ZOPO ZP980+ Review

Introduction

I ordered a new ZOPO ZP980+ phone (MTK6592 1.7 GHz Octa Core processor, 1GB RAM, 32GB ROM, 5.0 Inch Full HD 1080P Screen, 14MP Rear camera, 5MP Front Camera) from a seller on aliexpress.com, and I just received it yesterday, so I’d like to share my experience with fellow Chinaphone users. Let me introduce the phone with some history.

Predecessor

I previously owned a white ZP980 (without the ‘plus’) from a phone swap I did with a friend. However, at the time we exchanged phones, it was already badly scuffed in many places, the silver painting around it was also coming off – signs of really bad handling by the previous owner. I consoled myself with the ‘coolness’ of the Quad-Core processor, 16GB Storage, Gorilla glass and the full-HD LTPS screen (see details on LTPS here). I didn’t particularly like the fact that it was white, and the scuff marks irritated me sometimes, but I managed to ‘hide’ these things from myself by ordering a black flip-cover – also from aliexpress, by the way. I have been having an awesome android experience with it.

Ordering

On February 12th, 2014, the awesome ZP980 fell off my desk and landed on one if its corners, creating a lightning-like series of cracks on the surface. At that moment all my peeves with the phone started running through my head, but I couldn’t justify spending money on another phone. However, I was forced to act when I noticed tiny pieces of glass had started falling of the screen. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any store which still had the ZP980 in stock, and one seller suggested the ZP980+. The specs looked pretty good, and it was just $252 so I ordered that instead.

First Impressions

Since you can watch a great unboxing videos of the ZP980+ by GizBeat here, and another unboxing video on YouTube here, I wont bother going into ‘what I found in the box’ here. You can see the hardware specs and Antutu scores in this post by zopomobileshop.com forum user Roby.Bra. The one I ordered has 32GB internal storage as advertised (models manufactured before January 2014 have only 16GB). I love the fact that the phone has the exact form factor as its predecessor – the ZP980 – the cases, flip covers and even extra battery I bought for my ZP980 still fit perfectly. I also love the stock ROM because:

  • the Android version is 4.2.2
  • the pre-installed apps are in english, so no Chinese apps to delete
  • there is no boot audio, and the boot animation is much simpler than that the annoying one from the ZP980 (so I don’t get the obsessive need to change/delete these files)
  • Skype comes pre-installed
  • it comes with a theme selector app and three iPhone-like themes (dubbed Pink, Green and Light) apart from the system default theme

Mods and Tweaks

The very first thing I do when I get an android device is to root it. You’ll see that Roby.Bra has provided rooting instructions, among other things, in the zopomobileshop.com forum link above. If you’re into ROM mods and stuff, you might like to download the stock ROM before you do anything – in case you need to roll back. The latest version of the stock ROM, as of the time I wrote this, is 20140301-142020. When loading the stock ROM, or any ROM for that matter, you need to note the following:

  • the VRoot app is entirely in chinese, and it’s going to drop one chinese app into your phone when you use it. If you don’t mind these things, you can ‘guess’ your way through the VRoot installer button labels if you can’t read Chinese – its pretty much a ‘next, next, next, continue’ installer. And it works perfectly. If you like your ROM to be ‘clean’, or you are pretty familiar with Android, you can use the SuperSU root method like I did.
  • ClockworkMod 6030 is way better than the other two recovery images
  • MtkDroidTools 242 doesn’t work for this phone, for some reason. Use the version 253 instead
  • SP Flashtool v3.1316.0.212 will crash with an error message when flashing the stock ROM. Please download and use SP Flashtool 5 instead
  • The phone must be connected to the PC via USB in the ‘charging but not yet switched on’ state, before you can boot to recovery with Power + Volume Up

Conclusion

The ZP980+ is a very nice upgrade to the ZP980 as far as I am concerned; I haven’t experienced the famous ghost touch bugs mentioned by users of previous versions of this ROM, and I got what I really wanted: it has no scuff marks (obviously, being new), and it’s black! I haven’t tried to repartition the internal storage yet, so I will be posting any new discoveries I make about this phone in subsequent articles.

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