I picked up my Zappiti Pro and a 20TB WD My Book Duo last week and thought I'd add some photos of the box and its contents for folks to see. Packaging seems very much like an oppo, which is good to see that Zappiti is taking great care in having it at well packed. As you can see it comes with a myriad of cables, remote and a recovery dongle. For the purpose of this quick review, I also own a Zappiti Mini 4K HDR and One SE 4K HDR.
The first thing you will notice is the change in remotes and a move away from the more clunky style remotes offered on previous models. Coming from a Syabas Popcorn Hour A400 and VTEN, I always preferred their remote, even to the clunky style due to the better styling and responsiveness of the remote. I even still prefer the ease and quickness of screen navigation on my Popcorn Hour VTEN. I like the new Zappiti Pro remote. It looks sleek and sexy and button styling is definitely better than Zappiti's current remote used on all other models. I would still like to see the Pro wheel slightly raised (slanted up towards the outer side of the wheel) to give it that separation from the surrounding buttons. A welcome feature you will notice on the remote are the 4 extra buttons that will allow to skip either 10 or 60 seconds in forward or reverse as opposed to pressing left or right to skip in one min increments. My only real main gripe is that the page up and down buttons , still, do not work. Zappiti, when are you going to get these buttons working?
As I only use explorer or Music and navigation around screens is definitely much quicker and more responsive. Movies certainly load up quicker. Searching for network shares and devices, I'd say, is marginally quicker but I'd imagine this is dependent on the speed of your network and idle network devices responding to requests and thus waking from sleep and drive spin up. Video does look sharper with better colour rendering but I need to do some more testing on the audio side of things as I've come across an issue, which I need to test on my other Zappiti models before making any further assertions.
As you can see I also purchased the 20TB My book duo, which allows you to easily remove the drives from their cradles. In this case, I remove both 10TB WD Red NAS and inserted them into the dual drive bays and detected both drives without any issues. I can say that after leaving the 10TB drives inserted into the drive bays that they do get hot sitting within the Pro. Don't know whether or not this is a good thing but I'd imagine a silent fan mod to the case in future would be a consideration. I would have a number of holes drilled on either side of the case and have a fan at the rear drawing in cooler air from sides and hot air dispelled to the rear to avoid any overheating of the internal drives. I will be inserting a number of other HDD's I have to check compatibility. I don't believe there are any issues in using most drives available on the market today unless there's clearly a size/dimensional issue or the drives will run too hot.
I understand that Zappiti will be making the new Pro remote available as an optional purchase for 40 Euro for use on all their other models. I think Zappiti would be much better off just dispensing with the old remote on all other models and just implementing the new remote to all their models from now on. Seriously, the difference between the cost of making both remotes wouldn't be great and I'd he happy to pay a few extra bob to have the newer remote. Offer the newer remote as an optional upgrade at time of purchase, for maybe an extra 10 euro than to shell out 40 Euro's for another remote. It's all about keeping your customers happy
The one thing I do miss is DSD support, which I loved about the Popcorn Hour. I still have my Popcorn Hour A400 connected just for this purpose. Are there any plans for future firmware updates to support DSD on the pro?
I'll will be on the lookout for Dune's flagship HD Ultra 4K, which has DSD support and are arguably with better chipsets but I would like to see a direct comparison of the new Dune when it's released and the Pro considering these are aimed at the higher end of hi-fi/media player market. I would hope when Zappiti release their next updated models of the Pro that they will seriously consider what chipsets they will be using, considering the amount of money these cost. People are not stupid and a lot of people are going to balk paying these sort of prices.