By: Rahul Gupta, The Mobile Indian, New Delhi
Last updated : Saturday, August 24, 2013 - 17:50
A low cost Android Ice Cream Sandwich based phablet with noteworthy performance and a pocket friendly price tag.
Low brightness display
The Android devices of today have gone through a lot of changes. They have become faster, more good looking and even cheaper. Although brands like Samsung, LG and Nokia have still held up pole positions in the market today there are newer brands coming up that certainly have a good range of products, including some stylish and powerful devices. Zopo is one such new entrant in the Indian market that has started its operations here with Android based smartphones. We got the Zopo Leader ZP900 smartphone with us for review. It's a big 5.3 inch device based on Android Ice Cream sandwich and features a powerful set of specifications for a price tag of Rs 15,000. While the device looks good it comes from a global brand so it cannot be called another cheap device in the market.
First looks and build quality
The Zopo Leader ZP900 is available in two colour choices, black and white, and to be honest the moment you lay your eyes on it the device reminds you of a slightly smaller version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The adoption of Ice Cream Sandwich operating system on the device has done one wonderful thing and that is the removal of hardware keys for giving the device a nice clean front. The big display and flush finish are accented by the presence of a return key in the center of the bottom bar, again somewhat inspired by Samsung-hope the Zopo guys do not invite any patent related problems. The Zopo Leader ZP900 we got was white in colour, which looks great and gives it a very bold and a professional appeal. Another good thing about the design is that the rear surface has also been given a textured finish, which surely comes in handy as fingerprints are hardly visible on the body, plus minute scratches too get ignored very easily.
The body is made of polycarbonate plastic that gives it strength and makes it lightweight too. The plastic that has been used to make the casing of the Zopo Leader ZP900 has been given a single colour throughout, so even after some months of use it will not show signs of discoloration or fading. Also, the company has provided a soft faux leather cover with the smartphone, which although it is zero in terms of protection from falls, can surely help protect the device from dust and scratches while the device lies on the table.
The design of the device, as we mentioned earlier also, is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. But the device is without any doubt sleek and lightweight and that additionally makes it easier to hold and carry for longer times as well. The device just features a single home screen button that is very useful too. The display utilizes capacitive touch technology and therefore there is no recession in the screen bevel and the front of the device gets a flush and even finish. The volume rocker keys have been placed on the right side of the device keeping in mind ease of use, which is very important especially for a device with a big screen.
The USB port has been placed right at the bottom for easy connectivity while charging and talking, and the audio connector takes up the top position for hassle free connectivity while the device is in the pocket as well. The power button has been placed on the right side of the device so that the looks of the device are not spoilt, plus it also makes the device easy to use.
Display and touch
The display is a mighty 5.3 inch one that features a nice 960 x 540 pixel resolution. Although the resolution is not HD its pixel density is on the higher side and that allows users to read even the smallest fonts with ease and clarity. In terms of colour reproduction the display is quite vibrant but the brightness levels are not very impressive. Although under normal conditions the display is very easily legible, but against bright light conditions it falls a little short of being comfortable to the eyes. Overall, though, the display does a great job, especially considering the price bracket that the Zopo Leader ZP900 falls in.
The capacitive touch supported by this device is very responsive and accurate. Right from browsing to gaming there was no lag or false input faced at all throughout the review and we are really impressed with that. While playing games as well the touch complements every action by the user and we had no issues in any type of game or application usage.
The Zopo Leader ZP900 features an MTK MT6577 1 GHz dual core application processor based on ARM Cortex A9 architecture with a dedicated display processor provided by MTK. The processor is fast and zippy, which is visible in most applications performing well at all times. The processor is coupled with 1 GB of RAM, which is good to have and it shows when the applications load and perform quickly and without any lag. This configuration is especially good for a smartphone, considering it can do a lot more on the multitasking front with more memory on board. The phone features 4 GB of internal storage, which works great for all applications, plus it can be further upped by another 32 GB with the help of external micro SDHC data cards.
One thing to be mentioned here is that the CPU tends to tire under a lot of stress as it heats up the processor, and we did notice the MTK MT6577 slowing down after 30 minutes of continuous graphic intensive gaming at around 35 degree ambient temperature.
Overall, though, the device just blazes through apps and activities with no lag or application crashes. Anyone looking at a performance-oriented device can certainly look at this as an option as in Antutu benchmarks the Zopo Leader ZP900 scores better than the Samsung Galaxy SII smartphone as well.
The device features connectivity thorough both CDMA as well as GSM networks and has dual SIM capable hardware for seamless connectivity on two numbers. Along with that there is WiFi and USB connectivity for faster data transfers and access. WiFi is good and speedy, 3G speeds are decent and bearable, while on 2G it is better not to use the internet at all. It will make absolute sense to have a 3G connection on the Zopo Leader ZP900.
Featuring Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system the Zopo Leader ZP900 works well with most applications available on the Google Play store, but with the added 1 GB of RAM there is ample room for multitasking and headroom for memory intensive applications as well.
In terms of compatibility, most applications work easily and flawlessly on the smartphone, plus the dual core processor really keeps in tune with the application to deliver the best possible performance.
The lock screen has quick access icons and along with that there are seven home screens. The application menu has its own advantages with an icon rename option and one touch uninstall right from the application space itself.
The Zopo Leader ZP900 supports most audio and video codecs supported by the operating system natively, plus users can easily download applications from the Android marketplace as it is a registered Android marketplace user device. The Leader features 4 GB of internal storage memory, which can be expanded up to 32 GB via SDHC cards.
The device features a 2 megapixel front facing camera that is just good enough for video conferencing. At the rear there's an 8 megapixel camera which is better than the front facing one and it can also record 1080p resolution videos. The quality of the camera is good in bright to medium light conditions while in low light the camera automatically adjusts the shutter speed to compensate for loss in brightness, but the low resolution really kicks in then, making it useless for taking pictures and videos alike.
The camera has a slight hue to it, maybe because we received the test unit or the engineering sample for review and we hope that the problem will just be limited to this handset unit.
The battery of the Zopo Leader ZP900 is one of its major advantages. With nominal usage the smartphone lasted for a good 1 to 1.5 days with occasional gaming and net browsing over WiFi and cellular networks. 3G data usage has its own adverse effects on the battery and reduces battery backup considerably. Overall, the 2400 mAh battery pack has enough juice to put this device in the good battery backup category and buyers will definitely not regret that.
One more thing, the engineering sample took a little over four hours for a fully charged batter to drain out and when we contacted the company about this they assured us that it is limited to the engineering sample only.
First the 1 GB RAM in comparison to 512 MB offered by most smartphone brands comes in real handy, giving better performance to the Zopo Leader ZP900. Along with that a bigger battery pack and an under-powered processor add to better battery life too. Although the display brightness is not as bright as others, at the end of the day the overall package that is offered by the Zopo Leader ZP900 is great and worth paying the price of Rs 15,000 for the device that comes with one year warranty as well.
So if you fancy a big screen device but do not have the cash for it then the Zopo Leader ZP900 is certainly one powerful and feature rich smartphone to have and never regret.