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Mlais M7 review: affordable, but with a catch

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 display
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The Mlais M7 is an interesting package: a nice looking phone complete with a finger scanner and running Android Lollipop that you've probably never heard of. In our Mlais M7 review we'll take a look at the features of the phone along with its hardware, software and performance to see if it delivers.

Mlais M7


  • Great price
  • Android Lollipop
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Removable battery and microSD card expansion


  • Very unreliable performance
  • System freezes regularly
  • Weak speakers and battery
  • Touch screen issues
Mlais M7: All deals

Mlais M7 release date and price

The Mlais M7 release date was May 7, 2015 and at launch, the Mlais M7 price was officially 199 USD. The price frequently drops to just 149 USD though, either through promotions on the Mlais Facebook page or through online retailers.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 back
The Mlais M7 is a well put together phone. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mlais M7 design and build quality

The first thing you notice when you unbox the Mlais 7 is just how good it looks . For an ''unheard-of'' Chinese brand the phone itself looks very nice indeed. While some Mlais devices have been rather blatant rip-offs of existing phones, the M7 takes a few design cues from other manufacturers but is truly its own device.

The Mlais M7 features a metal frame with beveled edges that kind of look like a mix between the Galaxy Note 4 and the HTC One E8. A slightly raised polycarbonate trim surrounds the display which is covered by Gorilla Glass 3. Buttons are on the left and the headphone jack and microUSB charging port are all up top.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 top edge
The Mlais M7 has a nice beveled metal edge with removable back. / © ANDROIDPIT

The back panel is made of flexible plastic and is removable, revealing a replaceable battery and access to a microSD and dual SIM card slots (SIM and micro-SIM). Multiple SIMs can be managed from within the software.

The back panel isn't textured but it has a nice soft feel to it. Up the top is a square camera lens which protrudes slightly from the surface with an LED flash and a circular, recessed finger scanner. Down the bottom is a single speaker grill.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 side buttons
The detailing on the Mlais M7 is reminiscent of the Galaxy Note 4. / © ANDROIDPIT

The front of the Mlais M7 features capacitive (as opposed to on-screen) buttons in the old Samsung-orientation of menu, home and back. I'm personally not a fan of capacitive buttons but they're easy enough to get used to. A few sensors and the earpiece speaker complete the visible features of the M7 on the front.

For a phone that costs just 199 USD RRP and as low as 149 USD in the various sales and offers Mlais likes to throw out on a regularly basis, this phone definitely has the right price and looks in spades. But how does it perform?  

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 display
The Mlais M7 has a 5.5-inch HD IPS LCD display. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mlais M7 display

The Mlais M7 display comes with a 5.5-inch, HD IPS LCD. The lack of Full HD is noticeable , but for many people, HD is perfectly sufficient resolution for a smartphone screen. Still, there were some problems with our particular review unit that must be mentioned.

The touch screen response is pretty patchy, ranging from acceptable to downright unusable. I repeatedly found myself stuck in an app because the touch screen would not register anything.

Occasionally this happened at the same time as a lack of response in the capacitive buttons as well, so the only solution was to turn the screen off and on again or to reboot the phone. Even following a factory reset the problem persisted.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 display issue
You can see the weird aberrations on the display to the right of the screen. / © ANDROIDPIT

The display also had some rather troubling inconsistencies which you can see in the image below. While this could just be a particular flaw of our review unit, it's a very noticeable issue and immediately detracts from the positive first impressions the phone provides.

Although not a deal breaker, I would advise you to familiarize yourself with your retailer's returns policy in case you encounter something similar. Despite these issues, the brightness is OK and so are the viewing angles. Colors are nice and bright and true to life.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 dual sim microsd slots
The Mlais M7 has dual-SIM card slots and microSD expansion. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mlais M7 special features

One surprise feature found on the Mlais M7 is granular app permissions. A much-heralded feature of the upcoming Android M release, some Chinese manufacturers like Mlais and Huawei have been including individual app permission controls for a while now.

The feature works great and provides total control over which permissions apps have access to. You can manage permissions individually by app or by permission type. In the two weeks I've been using the Mlais M7 I haven't encountered any issues with apps I have modified the permissions for.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 app permissions finger scanner
Granular app permissions (left) and the confusing fingerprint scanner registration screen. / © ANDROIDPIT

Another nice feature found on the Mlais M7 is the touch-based fingerprint scanner. The registration process is very simple (although for some odd reason there is a swipe animation on-screen as if the scanner was in the physical home button location on the Galaxy S6).

At first I had perfect readings from the fingerprint scanner every time. After a little while though the readings started to be hit and miss and then it seemed as though the scanner would never recognize my fingerprint correctly.

Even re-registering fingerprints didn't entirely fix the issue and I just started using the PIN code backup instead of even trying the fingerprint reader. The reader itself seemed to be problematic too, as after a while it didn't even recognize I had placed my finger on the sensor, let alone read it correctly.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 finger scanner
The fingerprint scanner is a gamble: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mlais M7 software

The Mlais M7 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and it's of the stock+ variety. By stock+ I mean it is basically stock Android with a few additions on top . With any luck this means Android updates will come to this phone faster than other devices with heavier manufacturer skins.

For example, in the settings, there's a fingerprint scanner section, off-screen gestures like we know from the OnePlus One and a ''scheduled power on and off'' option. Likewise, in the Quick Settings you'll find an audio profile button which pops up a little sound profile widget.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 home screen notifications
The Mlais M7 pretty much runs stock Android Lollipop with a few nice additions. / © ANDROIDPIT

The off-screen gestures include things like Knock On (double tap to wake), drawing letters to launch apps like the camera and so on and they all work fine. Scheduled power on and off is just that: you can set a time for your phone to automatically turn itself on in the morning and off again at the end of the day.

I can't say I used this feature but I guess it makes sense for some people that don't like to be bother during the night. Of course, Android Lollipop's Priority Interruptions function is perfectly capable of handling that for you too, without turning your phone off.

These additions are generally nice and useful and provide a nice twist on stock Android, much like we've seen with Motorola and OnePlus recently. It's also a very nice surprise to see Lollipop running on such a low cost device. 

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 off screen gestures
The Mlais M7 also throws in some nice features we see in custom ROMs and alternate launchers. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mlais M7 performance

In benchmarks the Mlais M7 performs admirably, clocking scores in AnTuTu of around the 48,000 point mark. In practice the M7 runs nicely, but it seems to be plagued by issues that I can't clear up, either through factory resets or by wiping the cache.

Occasionally the whole device will freeze up and I can't put it down to whether it's a system bug, touch screen issue or something else. Whatever it is, it makes it hard to recommend the M7 as a stable and reliable device.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 AnTuTu benchmark
Despite good benchmark scores, the Mlais M7 is sketchy in general usage. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Mlais M7 price is right, it's well put together and some users might be perfectly happy to accept a few issues in order to have a good looking phone running a recent version of Android. I'm not one of those people though.

For me, I just can't get past these stumbling block and find that freezes, non-responsiveness and general unreliability tend to tarnish a device that otherwise shows so much promise . I really want to like the Mlais M7 but I just can't get there.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 side2
All the specs are there, but something somewhere is amiss. / © ANDROIDPIT

There's lots of potential for the Mlais M7 specs to shine, but something just isn't quite right. The 64-bit octa-core MediaTek chip clocked at 1.7 GHz has more than enough power, backed up by the Mali-T760 GPU. So why do I get screen freezes all the time?

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 front sensor detail
I frequently had issues with a frozen, non-responsive touch screen. / © ANDROIDPIT

The 3 GB of RAM and near-stock Lollipop should make multi-tasking a breeze, so why does it take so long to bring up the Recent Apps list? As I said at the start of this review, the Mlais M7 looks good on paper, but the real world experience just doesn't stack up.

If you can handle some inconsistency and unreliability, the Mlais M7 is worth a look, but for a similar price it is possible to find other devices – like the Moto G (2015) – that provide much more reliable performance.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 speaker
The Mlais M7 speaker is OK, but nowhere near loud enough. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mlais M7 audio

The in-call sound quality of the Mlais M7 is perfectly fine, although the volume tends to be a little on the low side. Clarity is perfectly good though. The speakers are another issue altogether.

The speakers are weak, simple as that. The volume is terrible, needing to be well above half to even be audible. There's not much in the way of bass here either, but the higher tones are decent enough.

For a phone in this price range the speaker is ok, but the volume is a real problem, being so quiet it almost defeats the purpose of having an external speaker at all.

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 camera
The Mlais M7 camera is a 13 MP Sony sensor. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mlais M7 camera

The Mlais M7 camera is a 13 MP Sony IMX315 shooter with true flash LED. The front-facing camera is a 5MP job capable of shooting 1080p video.

On paper this sounds great, but yet again, the camera is another story in real life. At night it's almost impossible to get a decent photo and there's a strange red patch in the center of light-colored shots.

Link to Gallery

In daylight conditions the Mlais M7 camera is capable of capturing good photographs. But if you're heading out to a gig you're better off leaving the M7 in your pocket.

Video calling through the front-facing camera is decent, as are selfies (in good conditions). Again, the M7 will get you by in certain situations but it's not a camera phone you'd want to rely on .

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 battery
The Mlais M7's 2,600 mAh battery is removable, but not big enough. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mlais M7 battery

The Mlais M7 specs include a removable 2,600 mAh battery that will sort of get you through the day , depending on your style of usage. I'm a pretty heavy user but I also tend to top the battery up regularly through the day.

On days where I forgot to top things up there was no way I was making it through a full day and evening, even with my display brightness set very low.

The M7 battery does supports fast charging though, which is nice because you're likely to need it during the day to make it through till bed time. There's a ''standby intelligent power saving mode'' in the battery settings, alongside Lollipop's Battery Saver, but I found that every time I got my ''15 percent battery remaining'' warning the phone shut down within a minute.  

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 display
The Mlais M7 has a very nice specs sheet at an incredibly low price. / © ANDROIDPIT

Final verdict

I'm in two minds about the Mlais M7. In terms of specs it has everything it needs to be a dynamo. The price is right, it looks great and is well put together. But in practice things start falling apart. Performance is an unreliable nightmare. When it works it works great, but it simply isn't reliable.

The camera is capable of some excellent shots but not under all conditions (admittedly, like all smartphone cameras). The speakers are barely passable. The battery life is so-so, the screen has some major issues and the general stability of the system was repeatedly called into question.

Despite all this, there is a lot to like about this phone and, as I mentioned earlier, there's lots of potential if things get ironed out. But as it stands there are just too many problems that make it impossible to rate this device any higher.

If a software update comes along that fixes these issues, we'll be sure to revisit this review. But as it stands right now we just can't recommend the Mlais M7 as a wise choice due to its unreliability. Even at such a low price, a phone you can't rely on misses the most essential thing. There are other phones out there in a similar price bracket that offer much more reliable performance and stability.

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Kris Carlon

Kris Carlon
Senior Editor

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

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  • 1
    5555555 Feb 14, 2017 Link to comment

    A good phone

  • 1
    Peter Apr 20, 2016 Link to comment

    Mlais M7 do not buy - Beslist niet kopen.
    Wat een slechte telefoon, hardware ziet er goed uit.
    De telefoon heeft veel fouten.
    Mlais laat je in de kou staan en helpt niet.
    De telefoon bevriest en start opnieuw op, diverse keren per dag.
    Als ik gebeld wordt gaat de telefoon hard geluid maken en start opnieuw op.
    Een en ander gemeld bij Gearbest, krijg je een paar dollar terug op rekening.
    Koop de Mlais M& zeker niet, je koopt problemen.

    What a bad phone, hardware looks good.
    The phone has a lot of mistakes.
    Mlais leave you out in the cold and does not help.
    The phone freezes and restarts, several times a day.
    When I called is going to make the phone loud noise and restart.
    All this reported in Top Gear, you get back a few dollars on account.
    Buy Mlais M & certainly not, you buy issues.

  • 1
    butterchubbz Jan 12, 2016 Link to comment

    Bought the phone 4 months ago. Screen had spots, but other than that fine. After using it for four months, the case is falling apart, the trim on the side is peeling, it will not stay connected to Wifi, Google Music has an error with every song, and the Bluetooth must be turned off and back on to reconnect to anything. Performance wise I have no issue, but the physical case is very spotty. Would not mind to try another MLAIS brand phone again, I do really like the Permissions Management Software.

  • MBWH 1
    MBWH Jan 8, 2016 Link to comment

    Mine works perfectly stable. Gaming performance is very good, though you can notice the low resolution. But lower resolution means higher framerates. Also, when my phone sais 15% battery remaining, I can easily game on it for another our

  • 1
    MortenCB Sep 16, 2015 Link to comment

    Bought the phone and been using it for 3 months.
    Very happy with the build quality and feels like quite a solid product for that price.
    I haven't experienced any software issues, though I did flash the most recent rom from Mlais's website.
    Only issue is the battery capacity.
    Fortunately I did buy a spare battery for a couple of dollars so its not that big of an issue.

  • 2
    Lorincz Antal Jul 21, 2015 Link to comment

    Who do i have to torture for an answere? :-)

  • 2
    Lorincz Antal Jul 20, 2015 Link to comment

    After 1 month, i have 3 "shiny boubles" (don't know how to call them) on the bottom of the screen, if there is a 60-70% white background (like settings). Very interesting...

    "There are other phones out there in a similar price bracket that offer much more reliable performance and stability." - i will appreciate that, if u could give us some examples (sorry about my weak english...). Thx!

  • 2
    DonCui Jun 30, 2015 Link to comment

    It looks like good

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