Pros: SQ, Battery is better than DX100, ES9018 DAC Chip
Cons: UI, Price, Size
The UI is alright but is lags quite a bit. Swiping is a bit weird because it takes long to respond and scrolls weird. Then once again, I'm used to the very responsive Samsung Galaxy S3 screen so I'm sure it's not actually so bad. When you select a song, it also takes 5 seconds to play it and that really does get on my nerves at times. The track forward and back also have a similar problem but it is not as bad. The whole player is rather unresponsive and I have tried to contact Hibino Intersound with no success. However, this is an audiophile music player after all and it was built for the main purpose of playing music. It is a lot easier to use than say a Sansa Clip+ rockboxed. Overall, not too bad but it could be further improved.
The design is not the best that I have seen. The volume rocker is usually on the left side on most devices and it is on the right with the HDP-R10. There is a 1/4 (gold plated?) jack and a 3.5mm jack which makes things a lot more convenient. It also has a line out and 3 gain switches as well as optical and coaxial outputs which I do not use but the more functions the better right? The inbuilt memory is 64GB and it accepts 32GB Micro SD cards but you can use a 64GB one formatted to FAT32. The battery is stated to last 10 hours but I often get around 12 hours playing 16 bit music. I find that it is perfectly sufficient but it may be a bit too little for long plane flights. I'm not sure why iBasso decided to make this an Android device and I believe that most people will not use most Android functions such as apps. Overall, the design is pretty good except for its huge size.
Packaging & Accessories
It came with a pretty looking white box which which is sealed with a piece of tape. Upon opening it, you are greeted with the HDP-R10 surrounded by soft foam covered with a soft, silk like purple cloth. It is an expensive player and the packaging certainly reflects that. Below, a compartment slides out and there is a nice USB to Micro USB cable and a charging cable that was with the Japan socket. I had to get an adapter thing to use it in Australia. There is a user manual in Japanese which I cannot read and that is about it. Nice and simple. iBasso included all the necessary features on the actual player and didn't waste their time on unnecessary accessories that nobody was going to use.
The soundstage is absolutely amazing on these. the stage width is around 5 times as wide as my Samsung Galaxy S3 with Poweramp and everything is placed very well. This is perhaps the biggest soundstage in a DAP.
This uses the ES9018 DAC that is popular in many expensive home set ups. It is, one of the most expensive if not the most expensive DAC chip on the market. In a word, it is wonderful. I don't mean that it is just better than say a DAC on your phone or your cheaper DAP. I mean that playing music on my phone sounds grainy in comparison. The background is completely black and I can hear minute details that I just can't on cheaper DAPs. The most noticeable difference is the bass and how it seems to be faster than on other more economical DAC chips. For those who don't believe that DACs make a difference, try this. I've seen some people stack an external DAC on and I've never really gotten the point of it. I think that the internal DAC is better than all portable DACs including the Algorythm Solo -DB with an iPod Classic.
This DAP has a great amp and it is said to be able to power 600 OHM phones well. Many people said that they drove the HD600 and HD650 with ease and they are both 300 OHMs. I can push some of my headphones to sound like speakers. I have no doubts at all about the driving power of this. The internal amp does reduce hiss by a lot and there is none detectable at normal listening levels. It also refines everything and I feel like this really add a bit of detail.
Coming soon; after my UM Miracles arrive.