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Review: Zappiti Pro 4K HDR – everyone's friend for film collectors

4.5 - 6 reviews

The Zappiti Pro 4K HDR is not just any media player. If streaming isn't your thing, and you swear by your own movie collection, this player has almost everything you could possibly need. Browse your collection in all kinds of ways and enjoy the beautiful picture.

Zappiti Pro 4K HDR specifications

What : Media player
Connections : 2x HDMI (1x v2.0, 1x v1 .4 (audio), 1x composite video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 1x coaxial digital out, 3x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB-C, 1x headphones, 1x HDMI input, 1x Zero Signal, 1x network (1 Gbps)

Extras : HDR10, WiFi (802.11b / g / n / ac) built-in, Bluetooth 4.0, Android (6), USB / DLNA / network media player, Dual HDD rack, Airplay [19659005] Dimensions : 430 x 330 x 85 mm

Weight : 7.5 kg

Consumption : 45 watts

List price : 799 euros

Zappiti Pro 4K HDR – Design

This player has all the features of a high-end model. The finish is absolutely top. The black, brushed metal chassis, the angular finish, the impressive weight, everything indicates quality.

The 3mm thick metal top cover is more than strong enough to place another device on the player. There is no display on the front, but two USB ports and a headphone jack. Behind the central flap hides another surprise.

No, no built-in Blu-ray player, but room for two 3.5 inch hot-swappable SATA hard drives. The player supports up to 32TB internal storage, which you can store a lot of movies on. The discs are of course not included, you have to provide them yourself. The player does not use a fan, but passive cooling, so it is very quiet.

The Zappiti comes with two WiFi antennas, an Ethernet cable, an HDMI cable and an IR extender.

Zappiti Pro 4K HDR – Connections

A whole zipper of connections on the back. An HDMI2.0 connection (video and audio) and an HDMI 1.4 connection (audio). We know this combination from most UHD Blu-ray players. If you connect to the TV, use the HDMI 2.0 output. If you want to send audio to a soundbar or AV receiver, then use the HDMI 1.4 output. This is ideal for older audio solutions that cannot, for example, transmit HDR. There is also an HDMI input, which you can use to put a PiP (Picture in Picture) on the screen, or to record that signal (although it may not be HDCP protected, which is true for many sources. will be the case.)

USB connections are plentiful: 2x USB 2.0 at the front, 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 and 1x USB-C at the back. We also find a composite video output, stereo cinch output, optical and coaxial digital audio output. The network connection is a gigabit connection, and there are two connectors for the (included) WiFi antennas. The Zero-signal cinch connection can be connected to a free cinch connector on your AV receiver to avoid ground loops.

Finally, there is an IR extender output. The extender is also included, so the player can be placed in a closet if desired.

Zappiti Pro 4K HDR – Installation

The installation went smoothly, but involves a little more than simply connecting the player. When the player starts up for the first time, you have to perform some updates. Fortunately, Zappiti provides a good user manual, and an extra page (although only in French) that indicates how to do the updates. If that does not work immediately, take a look at the apps. There is an app for updating the system software, and another (Zappiti Service) for updating the Zappiti Apps. Let them both do their work before you continue.

Now that you are in the Zappiti Service app, you should also have a look at the video settings. You can choose between “Force resolution” or “Direct Output”. In the first case, you force the player to scale everything to a certain resolution. The better option, we think, is Direct Output. The player will then output your file in the resolution of the file, at least if it is a standardized output. Specifically, if you provide 1280 × 544 (cropped feature film in 720p24), the player will not output 720p but 1080p24. Still, that is better than forcing a certain resolution. Anyone who buys such a pricey player probably also has a recent TV. And although the upscaling of the Zappiti may be fine, the TV will still do better and you have more control over the process on the TV.

Unfortunately, the settings are also spread on two different places. Another part of the settings can be found in the Android settings. For image you leave all brightness, contrast and other things untouched, you can adjust that better on the TV.

The sound settings can be found under “Sound & Notification”. You can leave the HDMI output set to Auto, or if you're sure your TV or AV receiver can handle everything, select 'RAW' (for bitstream).

Zappiti Pro 4K HDR – Ease of Use

The player is based on the Android platform and uses the Realtek RTD1295 chipset with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 and Mali-T820 GPU, 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. Moving through the menus and using it is quite responsive, but it feels a little less smooth than most smart TVs. However, the main user experience is in the Zappiti Video Player, Explorer and Music Player. We will come back to that in a moment.

Remote

The remote is a long, fairly traditional zapper that, unlike the player, feels a bit less pro. The plastic remote has rubber keys that require a lot of pressure before you actually press the key. The remote control is illuminated, a great idea, but the lighting could be a bit brighter.

The layout is very poor. The play keys are located to the right above the d-pad, not the natural place where you would expect them to be for a player, and are arranged a bit strangely. Those keys should be much more prominent, bigger and clearer to a player. Below the d-pad are again large volume and program keys. You use the latter to fast forward or rewind the video 10 seconds. Still, we would have preferred the play keys at that place. There are separate keys to start the Zappiti Video Player and the Explorer, which is a great choice. At the top is a set of programmable keys to operate the TV.

Finally, there is also a mouse function, the cursor appears when you click on the arrow to the right above the d-pad. Unfortunately, it is not an “airmouse” that you move by moving the remote. You can only control the cursor by pressing the arrow keys, which is terribly impractical. If you want a mouse, it is better to connect a Bluetooth mouse.

Features

Because the player is based on the Android platform (v6) you have access to the Google Play Store. The alternative Aptoide store is also available. But we must disappoint anyone who thinks to expand their player with all kinds of streaming apps. The Netflix app cannot be found in the Google Play Store, and the version from the Aptoide store is not only difficult to use, it also delivers maximum SD quality. The Youtube version from Aptoide does not give you HDR and the Play Store version is almost useless without a mouse. In short, yes you can install additional apps, but you better assume that the focus is on the media player function of the Zappiti.

That media player is essentially a variant of the well-known Kodi or Plex. In other words, it is not an ordinary media player, but a real media library. But unlike Plex and Kodi, you don't have to run server software within your own network. Those who start up for the first time must create a Zappiti account. That account is your access to the Cloud server of Zappiti.

Then you indicate where all your movies are. This can be on local media (USB or SATA disk), or on an SMB share somewhere on your network. With Zappiti-share you can also access the files that are on another Zappiti player in your network. Of course you must ensure correct organization and naming. This is also the case with other media libraries (see for example here for our Plex workshop). The Zappiti server then tries to identify all your movies. This worked with our 200+ films for all but 7 cases, which we were then able to identify manually. You can also add TV series.

You can then browse and search through your collection in all kinds of ways. For example, by genre, by name, or you can search for an actor or director. When identifying, Zappiti also recognizes movies that belong in a series, such as James Bond, Star Wars or Harry Potter. This way you can find all those films in one click. Of course you can also mark films as (un) seen, so that you can quickly find what you still need to watch.

Those who prefer to browse their collection on their smartphone can install the Zappiti Video app. The interface is identical to the one on the player. You can also turn it into a virtual remote for the player.

Although the Zappiti is also a very capable music player, you cannot create a database for your music collection like you can for your movies. You can of course browse through all your folders and play the music, but the nice graphical interface that you have for films and TV series is missing.

Zappiti Pro 4K HDR – Image and sound quality

The Zappiti media player can really play almost all formats. We give the full overview here:

  • Video Codecs : HEVC, H.265, x265 (up to Main10 Level 6.1 High 60p in 4K), MVC, AVC, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1 , H.264 / x.264 (up to 60p in Full HD and 24p / 20 Mbps in 4K), FLV, AVS, XVID, DIVX (from version 4), Sorenson Spark L70, VP9 HW (up to 4K 60p); ultra high bitrate support (up to 400 Mbit / s in HEVC 4K).
  • Video File Formats : UHD ISO, 3D BD ISO, BD ISO, BDMV, MKV, MKV 3D, MK3D, MPEG-TS, MPEG -PS, MPEG, MPE, MPG, TS, TP, M2TS, VOB, AVI, MOV, MP4, QT, WebM, DVD-ISO, VIDEO_TS, RMVB, RM, DAT, VOB, 3GP, FLV, DAT, AVCHD 2.0 ( AVCHD 3D, AVHD Progressive)
  • Audio Codecs : AC-3 / Dolby Digital, EAC3, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-HD, DTS: X, MPEG, MP3, ALAC, APE, M4A , AIFF, WAV, VSELP, FLAC (2.0 and 5.1), AAC, AAC-LC, HEAAC, HE-AAC v2, AMR-NB, OGG (Ogg / Vorbis), RA_COOK, LPCM, PCM, ADPCM, FLA, MQA; lossless and audiophiles formats support (up to 24-bit / 192 kHz).

Those who rip their discs can therefore continue to use the disc's full interactive menus. Although we have to say that it is best to only do this with a wired network in order not to make the waiting times pointlessly long. Most subtitle formats are also no problem at all.

The image quality of the player is excellent, even if you let it upscale to 4K. The fact that the player also correctly respects the frame rate of the source files is an important advantage. For example, you can possibly rely on the settings of the TV to bring out the best detail in fast-moving images. In the Android settings, set Deep Color, Color Space and HDMI range to Auto, or if you want to force the best output yourself, select YCbCr 4: 4: 4 10 bit.

Since you can almost When you deliver music digitally to your sound system, the sound quality is mainly determined by your source material and audio system. The player knows how to handle all modern formats (except WMA), or if you have an older AVR that only understands Dolby Digital or DTS, can convert the newer versions to these older, more universally compatible codecs. Even high-res files are played correctly, in that case don't forget to check the Native Sample rate option in the Android Developper Options, otherwise you will get a maximum of 44.1 or 48 kHz. With multi-channel DTS, the player incorrectly reports that it is a stereo file, but does deliver the correct 5.1 output. Only the DSD format requires the installation of another player.

Zappiti Pro 4K HDR – HDR

As the HDR in the name suggests, this player also supports HDR files. That support is limited to HDR10. No HDR10 +, Dolby Vision or HLG and we have to charge that as a downside for a Pro player. Zappiti informed us that the Realtek chipset is not equipped for this, so waiting for an upgrade is pointless. They also pointed out that most TVs also perform tone mapping themselves, and the added value of the other formats is therefore limited. It is indeed correct that most TVs provide HDR10 itself with dynamic tone mapping, but still we think that Dolby Vision and HDR10 + have even more value.

The player also seemed correct through the metadata of the HDR file. so that the television has all the necessary information to make the right tone-mapping decision. If you have a TV or projector that cannot handle HDR, you can also ask the Zappiti to convert all HDR to SDR.

Review equipment

For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. We use an HDFury Vertex to analyze any HDR problems. More info about our measuring equipment can be found here

Zappiti Pro 4K HDR – Conclusion

This Zappiti player is aimed at a very specific audience. The owners of an extensive media library who are looking for a good, quality and flexible media player. With that objective in mind, he has overlooked a few things. There is support for 4K HDR, but only in HDR10, not Dolby Vision, HDR10 + or HLG. That is a shame for the future. It is a great player for your music, but those who expect a media library in the style of Roon or Plex, we have to disappoint. It could also be slightly better in terms of ease of use. A better designed remote, possibly with an air mouse such as LG offers on its TVs. And although Android offers you a lot of flexibility, you cannot make the most of it. Watching Netflix or YouTube through this box is not impossible, but your TV's built-in apps will always be (much) better. We wonder whether Zappiti should not have better hidden more of that functionality, and (even) more focused on the media player aspect. Less is more, as it were.

Don't worry, there is also a lot of good news. The Zappiti Pro 4K HDR is a stylish and well-equipped appearance. It gives you the experience of a real media library (for film and TV shows) like Plex but without the need to run a local server. The server runs in the cloud, you just have to deliver files. And that can be done in many ways: via USB, built-in SATA drives, or of course from your NAS. Media local to the player is also easily accessible by other Zappiti players, a bit of multiroom functionality. The player is almost universal, he could really handle all formats, although there will undoubtedly be some format that he does not understand. For example, your oldest Divx files can be a problem. Finally, the image quality is excellent, the player can upscale to 4K and does that very well. Especially the Direct Output function will be important for enthusiasts, so you let your TV do most of the work, which is undoubtedly even better at that task. difficult thing. It should be clear that it is best to check whether you need all of his options. Zappiti also offers other less fully equipped players.

Cons

  • No HDR10 +, Dolby Vision, HLG
  • Poor remote control
  • No music library
  • Price

Pros

  • Robust and nice design
  • Excellent picture quality
  • Nice media library (no local server)
  • Quasi universal player
  • Built-in HDD possible

Homecinema Magazine
Rating
8.0 10 Eric Beeckmans [19659069] product

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