When it comes to Android boxes there are not many companies that are as revered as that of Zidoo. They are known for producing some of the best Android TV boxes on the market that are feature packed, affordable and reliable. We previously reviewed the Zidoo X1II which provided to be a great affordable media player as well as the X6 Pro which was a killer device for the money. Well great news, Zidoo is at it again with their newly released Zidoo X9S which promises to be a beast of a machine. Does it live up to what we come to expect from Zidoo? Let’s take a look in our Zidoo X9S review.
Zidoo X9S Review – What’s in the Box?
When the Zidoo X9S was shipped to us it came in the usual brown shipping container that arrived in 1 piece with no damage to the shipping container which is good to see. Opening the box I was greeting with the Zidoo X9S packaging, which although similar to the standard Zidoo packaging is also a bit different.
The Zidoo X9S packaging contains a green cardboard sleeve which shows a photo of the device on the front along with the company branding and model number at the top left. On the rear of the cardboard sleeve is where they have printed the specifications of the product. I did not notice anything moving around in the box which meant that everything was packed securely.
Removing the cardboard sleeve reveals the standard Zidoo packaging that we are used to seeing. The box is matte white with the product name printed in large font on the front of the box with the company logo at the top right. At the bottom of the box you will find feature icons as we seen on previous products. All in all the packaging looks great as expected.
Opening the box reveals its contents which includes:
The Zidoo X9S – Looks Fantastic and Packs a Punch
Most Android TV boxes on the market either don’t look the best or they look almost identical to each other. This is a trend that Zidoo has broken and when they rlease their products they look great. The Zidoo X9S is no different, this thing looks amazing.
Zidoo has opted for a great matte grey finish which feels great in the hand and does not leave fingerprints. It has a sort of stealth feel to it and this thing is sure to look great in anyone’s home entertainment setup. The device feels and looks premium and is of a high construction standard. Looking at the top of the box you will find product feature logos printed.
The Ins and Outs of it
On the front of the device you will see the Zidoo logo printed on the left hand side which doesn’t detract from the overall look of the media player. In the middle of the media play is the display screen and IR receiver.
On the left hand side of the X9S is where the fan vents are located, ensuring that the device does not overheat.
Turning to the right hand side of the device yo will find SATA port, USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports.
Flipping to the back is where you will find the Ethernet port, HDMI Out, HDMI In, AV Out, Optical audio, restore button, power input, power switch and WiFi antenna.
The Zidoo X9S Remote Control
The X9S comes with a great remote control that contains all of the functions you could need such as android control keys, navigation control, power, volume and numerical keypad. The remote control feels great in the hand and is substantially higher quality than most other remote controls that ship with Android boxes.
Although the remote control works fine I would have liked to have seen a remote with Bluetooth so that I didn’t need to maintain a direct line of site with the media player. As usual I recommend using a 3rd party remote control such as the Rii i25 Mini.
Aviation Aluminum alloy case in smoke-colored
Android 6.0 + OpenWRT(NAS) dual system run simultaneously
Realtek RTD1295 ARM Cortex-A53 Quad-Core with floating-point unit and NEON SIMD engine embedded
HDR, 10-bit HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 60 fps, H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, automatic frame rate switching
Support HD audio(7.1ch) decode and passthrough Redesigned Native player,Blu-ray better compatibility，Powerful subtitles ，Support MVC ISO,MVC MKV. Built in ZDMC(Base on kodi 16.0)
Initial Setup, Dashboard and Using it
Setup of the Zidoo X9S as usual was a very simple process, simply connect up the cables and power it on. When powered on the X9S took about 20 seconds to boot into the home screen. The X9S comes with the same launcher from Zidoo which we are used to seeing which is great because it is a reliable launcher with an easy to use interface.
The launcher has everything laid out nicely for you and is very easy to navigate. The date and time is located at the top left with the temperature and apps shortcut below. In the centre of the screen you have a link to the media center, HDMI In and internet browser. To the right are the shortcuts to the settings, cache clean-up, app lock and about. Finally at the bottom you have the Zidoo media center, Google Play store, Box RC and updates. You are able to pin any apps you like to the bottom bar which is great.
Whilst navigating around the launcher and moving between various screens and apps I did not notice any lag or freezing and everything worked perfectly smooth.
The main media center on the X9S is the Zidoo media center which is a modified version of Kodi. I used the ZDMC app for the playback of my media files that are stored locally on a NAS and everything was as smooth as butter. There were no issues with playback and no buffering was noticed.
Automatically Download Subtitles
Watching movies and TV shows on you media player is generally a pretty straight forward experience, simply download the movie, load it onto the media player and off you go. This is until you find out that the movie or TV show you download required subtitles, which you don’t have. You can trawl the internet to try and find the correct subtitle and then go back and copy it across but let’s be honest, that’s a pain. Thankfully Zidoo understands this and as a result they have added the ability to automatically download subtitles.
The Zidoo X9S has the ability built in to download subtitles automatically. In order to download subtitles simply click the “download subtitle” button whilst the movie is playing and the Zidoo X9S will search for corresponding subtitles and then proceed to download them for you. If there is more than 1 subtitle available you will be presented with a list of available subtitles where you can simply select the one you want and then proceed to download.
Some movies come bundled with encoded subtitles for secondary language support. Unlike other Android boxes on the market the ZIDOO X9S uses the “Forced Subtitle” tag to show the selected language tag when secondary languages are spoken.
The Zidoo X9S supports custom storage paths for storing and playing subtitles as well as provides with you customization options. With the X9S you can customize the size, location, encoding and colour of the subtitles.
There are additional options available such as auto default audio which defaults based on system language as well as the ability to select various audio tracks.
Another great feature of the Zidoo X9S is the inclusion of a HDMI In port that allows you to connect an external video source and play it through the X9S.
Once you enter the HDMI In screen on the X9S you are presented with a range of options to configure the incoming video. You are able to specify the resolution, frame rate and bit rate of the video as well as the sample rate and channel count of the audio and finally the output mod.
You are presented with a large video window that allows you to watch the video streaming coming in and you have the ability to record the incoming video as well as start picture in picture.
The HDMI In function is great to see included in the media player as it really does provide the user with more options on how they use the device and it also helps set the X9S apart from its competitors.
Zidoo X9S OTA Updates
The Zidoo X9S supports OTA updates which is great. In order to update Android boxes you generally need to load the latest firmware on an SD card or USB and then manually flash the latest update. The issue with this is that its time consuming and there is always a chance you can brick the device.
With OTA updates you can simply click the check for updates button and if there is an update simply hit the download and install button and the X9S will take care of the rest.
For media play back I used Kodi which is what I use for all of my media playback on my different media players. Kodi is available on the Google Play store for free.
Launching the Kodi app was trouble free and I did not notice any issues such as lag or stuttering. Navigating around the Kodi app was a smooth experience and media playback was great.
I ran AnTuTu Video Tester to determine media playback compatibility where it scored 894.
Running the Geekbench3 benchmarking app the Zidoo X9S achieved a Single-Core score of 590 and a Multi-Core score of 1,956.
Testing the device with Vellamo saw the device receive a Metal score of 822.
Finally the X9S scored 33,990 in the Antutu Benchmark test.
The Zidoo X9S is connected to my home network via an Ethernet cable and my internet connection is running on 100mb Fibre. Network performance on the X9S provided stable speeds both up and down which will allowed me to enjoy buffer free streaming. I received stable speeds for download of 87.36 Mbps and upload of 5.82 Mbps.
Where to Buy
If you are interested in purchasing the Zidoo X9S for $149USD over at the official Zidoo website.
The Zidoo X9S is one heck of a great machine and it isn't that expensive which is great to see. It has a premium look and feel to it and I have no problem recommending it to anyone looking to get a new media player.