Before getting my hands on the Mlais M4 Note, I was skeptical about how much quality I was going to get in the build of the phone. Of course performance, display and camera quality all are important, but since the Mlais M4 Note aims to be a cheap replacement of the iconic Galaxy Note 4, the design was what interested me the most, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Skepticism is key in any industry that tries selling you something that you haven’t tested out yourself beforehand. Chinese smartphone manufacturers have made themselves a bad rep for releasing low-quality devices over the years. But that has changed in the past couple of years actually and companies like Mlais, Landvo, Xiaomi, ZTE, Meizu, Ulephone, Elephone and such are all trying to get in on the massive smartphone industry with their own takes on a flagship device. The Mlais M4 Note is an attempt at reconstructing the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for a fraction of a price and it is quite a good attempt if I do say so myself.
The Mlais M4 Note design is surprisingly similar to the Galaxy Note 4, right down to the build materials. Of course that you will be able to tell that the Mlais M4 Note is blatantly trying to be the Galaxy Note 4, but it does a very good job at it. Mlais got almost everything right, right down to the curves on the corners of the flagship device. The company made this phone with a metal frame and a plastic body and they did a good job at it, honestly.
The metal frame is cool to the touch and the leather-looking plastic back panel is removable, to reveal an also removable battery and a microSD card slot, not to mention two SIM slots that support both regular SIM cards and micro SIM cards. The build quality is surprising, although the Mlais M4 Note is on the heavy side.
Once I unboxed it and got it into my hands, I was surprised at how big this actually was. It’s smaller than the Galaxy Note 4, because it does have a slightly smaller display, but it keeps the traits of the original rather well. It doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor on the back and you won’t be getting a stylus with it, but the design elements are there and from afar, it actually does look like a Note 4.
The buttons were the only things about the design of the Mlais M4 Note that bothered me. They are very clicky and textured, but they seem rather wobbly in their slots and give off a menacing vibe of: I’m going to become unresponsive and fall out shortly. But they didn’t, at least not in the week that I’ve been using them.
Otherwise, the phone is surprisingly easy to use, even one-handed, for a person with small hands. That’s what surprised me the most about the Mlais M4 Note. Even though it’s a massive phablet, the company kept bezels thin and the edges of the phone just sharp enough so that you can grasp it in your palm and use it one-handed without it slipping out of your hands. The no-slip part I would thank Samsung for, as they did put those rounded corners with the dimples on the sides on the Note 4 and the Mlais M4 Note was modeled after it. Those dimples, curves or what you want to call them, are actually pretty helpful when trying to use the phone one-handed, and the point is valid for both the 5.7 inch Galaxy Note 4 and the 5.5 inch Mlais M4 Note.
The design stands out to me, mostly because I got the white version of the phone. The pearly white with the leather-like plastic panel on the back of the Mlais M4 Note make this phone look pretty stylish. It’s pretty big, but it still manages to keep a great screen to body ratio, which I always like about a phone. I’m not a bezel person, which is why I would always prefer a Sharp Aquos Crystal, for example, in the face of an iPhone 6 Plus. The Mlais M4 Note isn’t as high-end as the Galaxy Note 4, but that’s understandable, since it costs just $154.40, which is an amazing price.
Having revealed the price of this beast, I suspect that many of you would look skeptically on such a positive review and you have the right and motives to do so. It is rare to find those that actually do what they’re meant to do without huge compromises being made in the process. But the Mlais M4 Note does it really well.
Even if you’re not a fan of clones, the Mlais M4 Note can be considered it’s own phone, too, mostly because of the stock Android 5.0 Lollipop experience. There’s no TouchWiz here, nor is there any skinning done, which is an enormous plus in my book for the Mlais M4 Note. The fact that it’s got stock Android on board contributes to the great performance results that I’ve obtained.