Zidoo doesn’t think so.
The Zidoo X1 is one of several Android streaming devices in Zidoo’s new lineup that are short on price, but not on features.
Why look at a budget-priced TV box?
I get to play with a ton of Android TV boxes here at AndroidPCReview.com. Most of these have the latest technology, aimed at higher end buyers who don’t mind paying more for the best picture quality they can get.
But what if you don’t have some fancy new TV, and don’t have money to burn?
Do you really need a $200 streaming device if you won’t use half of the features?
When you think about it, this makes sense. Roku and Amazon have created a whole segment of the market aimed at people who want something simple to stream their shows – without all the bells and whistles. The Chromecast took that a step further and dropped the price point even further. Between the four major companies, Apple being the fourth, the global demand is expected to reach 89 million units in just a few short years.
This means there’s a lot of room for companies like Zidoo to enter the market.
What makes the Zidoo X1 so tempting, other than regularly finding it for $50 on sale?
The X1 comes with a quad-core Cortex A7 CPU hooked up to a Mali 400 GPU. It has 1 GB of RAM and 8GB of flash storage.
To be honest, there’s nothing particularly mind-blowing about those specs. I’ve tested similar TV boxes as far back as the beginning of last year that looked pretty similar.
When compared to the Zidoo X6 Pro and Zidoo X9, you can see that the X1 is definitely the “little brother” in the family in terms of performance.
So, again, what makes the Zidoo X1 such a tempting device?
Keep reading after the specs list to find out….
Specs: Zidoo X1
|CPU||Allwinner H3 ARM Quad-core A7 4K*2K mali400 GPU|
|Flash||Nand Flash 8GB (up to 16GB)|
|Material & Color||Plastic in silver|
|Other Interface||1*HDMI 1.4 4K*2K resolution|
1*AV Standard AV output resolution
2*USB host port
1*TF card reader SD card interface . Support 1GB/2GB/4GB/8GB/16GB/32GB
|Power||100~220V AC Input , 5V DC Output 2.A|
|What’s in the box||1*HDMI cable|
1*Android 4.4 tv box
|Video||RM/RMVB, MPEG, MKV, AVI, MP4,MOV,FLV, H.263,H.264,H.265,VC-1,DivX, Xvid, TS,RealVideo,VP6,VP8 up to 4K support|
|Adobe Flash||Adobe Flash 10.1 support or above|
|Support language||Chinese , English ,Germany ,Japanese, Korea etc. 24 languages|
I came from a retail background, so I appreciate good presentation when I buy a product. One of things that I loved about the Zidoo X1 is that I could tell that Zidoo took a lot of care with it even before I plugged it in.
The contents are arranged into two smaller boxes, just to make sure that the accessories don’t scratch the X1’s shiny finish. But more on that in a moment…
Included with the device is the power adapter, HDMI cable, quick-start guide and some basic documentation. Also included is a basic remote control, which is surprisingly capable. I’d still recommend buying an air-mouse or keyboard, but that’s just my personal preference.
If you haven’t already guessed, Zidoo decided to go a completely different direction than most manufacturers with the design of the X1 – and I think it works out really well.
The shape of the X1 is similar to a large ergonomic mouse. Overall, the X1 is just over 1.4 inches (3.6cm) tall, 4.9 inches (12.6cm) wide and 4.6 inches (11.8cm) long. To be honest, my first thought was that this belonged in a modern art museum, rather than next to my television.
I have to admit that the shape grows on you after a while though. At the very least, it is definitely a conversation starter when you have friends over. I have yet to have someone not make a comment when they see it for the first time.
Because of the shape, there aren’t as many ports on the Zidoo X1 as you’ll find on a lot of devices out there. Call it form winning over function.
There are only two USB ports, both of which are USB 2.0. It’s not a huge drawback, but if you’re someone who likes to hook up every single device to your TV box, you’re going to want to make other plans.
The remaining ports are an HDMI 1.4 port, an analog audio out port, a micro-SD expansion slot and, of course, an AC power port. Wired 10/100Gb Ethernet is included as a backup to the 802.11 b\g\n wireless.
Setting up the Zidoo X1 is easy, although at this point, I’d expect nothing less from one of the bigger manufacturers. Zidoo has been making TV boxes for a while now, so they’ve refined the process to make it as painless as possible.
One thing that did surprise me was how slick the default interface is. Zidoo released a couple of launcher skins in the past at the same time they released a firmware update. I was a big fan of the Frisbee launcher when it was released back in July. The light colored theme made the full-color icons pop off the screen, which is helpful when you’re sitting on your couch ten feet away from the TV screen.
The default Z1 theme shown above carries that trend forward. There are a row of full color icons which the user can customize to fit their own viewing style. There is also a row of monochromatic icons for Kodi, Folders, Apps, Settings and launching your default internet browser. It would have been nice to have the option to make these icons full-color as well, but that’s a minor point. The default launcher is rounded out by having the time and local weather at the top of the screen.
I get the impression from plaing around with the different themes, that Zidoo has its sights set on the “casual user” who may be looking at a Roku or FireTV, but wants a little bit more flexibility with their device.
It may sound like a small thing, but I really love that Zidoo gives us the option to customize the interface without going through the hassle of downloading a third party launcher. Sure, you can still do that, but having official versions from the manufacturer gives me a little more piece of mind that it’s going to work the way it’s supposed to.
It’s about half the price of the TV boxes that you normally read about here, so don’t expect it to get super-high scores.
There. So with that in mind, let’s get to the results.
The AnTuTu benchmark scored 17034, which is far below the 25,000 to 35,000 that the newer devices are coming in at. Actually, this is similar to the Ugoos UT2 that I tested last year. Still, the Zidoo X1 compares favorably. The UT2 is still priced at just under $100 from GeekBuying – almost $40 higher than the X1.
Likewise, the Ice Storm benchmark scored a respectable 2551. The graphics test frame rates were low, owing to the older Mali-400 GPU. What was interesting to me was that the physics test, which is normally where TV boxes grind to a halt, completed with an average of 21.6 frames-per-second.
Clearly, there’s a lot of computing power under the hood, but it’s not finding its way to the screen. Perhaps this can be improved with another firmware update, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Kodi Performance and a custom addon repository
A manufacturer including a custom version of Kodi is nothing new. What is different with this TV box is that Zidoo created a custom repository of addons specifically for the X1.
This can be good or bad, depending on your perspective. If you use the addons, great. You’re sure to find whatever you’re looking for (legal or not) in that repo. If you don’t use them, I’d recommend deleting as many as you can so you can reclaim some of that precious storage space.
Here’s the final test. How well does the Zidoo X1 handle Kodi.
The Kodi first-load time is long – I mean, really long. Probably due to the sheer number of addons included. Thankfully, subsequent load times are much, much faster. Still, if you’re running Kodi for the first time on your X1, factor in some extra time before the movie.
I tested the X1 with a basic setup, since that’s likely what most users will have with this box. The only major difference is that all of my media files are being streamed from my network storage (Western Digital NAS), rather than being on local media.
The sound quality was good and didn’t lag the video at all. 720p and 1080p videos worked flawlessly, as I expected them to. But seriously, if playback at those resolutions fail, that’s a sign of bigger issues, and I just didn’t see that happening with the X1.
Streaming 4K was good, although 30fps is as high a framerate as you’re going to get, unless your device has an HDMI 2.0 port – which the X1 does not. There was some issues with freezing, but an upgrade to the 1.0.16 firmware seemed to take care of them.
Zidoo X1: The Verdict
It’s not fair to compare the Zidoo X1 to the newer, high-end devices coming out today. If I did, the X1 would be a middle of the road TV box without any redeeming qualities. But that wouldn’t be fair, and I won’t do it.
Instead, I’m looking at the Zidoo X1 with the price-tag firmly in mind.
This is a $50-$60 TV box, and in that price range, it doesn’t have any equals. The only devices you’re going to find at that price point are older boxes that might not get any more firmware updates. They might handle 4K, but probably not well.
Instead, the Zidoo X1 has a slick default interface, user-customizable with several official skins. It’s got a custom Kodi repository included and supported by the Zidoo developers. Finally, it’s got a style and shape that attracts attention from anyone who sees it.
If you want a low-priced TV box, but want more than some bare-bones knockoff, the Zidoo X1 is a tempting alternative to the big boys!