Zidoo X5 review - good value for the money
Over the last two years I tested all Zidoo products and each time they left a good impression - they manage to get the best out of the chipsets they use and tend to provide firmware updates long after the product is launched.
Zidoo X5 is their latest Mini PC and uses the Amlogic S905 SoC which we covered extensively here on MiniPCDB.com.
While it was designed for entry-level Mini PC's, Amlogic S905 really exceeded the expectations and is now used by a variety of Mini PC's.
We've covered the unboxing for Zidoo X5 in a previous article, now let's see how the device performed in our tests.
Setup and first boot
If you have your own batteries for the IR remote, Zidoo supplies everything else that you might need to set it up.
The device boots in a reasonable time (around 30 seconds, more if you have peripherals attached).
Zidoo kept two of the best things from the Z6 pro model and successfully adapted them to the X5: the ZIUI launcher and the power off menu.
ZIUI is a simple tile based menu that works very well on the big screen and is easy to use with an IR remote or with an airmouse. It has a built-in app cleaner and some "Parental control" options and allows easy access to weather info, Apps, Kodi and web browser while allowing you to add your favorite apps as well.
Poweroff menu is one of the things that really makes a difference, at least from other devices with same chipset. Simple, but very useful: Zidoo X6 Pro and X5 are the only Android TV boxes I know with an auto poweroff menu. A long press on the remote's red power button will power it off, while a short press once brings the PowerOff/Standby/Reboot/Auto poweroff menu. Simple, as I said, but no other devices have this and I found some devices that can't be powered off from remote at all - imagine that!
Worth mentioning: the dedicated power chip that Zidoo X5 has makes the poweroff power consumption be essentially zero watts.
Zidoo X5 Firmware upgrades
Zidoo takes pride into providing firmware updates for their Mini PC's, and Zidoo X5 is not an exception: just a few days after I received the device a new update appeared on their forum.
Now that CNY is over, we should expect new updates soon.
Updating the firmware for Zidoo X5 is rather easy. They provide a CDN-based "over-the-air" updating system, but if you want to get the updates faster you will need to keep an eye on their forum and download it manually, as the updates are firstly published on their forum before being published through the CDN.
Even manually, upgrading the Zidoo X5 is easy enough: just download the .zip from their forums, copy it to a stick and use the Update->Local update button to launch the upgrade process. The device will copy the file to flash, upgrade and restart.
Just in case you find that after the update Google Play apps are no longer installing (I've seen some users reporting this on Zidoo forums), simply use the Update->Recovery utility to boot into recovery and to wipe cache and/or reset to factory.
Controlling your Zidoo X5 Mini PC
Zidoo X5 comes with the same IR remote with programmable keys as Zidoo X6 Pro and Zidoo X1 before that.
Learning from your existing remote is very easy and works well, if you want to use this feature, you can read the step-by-step tutorial from our Zidoo X6 Pro review.
The IR remote does have a "mouse mode" (basically you move the coursor on the screen with the arrow keys) and it has 3 keys that can be used to start any app you want (configurable from an ...app, of course).
As all other Zidoo Mini Pc's, Zidoo X5 can be controlled using the Zidoo RC remote app, which I have been using it every since I reviewed Zidoo X9, and I still use regularly as it makes very easy to take the snapshots and the videos you see in the reviews.
Of course, you can use an airmouse as well. As with any other Android Mini PC, using an airmouse with qwerty keyboard is far more convenient than the IR remote with the on-screen keyboard.
Zidoo X5 benchmarks
Zidoo X5 got good results in the usual benchmarking apps we test every device with.
|AnTuTu Video Tester||928 points, 27/30 fully spported|
|Ice Storm Unlimited||7123|
|Ice Storm Extreme||4643|
|GeekBench3 (Single core)||580|
|GeekBench3 (Multi core)||1655|
|Wifi Speed Test||~38bps up, ~45Mbps down|
Zidoo X5 video playback
As usual, the first test done in order to establish Zidoo X5's video playback performance was done using Antutu Video Tester. The results were good: as you can see in the below video, X5 got 928 points and has full support for 27 out of 30 file types tested.
The X5 comes with Kodi 15.3 preinstalled, but you can install your own version from Google Play.
HD audio passthrough works properly (Dolby True HD, Atmos and DTS HD MA). Also H.265 10-Bit HEVC and the device seems to have mastered automatic framerate switching.
I've put the X5 through the usual video test and it handled well all the test files, with one notable exception: 1080p Hi10p. 3D SBS works fine, but 3D MVC MKV and 3D ISO videos were rendered as top/bottom, which I think it could be solved in a future firmware upgrade.
Zidoo X5 review conclusions
Zidoo chose to use the Amlogic S905 SoC the way it was designed: as an affordable H.265/4K@60hz media player. For around $60 they offer a Mini PC with decent hardware and that comes with the very appreciated firmware support that surrounds any Zidoo product.
The unconventional case is better than the one used for Zidoo X1, but you might still have issues deconnecting the Ethernet cable due to an uninspired layout. During my tests the temperature of the device was within acceptable values.
The device does come with one of best smartphone remote apps I've tested so far, an easy-to-use IR remote with extra perks (learning capability, configurable keys) and a good range of supported media types.
For it's current price, Zidoo X5 is a very good option.
There might be cheaper Amlogic S905 devices out there, but it's worth noting that what makes a good device is not just the hardware - firmware support is equally important, and this is exactly what Zidoo brings to the table with their products.
Meet Zidoo X5, quad core Amlogic S905 Mini PC
Zidoo X5 unboxing - a quick look at the newest Mini PC from Zidoo