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Appeared on: Thursday, June 16, 2016
Zidoo X1II Android Media Player review


1. Meet the Zidoo X1II Android Media Player With Rockchip RK3329

Zidoo recently has added a new Android TV box to their X media player family. The new X1 II edition is the second generation X1 product, and it is powered by the Rockchip RK3329 processor. Compared to the original X1 model, the Xidoo X1 II offers 70% increased performance and 120% improved decoding capabilities.

The device runs Android 4.4 with the usual Zidoo UI as found on all recent Zidoo devices such as Zidoo X6 Pro. The strength of RK3229 is that it can handle video with high bitrates (200 Mbps+). Some of the custom features include unified storage (single partition for apps and data), power is controlled via an MCU allowing for power on or off schedules and using the remote to turn on the device, OTA firmware upgrades, as well as ZDMC (based on Kodi) with audio HD pass-through with 7.1 channels, and the company’s own Zidoo Media Center and ZIDOO RC smartphone app for Android.



The 4K player is powered by Rockchip Quad-core 3229, which supports:

Other features include:

Specifications


2. Opening the package

The Zidoo X1 II can be purchased over Amazon.com for $55.00 - almost half the price of the Zidoo X6 Pro and $15 less than Zidoo X5 series.

Below you see the typical white and green package of the device, with some icons representing the key features: 4K, 3D, ZIUI user interface, WiFI, 10-bit HEVC. The box is covered by an 1 year warranty.

 

The device ships with the following:

Zidoo has chosen the yellow color for the X1 II. As you see below, the design is unique and looks flying saucer, depending on the angle you are looking it from :).

Located on the front side are an IR receiver and an operation LED.

 

All ports are located at the back with a 3.5mm AV jack, HDMI 2.0 output, one USB port, an Ethernet port, another USB port, a micro SD slot, and the DC jack.

A reset button is located at the bottom side of the device.

Under the hood, two SKHynix H5TQ4G63CFR DDR3 chips and Samsung KLM8G1WEPD-B031 eMMC 5.0 flash are used to bring 1GB RAM and 8GB storage to the device, while a Realtek RTL8723BS module adds WiFi 802.11 b/g/n ad Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

Since RK3229 SoC is highly integrated there aren’t many other IC on the board, with PPT C1531C Fast Ethernet magnetics transformer, and 3PEAK TPF632 audio line driver.

Moving on to the bundled remote, Zidoo has not changed its design since the Zidoo X5/X6 Pro products. It is generally comfortable to work with, featuring many buttons including three programmable color-keys, which can be customized to control apps. You can also try to control the player through your Android smartphone using the Zidoo RC app, or just connect an air mouse or BT keyboard/mouse set to the player.


3. 4K video and audio tests

- Power On The Player/Tests

Ziddo has designed its own GUI for its players, called called ZIUI. Though we have seen its basic layout and features in previous reviews, it maintains a good overall usability and easy access to the player's features, allows you to manage applications, files, set the parental lock, and more.

The player is based on the the Android 4.4.4. Interestingly, ZIUI GUI renders at 1280x720 in order to be more responsive but of course, the player outputs at the desired resolution (4K).

Below you see the Explorer app, from which you can quickly access local and network files.

The player arrived with 1.0.5 firmware, which later upgraded to the latest 1.0.7 via the USB OTA function. It comes with no Root functionality, but this s can be added later.

The Sound Device Manager app includes settings related to the audio output, and from here you can set the HDMI Audio passthrough option..

The Video options app le's you set the preferred video resolution through HDMI - up to 4096x2160 @ 24Hz.

You have also the option to scale your screen if needed:

Following the first boot, the available empty space was around 5.5GB.

Before starting out tests, let's see the information provided by the CPU-Z utility. The software reported that the player has the RK3066 inside, although it is actually the RK3229:

We tested the player in using the following set up:

For testing the device we used audio/video files from KODI Wiki

HD Audio Tests (Audio Output set to HDMI Passthrough)

v1.0.7 Firmware
HD Audio default video player ZDMC
( Kodi 16.0)
LPCM 5.1
PCM
LPCM 7.1
AAC 5.1
AAC 7.1
Dolby Digital
Plus 5.1
Playback with pauses
Dolby Digital
Plus 7.1
Dolby True HD 5.1
Dolby True HD 7.1
Dolby True HD 7.1 Atmos
DTS-HD HRA 5.1
DTS 5.1 At A/V Receiver
DTS-HD HRA 7.1
DTS 7.1 At A/V Receiver
DTS-HD MA 5.1
DTS-HD MSTR 5.1 on receiver
DTS-HD MA 7.1
DTS-HD MSTR 7.1 on receiver
DTS:X 7.1
DTS-HD MASTR 7.1 on receiver with pauses

The Zidoo X1 II can output Dolby and DTS 7.1-channel audio, but the audio playback was problematic with many annoying pauses.

The ZDMC also supports up to 7.1 passthrough playback. In case you decide to use the AAC format, have in mind that the player will downsample 5.1 and 7.1 audio to stereo (2.0).

Video Bitrate Tests

We used H.264 and H.265/HEVC encoded .mkv video clips (up to 400Mbps bitrate) in order to test the local/network streaming and playback performance of the player.

Maximum Perfect Playable File with stock video player
USB LAN (100Mbit) Wifi (802n)
Jellyfish H264 files 200Mbps 70Mbps 30Mbps
Jellyfish H265 files 200Mbps 70Mbps 30Mbps

While the players's performance with the USB flash drive plugged in was perfect, using the LAN limits the playable files to those up to 70Mbps. Using Wifi will allow you to play just up to 30Mbps encoded files. The issue here is obviously the lack of support for 1Gbit LAN and Wifi 802ac.

4K Tests x264 (AVC)

Firmware 1.0.7 Playback 4K H264 Files
Test Clips Default video player ZDMC
(Kodi 16.0 )
4K Coastguard_ProRes (ProRes, 422 HQ, 23.976fps) "Cannot playback this file" message Good playback
4K-HD.Club-2013-Taipei 101 Fireworks Trailer (AVC, High@L5.1, 29.970fps, 2 Channels AAC, 100mbps bitrate) Yes Yes
4k_QHD_RoastDuck_30p (AVC, High@L5.1, 29.970fps, 2 Channels AAC) Yes Yes
big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps (AVC, High@L5.1, 30 FPS, 2 Channels Mp3) Yes Yes

big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_60fps
(AVC, High@L5.1, 60 FPS, 2 Channels Mp3)

Video and Sound not in sync
4K 10-bit H.264 video sample @ up to 160 Mbps Yes Yes
NoiseRed-25fps-SlowMotion-120mbs (AVC, High@L5.1, variable FPS) Yes Yes
Ducks Take Off [2160p a 243 Mbps] Playback generally OK, but unstable video in some cases
The Autumn - Trailer 4K (AVC, High@L5.1, 30.000fps, AAC 2Channels)
Yes Yes
TimeScapes4K2560p (AVC, High@L5.1, 23.976fps, AAC 2Channels) Yes Yes
Firmware 1.0.36 Playback HD H264 Files
BluRay 1080p AVC DTS-HD MA 7.1 x264 file (AVC, High@L4.1, 6 000 Kbps, DTS-HD MA 8 Channels) Playbak OK with DTS-HD MSTR at A/V receiver; several audio pauses and not proper Greek Subtitle support from the build-in player; ZDMC has no issues with "demanding" Greek subtitles.

For sure, the player's ability to playback up to 200Mbps files (from USB) gives it an edge compared with other products. The build-in player will generally playback most currently available digital files. Ideally, we would like to see a performance equal to what we experienced with the Zidoo X6 Pro player, and offer proper Greek Subtitle support from the stock video player.

4K Tests x265 (HEVC)

Firmware 1.0.7 Playback 4K H265 Files
Test Clips Stock Video Player ZDMC (Kodi 16.0)
Astra-10994_H_22000-Astra H265 Tests 53.3 Mbps bitrate (10Bit HEVC) 1st time player resets, 2nd time playback is good with some skipping Playback is good with audio skipping
Astra_11023_H_23500 Test2 H265 51.2 Mbps bitrate (10Bit HEVC) No sound Not playable

Astra-11112_H_22000-Fashion TV UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate (8Bit HEVC)

Yes Yes
Astra-11479_V_22000-Canal+ UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate (10Bit HEVC) Yes Yes
Astra_12343_H_30000-Insight UHD Pearl TV 4K UHD 59.4 Mbps bitrate (10Bit HEVC) Yes Yes
Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4 Yes Yes
DivX-HEVC-UHD-4k_QHD_RoastDuck_30p Yes Yes
Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia (8Bit HEVC)
Yes Yes
Hispasat-10730_V_30000-Hispasat 4K HEVC 65.3 Mbps bitrate (8Bit HEVC) Yes Playback with sound skipping
Samsung_UHD_7Wonders_of_the_World_Italy (H265 10bit, 50-60fps) Yes Yes
Samsung_UHD_Dubai-10bit-HEVC Yes Yes
Sintel_4k_27qp_24fps_1aud_9subs (8Bit HEVC) Yes Yes
4K 2160p Web x265 HEVC 10bit AAC 7.1 Yes Yes

With the firmware 1.0.7 installed, the Zidoo X1 II player playbacked 8bit and 10bit H.265 (HEVC) files correctly. Some test files were more difficult to play but there should be no issues with most commercially available files. Again high-bitrate files with AC3 sound may cause sound skipping.

Build-in video player subtitles

While the ZDMC (KODI) offers perfect subtitle support, the built-in video player needs some further fine-tuning. It provide some option for setting up subtitles, but actually it doesn't fully supports non-english encodings. In order to get them displayed perfectly, you should use the UTF SRT sub encoding.

ZDMC (KODI)

Zidoo offers their own version of KODI named ZDMC. Below you see version 16.0, which was compiled in the 2nd of Mar 2016:

After several hours of playback, we noticed that the memory tends to get full - from the initially available 564MB, the player drops to 259MB, resulting in some sound skipping:

 

The ZDMC offers all the available options for HD audio passhtrough:


4. More compatibility tests, Read and Write Storage Tests, benchmarks

Other formats

Firmware 1.0.7 Playback
Test Clips Stock video player ZDMC
(Kodi 16.0)
sample_sorenson (Mov) No Yes
Big_Buck_Bunny (DivXHD Format)

Jerky playback

Hellboy2-Xvid (Xvid)

Iron Man-Divx5 (DivX 5)

Eye of the Storm 4K Ultra HD (VP9) Nothing is displayed, player exits Jerky playback
VC-1_23.976_sample Yes Yes
VC-1_29.970_sample Jerky video playback Yes
1080p_Step_into_Liquid (WMV) Yes Yes
Blu-Ray ISO Selects automatically the main movie, no menus Full menus - perfect playback
DVD-ISO "Sorry this video cannot be played" message Full menus - perfect playback

The player found it difficult to play DivX, DivXHD and Xvid videos. The VP9 codec, although it is clearly listed in the player's specs, was also not fully supported. Things got better with the VC1 codecs.

Using ISOs with the default video player isn't a good idea, so you'd better choose the ZDMC in order to get support for menus.

Firmware 1.0.7 Playback
3D Clips Stock video player ZDMC (Kodi 16.0)
Full MVC 3D ISO
No problems
Full MVC 3D ISO #2 with 3D Subtitles
Full MVC 3D ISO #3 for Pop-out & Depth Evaluation

Full MVC 3D MKV

HSBS-3D (HSBS (side-by-side)
HTAB-3D (HTAB (top-bottom)

The Panasonic 55CMX710E TV supports active 3D and we had no issues getting 3D movies correctly displayed on screen, using both the stock video player or the ZDMC player.

Other benchmarks

Benchmark
Score
AnTutu 6.0.1
21788
AnTutu Video Tester v3.0
540
3D Mark IceStorm Extreme
2202
PCMark
2389
GeekBench 3 (Single Core)
352
GeekBench 3 (Multi-Core)
1164
BaseMark OS II (overall score)
436
BaseMark X v1.1
6051
GFXBench ( T-Rex)
8.1 fps

Read and Write Performance Storage Tests

Moving on to the important read/write tests, the player scored the results you see below for various read and write tasks through the ES File Explorer, using external storage devices and moving/copying a 716MB file:

Source
Speed (Mb/sec)
USB To Device
30.60
Device to USB
3.3
Wifi (2.4Ghz) to Device
1.00
Device to Wifi (2.4Ghz)
0.80
Lan to Device
6.80
Device to Lan
2.95
Device to MicroSDHC
1.20
MicroSDHC to Device
6.25

Using the USB port is the fastest way to get your files to the player and vice versa. The WiFI performance of the player is very poor.

We should also not overlook a special feature of the player.

ZIDOO features a PMU power management chip, which allows the player to support auto power off and standby functions. A short press on the remote’s power key will show a menu with Power off, Standby, Reboot, and Auto power off. The first three option work as expected, and auto power off let you set a timer from 30 minutes to 48 hours, in thirty minutes increment, to either power off the device, or go into standby. A longer press on the power key will also turn off the device cleanly. The remote control can also be used to power on the device from your sofa.


5. Summary

The Zidoo X1 II is powered by the very promising RockChip R3229 octa-core chip and has the lowest retail price ( $55) among all the Zidoo players.

At first glance,the player's design looks a bit strange and its bold, yellow color is definitely eye-catching. Being passively cooled, it has compact dimensions and could fit almost anywhere. On the other hand, the curvy design of the player sometimes made reaching out the LAN or the USB ports tricky

The product supports HDMI2.0 and up to 4K @ 60hz AVC/HEVC video playback, along with 7.1 audio/. It will play most currently available test files when paired with a proper A/V receiver - up to 7.1 Dolby Digital and DTS sound, using either the stock or the ZDMC (KODI) video players. However even with the latest firmware installed, we noticed some pauses/cuts in the audio playback that Zidoo has to fix.

The Zidoo X1 II had no major issues playing H264/H265 videos. The majority of available files are supported. As a bonus, the player supports up to 200Mbps video files. Playback of 10bit HEVC files is not a problem as well. On the other hand, we faced some issues with USB-powered HDDs, which weren't recognized. That did not apply to USB flash drives, which were easily recognized by the player.

Generally, the Zidoo X1 II is an entry level Android media player with good overall playback capabilities, but also with limitations for power users. If you need a basic Android player for 2.0/2.1 playback from a local USB flash drive, the X1II TV box is there for you. However if you need more features working out of the box, spend some $15 more and get the Zidoo X5 instead.

We liked:

* Good price compared with other Zidoo android boxes
* Supports HDMI2.0, up to 4K @ 60hz
* Playbacks up to 200Mbps H265/H265 files
* 3D Playback
* Wifi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectors
* Includes 2x USB2.0 devices and microSDHC/SDXC slot
* Included ZDMC (KODI) works very well
* Good picture quality with 2K, 4K, HD content
* Great power control over software (auto off)
* Frequent firmware updates

Need more work:

- HDMI-CEC doesn't work - at least with a Panasonic 4K TV
- USB 2.0/3.0 2.5" powered HDDs weren't recognized
- HD Audio passthrough needs fine-tuning to avoid audio skipping and pauses
- Memory management of the player needs fine-tunning
- Only 100Mbit LAN connection
- Wifi performance is poor
- Xvid/DiX/DivXHD jerky playback
- No SPDIF port may be an issue for some users
- Stock player doesn't support DVD/Blu-Ray ISO playback (easily fixable by using the ZDMC)
- No "fake" Wifi option under settings, needed for some apps to work when LAN is being used



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