Zappiti Pro 4K HDR Review • For the movie collector
The Zappiti Pro 4K HDR is not a simple media player. If, for some reason, streaming is not your strong point, and you value your own collection of films, then you will surely like this player.
The Zappiti Pro player has great connectivity options for various devices thanks to its advanced interfaces. A weighty device with a pair of HDMI and five USB versions looks stylish.
Zappiti Pro 4K HDR: Design
This media player looks like a top model. The finish of the case is high – everything is given out by the premium segment of the device. Matte black metal body, angular finish, impressive weight – these parameters indicate the quality of the device.
The metal top cover is about 3 mm thick. This is enough to put another device on the player. There is no display on the front, but there are two USB ports and a headphone jack. There’s another surprise behind the center flap.
No, this is not a built-in Blu-ray player! This is a dedicated bay for two hot-pluggable 3.5-inch SATA hard drives. The player supports such “internal memory” up to 32 TB. This volume is enough to store a large number of movies. Hard drives are, of course, not included in the package. You need to buy them yourself.
One of the great things about the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR is the lack of any fans. Passive cooling is used here, so the player is silent. The Zappiti Pro 4K comes with two Wi-Fi antennas, an Ethernet cable, an HDMI cable and an IR extender.
All major interfaces are located on the rear panel. HDMI2.0 port (video and audio) and HDMI 1.4 (audio) port. This combination of connections is known and used in most UHD Blu-ray players. If you are connecting to a TV, then you need to use the HDMI 2.0 output. If you only want to send audio to, for example, a soundbar or AV receiver, then use the HDMI 1.4 output.
This is ideal for older audio devices that cannot swallow HDR. There is also an HDMI input, which is used to display the PiP (picture in picture) image on the screen or to record this signal. Although HDCP protection has not been canceled, and for many sources it will be true.
From USB connections, the user has a pair of USB 2.0 on the front panel, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port and one USB-C at the back. It also detects composite video output, stereo tulip output, optical and coaxial digital audio output.
The RJ-45 network interface is gigabit. In addition, there are two RF connectors for connecting Wi-Fi antennas (antennas included). Cinch connections are decoupled from common ground and connected to the cinch connectors on the AV receiver. This avoids ground loops with different potentials.
In addition to the built-in IR receiver for the remote control, there is an output for an IR extension cord. This extension cord is included in the kit, so, if desired, the player can be placed in a closed compartment, and the IR sensor can be taken to another place.
Installing the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR shouldn’t bother you. But there is more to do than just connect the wires to the player before use. When the player starts up for the first time, you must update the software first. Fortunately, Zappiti provides a good user guide and an additional page that tells you how to update.
If something doesn’t work out the first time, then it’s worth taking a look at the installed applications. There is a separate application for updating the system software. In addition, you can find “Zappiti Service” to update applications in Zappiti Pro 4K. Run this couple in turn – let them go about their business before continuing.
After that, the video settings can be viewed in the Zappiti Service application. You can choose “Force Resolution” or “Direct Output”. In the first case, you force the player to scale everything to a certain resolution. But it seems to us that the best option is a direct conclusion.
In this case, the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR player will output your file in “native” resolution if it is standardized output. Specifically, if you provide a resolution of 1280 × 544 (a cropped 720p24 feature film), the player will output 1080p24 instead of 720p.
However, this is better than forcing a specific resolution. Anyone who buys a player this expensive probably already owns a 4K HDR TV. While the Zappiti 4K Pro can handle scaling easily, it is recommended that you give the TV this function. At the very least, you will have more control over this process on your TV.
Unfortunately, the menu items needed to adjust the image are scattered in two different places. Some of the settings are located in the “Android Settings” section. Here you can advise: do not touch brightness, contrast and other parameters of images. They can be better configured on the TV itself.
Sound settings are located in the Sound & Notifications section. You can leave the HDMI output set to Auto, or if you’re sure your TV or AV receiver can handle it all, choose RAW (for bitstream).
Ease of use
The Zappiti 4K Pro HDR player is built on the Android platform and uses the Realtek RTD1295 chipset with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 and Mali-T820 processor. Memory – 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal. Navigating and using the menu is quite responsive, but feels a little sluggish than most smart TVs. The most important user interface, however, is the built-in Zappiti video, explorer and music player.
The remote control is relatively long. This is a fairly traditional remote that, unlike the look of the player, feels less professional. The plastic remote control is equipped with rubber keys. It takes some effort before you press the key. The remote is backlit, although, according to reviews, the backlight could be a little brighter.
The button layout is not very good. The play keys are located to the right above the D-pad, not in the natural place they would normally be on other consoles. These keys should be more visible, larger and easier for the user to understand. Under the rocker are large volume keys and soft keys.
They can be used to fast forward or rewind 10 seconds. Still, the play keys should be located here. There are separate keys for launching Zappiti Video Player and Explorer, which is a plus. At the top is a set of programmable keys for controlling the TV.
Finally, there is the mouse function. The cursor appears on the TV screen by clicking on the arrow on the right above the “D-pad”. Unfortunately, this is not an “air mouse” that can be moved by moving the remote in space. You can only control the cursor by pressing the arrow keys, which is rather impractical. If you really need a mouse, it’s best to connect a Bluetooth mouse.
Since the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR video player is based on Android (v6) platform, there is access to the Google Play Store. In addition, an alternative Aptoide store is available. But a fly in the ointment awaits those who are thinking of saturating their player with all sorts of streaming applications. The Netflix app cannot be found in the Google Play store, and the Aptoide version is not only difficult to use, but also provides maximum quality only in the SD version.
Aptoide’s YouTube version will be without HDR support, and the Play Store’s version is nearly useless without a mouse. Let’s go back to the Bluetooth mouse. In short, you can install additional applications, but it is better to use this device as a Zappiti Pro 4K media player.
The built-in media player is a variant of the well-known Kodi or Plex. In other words, this is not an ordinary media player, but a real media library in your home. But unlike Plex and Kodi, you don’t need to run the server software on your own network on any separate computer.
First time users – you must create a Zappiti account. This account is your access to the Zappiti cloud server. Next, you specify where all your movies are. This could be a local media (USB or SATA drive) or an SMB share somewhere on your grid.
With Zappiti-share, you can access files that are on another Zappiti player on your network. Of course, you must ensure that these devices are properly organized and named in the LAN. It’s the same with other media libraries. The Zappiti server will then try to identify all of your movies.
Most of the content is correctly identified in the LAN, and those movies (videos) that have not been indexed can be added manually later. Then you can browse and search for data in your collection in all ways. For example, by genre, by name, or you can search for an actor or director.
When identified, the Zappiti Pro 4K player recognizes films from the series, for example, James Bond, Star Wars or Harry Potter. Thus, you can find all these films with one click of the “mouse”. Of course, you can mark movies as watched or not to quickly find what you still need to watch.
If you intend to view on a smartphone, then the Zappiti Video application should be installed. The interface will be identical as on the player. Or you can turn your smartphone into a virtual control panel for the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR video player.
Although the Zappiti Pro 4K box is a very powerful music player, it is not possible to create a database for your music collection like you would for movies. It is of course possible to browse all your folders and play music, but the nice graphical interface you have for movies and TV shows is not available.
when copying discs, it remains possible to use the full interactive disc menu. Although it is worth noting here that it is best to copy over a wired network, so as not to make the waiting time senselessly long. Most subtitle formats are not a problem either, but we usually disable it in the menu.
The image quality of the Zappiti Pro 4K is excellent, even when upscaled to 4K. The fact that the player also correctly considers the frame rate of the source files is an important advantage.
For example, you can rely on your TV settings to give you the most detailed action scenes. In Android settings, set Deep Color, Color Space and HDMI range to Auto. If you want the best results, then YCbCr 4: 4: 4 10 bit is the way to go.
Surely the sound is delivered to the digital audio system. Sound quality is mainly determined by the source material and the audio system. The player automatically understands how to work with all modern formats (except WMA). If you have an older AVR receiver that only understands Dolby Digital or DTS , then the sound will be converted from “fresh” to the old version (universally compatible codecs).
High resolution files play correctly. That being said, be sure to check the Native Sample Rate option in Android Developer Options, otherwise you will get a maximum of 44.1 or 48 kHz. When using multichannel DTS, the player incorrectly reports that it is a simple stereo file, but still provides correct 5.1 output.
As the name suggests HDR, the player supports HDR files. This support is limited to HDR10 only . No HDR10 +, Dolby Vision, or HLG. This is a clear drawback for such a professional device. The manufacturer Zappiti said that the Realtek chipset is not equipped for this, so it is pointless to wait for a software update.
The logic of representatives of Zappiti is iron – they motivated this minus by the fact that most TVs display tones correctly, and therefore did not expand other HDR formats. It’s true – many 4K TVs themselves only come with Dynamic Tone HDR10 support. Although, on the other hand, support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 + in the player would add some numbers to the price tag.
The Zappiti Pro 4K delivers HDR metadata correctly, so the TV has all the information it needs to display tones correctly. If “suddenly” your TV or projector doesn’t support HDR, then you can get Zappiti to convert everything from HDR to SDR.
The Zappiti player is targeted at a very specific audience. Owners of an extensive media library looking for a good, high quality and flexible media player will be completely satisfied. In pursuit of a good purpose, the manufacturer overlooked several things.
There is 4K HDR support, but only in HDR10, not Dolby Vision, HDR10 + or HLG. This, of course, is a clear disadvantage. Otherwise, this is a great turntable, but without the Roon or Plex style. But the player is easy to use. What can not be said about the remote control. Perhaps with an air mouse like LG TVs, the device would be even more attractive.
And while Android offers you a lot of flexibility, you can’t get the most out of it. Watching Netflix or YouTube with this device is possible, but your TV’s built-in apps will always be much better.
But there are strengths to the video player too – the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR looks stylish and is well equipped. This allows you to organize a real home media library without having to run a separate local server on some computer. The server runs in the cloud.
Delivery of files to the cloud can be arranged in different ways: via USB, built-in SATA drives, or from your NAS. Media files locally on the player are also available for other Zappiti devices (and not only) on the home network. The player is universal, it really can handle all formats, although there will certainly be some format that it does not understand.
For example, old DivX files can be a problem. Finally, the image quality is excellent. the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR video player can upscale to 4K and does it very well. The direct output function is especially important, forcing your TV to do most of the work.
Whether the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR is worth its rather high price tag is not an easy question. To understand this, you should pay attention to the simpler Zappiti models.