Zopo ZP990 Captain S Review

Zopo ZP990 Captain S Review

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When Apple brought out their iPhone they rocked the cellular world, just under a decade ago Nokia’s hold on the world’s mobile phone market was practically vice tight, then Apple came and ruined the party. Samsung came with their phablet phones which were mocked at first but consumers flocked to the Korean brand once they realized the fallacy of carrying a tablet and a phone on daily basis when a single, albeit somewhat larger device could do the job of two devices just as well.

zopo ZP990 captain s features

Now Chinese phone companies are gaining notice for their ever increasing specifications and also their nuclear arms race in the screen size wars. Zopo have launched their latest ZP990 earlier this month and we at GizChina have been using it as a daily phone for just under a month.

Zopo ZP990 Captain S Unboxing Video

Zopo ZP990 Captain S Specifications

[komper pid=109 compareform=no]

The ZP990 Captain S is Zopo’s current flagship phone, it boasts a Quadcore 1.5ghz CPU, 2GB RAM and 32GB Rom, which can be expanded with a 64GB mini SD Card, Dual Sim Support and a 13 mega pixel camera. On the sensor front the ZP990 comes with gravity, Light, Distance and an E-Compass, meaning it covers the basics but doesn’t go into great detail, temperature and pressure sensors are becoming more common on phones, so perhaps the next model will gain more toys.

Zopo ZP990 Captain S Construction

zopo zp990 captain s rear

Construction materials are entirely plastic, but that doesn’t mean it’s a down market phone. Quality has been a paramount issue for Zopo during the development of the Z990, and it is clear that they have succeeded in their goal. Plastic on all four corners whilst the handsome screen is made from the unstoppable gorilla glass. Previous Chinese phones have been a little on the flexi side, not so with the ZP990, its strong and has passed the ‘flex test’ (i.e. me trying to bend it)

Zopo ZP990 Captain S Display

zopo zp990 captain s in hand

The six inch screen is the undoubted highlight of this phone, it is by far one of the clearest and vibrant cellphone screens that I’ve ever used with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Remember to turn on adjustable brightness as well, otherwise looking at your phone in the early morning is like looking directly into a nuclear explosion.

Zopo ZP990 Captain S Battery

zopo zp990 captain s review

The screen really makes the phone great, but it’s not a power hog either. Battery power is backed up by a 3000mAh Li-ion battery which is enough to power the phone throughout the day whilst its connected to the car stereo via Bluetooth, catching up on a TV show over lunch and listening to music in the gym whilst on the treadmill, and let’s not forget the myriad of emails and text messages that come in through the day. The battery pack is more than up to the task of keeping that beautiful screen lit over your average 16 hour day. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note that this phone replaced, it’s a completely different machine, as if moving from a Skoda to a Mercedes, the Samsung would often leave me without power in the mid afternoon.

Zopo ZP990 Captain S Performance

zopo zp990 captain s antutu

Switching from app to app is no issue either, the quad core CPU and 2GB of RAM work seamlessly to make consuming media effortlessly.  Games, music and documents open without delay and are saved just as quickly. One exceptionally cool feature is being able to control the sound, volume and brightness of the screen whilst watching a movie by sliding your finger in one direction or another in a particular area of the screen. Swipe up and down on the left hand side and you can control the sound, swipe horizontally along the top and you control the fast-forward or rewind functions, swipe up and down on the right hand side and you can control screen brightness. Genius.

zopo zp990 captain s review

So to sum it all up, this phone is basically great out of the box. According to AnTuTu it isn’t the greatest phone in terms of specs with a ranking of 14,638 points whilst the Samsung Galaxy S4 is ranking 25,000.

zopo zp990 captain s review

 Zopo ZP990 Captain S Camera

The camera is fairly decent but it isn’t going to win you a National Geographic award any time soon, images are bright in color but it can be slow to respond to the camera click meaning you might miss that all important family shot, Dad’s will understand the need for a fast camera. At night the camera is terrible from far away (far away means more than 2 meters) but close up it is fine, especially with the flash on. Video recording and playback is relatively smooth, plus you have the great big screen from which to see what you are recording.

Zopo ZP990 Captain S photo samples

zopo zp990 captain s review

zopo zp990 captain s review

zopo zp990 captain s review

zopo zp990 captain s review

Downsides to the ZP990

That being said, there are some downsides to this phone. Firstly the battery it came with was slightly wonky, almost bent, meaning it protrudes ever so slightly from the rear of the phone, it doesn’t quite sit flat – and not due to my own jerry rigged bend test either. I was trying to rack my brains to remember if I had ever put it in my back pocket and sat down on it, but the phone is just a little too big and too wide to make for an accidental sitting scenario, you’re certainly aware of it in your pocket, the slightly bent battery doesn’t cause any operating issues either way.

zopo zp990 captain s review

Another issue is the Zopo supplied USB cable doesn’t actually go into USB charging port at all, it sort of just hangs out without making any sort of connection, I changed it for a generic Chinese cable and then a Samsung cable, both of which fit squarely into the port and provide charging and file transfer capabilities. The final issue is the slow GPS lock, sometimes it takes a minute or two to find the satellite, likely due to a smaller antenna to fit in the phones thin profile, it’s a non issue in the age of A-GPS anyway but might prove to be problematic for those far away from cellphone towers.

Conclusion

Would I buy one of these with my own money? At $369.99 USD the Zopo Z990 Captain S strikes a hard bargain, you’ve got a highly capable phone that is at the near forefront of phone technology, it will be really hard for consumers to ignore the Z990’s offerings.

[templatic_contentbox type=”author” title=”About the Author”] When not playing around with big screen Android phones you can find Ash over at Chinacartimes.com. [/templatic_contentbox]
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  • prem

    Thanks for your genuine comment.

  • So no UMTS 900mhz, cheap materials and so-so build, subpar camera, and slow GPS. For around 300€ it does not look like a great buy. Thanks for the review though!

  • Andreas

    I’ve been using it for two weeks and I love it. Don’t need to bring tablet anymore. The screen is fantastic. Battery could be improved. Now I am in the process of buying another one for my wife.

  • Kris

    Hi, by following the guide on gizchina to fix the GPS, the locktime is reduced to 10-20 seconds, even indoors. Greets.

    http://www.gizchina.com/2013/07/23/how-to-fix-poor-gps-on-mediatek-phones/

  • Jay

    Great review Andi. Hope to see the full version.

    Could you also do a ZP980 Vs. ZP990 comparison on photo and video quality?

  • CPO

    Name a phone that beats it at this price. I’ve heard the GPS works fine on it too. From your complaints, it looks like you dont like Chinese phones in general. And what is the difference between GSM 900 and UMTS 900 band? You can count on one hand the few China phones that actually do UMTS 900mhz.

    • Wow, careful with generalizations… I love Chinese phones so little that my current phone is a ThL W200, and it’s the 3rd Chinese phone in a row I’ve owned.

      My point is that our attitude, and a reviewer’s attitude more so, should be critical. 3G 900 Mhz support is very important in some countries, and seeing a 300€ phone without it is a pity. I can understand that on my 150€ W200 (which btw has very fast GPS), not on a flagship model.

      Until Chinese companies learn to care about what western users need (band support, good camera, quick reliable GPS), they will always be relegated to the bottom tier of the price range.

    • Konged

      Actually this is a bit overpriced especially for international customers and a poorer option than the Ascend Mate which has now also dropped in price at least in China anyway. The Ascend Mate itself is a tired device with that aging SoC of theirs. Bring on the V3 soon Huawei if you want your words taken seriously.

      The USB and Battery wonky issues shows a big step backward for Zopo and the price is too high, they are relegating themselves back to the shanzai league when they should be building upon their success of the 980 and dropping the price to stamp their feet on the a value trusted brand. 360 USD to pay for this + postage, you are looking at 400 USD when this device sells in China at around 1899 yuan (310 USD) and when a Galaxy Mega is only may be 100 USD more and a localised supported Ascend Mate is probably around 400 USD, with problems like this, Zopo are out of their minds.

  • CPO

    Is the GSM 900 band really different from the UMTS 900? Im in America and any phone that does 900/2100 works on tmobile because theu refarmed 900mhz from 2g to 3g HSPA+. This is the first Ive heard of UMTS. Im picking up a couple w200’s after new year is over next week. Looks like a nice device. I really like the ZP990, but didnt realize the band issues for Europe. I didnt realize the camera was bad either, I thought it was decent.

    • ludo

      I love my W200, for its price it’s hard to beat: great screen, nice design, solid build, quick GPS. I don’t think you can go wrong there.

      As for 3G 900, it’s a useful frequencies as it passes through buildings and obstacles better than 2100, and yes it’s different from GSM 900 as the phone radio specifically needs to support 3G on it. Here in Italy operators are rolling out 3G 900 support, especially in areas where’s there’s no or bad 3G 2100 support.

  • CPO

    I guess tmobile is 1700, not 900. Im still an idiot with the band thing Ive never had to worry about bands with the carrier branded phones. I just now got back into em because I always thought they wouldnt work where I am, then I thought they would, now Im not sure. I know 4g wont work, but once I found out it doesnt work on Nexus 4, I figured Id give the CP’s a shot. Good point about the UTMS tho, Apple supported it since the 3gs I guess.

  • CPO

    I hear you on the camera too. I think it has to do with the software running the cameras because iphone got better camera performance with the same hardware I think. The CP’s need to find a way to step it up and quit being so janky if they wanna compete with the western juggernauts.

  • CPO

    Hey whats the deal with vintage polaroids in Italy? Why do ppl pay like $50 plus $50 shipping for them on ebay? I noticed Italy buys a lot of stuff off ebay, no matter how high the shipping is. Is it hard to get items there right now, or does it have something to do with taxes?

    • ludo

      Well Polaroids here are really expensive for a couple reasons: first, they were not as common as in the US especially the top models so they are somewhat rare; and second, ppl here are stupid and think their stuff is worth their weight in gold, and it applis to everything. To give you an idea, local ads are full of people trying to sell their old DSLRs for the same price they bought them 4yrs ago, or people trying to sell Galaxy S2 for what a new S3 costs in stores. So the only choice is to buy abroad, even with shipping and customs duties on top.

      BTW if you have a nice 250, or a 110B give me a shout. 😉

  • Jeremy

    I shipped this phone over to Singapore and used it for 2 weeks and got to say I loved it. I don’t have the wonky battery and USB cable issue, could be a lemon GizChina received. Build quality is exceptionally good, if comparing with the plastic Samsung phones nowadays. With the GPS fixed, its locking pretty fast and the battery lasted me a whole day (greenified) with rather heavy use of internet surfing, videos, instant messaging and live wallpaper (I don’t play much games). Lack of LTE is not an issue for me as 3.5g download is fast enough for a HD video to stream from youtube. Really love the notification light which is often missing from MIC phones. What got me to choose this zopo over the others is the smart cover that works like the S View covers of the Galaxy S4 and Mega. Overall, I’m a satisfied customer!

    • drzahraee

      Very thanks for your comment ! it clear a lot things!
      I think GizChina is not right with Zopo Brand ! why ?

      • Not right with Zopo brand? What do you mean?

  • ash

    I wrote the review. Any questions, ask me now.

  • Gabriel

    Where is the best site to buy it? I’m from Brazil…
    http://www.minitake.com is a good site? abd what about http://www.zopo-mibile-shop.com ??
    Thank you!

  • Questery

    Andi, how is the speaker performance? Is it any better than zopo c2 platinum which I heard quite good?

    • Ash reviewed this phone, you can reply to his comment here and ask him.

  • Konged

    I saw one of these in real life. The battery issue being wonky is not universal. The device is decent built. The USB port also looked fine they somehow shipped a dodgy cable. Quite good just overpriced I think.

  • Andy

    I’m in HK, going to Shenzhen in an hour.

    These are going for 2,480 HK dollars. I got the shop down to 2,380 HK dollars.

    Will see if they are cheaper closer to source. Played with it yesterday and have had Zopos before.

    Yes, would be a better buy at $280 AUD not $330 Australian dollars but hey, I’m lucky, I have a high value currency and I don’t care, since buying the 5 inch 2 years ago and having people stop me in the street because they thought I had a mutated large iPhone I just love the screen size and the two SIM card setups of this phone and Chinese phones in general.

    Also, seeing as Australia Post have “lost” or in reality stolen the Cube-Tablet sourced new tablet I order a month back (I should have waited and bought it here), I’ll need a phablet for this trip I’m on.

    Having had big screen and two SIMs for two years now it’s impossible to go back! But Zopo can’t afford to get lazy in terms of touching specs rather than owningthem and the price issue.

    But for now, this is a no brainer for me. For the money $300 AUD, these phones are excellent.

  • Lisa

    Wrong spelling: 1.5Ghz MT6589T, it is MTK6589T.heh

  • spekky

    Hi there,

    I would like to know how you make screenshots with this phone??

    • power button and volume down together 😉

      • michael

        Hw do u control d volume n other functions while watching a video

  • tomaszeset

    The manufacturer says it is 2 gb ram, antutu also shows 2 gb ram, but the phone is only 1.5 gb ram, you can find Andy?

  • garfield

    Does this phone come unlocked and rooted as standard?

    Some sites that sell the phone claim to have rooted the device and removed all the chinese apps and I want to know if I should look out for this or if this is standard and I can purchase the phone from anywhere.

    Thanks.

  • kunguo

    la tienda FUNBOOKES vende este móvil en precio muy bajo

  • marlon

    hi good day where is the best site to buy this kind of phone im from the saudi arabia

  • laïla

    trop cool