Portable High-Res Music Player
Features: High resolution music file playback supporting multiple audio formats, high quality aluminum enclosure, dual MicroSD slots, and more.
Product Release: March 28, 2014
Purchased: June 19, 2014
Dimensions: 67.6mm x 114mm x 15.6mm
MSRP: $ 350.00 USD
FiiO is a company who has been recently making exponential strides in the portable music player sector. Initially producing headphone amplifiers and DACs (Digital to Audio Converters), a few new products have been created which, in my opinion, solidifies their presence to a point where others can't deny their technological stance to consumers who are lining up to enjoy the most affordable and high-quality designs offered.
At $350, the X5 may not appear to be "affordable" to those who are used to playing their music on a typical MP3 device which costs about 20% of the X5, but considering the amount of features and most of all — the high-quality sounds produced — the X5 is actually a steal for what FiiO is offering. There are many other audiophile grade DAPs (Digital Audio Players) selling today, but the typical asking price is at least double what FiiO is asking.
If you're new to the world of High-Res Digital Audio Players, don't worry about it, as we're dealing with a device which simply is more capable of playing audio files at a higher resolutions (i.e., 192kHz/24Bit) as well as many different levels in between. If you're holding your MP3 player, just imagine it with unrestrained storage potential and unrestrained audio file compatibility. Imagine a much larger viewing screen, and imagine many more ways to interact with your music collection so you can personalize it to your particular taste.
When we discuss higher resolution audio files, we inevitably need more storage capacity, and we're not just talking about a few gigabytes — a few hundred gigabytes is more like it. True, most MP3 players have an external slot for storage media, so capacity isn't much of a concern, but with the X5 having dual MicroSD slots, playing files that have the resolution of at least CD quality standards, is much more convenient.
Isn't My Current MP3 Player Good Enough?
For what you're doing with it now...sure, it's enough. But have you ever thought your music isn't getting it's best delivery system? Obviously, you're reading this review and debating if forking out $350 is justifiable, so you'll have to ask yourself about whether you currently own, is sufficient. I currently own a Sansa Clip+ and enjoy it immensely. I use it for almost entirely exercise as it's very small, lightweight, and has a removable storage slot for MicroSD cards.
Basically put, YES, your current MP3 player is perfectly functional and good enough for what it is...but the X5 is one hell of a way to compliment it and expand your audio senses of your music collection like you've never before experienced it before.
One Device To Do Everything...The X5 Is Very Close...
The FiiO X5 is the next step in having a truly portable high resolution music collection of your entire collection. Having two MicroSD slots, the X5 is currently capable of handling 128GBx2 MicroSD cards. And FiiO makes it clear they will be updating the firmware to allow for 512GB and TB storage as MicroSD increases in capacity. For those who have hundreds and even 1,000+ CDs that are collecting dust, the X5 can take your entire collection on the road...WITHOUT sacrificing sound quality.
Instant Satisfaction — Immediately Out Of The Box
Once I received the X5, I charged it for about 3 hours (recommended is around 4 hours), and this was probably the longest 3 hours I've ever had to wait. But once I saw the green LED light on the lower part of the X5, letting me know it was charged and ready for use, I transferred a few albums to listen to...and I was enlightened.
Absolutely amazing sound.
Perfect Match For Car Audio Systems
Another reason for having a solid-built portable audio player, is the convenience of playing your uncompressed music collection in your car. The more advanced your vehicle's audio system, the more the X5 will take advantage of it.
Haven't Digital Music Players Been Around For A While?
I asked myself the same question when I came across FiiO's website. Yes, DAPs have been around for a while, but the quality of those players hasn't been available until recently. A few reasons are the size of the electronics and the costs of making those electronics so compact and portable. When you start investigating the DAP market for potential purchases, you're basically looking for a portable high-end music system that used to be a hundred pounds of equipment. Obtaining the same quality for fractions of what they would cost only 10 years ago, is something to be amazed about.