ZOPO Pilot ZP100 Review: Android ICS, 4.3″ qHD, 1GHz MT6575

You can also get this nice looking phone from MeriMobiles. Its the ZOPO Pilot ZP100, the updated version that comes with ICS out of the box. Clocked at 1GHz MT6575 CPU with a very clear display (it was said that it is from Sharp) at 960×540 qHD resolution, this phone is a very affordable phone only at $200 or about Php8,200 (estimate). Cheaper than any other 4.3″ ICS smartphone you’ve seen on the market right? Read our full review after the short break.

ZOPO ZP100

ZOPO ZP100

Before anything else, I would like to introduce the brand name: ZOPO. Its a Chinese manufacturer, but its not just like that. They have their own support forum, and active technical support and developers so expect frequent updates in terms of hardwares/firmwares if needed (consider that one reason on buying a smartphone). They have their own set of flagship phones that runs under Android OS. Each entry has their own spotlight, and so here I will present you the one I have, the ZOPO Pilot ZP100.

Unboxing the ZOPO Pilot ZP100

The ZP100 comes with a sturdy white box packaging. Pulling the container portion of the box like a drawer, here’s what you’ll get from the inside:

ZOPO Pilot ZP100 Unboxing

ZOPO Pilot ZP100 Unboxed

  • ZOPO Pilot ZP100 unit
  • 1650mAh battery
  • wall charger
  • USB data and charging cable
  • earphones
  • screen protector and brown cover case
  • some Chinese instruction manuals and papers

This ZOPO ZP100 has been out since last April of 2012 I guess, but what we got here is the ZOPO Pilot ZP100 version. Yes, its different with the first release of the ZP100. The phone got a slight update on its hardware design. The most obvious change you can see is the removal of the image/video switch beside the camera capture button. Nice move from ZOPO.

Design/Construction

ZOPO ZP100 Body

ZOPO ZP100 Body

The ZOPO ZP100 sports a 4.3″ screen and the design doesn’t makes it too big, as not much space is wasted by the bezel lining. Its not too thick as well, giving a premium feel with respect to its design and shape. Its back cover to half of its layer is made from plastic with rubber feel, so it gives good grip and lesser prone to scratches. The other layer is plastic with metallic matte finish, which is really nice.

ZOPO ZP100

The 4 soft-touch Android buttons has circle linings and glows when pressed. At first, I see this as an ugly feat of the ZP100 design, but on the long run; it seems not bad at all. Visible on top part are the sensors, speaker and a nice LED that blinks when you have new message or other notifications. The back side of the ZOPO ZP100 holds the 5MP camera lens with double LED flash, as well with the speaker.

ZOPO ZP100

On its left side, you can see the micro-USB slot. On the other side has the volume rocker and dedicated camera button, this side also has the “image-video” toggle switch before which was present on earlier releases of the ZP100. Present on top is the power and screen lock button, alongside with the 3.5mm earphone jack. The bottom side doesnt have much stuff other than the mic and the hole used for attaching lanyard straps and also used for flipping the back cover.

ZOPO Pilot ZP100 Specs

ZOPO ZP100 Screens

ZOPO ZP100 running Android 4.0.3

Here’s a short round-up of the ZP100 specs:

  • Android 4.0.3 ICS
  • 4.3 inch Sharp ASV qHD grade screen with 960×540 resolution
  • 5-point capacitive multi-touch
  • 1GHz MediaTek MT6575 ARMv7 CPU (Cortex-A9)
  • PowerVR SGX531 GPU (support H264)
  • 512MB RAM + 4GB ROM (support external memory card up to 64GB)
  • 5.0 mega pixel camera (8MP effective, 720p HD video recording) + VGA front-facing camera
  • Dual SIM-dual standby with 3G/HSDPA and 2G/Edge support

The 1GHz MTK6575 CPU with PowerVR SGX531 GPU is very much effective on playing any HD games I had tried with no problems at all. No need for script tweaks as per the hardware itself can handle everything. If you love gaming, then this handset with this specs will never fail you. Plus, having a 4.3″ qHD screen with 960×540 resolution lets you have a very clear display, detail is crisp. Thus making it more far better than the other existing branded 4.3″ Android smartphones.

ZOPO ZP100 Benchmark and System Info

ZOPO ZP100 Benchmark and System Info

Antutu gave it a score behind the HTC Evo 3D. Not too much but still for its price, it has good hardware performance.

ZP100 Camera: Imaging and Video

On paper, it has a 5-megapixel camera, but it was also said to be able to take 8MP-effective shots. Seeing it on the snapper settings, yes you can set it at 8MP to capture 3264×2448 resolution photos.

Here are sample shots I made with the ZOPO ZP100 camera:

On well lit environment, the ZP100’s camera is great! I had read from somewhere I forgot, that the CMOS camera sensors used on this phone is something from LG or SONY, cant be sure about which exactly it is now. But one thing I am sure is, the camera is able to capture vivid and clear shots.

Camera supports HDR, Exposure, ISO, AE meter, Anti-flicker and many other settings.  Yes also for Panoramic shot. With Video recording, we got EIS, Focus mode, Exposure, Video duration (max. 60mins) and other settings. ZP100 is able to take HD videos at 720p.

The ZP100 has a dual LED flash on the back. But the flash is weak. It doesn’t perform nice on very low-light shooting conditions. Reports from different smartphone forums said that the ICS upgrade on the ZOPO ZP100 made the LED flash weak. They said that on GB, the flash is good. I do not know why such things happen, but Im hoping there would be an update fix for this.

Gaming

As mentioned above, the ZP100 is a good phone for gaming with its MediaTek MT6575 ARMv7 1GHz CPU. Even HD and 3D games works well without lags. Temple Run from the PlayStore runs smoothly, the tilt function works. Other games that requires the gyro and other sensors works as well.

Here’s a shortlist of the games I had tested: Temple Run, Running Fred, Falling Fred, Aralon HD, FFIII, FPse (runnning Threads of Fate rom), Inertia HD, Legendary Heroes, Reel Steel, Guerrilla Bob, Dead Trigger, osu!Droid, and many other games I forgot already. All of them, no lags at all.

I have many other HD games to test and I’ll update you on that in the future by posting a separate ZP100 gaming test post. By the way, the phone is pre-installed with Fruit Ninja, the one with multi-player support. :D

Media Playback

I tried playing a 598MB-size MKV-format movie file on its default player, and guess what; it played smoothly. Its a 720p video with H264 codec. With qHD sharp ASV screen of the ZP100, media viewing is a real entertainment comfort.

3G/HSDPA Support and Dual SIM/Dual Standby

ZOPO ZP100

The ZP100 is another dual-SIM Android phone. HSDPA or 3G is supported on the 1st SIM slot while the other slot only supports for Edge or 2G. You can also set to use WCDMA only, and even disable 3G (if you want to save battery). Upon activating Packet Data connectivity, you’ll be prompt to select which SIM to use for connecting to mobile internet.

You can use two SIM cards on the same time, and both can receive SMS at the same time and send SMS at ease. Both can receive calls, both SIMs are active, you don’t have do some switching actions that is inconvenient. This phone is totally unlocked and works on different bands from 800-2100.

ZOPO ZP100 FAQs

ZOPO ZP100

Here are the answers on some frequently asked questions, that might help you know more about the ZOPO ZP100:

How was the battery life?

ZP100 is packed with a 1650mAh battery, its enough for a day use. Since its on ICS, it consumes more power unlike when on GB; the answer really depends on how you’re  going to use the phone. Other users reported, on 100% CPU and 100% screen (I do not know how they did that), a full charge lasts about 4hours. In normal usage, battery could last up to 3 days (not much usage of the phone). As for me, I was just making 1 single charge per day, enough for casual use of SMS/calls, WiFi/Internet, music and gaming before it drains out.

Added info, it has similar battery size with the HTC Sensation, HTC Amaze 4G and HTC EVO 3D. Thus in case your battery fails you in the future, you can easily get a replacement from local market with that as compatible replacement reference.

Does it support SKYPE video call?

Yes it does! I haven’t tried it yet but it was reported that the skype video call works with its VGA front-facing camera.

Does it have working Google Market/Play Store?

Yes it have. But apparently, what I got out of the box has a problem with Play Store. It doesnt allow me to download anything. I managed to fix it in no time by following the very-easy-to-do market fix tutorial I found just by searching the web.

Is the GPS working?

Yes it does. At first, it just take some time for the GPS to work and detect your location. But after that, GPS works very well then. My tip is: use YGPS on Engineering Mode (dial *#*#DOGMODE#*#*) to fix your location.

How’s its sound output?

Of course, good headphones can give excellent sound. The back speaker outputs loud and crisp audio at any volume levels. No rattles depending on audio being played, I guess.

Is it possible to root this phone?

Yes. There’s already some tutorials about rooting this, or even any ICS phones in general. I just had used a rooting script, I will be posting the steps I did to root my ZP100 in the future.

ZOPO Pilot ZP100 Hands-on video

I will soon upload my own video hands-on of this ZOPO ZP100 phone, but for the mean time, check out this hands-on video from my friend, ColonelZap. {LINK}

Verdict

What I like about the ZP100:

  • satisfying specs, features and performance
  • cheap yet higher specs compared to other devices of same price range or even those branded devices with higher price
  • has active support from manufacturers and many other users (through bbs)

What I don’t like:

  • most forums that talks about this phone are Russians and Chinese users (I can’t blame the phone) *ZOPO should think of bringing this phone to international users.
  • Nothing else, I love this phone! :D

I can say that the ZOPO ZP100 is really worth the $200 price tag (almost Php8K). Its really a bang for the bucks, getting it is already a steal! For me its better than the Lenovo P700 that was recently released with Php11K price mark. It beats any other more known Android handsets that sells locally with P10K+ price in many aspects.

ZOPO ZP100

Unfortunately, this unit isn’t that much available here locally in our country (Philippines). If you want to get this phone, you’ll have to order it online from Chinese mobile phone sellers. I got mine from MeriMobiles, they are good and legit. They offer free shipping, and can declare the item as a gift and make it possible to get a very low tax. Mine was declared as an MP3 player and gift, so I just had to pay P150 on the postman that sent it to our doorsteps for the customs tax.

But honestly, I strongly suggest you get it via FastCardTech.com. They sell it for a lower price right now. You can check out my China Phones Blog for more info about Fastcardtech.

PS. There is a lot of nice and decent handsets from China, they arent bad at all now. I was eyeing for those new ones with MT6577 CPUs (dual core), I hope we could possibly score any units.

Any other questions, feel free to ask. :)

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