Zidoo X8 vs X9S vs X10 (vs Zappiti Mini 4K HDR)

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
I recently picked up a Zappiti Mini 4K HDR player to replace my 11 year old HTPC, and it has so far been rock solid with my collection of BD rips (mkv) stored on a QNAP NAS. I need three more media players for other rooms, so decided to take a look at the Zidoo offering before committing to Zappiti.

Here are my thoughts on the X8, X9S and X10, along with a quick comparison to the Zappiti Mini 4K HDR.

Disclaimer: I am not a product reviewer nor a journalist, so this is not intended as a detailed technical review. Instead it is a short overview of the cosmetic and functional differences between the three models. The technical specifications can be found on the Zidoo website, or in reviews on this forum :)

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Zidoo X8


The X8 is packaged in a solid white box, although there is no added internal protection around the device other than a cardboard divider. Underneath the X8, there is an HDMI cable, a remote control (batteries not supplied!) and a UK power adaptor.

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The X8 case is completely constructed from plastic, with black gloss sides and a textured matt top and bottom. There is a soft rubber ring on the bottom that should prevent surface scratches. Whilst the gloss sides look nice, they are a natural dust magnet!

The single Wireless antenna appears to be fixed, or at least I couldn't see how it could be detached. A minor gripe if you intend on hard wiring to the Ethernet network, and don't want the antenna on show as it can't be completely folded down out of the way when cables are connected at the rear.

There are two USB 2 ports along with a single USB 3 port on the left hand side, but there is no SATA interface for connecting an external HDD. Storage can be attached via USB (1TB+ HDD needs to be separately powered) or using the TF (Micro) SD slot on the back. As well as the HDMI with HDCP 2.2 output, there is a HDMI with HDCP 2.2 input that supports PIP and recording (doesn't strip out HDCP though). There is also a 3.5mm AV output, a digital optical out, a reset button and a Gigabit LAN port.

The remote control is fairly basic and looks quite cheap, however, its functional and largely does what it needs to. I did find the IR range of the X8 quite poor, you have to point the remote directly at the X8 for it to work. This could be a problem depending on placement, but is similar to the Zappiti Mini 4K HDR in that regard - although Zappiti include an IR blaster to workaround that potential issue.

There is no power switch on the back of the X8, although there is a power button on the front, which glows blue when on. The button can power on the X8 from standby, but does not power off the device.

As there is no internal fan fitted to the X8, it is completely silent during operation.

There is a small LED display on the front of the X8 that shows various status messages, such as "boot" whilst booting up. During general use it displays the current time in either 12 or 24 hour format, but it switches to show the time elapsed whilst playing a movie.

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On initial power on, the X8 updated itself to v1.2.11, which took about 10 minutes to complete, after which, the standard Zidoo launch desktop was displayed.

Zidoo X9S

The X9S is packaged slightly differently to its siblings, with the mostly white and green box wrapped in a green sleeve. As with the X8, there is no added internal protection around the device other than a cardboard divider. Again, there is an HDMI cable, a remote control (still no batteries supplied!) and a UK power adaptor. Also included is a SATA extension cable, as the X9S sports a SATA 3 interface for connecting an external HDD.

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The X9S case is made from a smoke coloured (grey) aviation grade aluminium alloy, so is a bit more upmarket from the X8.

The X9S has two Wireless antennas, but unlike the X8, both can be removed. That's an improvement over the X8, and the Zappiti Mini 4K HDR too, which has dual fixed antennas.

Again there are two USB 2 ports and a single USB 3 port, but on the right hand side this time. The USB ports are joined by a SATA 3 interface so an external HDD can be connected. Storage can also be attached via USB (1TB+ HDD needs to be separately powered) or using the TF (Micro) SD slot on the back. The HDMI with HDCP 2.2 output and HDMI with HDCP 2.2 inputs carry over, along with the 3.5mm AV output, digital optical out, reset button and the Gigabit LAN port.

The included remote control is the same as the X8, however, the IR range of the X9S is much improved over it's smaller sibling. I was able to control the device even if the remote was at a 90+ degree angle.

There is a small rocker power switch on the back of the X9S, although there is no power button on the front, as was the case with the X8.

As there is no internal fan fitted to the X9S either, it is also completely silent during operation.

There is a similar small LED display on the front of the X9S, and which provides the same level of information as the X8.

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On initial power on, the X9S booted to a quick setup wizard and did not require an update as was the case with the X8. The installed version was v1.3.0, so different to the X8 version.

Zidoo X10

The X10 packaging reverts back to the white box design, however, unlike the smaller models, the X10 is protected by a foam wrap-around. Included with the X10 is an HDMI cable, a larger and backlit remote control (still NO batteries supplied!), a UK power adaptor, and a 3.5mm to 3 plug RCA A/V cable!

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The X10 case is made from the same smoke coloured (grey) aviation grade aluminium alloy as the X9, however, it has a brushed finish so has a more refined appearance. The first thing that strikes you is the size, which is almost 2.5 times taller than the X9 at 65mm. The X10 is only 10mm wider, but is also 50mm deeper than the X9.

The X10 also has two Wireless antennas, both of which can be removed.

There are two USB 2 ports and a single USB 3 ports on the right hand side, and the inclusion of a 3.5" HDD bay on the left hand side, which explains the increased size of the X10 case. As with the other models, storage can also be attached via USB (1TB+ HDD needs to be separately powered) or using the TF (Micro) SD slot on the back. The HDMI with HDCP 2.2 output and HDMI with HDCP 2.2 inputs are included again, along with the 3.5mm AV output, digital optical out, reset button and the Gigabit LAN port.

The included remote control is different to the version supplied with the X8 and X9S. It is larger and therefore has more buttons, but it also has a white backlight that is very bright. This could be a welcome addition in a dark room such as a dedicated home cinema. It can also be used as a universal remote, and has a built-in learning mode so that the TV etc. can be controlled. The IR range was as good as the X9S. One point of note is that the remotes are interchangeable, so you are not tied to using the supplied remote.

As with the X9S, there is a small rocker power switch on the back of the X10, but again there is no power button on the front, as was the case with the X8.

The X10 has an internal fan, which is quite audible when running. Fortunately it is possible to set this to Auto mode, which reduces the noise considerably when the fan is not required.

There is a larger LED display on the front of the X10, that adds information such as connectivity status and output resolution to the current time or elapsed playing time.

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On initial power on, the X10 booted to the quick setup wizard as per the X9S, and also did not require an update. The installed version was also v1.3.0, the same as the X9S.

Zidoo User Interface and Setup

The UI is identical on all three models, and I actually quite liked the simplistic tiled look of it. The main features are immediately accessible, but tiles can be removed and changed as per personal preference.
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One of the first things to do is go into Quick Settings to configure Display and Sound options, and I changed the LED display brightness on the front from Light to Dim, as it is quite bright on all three devices. It can also be turned off though, which would appeal to those that prefer no distractions.

Display options include HDMI Mode (resolution), Screen Scale, Picture Parameters (Brightness, Contrast, Tone and Saturation), Deep Colour Mode (Auto, 12, 10 or off), Colour Space Mode (Auto, RGB 444, YCbCr 422 and YCbCr 444).

If are using an AVR, then you should change the Sound HDMI Output from LPCM 2 Channel to RAW in order to pass through 5.1 or above.

For further customisation, there is a more advanced settings option, which is identical to the one on the Zappiti, so must be a common Android setup screen.

Applications

There are a number of pre-installed apps, and as would be expected on an Android based platform, the Google Play Store provides access to many others. The Zidoo Media Centre app is based on a Kodi v16.1 fork, but I preferred the Home Theatre app as it provides a clean and simple wallpaper for movies.

Launching the Home Theatre app, it was very easy to add the SMB folder share from my QNAP NAS, and my BD rips were identified very quickly. Most of the movies were scraped correctly, bar a couple which were confused by my filenames. For example, Sing was incorrectly identified as Atmos, because I'd put Atmos within brackets in the file name. Fortunately there is an edit option to easily correct any errors, although that could be a hassle if you had a large collection.

A nice feature of the Zappiti Media Centre is that it groups movie franchises together, for instance all Alien films are grouped under one thumbnail. Sadly this feature does not exist on the Zidoo Home Theatre app.

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Selecting a movie then displays a short synopsis, listing information such as actors, director along with a brief plot line.

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Media Playback

I found playback to be really smooth on all three devices, switching refresh rates without fuss. I tested a range of both BD 2D and 3D MKVs, and all played without fault. BD 3D MKVs switched my Samsung 3D TV and Sony Projector into 3D mode without manual intervention, and switched back after exiting the movie.

I played a selection of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X movies, and everything sounded great on my modest 5.1.4 system.

I also played The World in HDR in 4K (HDR10) MKV demo clip, and my Samsung KS7000 TV switched to HDR mode perfectly. The image looked absolutely fantastic, as good as I've ever seen.

Pressing the Menu button on the remote during playback pops up a settings menu, where you can turn subtitles on or off, change audio format, aspect ratio, 3D mode, amongst other settings. From here you can also display detailed info about the movie file format.

I've read comments about buggy playback, but I've not yet experienced any problems. Perhaps earlier issues have been fixed through updates, or there are problems with other file formats, but there were no problems with my selection of MKVs.

Bootup Times

Pressing the Power button on the remote (or on the front of the X8) presents three options; Power Off, Standby or Reboot. Powering on from Standby Mode reduces the boot time to just under 8 seconds on the X8 and X9S, and just 4.5 seconds on the X10. A cold boot takes 29 seconds, which is about 5 seconds faster than the Zippiti Mini 4K HDR. Sadly the Zappiti does not provide a standby mode feature.

Conclusion

All models have so far proved to be capable players for my BluRay MKV rip collection, and should also be comfortable with UHD HDR rips when/if they become possible.

For my needs, the X8 is perfectly fine for my media stored on a QNAP NAS. If you don't have a NAS or similar, and so need locally attached storage, then the X9S or X10 might be a better choice. Having said that, the X8 can still accommodate an external USB HDD, but the SATA option might be preferred by some.

I do prefer the remote control included with the X10 though, although I use Harmony remotes anyway so the Zidoo remote wouldn't get much use.

So how do the Zidoo devices compare to the Zappiti Mini 4K HDR? Well, I'm struggling to see why the Zappiti costs more than even the flagship X10. Performance is on a par, and I'd say that I found the Zidoo UI to be slightly smoother than the Zappiti. Zappiti owners tend to rave about the Media Centre app, but I couldn't see much difference between that and the Home Theatre app if I'm honest, other than the aforementioned grouping feature.

Both Zidoo and Zappiti share a common hardware platform, and both are based on the Andriod OS of course. The difference then is the vendor's skin that has been overlayed, and the respective media centre app.

The IR range of the Zappiti is quite limited, as is the case with the Zidoo X8. The X9S and X10 is much improved in this area.

The Zappiti Mini 4K HDR does have dual Wireless antennas and a SATA interface, so is directly comparable to the Zidoo X9S, yet is almost double the cost. One noticeable difference is that the Zappiti remote is more like the X10 remote, although the orange backlight on the Zappiti is not quite as effective as the brighter white backlight on the Zidoo control.

The only other difference I can see is that the Zappiti includes Parental Control features, which does appeal to me as I don't want the kids to be able to access inappropriate content accidently (such as Sausage Party!), however, this feature does have some limitations and does appear to compromise other areas, so may not be as useful as hoped. I need to play with the Parental Control features a bit more than I have though to understand if the perceived issues are deal breakers.

I will continue to test all players whilst I have them, and so will update this thread with further observations.

Update Jan 2018 - The latest Firmware update (2.0.5) provides Home Theatre v2, which includes a lot of the features that I picked out as missing from v1, such as grouping of movies, ability to change cover art, parental mode, and a much improved film wall. It's nice to see that Zidoo are still providing significant updates to the product range, and very much closing the gap on the more expensive Zappiti equivalent.
 
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mtenga

Distinguished Member
The LED display on the front of the X8 shows the time remaining when playing a movie, otherwise is shows the time of day.
Just to be clear if a movie is 120 minutes long and you've played 112 minutes the clock on the front will show 8 minutes?

Does it work for all file formats and in the native app and ZDMC?
 

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
Just to be clear if a movie is 120 minutes long and you've played 112 minutes the clock on the front will show 8 minutes?

Does it work for all file formats and in the native app and ZDMC?
Sorry mtenga, I have mistyped as it actually displays time elapsed not time remaining. I was thinking of your previous question about the feature!

I will amend when I edit the OP.
 

jspr

Active Member
Thanks for your first insights into this machine. I'm looking to upgrade my mede8er 1000 and the Zidoo's are one of the options I am considering - in your last sentence you quote:

"If you don't have a NAS or similar, and so need locally attached storage, then the X9S or X10 would be a better choice"

- what exactly did you mean by this, as I would intend attaching a couple of portable usb drives to it - surely I could just use the usb ports on the Zidoo ?
 

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your first insights into this machine. I'm looking to upgrade my mede8er 1000 and the Zidoo's are one of the options I am considering - in your last sentence you quote:

"If you don't have a NAS or similar, and so need locally attached storage, then the X9S or X10 would be a better choice"

- what exactly did you mean by this, as I would intend attaching a couple of portable usb drives to it - surely I could just use the usb ports on the Zidoo ?
Yes you can attach USB drives to all models, but some may consider the addition of SATA an advantage over USB.
 

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
I have now completed the original post, but hit the image limit, so will add some further images here.

App Screen

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Quick Setup Screen

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Playback Info Overlay

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X8 vs X9S vs X10

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X10 Remote (backlight on shown in a bright room)

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X10 vs X8 / X9S vs Zappiti Remotes

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ti33er

Well-known Member
How does the Music (App) work on this? Zappiti does a poor job of Music regarding the interface...very basic, no iPhone type (like SONOS) control in the Zap

Thanks
 

ti33er

Well-known Member
Ps does the X10 Remote work on the lower X9/8? If so is it simply the Remote making the IR sensitivity difference?
 

Andydigital80

Active Member
Ps does the X10 Remote work on the lower X9/8? If so is it simply the Remote making the IR sensitivity difference?

The X8 is crap with whatever remote you try to use with it, I've got an X10 and I bought a X8 for my dad for Father's Day, I've tried it with 3 remotes including two Harmony remotes and it's very laggy with them all and you need to be sniper accurate with it too. There are no such issues on the X10 I own, it's perfect on there with any remote. My dad uses the Kodi iOS app to control Kodi (ZDMC) and that works perfectly as it uses wifi. He only uses the remote to power it on and off.
 

Andydigital80

Active Member
@Andydigital80 Was that with v1.4.6 or later? I noticed on the updatelist:-

2. Adjust the accuracy of IR receiver.

It's on 1.2.x whatever the X8 updates to OTA, I'm not putting beta software on my dads box as it will be more stable. A firmware update won't fix you having to point the remote extremely accurately, it's a hardware design fault with the position of the IR receiver. It needs a blaster right in front of the box to work 100%.

The firmware update probably just fixes the weird queuing of commands, sometimes when you press a button it repeats the previous button that was pressed rather than the latest one. If you pressed 1 2 3 on the remote it goes 112 or 223 or 233. It doesn't do it all the time but it's quite frequent, hence using the Kodi app remote instead. Like I said above, the x10 never misses a beat with my harmony 900 and blasters.
 

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
It's on 1.2.x whatever the X8 updates to OTA, I'm not putting beta software on my dads box as it will be more stable. A firmware update won't fix you having to point the remote extremely accurately, it's a hardware design fault with the position of the IR receiver. It needs a blaster right in front of the box to work 100%.

The firmware update probably just fixes the weird queuing of commands, sometimes when you press a button it repeats the previous button that was pressed rather than the latest one. If you pressed 1 2 3 on the remote it goes 112 or 223 or 233. It doesn't do it all the time but it's quite frequent, hence using the Kodi app remote instead. Like I said above, the x10 never misses a beat with my harmony 900 and blasters.
The X8 I have is on the latest OTA version as well, and you do have to point the remote directly at the front of the X8 in order for it to respond. I'd agree that is a design fault, and will cause problems with positioning for some people. The X9S and X10 are much better in that regard.

Interestingly the Zappiti Mini 4K HDR also suffers from the double key press issue on occasion.
 

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
Ps does the X10 Remote work on the lower X9/8? If so is it simply the Remote making the IR sensitivity difference?
Yes the X10 remote works on all three models, as does the basic remote. Even the Zappiti remote works on the Zidoo devices, and vice versa.

As Andydigital80 has commented, the problem lies with the X8 IR receiver unfortunately. If it's placed within line of sight of the remote, an IR blaster or something like the Harmony Hub, then it's fine. Otherwise the Android app is an alternative.
 

Andydigital80

Active Member
The X8 I have is on the latest OTA version as well, and you do have to point the remote directly at the front of the X8 in order for it to respond. I'd agree that is a design fault, and will cause problems with positioning for some people. The X9S and X10 are much better in that regard.

Interestingly the Zappiti Mini 4K HDR also suffers from the double key press issue on occasion.

The strange thing is you can wait 10 seconds between button presses and it repeats the old button press first rather than the new one. If it was just double pressing all the time that's easy to fix on a harmony remote as you just reduce the impulse speed of the code in the Harmony software. But this issue is just totally freaky.
 

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
Update - Both the X10 and X9S were on software version 1.3.0 upon arrival, and stated there were no updates available, however, version 1.4.4 and 1.4.6 are available for download from the Zidoo website. I know that OTA updates can be a version behind for while, but these are a couple of versions behind.

The X8 is even worse as it's four versions behind, but thinks its up to date!

Version 1.4.6 was released on the 28th June according to the Zidoo timeline.

Hmm....
 

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
How does the Music (App) work on this? Zappiti does a poor job of Music regarding the interface...very basic, no iPhone type (like SONOS) control in the Zap

Thanks
The supplied MusicPlayer app is pretty basic too. If I was interested in playing music through the player I would look for a better one in the Google Play Store.
 

jon smith

Well-known Member
Thanks for the review. Have you noticed any result world difference between the x9 and x10?

How is upscaling of 1080p content to 4k (assuming it doesn't switch resolutions?

Hopefully Amazon will have some prime deals on with some of the boxes next Tuesday.
 

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
Other than the physical chassis difference between the X9S and the X10, and the fan noise on the X10, there was no noticeable difference in functionality or performance. The remote supplied with the X10 is far superior to the one supplied with the X9S however.

I didn't test upscaling unfortunately, as most of my tests were conducted on 1080p displays. I did one test on a 4K HDR TV, but that was for 4K HDR content only. If I have time then I will see if there is any noticeable difference and report back.
 

boblo

Member
Hello, I'm new here and I'm interested in an X10. But before purchasing, I want to be sure all important bugs are going to be addressed. It's not easy to request though.

I know very well Zidoo support because I'm registered in their official forum. I have to say firmware support is good so far (but with too much beta versions, last version 1.4.6 and previous 1.4.4 were beta). However, customer care is not. It's not a language problem, because I've seen admins replying in acceptable english, it's Zidoo's attitude with their users. They do things in their own way and almost always don't consider user input. This is not the case with Egreat, for example, they consider user input and are much more kind with users.

Recently an expert user has discovered an important issue affecting X8/X9S/X10 and we had to push Zidoo very hard to get this fixed (not fixed yet, but they promised to fix it). It's a color issue present on non-video apps (and inexistent on other Android players). If you are interested, read first this and, because that thread was closed without explanation (Zidoo support has this odd behaviour sometimes) and then this.

That being said, I got in touch with moderator HaoSs and I suggested him to make a new fixed thread to post our feature/bug fix requests. It seems the only way not to be ignored. He thought it would be fine and he's doing his best to convince upper management (the bosses), so a new thread for user requests will be posted this week, I hope. I encourage you all to register in Zidoo forum if you want to report issues.

Sorry for my mediocre english, but I'm not a native speaker.

PS. Keep in mind that if a new bug is discovered, will be present on X8, X9S and X10, because they share the same firmware base, although the file to update is not the same.
 
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adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
I had heard about poor service from the users forum. It's not something that concerns me as I dont use forums (other than this one of course!), but if I did need support them I would expect the manufacturer or reseller to provide it. If they don't, then that will hurt the brand in the long run. Customer service can make or break a company.

Personally I tend not to upgrade to the latest firmware until its one version behind. Unless its a security fix, or sorts a particular problem that has been annoying me. That's with everything though, not just media players.
 

sonicHeart

Novice Member
Adam,

Did you find the UI of the X8 to be slow or glitchy?

I am using the standard remote and attempting to navigate the main launchpad area (APPS, Weather, Media Center, etc..) Every time I arrow around the screen redraws in a glitchy way. Empty rectangles covering the screen, etc.

edit: Says i'm on FW 1.2.11 which is way old but says that the system is up to date.
 

DracUK

Active Member
Adam,

Did you find the UI of the X8 to be slow or glitchy?

I am using the standard remote and attempting to navigate the main launchpad area (APPS, Weather, Media Center, etc..) Every time I arrow around the screen redraws in a glitchy way. Empty rectangles covering the screen, etc.

edit: Says i'm on FW 1.2.11 which is way old but says that the system is up to date.

Are you using the remote in mouse mode? Its crap press the mouse button to revert to normal mode.You will have to download and manually update the firmwares from zidoo forum site.
 

sonicHeart

Novice Member
Are you using the remote in mouse mode? Its crap press the mouse button to revert to normal mode.You will have to download and manually update the firmwares from zidoo forum site.

Downloading (slowly) the latest FW to check if it helps. Mouse mode sucks yes, but the rectangles on the UI dont flicker when i mouse over them. If I exit mouse mode, every rectangle I move to and from will flicker momentarily.

Quite frankly it looks like garbage to navigate and makes the system as a whole feel slow.
 

adam-burnley

Distinguished Member
Adam,

Did you find the UI of the X8 to be slow or glitchy?

I am using the standard remote and attempting to navigate the main launchpad area (APPS, Weather, Media Center, etc..) Every time I arrow around the screen redraws in a glitchy way. Empty rectangles covering the screen, etc.

edit: Says i'm on FW 1.2.11 which is way old but says that the system is up to date.
No not glitchy at all, quite the opposite actually.

I also thought the X8 was up to date, but if you look on the Zidoo download area on the website you will see four more recent versions! Download the latest on to a USB drive and do a local update on the X8 (just copy the zip file straight on to the USB drive).
 

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