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Appeared on: Monday, May 09, 2016
Zidoo X6 Pro Media Player review


1. About the Zidoo X6 Pro

We recently had the chance to spend some time on the new Zidoo X6 Pro, Zidoo's latest flagship Android media player. The device is based at the RockChip R3368 chip and has been designed to handle H264 or H265 4K videos.

Geared with the latest firmware installed, let's see how this promising box performs. But first, we start with its main features and specs.


The "heart " of the new player is the ARM Cortex-A53 Rockchip 3368, a 64-bit compatible octa-core CPU that should be powerful enough to process 4K video. The player also features 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, Broadcom AP6335 dual-band WiFi and Gigabit ethernet connectivity. It supports IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/mimo, 802.11ac,2.4GHz/5GHz and it can achieve up to a speed of 433.3Mbps with single stream in 802.11ac draft mode.

The utilization of eMMC memory offers an array of benefits in terms of performance security and reliability. In addition, the player is embedded with a Bt 4.0 module. It can reduce 3 milliseconds delay the transfer-distance can be more than 10 meter, and supports AES-128 coding .It is compatible with 2.0,2.1 and 3.0 BT standards.

The ZIDOO X6 Pro has an HDMI output capable of streaming 4K*2K@60fps videos. You can enjoy large-scale games that require UHD frame rate@60fps, and also enjoy 18Gbps data transfers and 12-Bit real-color.

The pre-installed ZIDOO customized ZDMC (based upon Kodi) supports hardware decoding and 4K*2K UHD video playback, 4K@60fps, HD Audio (7.1CH) passthrough, 24P frame rate auto switch, and 3D MVC ISOs. It is also the first time we see an Android box built with a fully functional KODI (XBMC). It offers free access to UNLIMITED MOVIES, TV SHOWs, and LIVE SPORT EVENTS without any monthly bills via KODI Addons!!

The player's PMU power management chip supports completely switch IR Control and a dormancy function, as well as power off and power on options right "from the sofa". It is the first Android TV BOX to support the auto power off and standby function.

The player runs on the Android 5.1 Lollipop OS, but it has additionally received ZIDOO's optimizations. It also packs the ZIDOO MEDIA CENTER, which allows easy creation of albums, file management, music playback and access to the LAN.

Specifications

Color: Silver
Shell Material: Environmentally friendly ABS
CPU Model: Rockchip RK3368 Octa Core up to 1.5GHz (Cortex-A53 64bit)
Operating System: Android 5.1, Built in Google Play Store,Support OTA Function
GPU: SGX6110; support 4K*2K H.265/H.264
Memory: 2GB DDR3
Internal Storage: 16GB eMMC
Wifi Connectivity: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 802.11AC,4.900 GHz ~ 5.845 GHz (5.0 GHz ISM Band) AP6335 dual-band WIFI
Ethernet: 1 * RJ-45 Ethernet Jack (10/100/1000Mbps)
Bluetooth: BT 4.0
HDMI Port: Standard HDMI female, v2.0 Support 4K@60fps Support HD Audio(7.1CH)

2. Unboxing

The Zidoo X6 Pro is available for sale in online stores. Amazon.com is listing it for $109 and it is backed by an 1-year warranty. This is also most double the price of other Zidoo players, such as the the X5 (Amlogic S905 box).

Zidoo has given a "fresh" look to the retail box of its new flagship player. AS you see below the player's basic features and specs are listed on the front side of the package.

The box includes:

As we have seen in many retail packages lately, no AAA batteries are included.

 

The player has a simple but elegant design. Its silver outershell is made out of environmentally friendly ABS, and the IR receiver along with an operation LED are positioned on the front side:

Two USB2.0 ports and the microSDHC slot are found on the left panel of the device.

Turn the device around and you'll see an HDMI 2.0 port (up to 4K @ 60Hz with support for HDMI-CEC), an SPDIF sound output, an 1 Gbps LAN port, a Composite video port (CVBS) and a power jack.

The design of the remote control is the same as we had seen in the presentation of the Zidoo X5 player. It is generally comfortable to operate with the well-positioned buttons. Three of them can be programmed via a software app.

If you are not happy with the remote control, you can also use the Zidoo RC app for android mobile phones or even a BT keyboard/mouse.


3. User interface, 4K video and HD audio tests

TheX6 Pro player has its own GUI called ZIUI and it's based on the Android Lollipop 5.1.1. Everything you need is here, easily accessible through large windows and a good overall hierarchy of he player's features, apps and functions. If this is not enough for you, you can even add your own familial GUI.

Through the Explorer app, you can quickly access local or network files. The player has no Root functionality but this can be added later, although have in mind that you would lose the F.O.T.A. function.

The player reached our labs with 1.0.34 firmware installed , which was soon updated to the latest 1.0.36 using the USB OTA function.

Through the options menu you can set the player's properties. We chose to just set the Audio to HDMI in order to get the Audio passthrough functionality. The Zidoo X6 has a built in frame rate detection so it will automatically switch to the correct output signal to suit the source video. You cannot set this manually and it's automatically triggered by the video material. Note that this also stands for the KODI software, which also requires no user interference. The player of course comes with a renamed version of KODI called ZDMC, which is based at the KODI 16.0 build and works very well, as you will see later on our test section::

This is how the Zidoo X6 is seen by CPU-Z utility:

We are ready to start the audio/video tests. Here is out system setup:

HD Audio Tests (Audio Output set to HDMI Passthrough)

v1.0.36 Firmware
HD Audio default video player ZDMC
(Kodi 16.0)
LPCM 5.1
PCM PCM
LPCM 7.1
PCM PCM
AAC 5.1
PCM PCM
AAC 7.1
PCM PCM
Dolby Digital
Plus 5.1
Yes Yes
Dolby Digital
Plus 7.1
Yes Yes
Dolby True HD 5.1
Yes Yes
Dolby True HD 7.1
Yes Yes
Dolby True HD 7.1 Atmos
Yes Yes
DTS-HD HRA 5.1
DTS 5.1 At A/V Receiver
DTS-HD HRA 7.1
DTS 5.1 At A/V Receiver
DTS-HD MA 5.1
DTS-HD MSTR 5.1 on receiver
DTS-HD MA 7.1
DTS-HD MSTR 5.1 on receiver
DTS:X 7.1
PCM

The default video player supports 7.1-channel sound, with an exception for the the DTS-HD HRA 7.1 files, which were downsampled to 5.1. The ZDMC fully supports up to 7.1 passthrough playback

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.

The Zidoo X6 Pro limits the playback of video files to 100Mbps. Using stock video player, if you try to playback any higher encoded files, you will get the "Capacity Set Limit" error message.

The ZDMC will just playback only the sound part of each file and no video will be displayed.

Playable Files using the stock video player
USB LAN (1Gbit) Wifi (802ac) Wifi (802n)
Jellyfish H264 files Up to 100Mbps Up to 70Mbps Up to 40Mbps
Jellyfish H265 files Up to 60Mbps Up to 30Mbps

The 1Gbit LAN connection of the player allows it to playback up to 100MBps video files. Using the Wifi 802.11ac connection will result to a good performance, and the Wifi 802.11n will also give acceptable results.

4K Tests x264 (AVC)

Firmware 1.0.36 Playback 4K H264 Files
Test Clips default video player ZDMC
(Kodi 16.0 )
4K Coastguard_ProRes (ProRes, 422 HQ, 23.976fps) Capacity Set Limit Message Slow 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
GODZILLA 4K Trailer (AVC, High@L5.1, 23.976 FPS, 2 Channels AAC) Yes Yes
NoiseRed-25fps-SlowMotion-120mbs (AVC, High@L5.1, variable FPS) Capacity Set Limit Message Only Sound no Video displayed
Sintel.2010.4k (AVC, High@L5.1, 24.000fps, AC3 5.1 @ 640 Kbps) Yes Yes
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
Blu-ray 1080p AVC DTS-HD MA 7.1 x264 file (AVC, High@L4.1, 6 000 Kbps, DTS-HD MA 8 Channels) Yes with DTS-HD MSTR at A/V receiver and perfect Greek subtitles

The first real playback tests showed that the Zidoo X6 perfectly supports 4K H264 files, provided that are encoded not higher than 100Mbps. As you see in the table above,the player returned the "Capacity Set Limit" error message in two cases.

The majority of you won't have this problem with your video files, but most demanding users may find that message disturbing. A pleasant surprise was the performance of the stock player, which managed to output DTS-HD MSTR sound to our Yamaha A/V Receiver, and it also perfectly displayed external Greek SRT subtitles.

4K Tests x265 (HEVC)

Firmware 1.0.36 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) No Only Sound
Astra_11023_H_23500 Test2 H265 51.2 Mbps bitrate (10Bit HEVC) No Only Sound

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) No Only Sound
Astra_12343_H_30000-Insight UHD Pearl TV 4K UHD 59.4 Mbps bitrate (10Bit HEVC) No Only Sound
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 Yes
Samsung_UHD_7Wonders_of_the_World_Italy (H265 10bit, 50-60fps) No Only Sound
Samsung_UHD_Dubai-10bit-HEVC No Only Sound
Sintel_4k_27qp_24fps_1aud_9subs (8Bit HEVC) Yes Yes
4K 2160p Web x265 HEVC 10bit AAC 7.1 No Only Sound

The Zidoo X6 v1.0.36 didn't have problems during the playback of H265 (HEVC) videos, as long as they were 8bit encoded. The stock player kept crashing with 10bit encoded files, while the ZDMC (Kodi 16.0) could only playback sound. We found this behavior rather strange and probably this is the biggest flaw of the player since most H265 files video file are 10bit encoded.


4. Benchmarks, read/write tests

Other formats

Firmware 1.0.36 Playback
Test Clips stock video player ZDMC
(Kodi 16.0)
sample_sorenson (Mov) Yes Yes
Big_Buck_Bunny (DivXHD Format) Yes Yes
Hellboy2-Xvid (Xvid) Jerky playback Yes

Iron Man-Divx5 (DivX 5)

Yes Yes
Eye of the Storm 4K Ultra HD (VP9) No Jerky Playback
1080p_Step_into_Liquid (WMV) Yes Yes
Blu-Ray ISO Selects automatically the main movie Full menus - perfect playback
DVD-ISO Selects automatically the main movie Full menus - perfect playback

As it was expected, the player supports playback of DivX, Xvid and VC-1 videos. However, the VP9 test video was not played correctly. The internal player doesn't support playback of Blu-Ray/DVD ISO menus, so you better use the ZDMC (KODI 16.0) for these task.

Firmware 1.0.36 Playback
3D Clips stock video player ZDMC (Kodi 16.0)
Full MVC 3D ISO No 3D Yes
Full MVC 3D ISO #2 with 3D Subtitles No 3D Yes
Full MVC 3D ISO #3 for Pop-out & Depth Evaluation No 3D Yes

Full MVC 3D MKV

No 3D Yes
HSBS-3D (HSBS (side-by-side) No 3D Yes
HTAB-3D (HTAB (top-bottom) No 3D Yes

The stock video player could not output 3D content, but the ZDMC will give you this option.

Benchmarks

We run a bunch of extra benchmarks with the X6 PRO player, as you see below. You can see more details about each test by clicking on the score results:

Benchmark
Score
AnTutu 6.0.1
AnTutu Video Tester v3.0
3D Mark IceStorm Extreme
PCMark
GeekBench 3 (Single Core)
GeekBench 3 (Multi-Core)
BaseMark OS II (overall score)
BaseMark X v1.1
GFXBench ( T-Rex)

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
Performance (mb/sec)
USB To Device
19.50
Device to USB
22.50
Wifi (2.4Ghz) to Device
3.25
Device to Wifi (2.4Ghz)
0.90
Wifi (5.0Ghz) to Device
7.10
Device to Wifi (5.0Ghz)
1.60
Lan to Device
14.10
Device to Lan
2.40
Device to MicroSDHC
1.90
MicroSDHC to Device
15.50

We should also not overlook a couple of special features 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.

Zidoo also offers a media scan software that can be used to to scan local/network drives and display movie information. We tried it with not much success, and we think that the similar ZDMC (KODI) function works better...


5. Final words

The Zidoo X6 Pro is the "flagship" Android player from from Zidoo and as such, it has impressive specifications and comes packed with many features. The device is based on the RockChip 3368 chipset and retails for as much as $109, which is considered a rather high price.

The player is well-designed, featuring rounded corners and a durable plastic outshell. Being passively cooled, it is compact in size and can easily fit in your living room.

The X6 Pro has an HDMI 2.0 output, it really supports playback of up to 4K @ 60hz AVC/HEVC video and 7.1 audio passthrough. The device successfully playbacked almost all the video files we tested, plus 7.2 Dolby Digital and DTS sound files, with both stock and ZDMC (KODI) video players.

The popular H.264 files were playbacked perfectly. But you should have in mind that the player should not be encoded higher than 100MBps. In that case, the X6 Pro will display an error message or you simply won't get any video displayed on your TV.

The player had no issues with H.265 video files either, but not with 10bit HEVC files. There is nothing you can do about that, since that's a limitation of the RockChip 3368 chip.

The stock video player supports almost all the video files and can even handle even demanding multi-lingual SRT subtitles very well. The included ZDMC (KODI 16.0) also performed avery well in most tasks, and supports your favorite add-ons like the regular KODI.

We also liked the Zidoo interface/ ZIUI and especially the included Explorer app. The player can be controlled from your smartphone using the Zidoo RC app and if you prefer the included remote control, it could be customized (Zidoo Smart IR Remote app) to offer quick access to installed apps.

We liked

We didn't like



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