“The Speed 8 is the world’s first smartphone to come equipped with a deca-core processor”
While Qualcomm stole the show at this year’s MWC, with almost all the flagships boasting its top-of-the-line Snapdragon 820 chipset, its rival MediaTek also had a notable presence. Leading the charge from the Taiwanese chipmaker’s stablet was the world’s first smartphone to be powered by its deca-core chip, the ZOPO Speed 8. The latest offering from the Chinese brand was unveiled by MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo to signify ‘speed’ with its latest device.
We were able to spend some time with the handset, and here’s how we’ll sum up our experience. However, keep in mind that the unit we checked out was a pre-production model, and some things (especially software) could change in the retail version.
The ZOPO Speed 8 is the successor to the Speed 7 (first impressions), which was launched in India back in August. The company plans to bring its latest flagship to our shores by April. While its previous iteration was optimised for one-handed use with a 5-inch display, the Speed 8 falls in the phablet genre with a 5.5-inch display panel.
While it’s ZOPO’s premium offering, at least in terms of specs, the Speed 8 features a run-of-the-mill design language. The front is dominated by the display panel, with a couple of sensors, secondary shooter along with an LED flash above and brand’s logo below. There are also metallic grilles on the top and bottom, with the first acting as an earpiece and the other one being a speaker.
The Speed 8 features metal-finished edges, with both the power button and volume rocker available on the right spine. The left side houses a removable tray to insert the SIM card and a microSD card. The 3.5mm audio interface is available on top, whereas a USB Type-C port can be found below along with primary microphone.
The back panel of the Speed 8 features a smooth finish and is made out of plastic. A primary camera supplemented by dual-LED flash, a noise-cancellation mic and a fingerprint sensor along with ZOPO’s branding can be found here. The backplate can also be pried open to access the battery compartment.
The 5.5-inch IPS display on the ZOPO Speed 8 flaunts full HD resolution, resulting in crisp text and impressive visuals. The display is quite bright, and viewing angles also seemed wide enough.
The Speed 8 comes with the latest iteration of Android, i.e., 6.0 Marshmallow, and runs it in stock form. This means you get the purest form of Google’s OS with material design ethos, and Google Now launcher. Though the demo unit had some apps preinstalled, we believe it might change in the commercial model.
The calling card of the ZOPO Speed 8 is its processor – the Helio X20 featuring 10 cores. While octa-core chips have been using ARM’s big.Little architecture for long, which allows the CPU to intelligently switch between high-performing core and lower-clocked cores depending upon the task at hand, MediaTek suggests that the implementation doesn’t offer the best balance between performance and battery efficiency. The Helio X20 however, with its tri-cluster architecture, offers three set of cores, ensuring that SoC can deliver peak performance if you’re gaming or use the lowest set of cores for better battery life.
The high-end chipset from MediaTek is formed by a combination of a 2.5GHz dual-core Cortex-A72 processor meant for extreme performance, four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2GHz which gives the balance between performance and power, and lastly a 1.4GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 chip which utilises the power efficiently.
The MediaTek Helio X20 is paired with 4 gigs of RAM ensuring that the ZOPO Speed 8 isn’t a slouch, regardless of the task thrown at it. During our brief usage, the phone offered buttery-smooth navigations and switching between multiple apps was extremely zippy as well.
Storage-wise, the phablet offers 32GB of built-in memory, which leaves around 22GB of space for the end user. It can also be expanded further with the use of a microSD card.
In the camera department, the ZOPO Speed 8 packs a 21-megapixel Sony IMX230 sensor at the back and an 8MP front-facing snapper. Both shooters get an assistance from dedicated LED flash units to capture images in dim environments.
On the connectivity front, the phablet comes with standard set of options – dual-SIM, 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC. Powering the show on the ZOPO Speed 8 is a 3,600mAh battery, which should manage to last a day of use. The phone also supports MediaTek’s Pump Express Plus technology, allowing it to be charged quickly with the bundled adapter.
While the ZOPO Speed is loaded in terms of hardware, the company will be pricing it enticingly, making it a notable contender in the affordable flagship segment. At its expected pricing of Rs 22,000 (299.99 euros), the phablet can pose a tough competition to the likes of the OnePlus 2 (review | FAQs).