Zappiti One SE 4K HDR Media Player Review

The very definition of comprehensive

SRP: £319.00

What is the Zappiti One SE 4K HDR?

The Zappiti One SE 4K HDR is an Ultra HD and HDR capable media player (as the name might suggest), and forms part of the French manufacturer’s current line-up of products. It’s essentially an upgrade of the Zappiti One 4K HDR, adding a second audio-only HDMI output and an IR extender. It also has gold-plated RCA connectors and removable Wi-Fi antennas.

As with the Zappiti Duo 4K HDR that we reviewed previously, the One SE 4K HDR offers extensive (and we mean extensive) file support, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, Zappiti MagicPixel v2.5 video processing, HDR to SDR conversion, and a well-designed remote control with a backlight. While the Duo offers the ability to add two SATA hard drives by means of built-in bays, you won’t be surprised to learn that the One only has a single bay.

The One SE 4K HDR features a 64-bit Realtek RTD1295 processor and, as with all of Zappiti’s players, it runs the Android operating system. However, the company also includes its own media ecosystem including mobile, PC and NAS (Networked Attached Storage) apps, cloud synching and a host of other features to make these players stand out from the crowd. The Zappiti One SE 4K HDR currently retails for £319, as at the time of writing (March 2020).

Design, Connections and Control

The Zappiti One SE 4K HDR uses a simple but effective design, with a black metal chassis that’s passively cooled and boasts a large ‘Z’ logo on the front. This illuminates in a subdued shade of blue when the unit is powered on, but you can turn it off with a button on the remote, if you prefer. On the right hand side as you face the player is the SATA HDD bay with hot swap function (up to 16 TB) that’s designed for 3.5-inch drives.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti One SE 4K HDR with hard drive bay open

There is a USB 2.0 port on the left hand side, along with a full-sized SD/MMC 3.0 card slot. The player is extremely well made, with a solid construction that helps justify the price-tag. It’s also fairly large, measuring 281 x 50 x 188mm (WxHxD) without the antennas, and weighing in at 1.65kg. There are connectors for the included removable Wi-Fi antennas, and when attached these obviously increase the height.

 

The One SE adds an HDMI 1.4 output for audio only, to go with the HDMI 2.0a input and output

At the rear you’ll find an impressive set of connections that includes two HDMI outputs – a main one (2.0a) and a second one (1.4) that’s for audio only, which is handy for those with older soundbars, AV processors or AV receivers. There’s also an HDMI 2,0a input that can be used for video capture.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti One SE 4K HDR Rear Connections

There are optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, two further USB 2.0 ports plus USB 3.0 and USB Type-C connections. You also get RCA stereo outputs and a CVBS (composite) video jack, along with a Gigabit LAN port, and a connector for the included IR extender. There’s a connector for the DC 12V power adapter, and an on/off switch. The Wi-Fi supports dual band 2.4 and 5.0 GHz.

 

Zappiti's backlit remote is well designed, comfortable to hold and intuitive to use

The included remote control is excellent, curving into the middle to make it comfortable to hold, and featuring a backlight which automatically triggers when you press a button. There are dedicated buttons for powering on and off, launching the Zappiti Media Centre app and Zappiti Explorer, all the usual playback and transport controls, with the exception of a dedicated stop button, and keys to select the aspect ratio and engage/disengage the 3D output mode. Our only gripe is the dual function scan/skip buttons, which can be a pain sometimes.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti One SE 4K HDR Remote Control

In the centre are the navigation buttons for the menus while, just above those, are a mouse pointer function, back, menu and home keys. Towards the bottom are genuinely useful number buttons – you can numerically enter a percentage point at which to join the video content and, below those, are some basic controls for your TV (Power, Volume, Input Selection) which can be used with the IR learning function of the remote.

User Interface and Set Up

The Zappiti One SE 4K HDR features a simple launcher screen with three primary options represented by large icons: Video, Explorer and Music. Towards the top of the home page are three smaller options for Settings, My Apps and Task Killer. In Settings under the Display submenu is an option for Auto 1080p 24Hz Playback, which you should engage. Under Developer Options is the same functionality for 29.97/59.94Hz signals which also should be engaged.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti Home Screen

On first use of the Zappiti app, you will be asked to log in to/create your Zappiti account to use the Zappiti Cloud and enter a user token which is on the underside of the box – so it pays to make a note of it before you hook everything up. You then nominate local and/or networked storage to scan, under either Movie or TV Show designations, and so the Zappiti goes about downloading corresponding covers and fan art for the movies and TV shows.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti Covers and Backgrounds

The software scrapes images from TMDb (The Movie Database) and TheTVDb, by default, although you can specify IMDb but as we understand it you'll need an account for that. In any case, TMDb and TVDb do a great job and any covers or fan art you can’t find might well be covered by the Zappiti Db, which can be accessed by individually highlighting any title and clicking the Menu button on the remote.

 

The Zappiti Media Centre is simple to use, attractively designed and highly effective

The software requires your files to be named quite strictly, but Zappiti recommends nothing more elaborate than something like Star Wars.mp4. It can scan more complicated names for movies easily enough, but is stricter when it comes to TV show. So something like Fringe S01E01 is needed. Most people will probably have their files named in such a fashion, but some may need to do a bit of prep work before scanning.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti Explorer

The initial scan duration will largely depend on how many movies and TV shows you have stored but a collection of around 100 ripped Blu-rays should take about 15 minutes. If you have a really large collection the good news is it’s a one-time process, because all the data is then stored on the player. An added benefit of Zappiti’s cloud approach is that you can then access the content from other devices, such as a PC, with all art synced instantly.

Other Features

The Zappiti One SE 4K HDR is a seriously spec’d piece of kit, with some impressive capabilities. It uses the Realtek RTD1295 chipset, combined with a quad core CPU and a 64-bit (A63) operating system. It also has a 1MB L2 cache, 16GB of NAN eMMC, and 2GB DDR4 of RAM.

Related: What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?

The player not only supports 4K Ultra HD at up to 60p but also 10-bit, 4:4:4, high dynamic range (HDR10), wide colour gamuts up to Rec.2020. The player supports auto frame rates for 23,976/24/50/59.94/60Hz, it can handle a maximum 4K HEVC bitrate of 400 Mbps.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti Settings

There’s 4K upscaling thanks to Zappiti’s MagicPixel v2.5, and you can choose between the two versions of 4K Ultra HD: 3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160 pixels up to 12-bit. You can also convert HDR to SDR if your display doesn’t support that particular feature.

 

The chipset has been around for a while, but this player retains plenty of processing power

If you’re a fan of 3D there’s coverage of 3D BD ISO and MKV 3D MVC frame packing, as well as 3D side-by-side or top-bottom. There’s also 3D subtitle support, along with settings for 3D image depth, 3D subtitle depth, 3D interface depth, and manual reversal of left-right images.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti Cover Art

In terms of video file support it’s pretty comprehensive with UHD ISO, 3D BD ISO, BD ISO, BDMV, MKV, MKV 3D, MK3D, MPEG-TS, MPEG-PS, MPEG, MPE, MPG, TS, TP, M2TS, VOB, AVI, MOV, MP4, QT, WebM, DVD-ISO, VIDEO_TS, RMVB, RM, DAT, VOB, 3GP, FLV, DAT, and AVCHD 2.0 (AVCHD 3D, AVHD Progressive). There’s also support for photo file formats including JPEG, PNG, BMP and GIF with a resolution up to 8192x8192 pixels (matched to the display resolution).

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti Applications

The Zappiti One SE 4K HDR features support for pictures up to a resolution of 8192 x 8192 and playback of hi-res audio formats up to 24-bit/192 kHz. In terms of audio file support you’ve got AC-3 / Dolby Digital, EAC3, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-HD, DTS:X, MPEG, MP3, ALAC, APE, M4A, AIFF, WAV, VSELP, FLAC (2.0 and 5.1), AAC, AAC-LC, HEAAC, HE-AAC v2, AMR-NB, OGG (Ogg/Vorbis), RA_COOK, LPCM, PCM, ADPCM, FLA, and MQA.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti Media Centre

Zappiti Explorer, as the name suggests, is a file explorer app you can use with local, attached or networked storage. It’s a polished tool. making the player ideal for accessing your photo and music/audio files. The excellent networking capabilities of the player, both wired and wireless, makes transferring files around your network using Explorer pain free, while the SMB server functionality is generally effective.

 

The file support is extensive, and the One SE handled everything we threw at it

There’s also a useful search feature for those with large collections, providing access to your movies or TV shows with smart filters for criteria such as actor, director, length, rating, and release date. You also get parental control, full Blu-ray menu support, italic subtitles and multiroom functionality thanks to Zappiti Share and Sync, which has the ability to  resume video playback in another room.

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR
Zappiti One SE 4K HDR Front View

The Zappiti One SE 4K HDR offers full integration with all the main control systems including Control4, Crestron, ProControl, RTI, Pronto and Logitech. There’s also a virtual remote for your Android or iOS smart device, which mirrors the player’s user interface on your phone or tablet, allowing you to browse and launch your collection without the need to pick up the remote. Thanks to the Zappiti Music Control, you can also control and manage your music collection.

Video and Audio Performance

The Zappiti One SE 4K HDR uses the same Realtek chipset as the Duo that we previously reviewed, and while it's been around for a while now it remains very capable. Since the only difference between the two is the latter adds a second disc drive bay, the results were identical.

4K Tests
3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/23.976fps
3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/24.000fps
3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/25.000fps
3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/29.970fps
3840 x 2160/AVC/MKV/59.940fps
3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/23.976fps
3840 x 2160/HEVC/MP4/29.970fps
3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/59.940fps
10-bit 3840 x 2160/HEVC/TS/59.940fps
10-bit 3840 x 2160/HEVC/TS/23.976fps
3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/50.00fps
4096 x 2160/AVC/MP4/24fps

Overall, the playback of Ultra HD content was excellent, with a precise delivery that rendered the source files accurately. The One SE also supports HDR10 content but not HDR10+ or Dolby Vision.

SD/HD/Interlaced
720 x 576/MP2/mpg/25.000fps - Interlaced
1280 x 720/AVC/MP4/29.970fps
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/25.00fps - Interlaced
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/24.000fps
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/25.000fps
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/29.970fps
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/30.000fps
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/59.970fps
1920 x 1080/HEVC/ISO/23.976fps
1920 x 1080/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps
1920 x 1080/VC-1/MKV/23.976fps
1920 x 1080/VC-1/MKV/29.970fps - Interlaced

The only issue here was with 1080/50i material, which uses an interlaced rather than progressive signal. It forms part of the broadcast standard in the UK and Europe, so if you have TV series stored this way it might be an issue. It seems to be a limitation of the chipset, but this was literally the only test the One SE failed to handle correctly.

High Bitrate
1920 x 1080/AVC/M2TS/23.976fps & 90mbps
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 100mbps
1920 x 1080/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 110mbps
3480 x 2160/H264/MKV/23.976fps @ 120mbps
10-bit 3840 x 2160/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 120mbps
3840x 2160/H264/MKV/23.976fps @ 140mbps
10-bit 3840x2160/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 140mbps
3840x 2160/H264/MKV/23.976fps @ 200mbps
10-bit 3840x 2160/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 200mbps

The processor is very powerful and the networking performance of the One SE is excellent, resulting in some impressive streaming of video encoded at very high bitrates. While the maximum bitrate of Ultra HD Blu-ray is capped at 128Mbps, it’s good to see the player has plenty of headroom.

3D
1920 x 1080/AVC/ISO/23.976fps Frame Packed
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps Frame Packed
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps Side by Side
1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps Top & Bottom

3D support was one of the major selling points of the RTD1295 chipset when it was first released, so fans of the third dimension shouldn’t have any problems.

Audio
AAC (Dolby Digital) 5.1
AC3 (DTS) 5.1
LPCM 5.1
LPCM 7.1
Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Dolby Atmos
DTS HD-High Resolution 5.1
DTS HD-High Resolution 7.1
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
DTS:X

The One SE is able to pass-through, decode and down mix multichannel and HD audio and it had no issues with the DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD lossless formats. In addition, the Zappiti supports the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio formats.

Verdict

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Impressive build quality
  • Extensive connections
  • Excellent remote control
  • Comprehensive file support
  • 4K HDR support
  • Immersive audio capability
  • Frame-packed 3D support
  • Cloud synchronisation
  • Attractive media presentation

Cons

  • Lack of customisation
  • No HDR10+/Dolby Vision
  • Issues handling 1080/50i

Zappiti One SE 4K HDR Media Player Review

The Zappiti One SE 4K HDR is a genuinely impressive media player that also provides access to the company’s entire Media Center ecosystem. It provides a clean and intuitive method of organising your locally and networked stored media collection. It also includes cloud synchronisation, along with a mobile app, plus server software for NAS and PC. However, you don't need an external server with the One SE 4K HDR because it has one built-in, thanks to a hard drive bay for up to 16TB of SATA storage. 

The build quality is excellent, with a fairly large metal casing that is passively cooled to avoid fan noise. There are extensive connections including a Gigabit LAN, HDMI 2.0a inputs and outputs, an HDMI 1.4 audio output, five USB connections of varying types and dedicated RCA, optical and coaxial audio outputs. The included remote control is well-designed, comfortable to hold and sports a useful backlight.

Using the player to scan your media collection via the Zappiti Media Center is simplicity itself, with the software happily collecting movie posters, background art and content info, which it presents in an attractive and user-friendly manner. What's more, thanks to the Zappiti Db, if you don't like any of the art automatically downloaded, you have the option of customising and changing posters and associated artwork. 

In terms of media playback, the Zappiti 4K HDR range is exceptional, with support for Ultra HD video, all the way to up to 60 frames per second as well as HDR10 and HEVC decoding capability. The One SE is capable of 3D playback - including frame-packed - and passthrough and decode of all the important audio formats, up to and including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. In fact the only issues are a lack of support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, along with an inability to correctly handle 1080/50i content, which appears to be a limitation of the chipset.

Ultimately, the Zappiti One SE 4K HDR is a superb home media streaming solution which is well made, intuitive to use and has near-comprehensive file support. The basic model and chipset has been around for a while now, but thanks to some recent price drops it represents great value for money. As such it comes Highly Recommended.

Highly Recommended

Scores

Build Quality

10

Performance

.
9

Networking, Internet, Streaming quality

.
9

Features

.
9

Set up, Menus, Remote

.
9

Value for Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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