What is the Zidoo Z1000 Pro?
The Zidoo Z1000 Pro is a 4K HDR Android media player. It forms part of a growing line-up of products from the company that are all based on the same next-gen Realtek RTD1619DR hex-core 64-bit processor, but all of which differ in terms of cosmetics, features and audio capabilities.
All the current boxes run the Android 9.0 operating system, add Dolby's VS10 processing engine, and can handle 4K/60p, 4:4:4, 12-bit. Rec.2020, 3D and every flavour of high dynamic range – HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. There’s also extensive audio support including lossless and immersive formats, a remote app, Spotify, and Control4 support.
The Z1000 Pro is one of the higher-end boxes, which means it has a bigger and more solidly constructed chassis, a large front LED display and hidden large-capacity HDD bay and antennas. There’s also 2GB of DDR4 RAM, and 32GB of eMMC internal storage to help run the apps, plus a full-sized Bluetooth remote control with a backlight.
The Z1000 Pro costs £340 as at the time of writing (June 2021), which isn’t overly expensive, especially when you consider the build quality and features. However, if your budget is tighter and you don’t mind a less high-end appearance or big antennas poking out the back, then the Z9X offers the same processor and apps for £185. We were impressed when we reviewed the earlier Zidoo X9S, so our hopes are high for this new media player.
Design, Connections and Control
The Zidoo Z1000 Pro looks a cut above the majority of media boxes, with an attractive and well-engineered chassis that would happily grace any equipment rack. There’s a large LED display on the front left-hand side, an illuminated power button in the middle, and a drop-down flap on the right-hand side where you’ll find the hidden HDD bay. In the box, Zidoo includes a high-speed HDMI cable and a SATA connector for an external HDD connection.
The overall build quality is excellent, with an aluminium construction and a matte black finish. The built-in dual band 2R2T MIMO Wi-Fi module with hidden high gain antennas helps maintain the box’s sleek lines and minimalist design, and are definitely preferable to a bunch of big aerials at the rear. The Z1000 Pro measures 350 x 60 x 240mm (WxHxD), and weighs 2.9kg. Unlike some of the other Zidoo models, it has an internal earthed 12V 5A PSU, which also helps keep things elegant and tidy.
In terms of connections, there’s a SATA 3.0 connector (up to 16TB) and a pair of USB 3.0 ports on the left-hand side of the chassis, and beneath the HDD bay there are two USB 2.0 ports. All the other connections are at the rear, and are gold-plated, which is a nice touch. Here you’ll find an HDMI 2.0a output and 2.0 input (for recording from connected devices), plus a gigabit Ethernet port, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, stereo analogue RCA outputs, a composite video output, and an RS-232 serial connector. There's also a connector for a three-pin kettle-style power lead, and an on/off switch. The built-in Wi-Fi supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz (802.11 a/b/g/n/AC), and there's also Bluetooth 4.2.
The full-sized Bluetooth remote control looks a little intimidating at first with its mass of buttons, but it’s actually very effective once you get used to the layout. It offers full control of the box itself, with all the controls you'll need, and includes learning features, as well as the ability to customise buttons. The controller is comfortable to hold, easy to use with one hand and it includes a backlight, which is essential for using it in the dark.
If you're one of those people who prefers to use their smart device as a controller, Zidoo also offers an excellent controller app for both iOS and Android. It not only provides basic remote control, but also mirrors the Z1000 Pro's home screen, offering access to the file explorer (media centre), apps, music player, poster wall and settings.
User Interface and Setup
The Zidoo Z1000 Pro is easy to setup thanks to the excellent Boot Wizard, which takes you through every aspect of installation such as language, screen, network, and layout. Once that's completed, you'll be presented with the home page which provides options for Media Centre, Poster Wall, Music Player, Apps and Settings.
The simplified user interface is cleaner, classier, and better suited to bigger screen sizes
One of the areas where the Z1000 Pro differs from lower-priced Zidoo products is the user interface. The Z1000 Pro has a simplified layout that's designed to look nicer on larger screen sizes. It moves away from the tiled and rather busy look of the Z9X's interface, offering something that's more elegant and better suited to a home cinema. It's a matter of personal opinion, but I definitely prefer this simplified layout, which just feels cleaner and classier.
The first option is the Media Centre, which is basically a file explorer that uses powerful and comprehensive media management software to store, manage (copy, cut, delete, etc.) and search through all your files and related media. It supports NFS/SMB network drives and auto scanning, and it connects via a LAN. There is a side menu with options to scroll to the next page, show hidden files, storage notification, auto scan SMB, enable third-party players, enable filter tag and display watched time.
There are options for Media Centre (file manager), Poster Wall (Home Theatre 4.0) and Music Player 6.0
The next option is Poster Wall, which runs Zidoo's Home Theatre 4.0 movie player. This uses a new and more polished user interface with better-designed icons, additional main screen/poster wall options, flat navigation, customisable categories, movie classification and recommendations. The player will also automatically match poster art and information about each movie. The player can efficiently process a batch of movies, and offers a search bar with the option to search by categories. There's accurate playback of the 23.976 frame rate, along with MPLS seamless branching. If a file is not properly recognised, you can add it manually.
There's also a side menu with options for child lock, language, poster view, preference, poster directory, library and wallpaper. The main poster wall provides selections based on genre, including selected posters from your library, and once you access the poster wall of your full library, you can customise the posters and filter by genre, alphabetically, resolution, and year. A movie’s poster contains the trailer alongside with other introduction videos, plus you still get information about the specific title, its actors, creators, and more. You can also change the main cover and background photos for each film.
The Music Player 6.0 does what it says on the tin, and uses a built-in smart cloud matching algorithm to support adding large numbers of music files with one touch. Songs can be easily classified by genre, sampling rates, title, album title, and artist; while you can also search for songs based on artist, album, title and even initials. The Music Player also supports track playback with CUE descriptor, plus you can customise the menus and add songs to your favourites folder. There is a side menu with options for display, lyrics, decode, database and scan.
The settings menus offer a comprehensive choice of display and audio options to ensure optimised playback
Next there's the Apps option, which takes you to the main apps page where you can find a full list of all the installed applications (more on this later). Finally, there's the Settings option which takes you into the settings menus. These are the same on all the current Zidoo media players, with a choice of Playback, Display, Audio, Network and Other sub-menus.
All the settings you will ever need are in these five sub-menus. The Playback sub-menu offers options for frame rate switching (which is very important), bookmarks, default language, 3D switch to 2D, function keys, play mode, forced subtitles, Blu-ray region, audio offset and downloading subtitles.
The Display sub-menu provides settings for HDMI mode (resolution), colour settings, HDR to SDR, HDR, Dolby Vision compatibility, MaxCLL and MaxFALL, custom EDID, screen scale, picture parameter, HDCP, and screen saver. The integration of the new high dynamic range VS10 processing engine from Dolby adds a number of interesting settings in this sub-menu, such as Dolby Vision VS10 Engine and Dolby Vision Low Latency, both of which are discussed in the performance section.
There are some interesting new HDR options thanks to the inclusion of Dolby's VS10 processing engine
The Audio sub-menu offers options for HDMI audio (auto, RAW, and LPCM 2 channel), SPDIF audio (RAW or LPCM 2 channel), downmix HD audio output, sampling rate control (up to 24-bit/192kHz), USB audio, and pass-through AMP compatible mode.
The Network sub-menu covers Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, DLNA (DMR), Samba server and portable hotspot. Finally, the Other sub-menu provides setup options for language, HDMI CEC, power mode, HDD sleep, fan control, front display panel, keyboards, show weather widget, upgrade (there's a choice of online or via USB, plus an update log and an option to receive beta versions), recovery and reset, and 'About'.
The Zidoo Z1000 Pro uses the new next-gen Realtek RTD1619DR system-on-chip (SoC), which is a Hexa-Core ARM Cortex-55 CPU combined with the new ARM Mali-G51 MP3 GPU that promises an improved performance of greater than 50% when compared to previous models. It adds support for the HDR10+ dynamic metadata high dynamic range format, while also incorporating Dolby’s VS10 processing engine for the conversion of various high dynamic range protocols. The Z1000 Pro is also equipped with 2GB of DDR4 RAM, and 32GB of eMMC internal storage (which is double the 16GB found on the Z9X). The HDD bay can accept 3.5-inch drives or 2.5-inch with a caddy.
The Realtek SoC delivers superb levels of performance, and a promised improvement of 50% over previous models
The apps page includes all the pre-installed apps, and you can add new apps which can be installed via a USB drive, the web installer or using the Zidoo controller app. You can add any of the apps to the home page, making it quicker and easier to access your favourite ones. The combination of Android 9.0 with the player's non-rooted state and Widevine L1 results in excellent app compatibility. It's always best to avoid clogging the player with unnecessary apps or 'bloatware', and there's also a system cleaning assistant that can manage Zidoo and third-party apps, killing unnecessary tasks and improving the overall performance. Our only complaint is that Google Play Store is missing initially, and you need to ensure you're running the latest firmware with a 'G' suffix in order to install this vital app.
The included web browser is now a more satisfying experience, largely thanks to the faster SoC, but you will need a keyboard and mouse to take full advantage of this feature. The Z1000 Pro includes a subtitle system that automatically downloads and adds subtitles for playing media. Special effects subtitles are also supported, as are subtitles in ASS/SSA/SUP/SRT formats. Blu-ray and MKV forced subtitles are supported, and you can customise the fonts, colours, and position (very useful for projector owners using 2.35:1 screens and masking) of any subtitles.
There's an almost limitless choice of apps, although annoyingly Google Play Store needs to be added first
The remote control supports shortcut keys, allowing you to customise the four colour keys individually. You can then set these keys to conveniently turn on apps with the press of a single button. The included HDMI input allows you to control the incoming video and audio, as well as set the output. You can also record certain signals (depending on copy protection), use picture-in-picture, and even UDP broadcast. Finally, the firmware can be updated automatically online, and there's an option to help beta test future upgrades. Zidoo is excellent at providing updates, and there's a handy update log to help keep track of changes and bug fixes. After an upgrade it's best to power-off the box, unplug from the mains, and reboot to reset the Zidoo.
Video and Audio Performance
The Zidoo Z1000 Pro has been available for a while now, giving the company time to iron out most of the wrinkles and ensuring a performance level that's both comprehensive and stable. There have been a number of firmware updates to address minor bugs and add new features, and we were running the latest (6.3.2_G) during testing.
The boot-up time is fast, around 20 seconds, and the fan is very quiet (in fact, aside from the first seconds of boot-up, I didn't hear it at all). The menu navigation is intuitive and responsive, with faster loading times, and there's also a screensaver, which is handy for OLED owners. The Gigabit Ethernet connection is excellent, ensuring smooth and trouble-free playback, even with large Ultra HD files. You can skip chapters or make large time-jumps without any lag or buffering, and the wireless connection was also robust (although this is going to largely depend on your router and its location).
The primary reason for choosing a media player like this is for watching video media, and the Z1000 Pro didn't put a foot wrong during testing, handling every file type we threw at it like... well... a pro! We experienced no issues with 4K, 1080p or 3D, regardless of container. The frame rate was always correct, and there were no issues with motion handling on 24p content. The internal upscaling also appeared to be very good, with no obvious artefacts or issues introduced on test patterns. When it came to HDR the MaxCLL and MaxFALL were correctly identified, there's support for HDR10+ (if you can find content that uses this format), and the HDR to SDR appeared to also work very well.
A Zidoo media player is primarily designed for local content, and not to access the various video streaming services, but the company is expanding its support to include Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. However, you still don't get the full experience you would get from devices that are dedicated to fully supporting the numerous streamers on the market.
This impressive media player handled every file format we threw at it like... well... a pro!
The big selling-point of the latest generation of Zidoo players is their support for Dolby Vision thanks to the inclusion of the VS10 processing engine. In the settings menu there's a sub-menu called "HDR', and here you'll find a bewildering array of options: Auto; Mapping HDR10; SDR Rec.709 Limited; SDR Rec.2020 Limited; Dolby Vision VS10 Engine; Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For SDR content); Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For HDR content); Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For DV content); Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For SDR/HDR content); Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For SDR/DV content); Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For HDR/DV content); Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For SDR/HDR/DV content); and Dolby Vision Low Latency (LLDV,YUV422,12Bit). There's also another sub-menu – Dolby Vision Compatibility – where you can choose between Priority LLDV (Player Led), which is the default, and Priority Standard DV (TV Led).
The best option is probably the default Auto, although this will depend on your display. So if you select SDR Rec.709 Limited, all content is converted to SDR Rec.709, and with SDR Rec.2020 Limited, HDR content is converted to SDR Rec.2020 but SDR content stays the same. The Mapping HDR setting converts everything to HDR10, including SDR content, and is thus best avoided. The Dolby Vision VS10 Engine and Dolby Vision Low Latency (LLDV,YUV422,12Bit) settings appear to do something similar, and convert everything into Dolby Vision. All the other Dolby settings are dependant on the content, but if your display supports Dolby Vision then the Auto setting is probably the best choice.
The Z1000 Pro played back music files like MP3 and FLAC without any issues using Zidoo's Music Player 6.0. FLAC files are limited to stereo only, but there's also support for stereo SACD files. There's no dedicated setting, but gap-less playback is automatically supported. You could choose a third-party music player, but the one provided by Zidoo is excellent and is sure to please most people. You can also stream music from apps like Spotify playback. Audio pass-through is also trouble-free, and the Z1000 Pro supports all the main audio codecs up to and including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. There's also the option to down-mix multi-channel to stereo, in case you're connecting the player directly to a stereo TV, for example. Finally, there's a setting in the menus that allows for output via the USB port to an external DAC.
- Attractive and well-made
- Superb video and audio support
- Excellent connectivity
- Full backlit remote
- Extensive features
- Well-designed and intuitive user interface
- Not ideal for streaming services
- Cheaper options are available
Zidoo Z1000 Pro Android TV Box Review
Should I buy one?
The Zidoo Z1000 Pro is an excellent Android-based media player that has the build quality and looks to grace any high-end system. There's a backlit Bluetooth remote control, and a professional-looking user interface that's not only elegant, but intuitive and quick to navigate. The built-in HDD bay and antennas keep things tidy and, along with dual-band Wi-Fi, you get Bluetooth and a Gigabit Ethernet port. The other connections are equally impressive, with four USB ports, HDMI 2.0 input and HDMI 2.0a output. You also get regular firmware updates to keep things up-to-date and address bugs.
The set up is simple thanks to the Boot Wizard, and the menu system is excellent, offering an incredible level of flexibility to optimise the performance. The Music Player 6.0 is impressive, while the Poster Wall (Home Theatre 4.0) is one of the best systems available on an Android box for curating and watching your local movie collection. The inclusion of the latest Realtek SoC and Dolby's VS10 image engine also means this box can support 4K and HDR, including HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. In fact, whether it's audio or video, this fantastic media player has you covered.
What are my alternatives?
If you're more interested in streaming then you should really be looking at the Nvidia Shield, Fire TV or Apple TV. But if accessing your local content is the primary goal, it's hard to imagine an Android-based media player that's better than the Zidoo Z1000 Pro. Of course, if you want to save some money you could go for the cheaper Zidoo Z9X, but I think the Z1000 Pro's better looks and build quality justify the additional outlay. In terms of the competition, the Zappiti One SE is an excellent Android-based media player that's worth considering, although you don't get the HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support. However, the closest in terms of features, performance and price is probably the Dune HD 4K Vision Pro Solo, which uses the same Realtek processor. It's not as pretty and there are big aerials poking out of it, but it does include a pair of HDMI outputs.
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