Review Zidoo Z9X: an advanced 4K UHD media player for high-quality video connoisseurs 2022.
The new media player Zidoo Z9X replaces the popular Zidoo Z9S. The media player used the new RTD1619DRB chipset with better performance, and also significantly expanded support for HDR modes, using the new VS10 engine, which can decode HDR10, HDR10 +, HLG and Dolby Vision with low latency (LLDV). In addition, the engine supports 12-bit color depth, which makes the image stunningly colorful and vibrant. As befits a top-end media player, Zidoo Z9X supports:
- Play Blu Ray images with full support for all kinds of menus and navigation;
- Play all 3D formats, including MVC 3D;
- AFR — automatic frequency switching, depending on the content;
- Widevine L1 certification lets you watch Netflix, PrimeVideo and YouTube in 4K
- SATA for connecting external drives up to 14 TB
In terms of the Internet, everything is also great: WiFi works in ac standard with support for MIMO technology, remote antennas provide high-quality reception even through several walls, and in addition there is a gigabit ethernet port for wired connection. In general, the media player is very interesting, perhaps even the best of what is currently on sale, let’s study it in more detail.
Of course, you do not need to insert the cassette anywhere. I took this picture just to show the process of evolution, from one mediocre quality movie on VHS to endless quantities on the Internet or local drives with a quality that even cinemas could not dream of before. I found it funny.
Review Zidoo Z9X Media Player 4K HDR10+ Android 9.0 Smart TV Box Dolby Vision 2G DDR4 16G eMMC Set Top Box HDR 10Bit
Packaging and equipment
The front side of the package shows the Z9X media player. The package was slightly wrinkled upon delivery, but the contents were not damaged.
On the back, you can see the technical characteristics. For convenience, I will duplicate them here in English:
- Model: Z9X
- Display: LED
- Body: Aviation Aluminum
- OS: Android 9.0
- Platform: Realtek RTD1619DR
- Processor: ARM Cortex-A55 Hexa-core
- Graphics Accelerator: ARM Mali-G51 MP3
- RAM: 2GB DDR4
- Flash memory: 16GB eMMC
- W-Fi: 2.4G + 5G dual-band WiFi, 802.11 a / b / g / n / AC 2R2T MIMO 867Mbps
- Bluetooth: BT 4.2
- Internet: 1 * RJ-45 Ethernet Jack (10/100 / 1000Mbps)
- HDMI input: HDMI 2.0, support 4K @ 60p, 48khz PCM audio
- HDMI Output: HDMI 2.0a, support up to 4K @ 60p, HDR, 12Bit, YCbCr 4: 4: 4 color range, support audio passthrough
- Video codecs: 4K @ 60p HEVC / H.265 12 Bit HDR10, HDR10 +, Dolby vision
- Audio Codecs: Support HD audio passthrough and decode 2 channels
- Power: DC 12V 2A
Complete with media player: power supply 12V / 2A, HDMI cable, SATA cable, documentation.
And of course the remote control.
Since the user will constantly interact with the control panel, we will consider it in more detail. The remote control here is thoughtful and functional. The gloss on the front part is somewhat embarrassing; over time, it will inevitably be covered with scratches and lose its presentable appearance.
The size is large enough and comparable to full-size TV remotes, but in terms of ergonomics there are no questions, it fits well in the hand and the finger reaches the main navigation buttons without “intercepting”.
Also thanks to the well-thought-out form. The remote control operates via the IR interface and is powered by two AAA batteries.
The remote control buttons are conventionally divided into 3 zones. The main one is the central one, with the help of which navigation and basic actions are carried out: start, stop, adjust the volume, android buttons — menu, back, home, etc.
In the upper block there is a “learning zone” — 5 buttons to which you can transfer the TV functions and actually get rid of the second remote control. Very comfortably. There is also a digital block and some additional buttons.
The lower block is completely devoted to controlling the player, there are also buttons — shortcuts that are assigned through the application and a button that switches to mouse mode.
The remote control is really thought out and very functional, with so many buttons, the backlight is simply vital for it. And she is.
Not too bright, but enough to find the right button in pitch darkness. It turns on when you press any button and turns off automatically after 6 seconds.
Appearance and interfaces
The media player has a familiar and familiar design and looks and feels like an expensive device, thanks in large part to its aircraft-grade aluminum body, an alloy of aluminum, magnesium and silicon. Pivoting antennas emerge from the rear wall. They are plastic, but made in the color of the case and do not violate the aesthetic harmony.
On the surface of the case we see logos 4K, HDR10 +, Dolby Vision, Dolby, DTS and 3D
On the front there is a Zidoo logo and a black glass insert, behind which there is a screen and an infrared receiver.
The screen displays different information, depending on the state of the media player and its settings.
For example, you can specify to display the current time.
Or the progress of the movie (or how much is left before its completion). Also, various useful information is displayed on the screen: resolution, type and status of the Internet connection, drives, etc.
On the right side, we can see two high-speed USB 3.0 connectors at once, as well as SATA for connecting external drives.
There is no special basket for the HDD here, so after connecting, the hard disk will lie orphaned on the case, spoiling its appearance. Or plug it in as needed, unplug it and put it on the table when not in use. In principle, this happens to me, the HDD is connected only to view BluRay images that I upload to my computer.
On the left side there are also a couple of USB connectors, but already version 2.0. There is also a vent hole and passive cooling vents here.
All connectors for connections are logically placed on the back wall, I will sound them from left to right:
- gigabit ethernet port for wired internet connection
- HDMI out for connection to modern TVs
- HDMI in for connecting third-party devices, for capturing or broadcasting video
- 5.1 optical audio output
- AV output for legacy technology
- RS232 for automation systems and smart homes
- 12V power connector
- two-way button for power on
At the base there are 4 rubber feet and a cover with additional ventilation holes.
After removing the cover, we see the reverse side of the board. Ie here the processor and its heatsink are installed humanly and cooling in a metal case will occur naturally.
Cooling is sufficient here and the console does not overheat. There is no temperature sensor, but during testing, the set-top box never rebooted and did not hang, even when watching torrents in high quality and IPTV, which indicates normal heat exchange. The heatsink cools not only the processor, but also the RAM. I didn’t shoot it.
- WiFi module Fn-Link 6222B-SRC supporting 2.4GHz + 5GHz WiFi 2T2R and Bluetooth 4.2
- eMMC flash memory from Samsung 16 GB KLMAG1JETD-B041
Reset button, it is also used for flashing in full.
In general, the board is universal and a lot of things are simply not used on it as unnecessary. You can see connectors for an active cooling system, additional buttons at the top, a battery, etc.
System, basic functions, settings
I have been testing the media player for a long time and when checking for updates online, the system said that the current version was being used. Just a week ago, I decided to search the net and it turns out that this is far from the latest firmware. After it came out already 3! updates, you just need to install them from a USB flash drive. Everything is done very simply: you drop the firmware image onto the USB flash drive, indicate the path to it in the updates and click “update”. All current firmware is on w3bsit3-dns.com (both with and without google services). Actually, I installed it with the latest firmware with google services and noticed many changes: the translation improved, many system applications were updated.
The shell itself is based on Android 9 and adapted for use on TV, all elements are large and can be arranged in any order. Large tiles can be replaced with your applications, and the shortcuts at the bottom too. The main screen displays the time and weather for the day, if you go to the widget, you will see the current temperature and a nice animation that depends on the weather outside the window.
There is a button that opens a screen with all installed applications. Nothing superfluous, just the required minimum, you set the rest yourself. If you have firmware without services, then you can just drop apk files into memory and install it manually. I decided not to bother and installed the firmware with services and a playmarket, after which I installed the necessary applications.
Let’s start with the most important thing: features and settings, for which we go to the appropriate section. The first tab is called View and here you can:
- Enable autoframe and pause to start it. The pause is convenient so that AFR does not turn on immediately (let’s say look for a movie and constant blinking will be annoying), but let’s say 10 seconds after the start of viewing, when you know for sure that this is what you need
- Bookmarks — Support for playing video from the point where you left off last time.
- Default language — concerns audio track as well as subtitles
- You can enable 3D to 2D conversion. If your TV does not support 3D, then sometimes it can help out. We found an interesting movie on the torrent, but it doesn’t matter in 3D, the prefix will convert it to 2D. Well, if the TV supports 3D, then of course it will show in 3D, it fully supports it.
- Function buttons — you can assign specific actions
- Play — you can enable repeat or shuffle mode
The next tab is the screen:
- HDMI mode — select the resolution and refresh rate
- Color settings — number of displayed colors and color space, including 12-bit for Dolby Vision
- Screen scale — fit the image to the screen boundaries
In the picture settings, you can manually adjust the color reproduction for your TV.
HDR to SDR. If your TV does not support HDR, then the video will be converted to SDR and you will see a bright, contrasting picture
The Dolby Vision VS10 engine is used for HDR playback.
Using MaxCLL / Max FALL metadata for HDR.
The next section is about audio. There are settings for audio output via HDMI or SPDIF. When connected via HDMI, any multi-channel sound is supported up to Dolby Atmos, passthrough mode is supported. SPDIF connection limited to DTS and Dolby Digital Plus
In the network tab, you can configure WiFi, Bluetooth or wired connection. Also, the media player can act as a Samba server or stream content to a DLNA-compatible device.
The last tab for the rest of the settings, including
- HDMI CEC to control media player and TV with one remote
- power settings (sleep or shutdown)
- settings for the information displayed on the media player screen
- putting the HDD to sleep after a specified idle time
Well, the actual screen with information about the firmware, where, if necessary, it can be updated.
Now let’s take a look at the standard software. The media center application is a system file manager through which you can both find and launch a movie from your drive, and perform basic actions such as copying or deleting.
In addition to drives, it is possible to connect to the network storage via SMB or NFC protocols.
When you open a file, you will be prompted for several actions. If this is a BluRay image, then you can launch its menu.
You can also open a poster, that is, the Zidoo Poster 4.0 application comes into play. The information is downloaded from the Internet and you will see the description of the film, the cast, quality, type of video and other information. A trailer will play in the upper right corner.
Supported playback of all kinds of BluRay menu with navigation and other buns. The menu plays from both ISO images and regular BDMV. For a media library on an external drive, Zidoo Poster 4.0 is used, which sorts videos by genre, downloading information from the Internet.
During playback, you can see detailed information about the video quality.
Among other things, the system has applications for viewing photos and listening to music. The HDMI input app is quite interesting. You can connect a third-party device to the media player and use the application to capture video. In the settings, you can select the video format (TS or MP4), its bitrate (from 1 to 10) and adjust the audio quality.
In addition to capturing video, you can also start broadcasting it using the udp protocol.
Another interesting app from Zidoo is the Control Center.
After installing the application on your smartphone, you get access to your storage (both drives and network folders) through it and you can simply conveniently select and start videos from your smartphone.
You can also install APK files, control your music player or use the Poster Wall app.
In fact, your smartphone becomes an advanced remote control (the remote control itself is also present in the application), with which it is much more convenient to control and configure the media player.
Let’s look at the information about the hardware via Antutu. It is based on the new Realtek RTD1619DR chipset, which includes a 6-core processor with a frequency of 1.3 GHz (Cortex A55) and a Mali G51 MP3 graphics accelerator. RAM 2 GB, built-in storage 16 GB. To a simple layman, these characteristics may seem weak, but this is not a game console or even a TV-Box, but a narrowly focused media player, the main task of which is only high-quality reproduction of media content, and it copes with this task perfectly. The system works and navigation through the sections goes without any complaints, the media player works quite fast.
Nevertheless, the results of the main benchmarks are lower. In Antutu, the media player scores almost 67,000 points.
Built-in storage: 102 MB / s read speed, 53 MB / s write speed. The speed of copying RAM is 2067 MB / s.
Next, I checked the internet speed. I would like to note the good quality of communication and antenna sensitivity, the media player perfectly catches the network, even through 2 walls the speed does not drop significantly and allows you to watch video content online in high quality. The maximum data transfer rate with the Mi WiFi 4 router in the 5 GHz range reached 250 Mbps.
In the 2.4 GHz range, the speed reaches 81 Mbps.
With a wired connection, the speed reaches 940 Mbps.
DRM info: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision support. Widevine L1 level allows you to watch streaming video on official services in quality up to 4K.
About heating. The temperature sensor in the media player is physically absent, so the heating can be judged only indirectly. During operation, the media player does not freeze, does not reboot, its body remains barely warm. The processor runs well in the throttling test, showing performance under sustained load at 91% of maximum. Nevertheless, even this resource will not be fully used, since video decoding occurs at the hardware level, without loading the processor. The exception is torrents and IPTV, where the processor is involved quite strongly, but even in these scenarios, the media player does not experience problems.
Any content up to 4K can be played correctly, with autoframe support in the system player, and not only solid frequencies such as 24/30/50/60 are supported, but also fractional frequencies such as 23.976 or 59.94 Hz.
HDR video plays correctly.
Dolby Vision works with MKV container and P4, P5, P7 and P81 profiles.
Licensed Netflix plays 4K video with HDR support. The sound is currently only stereo, but Zidoo specialists promised that in one of the next updates Netflix will support Dolby Vision and support for 5.1 multi-channel sound.
Quality up to 4K is available on Youtube.
Playback is smooth, there are no frame drops even at 4K / 60 fps.
In ordinary online cinemas, there are no problems, even penny boxes can now cope with this task.
Playback from torrents through the TorrServe application is excellent, rewinding and auto-frame work, because playback is carried out through the system player.
IPTV, including in HD quality, also works well.
Zidoo Z9X is an excellent media player and a worthy successor to the popular Z9S. A new and more modern RTD1619DRВ processor was installed here, support for Dolby Vision and the VS10 engine appeared, the more current Android 9 operating system is used. The only thing that seems unreasonable is that the autoframe rate works only in the system player. That is, when watching movies from a drive, online cinemas that allow you to use a third-party player and torrents — AFR works, but on YouTube or in the same netflix it does not. The rest of the media player is top — playback of BluRay images with full support for all kinds of menus, support for all kinds of 3D, multi-channel audio via HDMI or optics, dual-band WiFi with 5 GHz support and sensitive antennas, gigabit Ethernet port, support for the SAMBA network protocol. That’s all, happy shopping!.