Pros: Beautiful sound quality, built like a tank, professional look and polite UI
Cons: The UI needs improvements, little on the heavy side.
FiiO X5 Review
«Not only for Audiophiles»
DISCLAMER: I am not affiliated with FiiO. This is a part of a world review tour and FiiO provided me the unit for review purposes. This review is as independent and objective as possible.
As the very first Italian reviewer of the FiiO X5 i want to thank all the FiiO staff for this opportunity to grow as a reviewer and to put my hands on this beauty.
Documentation (Quick Start + Warranty, etc.)
USB charging / data cable
Silicone protective case
Digital out to coax cable
USB micro SD card reader
The X5 is well packaged and basically includes almost everything you need to start using it.
My review will follow a unusual route and i'll start with the
My unit is really well crafted, the chinese aluminium production standards this days are really high and this unit is not an exception. The design is sleek but a bit «rough», in my opinion lacks a bit of smoothness. The lines and texture of the material are original and the overall presentation is good but it lacks a bit of friendliness on the design. It looks industrial. It feels and looks like a tank; and speaking of tanks, i think the unit is well ruggedized. I'm not sure if it meets the requirements of some standards (not for the water i guess) but i think wih this build quality would be easy to achieve. As i've mentioned, water can be a real problem with this unit because it lacks basic isolation: think about the gap on the wheel or some other small parts. Central and lateral buttons are perfect, the wheel rattles a little bit on the side (microns), but it feels solid. All the other buttons are perfect on this unit.
The aluminum cutting is really good on this unit, there aren't debris or bad soldering points.
The screen top protection is well ruggedized, and so the parts around it.
Obviously i haven't done drop tests but i feel like the unit can handle concrete drops from hands, even more with the silicon cover provided.
It does sometimes get warmer than most DAPs or smart phones when used for a while but nothing to be concerned here.
Thinking about a single word to describe the buildings and design on the unit i think the best for me is TANK.
It's a little on the heavy side;
It's rock solid;
It looks and feels powerful;
Software and UI design:
The software will change from the testing time to the final release.
My assumption are not based on the final software design of the unit.
Software side, my opinion is that there is a solid code base to work on but the work is not finish yet.
Solid code means that there is space to work on some bugs and improvements confortably wathever is the development environment.
Overall, the system seems really reactive and again, space for improvement is really, really high from now to release and with new firmwares.
Talking about the UI usability more deeply, i guess that everything is in the right place aside of some scrolling problems due to the firmware but they are working on it as i have the unit in my hands.
The graphics on the UI is clean and fluid.
I'll go straighforward to a description of the key components of the sound:
Signature: A very neutral signature, no questioning here, the player is neutral born and i love it. Neutral and sweety flat as beautiful mountain lake in a calm, sunny day.
Bass: The X5 has a very big bass compart. It is big and punchy. The bass is neutral and not in the way of the detail coming from the other frequencies. Other than that, bass are on the warm side, but still very detailed.
Midrange: Midrange are just right there, a little bit recessed maybe, but everything in the right place
Treble: If the recording is bad, there might be some sibilance and discomfort with the treble, especially at high volumes.
Sound Stage: The X5 sound stage is excellent: Imaging and instrument placement are really good for a portable player.
It is very close to the FiiO house sound, the kind of sound quality you get from products like the e07k or above, absolutely fantastic.
Comparing the player i must say that is able to outperform most of my gear starting from the SansaClip+ up to the Rockboxed ipod even with the help of the FiiO e07k, sonically speaking and i'm glad it delivers all of that in a more compact package, even if it's still on the heavy side.
Final Ratings and Conclusions:
The DAP market has really taken of this year, the quest for an all in one music solution has never sounded any better and now we have so many choices for where we go.
I think this player has a sweet spon on it's price range and to me everyone deserves a FiiO X5.
It's not just a Audiophile matters, i just think that this product can break off the lines of the audiophile elites and push himself on the bigger market, the game changing field.
This product can satisfy the casual listener looking for more and the demanding audiophile.
For my honest opionin, it's a Buy.