Sunday, April 21, 2013

ZTE V987 (Dual SIM with 3G support)

Introduction

Although I was still very happy with ZTE V970, specially now that it was already running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), I couldn't resist to try out a new smartphone based on the freshly released platform from MediaTek...

It was only a matter of time before ZTE came out with another device that would use the same look as its much anticipated Grand S. Announced as its fat brother, ZTE V987 (also known as Grand X Quad) is a Dual SIM Dual Standby smartphone based on MT6589 chipset. Despite the fact that the newest MediaTek chipset was announced as supporting Dual Active functionality, it doesn't means that every phone would include such a feature. Probably due to development and implementation costs, this phone still does not include that feature. In fact, it is yet to be seen the first DSFA device based on MT6589 platform.

Specifications

Chipset

Name:MediaTek MT6589
CPU:Quad-core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex™-A7
GPU:PowerVR™ SGX 544MP
Instruction set:ARMv7 (VFPv4, NEON)

Software environment

Embedded:OS: Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)

Body

Dimensions
(width x height x depth):
141 x 70 x 8.9 millimetres
Weigth:165 grams (battery included)
Color:Black and white

Battery

Capacity: 2500 mAh

Memory

RAM:capacity:1 GB
ROM-capacity:4 GB
Expansion slot:microSD memory card, supporting up to 32 GB

Network support

Primary phone:GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz, UMTS 900 / 2100 MHz
Secondary phone:GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
Data links:GPRS, EDGE, HSPA+

Display

Type:IPS-LCD capacitive touchscreen / OGS (one glass solution)
Size:5 inches, HD resolution (720 x 1280 pixels)

Camera

Main (rear):8 megapixels with autofocus and single LED flash
Secondary (front):1 megapixel

Interfaces

Bluetooth (802.15):Bluetooth 4.0 + Enhanced Data Rate + A2DP
Wireless LAN / Wi-Fi (802.11):  IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
USB:USB 2.0 Client, Hi-Speed (480 Mbit/s)
USB Series Micro-B (Micro-USB) connector

Satellite navigation

Built-in GPS module:MT6628 chipset
GPS antenna:Internal
Complementary GPS services:  A-GPS (Assisted GPS), MediaTek EPO (Extended Prediction Orbit), GLONASS

Additional features

Sensors:Gravity, Proximity and Light sensors
Analog Radio:FM radio (87.5-108 MHz) with RDS radio receiver
Others:Dedicated LED for notification of missed calls / new messages

Design and construction

Very much resembling ZTE Grand S, this ZTE V987 features a 5 inch screen and measures 141 x 70 x 8.9 mm, being a little thicker where camera is located. The sides and back cover are made of white plastic, but in overall the build quality is very good. 

ZTE opted out to use OGS (One Glass Solution) technology to keep the smartphone relatively slim. After a week of use, I've found that most of the commonly used functions like swiping through menu, making calls, accessing music... all can indeed be done by using just one hand.




The three usual Android touch-keys are placed on the bezel  –  Back, Home and Menu. The buttons are illuminated by a backlight when the screen is turned on.


The volume rocker is placed on left edge, but not at the very top so that it can be easily reached while holding the phone with one hand. The microUSB port is located on that same edge, at the bottom.



The 3,5 mm headset jack and power button are located on the top edge.


One thing that was strangely missing on ZTE V970 was a front camera, but fortunately ZTE did not repeat the same mistake with V987. Placed right next to the ear speaker grill is the 1 megapixel front camera, which is very used nowadays for video chat purposes. On the opposite side is placed the usual power charging LED (red colored when charging and green when the battery is fully charged). The green LED also blinks to notify the user of eventual missed calls and / or new messages received.

On the back side, there's the 8 megapixels autofocus camera placed left to a single LED flash.


Placed in the lower-left corner, there is a small notch that allows you to (not too easily) peel off the rear cover, providing access to the SIM card slots, battery and microSD card slot.





The microSD card can be accessed without removing the battery, meaning that you can remove and replace memory card without turning the phone off, much like you would on a computer.

Display quality

The phone sports a 5-inch HD touchscreen display with 1280 x 720 resolution, offering a 320ppi pixel density. Text, icons, images and videos look sharp and the viewing angles are quite wide.


Under sun visibility on is very good, the screen used in this smartphone is reflective. The touch response of the screen is also good.


Functionality

The phone was released with Android 4.1.2 and hopefully will receive an update to Android 4.2.x in the near futureAside from a few custom icons and a redesigned status bar, ZTE didn't change the interface too much, so we are present with a clean Jelly Bean UI. Here are some screenshots and details of the most important features with a special detail of the dual SIM functionality.


The notification panel provides a fast access for brightness and display timeout setting, enabling or disabling auto rotation, Wi-Fi, BT, GPS and data connection, as well as alternating between sound profiles.


So, nothing much to say about the stock Android 4.1 look...


The dialer interface is pretty standard, supporting smart dialing feature which works perfectly and very fast. There is only one call button, that can either pop up a dialog allowing the user to choose which card to dial from or can dial automatically from the SIM card that is set as default.



When the active application is Phone or Messaging the user can slide down the notification panel to easily switch between the default card for establishing phone calls / sending messages.


Within the call log history, calls can be filtered by received, established or missed calls, but can also be checked which SIM was used.


Under the dual SIM management menu several configurations can be set. The user can edit the name of each SIM and also set the associated background color that will appear in call log as well as in the notification bar (behind the network strength bars).


In the same menu, the user has the possibility to set a default SIM card to establish all outgoing calls or set it to always ask. The same thing can be set for messaging and data connection purposes.


Since the release of Android 4.0 we were presented with fancy controls for managing network data usage. The user can monitor total usage by network type and application and then set limits if needed. Of course, as mobile data can be enabled on SIM1 or SIM2, data usage of each SIM card can also be tracked.


It also natively supports tethering and portable hotspot feature, letting the user share mobile data connection through USB or over a wireless (Wi-Fi or even Bluetooth) network.


Just like it happened on the previous MediaTek platforms (MT6575 and MT6577), with the newest one (MT6589), SIM2 will be reachable even if there is an active data connection established on SIM1. The data connection will be immediately dropped when a new call is incoming from SIM2 and the download will be automatically resumed after the call is over.

The phone supports quad-band GSM as well as UMTS 900 MHz and 2100 MHz as confirmed under hidden MTK Engineer Mode.


The phone doesn't come pre-installed with Google apps, but that can be easily installed and all Google services work perfectly. As it can be noticed, I even got the chance to test the new version of Google Play Store.


Battery life
    Battery lifetime of this phone is impressive taking into consideration the display size. After a usage of almost two weeks, I estimate that battery can easily hold juice for three days. That is with Bluetooth turned on, 3G data connection always activated and alternating with Wi-Fi when hotspots available. Other than that, I haven't noticed any strange battery drainage. 

    GPS
      Compared to the old MT6577 based devices, there is also a great improvement when it concerns to GPS performance. V987 locks very quickly and precision is much higher, at least when comparing it to V970.


      The phone supports A-GPS and EPO (Extended Prediction Orbit), which is a MediaTek proprietary offline server based A-GPS technology. As for GLONASS, I wasn't able to connect to any satellites during the few times I used the GPS. During the next week I will test it further and update this review with additional info.


      Final thoughts

      I have to mention that this is the biggest smartphone I have ever had, but that's not really a big deal and nothing you can't get used to... and after all, it seems that the global trend is to have bigger and bigger phones. I'm really impressed with V987 performance, screen quality and battery lifetime. If you are looking for a good quad-core MT6589 phone, this is without any doubt a great choice.

      This phone can be bought from etotalk.comZTE V987 is now available for 309.99 USD.

      Highs:
      • Amazing screen quality
      • Great performance
      Lows:
      • Size (may be considered too big, but there are no good alternatives)
      • Price

      35 comments:

      1. How were GApps installed? Do you have an APK or was this through root access as I have done it in the past?, So may be I am asking is Root access available for this phone?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. That has to be done via a CWM-based recovery.

          I have already created a support thread dedicated for V987 and just released the first custom ROM.

          Delete
      2. Thank you for your review Bruno ! ;)

        Does the phone have notification LED ?

        best regards

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Sure, it's mentioned on the review.

          Delete
      3. Thanks for another fantastic review Bruno, im sure your custom rom(s) will be has usuall the best ;)

        But i would like to ask, since this new MT6589 phone, isn't DSFA has probably most were expecting, and taking aside the screen size (witch in my opinion, is a bit large for my taste), do you feel a real diference in performance between this new v987 and the v970 since they both have 1GB ram ?

        I was inclining to buy a new phone to replace my already old Lenovo A60, and i was expecting a MT6589 from a good brand, so that i could enjoy the dual active feature.
        Since this one, at least doesn't have it, i was wondering if its a big improvement over the v970 witch i prefer due to the size.

        Whats your recomendation ?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Yes, even though both have 1GB of RAM, performance has noticeably increased due to the quad-core 1,2GHz CPU. I haven't posted any benchmarks results, but I can do it just for comparison.

          V970 was a great phone and still is, of course. Specially if you take into consideration that it's now as cheap as never and you can update it to Android 4.1.1.

          Delete
      4. Hi! I am very interested about this ZTE, but i can´t find any review with some photo samples from main camera...can you post or link some samples?
        Thanks in advance!
        Lordx

        ReplyDelete
      5. Hi Bruno,

        I think this option is available but I want to be sure. Can you choose which sim is 3G within the menu or do you have to change the sim from to the G slot to the G/W slot.

        That's one nice feature V970 has.

        Thanks in advance.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. That is indeed a nice feature, but ZTE didn't implement it for V987. That means you can only connect to 3G with SIM1.

          Delete
        2. Can we hope for an update to get 3G run in sim2, vor is it hardware related?

          Delete
        3. I don't know if it that is somehow limited by hardware or not. ZTE V970 was one of the few MT6577 phones with 3G switch feature. For example, Lenovo MT65xx smartphones also don't have it implemented.

          Delete
      6. Hello Bruno,

        please can you give me a info about a built in e-compass. I found different info's in the web.

        thanks and best regards.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. There is no built-in magnetic field sensor, which means no support for e-compass.

          Delete
      7. Hi Bruno,
        appreciate if you could explain on the highlighted "this phone still do not have Dual Active functionality"? Does it refer to data on both SIMs could not be active together? I assume for voice calls it behaves as if V970 i.e. it could receive calls from either sim card? Thanks.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. It refers to voice / data at the same time, from both SIM cards. It behaves exactly the same as V970, you can receive calls on both cards, one at a time.

          Delete
      8. Hi just wanna confirm whether it has a n IPS display? Scratch resistant screen? Thanks :)

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Yes, it has an IPS-LCD, just as mentioned on the post. The screen is scratch resistant, but no Gorilla glass.

          Delete
        2. If not Gorilla glass, what is it? A Dragontrail glass? Thanks btw

          Delete
      9. How about screen flickering issue? how to solve that? got this device but screen flickers while browsing black screen background.. it this normal?

        ReplyDelete
      10. Hey Bruno, I've just bought this phone and there is one thing that worries me. The accelerometer is not giving accurate results, I mean, it is always changing values.
        Did you have the same problem or should I send it back on warranty?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. I never cared to check the sensor readings because I never noticed any strange behavior. If you think it is not working properly you should first try to reset to factory settings and only then think if it should be sent back for warranty.

          Delete
      11. This phone is very durable. In my country this phone is called the "ZTE Warp Sequent" for Boost Mobile.

        ReplyDelete
      12. Hello. This phone support "normal video-calls" ?

        I don't mean calls via skype or other app's like skype..but "normal video-calls". Thank you for your feedback!

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. No, it doesn't support native video-calls, at least using the stock firmware.

          Delete
      13. Hey I want to buy these Smartphone but I´m not really sure about. I´ve read that the ZTE V987 don´t support adobe flash and without adobe flash you can´t stream youtube or other websites which use adobe flash is this correct? And what´s your opinion to the Huawei Ascend G615 is it a good possible alternative or is th LG Optimus 4xHD?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. You should know that Adobe stopped supporting Flash for Android. However there is a way to manually install Adobe Flash Player app which will provide support for flash using stock Browser or Firefox (Chrome for Android doesn't support it). That is for displaying webpages with embedded flash content. For YouTube video streaming, you can simply use native YouTube app.

          Delete
      14. hy, i just bought ZTE V987 and i have a small problem . Actualy 2 problems:)
        First one... it's about the missing of gplay application... but i have read that can be solved by rooting the phone . and instal another ROM... so ... problem one ... almost solved
        And the second.... i have no 3G connection ... i've tried swiching the sim's but it's still not working ...
        After i will root and instal a new ROM do you think i can solve this problem ?
        Thanks a lot and hope to hear news from you..

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. The problem is that phone is most likely running stock, that's why Google apps are not installed. Check the top comments and you'll find a support thread for this phone.

          Delete
      15. Hi, Any idea when KitKat will come to zte v987? Thanks.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. There's even no Android 4.3 release for MTK based phones, so I don't think it is realistic to hope for Android 4.4.

          Delete
      16. It does not comes with their own UI

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Is that a question or an affirmation?

          Delete
        2. Well, as you can see from the pictures of the review, it does not come with heavily customized UI. It's the pure Android interface.

          Delete