmi Note 7, so it will be interesting to see if the processing of the image can make the difference between the 2 cameras.
The Meizu's default photo application is simple and richly equipped with features. It offers more or less the same features as on the Redmi but the interface is more refined and easier to use. In automatic mode, the application offers HDR and two advanced modes to enhance photos, it's exactly the same as on the Redmi. On the video side, it allows you to do 4k, timelapses, slow motion videos as well as fast motion videos. The application on the Meizu is easier to use than the one on the Redmi.
As with the other tests, I started my photo test with a studio test. This time, it was my 6-year-old son who decided on the layout of the objects and despite his ignorance of colours, he made a good choice because we find the three primary colours. I rarely have several phones at the same time but delays in deliveries allowed me to test the Redmi Note 7 and Samsung Galaxy S10+ at the same time as the Meizu.
I start with a photo in automatic mode on all three cameras:
The Samsung offers maximum depth of field and very good quality sharpness but lacks color saturation. The Redmi has a rather limited depth of field, the sharpness is good but the colors are too warm. The Meizu has a better depth of field than the Redmi (less good than the Samsung), a good sharpness and a small lack of color saturation but the rendering is more realistic than the Redmi.
I then took pictures in HDR mode on the Meizu and Redmi because they both have the same functionality:
The observation is the same as for photos in automatic mode without HDR.
For this third test I compare the photos in improved mode (automatic)
This feature does not improve the picture, on the contrary, we see that the colors on the Meizu are even more distant from reality, the dark blue of the police car turns cyan.
Fourth and last test with the improved pro mode (automatic)
Here again I don't see any big changes, these advanced modes don't have much use for interior photos. You will see the result outdoors later in this test.
Outdoor photo (cloudy)
Outdoor photography (sun)
For this outdoor test, I applied the same method as for the studio test, I compared the Meizu with the Redmi under the same conditions.
First try - automatic mode
The Meizu has produced a sharper and brighter picture than the Redmi, the colours are a little colder but it's not disturbing. The Redmi has smoothed the contours a little too much and I may have made a movement when taking the picture because usually the Redmi does not show this kind of blur.
Second test - HDR
The sharpness is more balanced on both cameras, the Redmi offers a little more saturation but also smoothes the picture a little more and we lose detail compared to the Meizu. It was windy when I took the pictures, so some trees are blurry because of the movement caused by the wind.
Third try - improved mode (automatic)
Same observation as for the previous photos, the Redmi loses details because of the smoothing and the Meizu loses a little saturation and offers a colder photo.
The pictures are similar, the Redmi's is darker but the sharpness is similar for all cameras.
For this outdoor and automatic test, I would say that the Meizu produced better pictures than the Redmi. However, I must point out that I used the devices in automatic mode without changing settings, this is an important element because Redmi proposes to adjust the sharpness and saturation so that the problems reported here disappear. The Meizu does not offer this type of adjustment. I advise you to check my Redmi Note 7 test to get another idea of the device. Anyway, without adjustments, the treatment of the Meizu is better.
Night mode in daylight
The Meizu Note 9 is equipped with a night mode and this night mode works quite well in daylight too. I took the same picture in automatic mode, in HDR and finally in night mode. Of course it's a matter of taste but I like the output from night mode very much.
Outdoor photography (night)
The Meizu Note 9 has a night mode and I will start by comparing the night mode with the normal mode. Unlike the other cameras with a night mode that I tested, the Meizu takes pictures very quickly, you don't have to wait a few seconds before you can take a new picture. Here is a first picture in normal mode.
In automatic mode, the Meizu has chosen a 1/25 shutter for a sensitivity of 3399 ISO. At this shutter speed, the car in the background of the picture is almost frozen and the picture is generally quite sharp. With ISO 3399 the noise should be high but it is barely visible, which means that the phone is processing. The scene is relatively well lit, so it makes things easier. The level of detail is good, you can see the grass in the foreground. On the other hand, the image is burned at the level of the light sources, a halo coats all the strong lights. The sharpness of the image goes down quite strongly behind the boat, we feel that the phone operates a rather important smoothing beyond this area.
Let's see what the night mode will reveal:
The first thing I notice is that the halo effect around the lights is attenuated. The picture was also taken at 1/25 with a sensitivity at 3156 ISO, so the picture is slightly darker and slightly less noisy. The correction of light on the light sources has a negative effect on the rest of the picture because all details are smoothed. You can no longer see the grass as well as in automatic mode and the emphasis on the boat's details is too strong.
Here is another picture in normal mode:
and the equivalent in night mode:
It's the same thing, the night mode strongly deteriorates the picture. I therefore do not recommend using this night mode.
If we limit ourselves to the normal mode, the Meizu does well in night photography. Noise management is good, the colours are a little too yellow (instead of orange), the level of detail is correct. It clearly doesn't come close to the Redmi Note 7 for this type of photo but it does better than a series of other brands that I have tested as Honor or Umidigi.
Meizu Note 9 supports 4k videos from the native application, this is not always the case in this price segment, you usually have to use an application from the Play Store like Open Cam.
The default application is the same as for the photo, it is simple and pleasant to use. It is also possible to take accelerated videos as well as slow motion videos as is often the case on Xiaomis.
Here is a video where I move the camera horizontally around me, the light conditions were very good. The horizontal movement is quite smooth with just an occasional little stutter, the sharpness is good and the colors are richly saturated. We see just a slight lens deformation.
For this second video, I walked my usual path to work (see my other tests) to be able to compare the stabilization with the other phones. The Meizu stabilizes the videos but you can still see the vibration from each steps quite strongly.
To test the screen I use a colorimetric probe that will measure the accuracy of the colors on a screen as well as other parameters to see if a screen is able to accurately reproduce an image. Why is this important? A bad colorimetry will deteriorate the quality of your images, they will sometimes be too bluish or too reddish.
How to read this graph? The inner triangle represents all the colours that can be obtained by mixing red, green and blue. This triangle represents an ideal view. The outer triangle represents the measured view for the phone screen. Deviations from the reference triangle represent a deviation in colour. For example, a blue can deviate towards purple if it deviates too far from the reference.
When I tested the Redmi Note 7, I got very good results in colorimetry, these results are probably among the best in this price range. Does the Meizu offer a screen of equivalent quality? Almost! The red is a little darker than on the Redmi but the green, blue and cyan are almost perfect. I get an average dE of -3.91 while the Redmi is at -3.81 (smaller = better), so the difference is really small. By adjusting the color temperature one notch to the left (warmer), I get a dE of -2.87 with a red that has become a little too strong. I didn't make this kind of adjustment on the Redmi Note 7, so it is likely that the score will also improve by changing the color temperature.
The brightness of the Meizu is impressive because when it is pushed to the maximum, it rises to 592 cd/m². This is the highest result I have obtained so far.
The Meizu has a very good screen quality equivalent to Redmi Note 7 with a much higher brightness.
Screen size : 6.2 Resolution : 1080x2244 Ratio : 18:05:09 Type : IPS LCD % occupancy : 85 dE white : 6.7 dE red : 5.2 dE green : 1.5 dE blue : 2.7 dE jaune : 5.3 dE cyan : 3 dE magenta : 3 Brightness : 592.04
As I wrote earlier, Meizu is not a big manufacturer, so I expected the phone to be equipped with a basic version of Android but this is not the case. Meizu has developed its own version of Android called Flyme OS. Here is a video showing the main screens:
The home screen contains the usual elements with square icons, the search bar and quick access to the other sections of the phone. On the right you can access the applications installed on the phone a bit like the Android application drawer but by copying Xiaomi. The third screen is full of applications embedded by Meizu, there are 20 of them and you can't uninstall any of them! Meizu frankly goes too far here because there is enough application to fill a screen and in most cases they are completely useless. Who will use a Meizu browser instead of a Chrome browser?
At the bottom of the home screen is an internal search engine that also allows you to search the web but this search results in a Russian search site! The phone is configured correctly in French with Belgium as the reference country.
At the top of the screen, we find one of the usual notifications and shortcuts with a rather neat design that reminds me a lot of what Xiaomi does.
The usual navigation with the standard Android buttons is available but the navigation by gesture is also available, it works exactly the same way as at Xiaomi but it is a little less reactive. Sometimes you have to insist a little bit to reach the screen displaying the open applications.
On the left of the screen, there is nothing, it is a very curious choice.
Flyme is therefore not very different from the other versions of Android that I have been able to test so far. I think Flyme is quite nice overall but I find it less mature than MIUI or Samsung UI. Why? Some settings are frankly irritating, starting with the keyboard and automatic correction.
I had correctly configured the phone in French but I ended up with a QWERTY keyboard instead of AZERTY and the automatic correction was done in English. I even had automatic correction in the browser address field, it doesn't make any sense! The choice of language and country is not enough with FlyMe, you still have to find other settings in the parameters to set the type of keyboard, the type of automatic correction,...etc..... I've never had this with another Android phone before.
The Wifi/Tethering Hotspot function is absolutely essential for me because my phone is a work tool that I use as a modem with my laptop when I travel by train. Activating the wifi hotspot was no problem, my laptop was able to connect directly to the phone, but it was impossible to access the internet. I tried everything for almost an hour (bluetooth, usb, restart,...), I saw on the Meizu forums that I was not the only one with this kind of problem. I finally found the solution! In the SIM card configuration, you must choose an APN to connect. I never had to worry about that on any other phone but in my list I had a lowercase APN and a capital one, I took the capital one and everything worked.
While playing with the camera, the camera started to heat up quite strongly and it displayed a message saying that the camera was overheating.
Xiaomi also installs some mandatory applications on its phones but that didn't bother me because they are not many and some are even quite useful. Meizu goes too far by imposing about twenty applications, most of which are totally redundant or useless.
As I wrote above, I couldn't synchronize my profile when the phone started, so I didn't have any applications from my old phone anymore, I had to download all my applications one by one.
These are clearly not insurmountable problems, but since I change phones regularly, I expect the transition from one device to another to be as smooth as possible, which was clearly not the case with this phone. I had passed my profile from Umidigi to Xiaomi and then to Samsung, I never had any problems like that.
Flyme is quite stable, I haven't encountered any bugs or crashes, it's mostly configuration items that spoil the experience a bit. For a small manufacturer Meizu did a great job anyway.
To better enjoy your experience with your smartphone, I offer links to all kinds of accessories that you might find useful
I assigned a score of 1 to 10 for each test that determines the strengths and weaknesses of a product. I am using 0 for criteria that have not (yet) been tested. A score of 1 to 3 indicates poor performance (and yes, it does), a score of 4 to 6 indicates average performance, a score of 7 to 8 indicates good performance, and a score of 9 and 10 indicates exceptional performance. . The score is calculated based on my measurements and when there are no measurements, it is a subjective opinion based on my experience.
The scores are not static, they change over time because the performance of new products changes and this must be taken into account.
The Meizu Note 9 is an excellent surprise, I had never had a Meizu before and I was curious to see if the device was actually better than the Redmi Note 7 as Meizu claimed it was. In the end, the devices are quite difficult to distinguish and it will depend on what you expect from a phone. Both phones have a screen of equivalent quality, they use the same photo sensor, they have the same battery capacity. The Meizu stands out above all for its performance, where it is much higher than the Redmi, and also for its memory capacity. If performance is important to you, the Meizu will be a better candidate.
For photography, the Meizu offers a better rendering without changing settings (although the photos are a little colder) but if you change the settings a little bit on the Redmi you will quickly get an equivalent quality and sometimes even better for night photos. Stabilization in video mode is better on the Redmi.
It is mainly in the details that the Meizu loses a few points against the Redmi. FlyMe (Meizu) lacks a little maturity when compared to MIUI (Redmi) and on a daily basis, it can be annoying when you want to go fast and you still have to adjust a few things in the parameters. By fixing a few minor problems, the Meizu could get a better score than the Redmi, which may be the case in a future update. What also bothered me was the lack of relief of the buttons, they are so flat that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish them, you end up pressing the wrong button.
Meizu or Redmi? You don't make bad choices, the rest is a matter of preferences. If I had to choose between the two, I would rather take the Redmi because I prefer MIUI and the Redmi screen is bigger but quite frankly, it is the first time that two phones are so difficult to separate.
Price Meizu Note 9
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