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  1. Watermelon Boi
    Colorfly U6 Review: A ball of fire
    Written by Watermelon Boi
    Published Aug 17, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Fast and responsive OS
    -Powerful and engaging sound signature
    -Solid build quality
    Cons - Yet uncommon 3.5mm Pro balanced output
    -Not many things to do with the Wi-Fi
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    Colorfly U6 Review: A ball of fire

    Colorfly came up with another premium portable player, the U6. The performance is claimed to be placed in a similar position with the U8 flagship player but lowered in price and made revision with the lessons learned from the U8. The retail price is marked at $750. As a current U8 user, I was much curious about U6 and would like to share my impressions about it.



    The packaging

    U6 comes with an almost identical packaging as the U8 but with a plentiful amount of accessories, much better than the U8. Other than the player, there includes a leather case, 2.5mm to 3.5mm balanced jack, 4.4mm to balanced jack, protective screen glass, a cleaning cloth, a data/charging cable, and some paperwork. Mine is an early demo so I do not have the case or the conversion jacks, unfortunately. Along with these accessories, Colorfly even included extra stickers and ethanol swaps for removing dust off the screen. This is an offer way better than the U8 which was provided with barely anything. Good to see them paying attention to the little things like these.




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    The build

    My very first impression with the U6 would be its solid build quality. U6 gives a bold, rigid look with teal body color. It gives a firm tactility and there are no visible gaps or shaky parts from the player. The dimensions are almost the same as the U8, however slighter thicker and heavier. Of course, that's a subjective matter and doesn't feel significantly different on hands. The vibrant gold volume wheels spices up the calm looking player, offering a premium yet pleasantly plain design. I can see that they've paid more attention to smoothening out the sharp edges and feels less poky than the U8. Both sides are finished with tempered glass and give the U6 a stylish symmetric look.




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    Screen and battery life

    It has a fairly wide 3.97 inch LCD screen for its compact size. The resolution is 800*480, same as the U8. The rather low resolution doesn't bother me from using these since it's not that bad, though they could have gone higher with the U6.

    OLED screens from the U8 are no longer present but I suppose that was to reduce the production cost as well as reaching a longer battery time. In fact, the OLED screens were one of the reasons why U8 had a relatively short battery time and the touch sensors weren't so practical to use.

    Colorfly removed the extra OLED screens and brought back with the good old classic volume wheel, as well as increasing the battery capacity from 3400 mAh to 4600 mAh. The actual battery time on the U6 turned out to be visibly better than the U8. Not huge, though. Right on top of the volume wheel sits a small light indicator that blinks when the volume is getting adjusted. It lights up as blue which matches pretty nicely with the device color.

    U6 has a USB Type-C charging port and charges a bit faster than most other players. Slightly slower compared to the U8 but that should be due to the larger battery on the U6.




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    The hardware

    Briefly explaining about the specs, U6 is equipped with 4 x ES9318 chipsets, which is having 8 decoding channels that could directly play DSD512 and PCM32 bit tracks. Other than that, U6 has a spec of 2GB RAM / 64GB ROM, one microSD slot for up to 256GB, and 3.5mm unbalanced / 3.5mm Pro balanced Phone Outs. Also, the 3.5mm unbalanced plug on these also serves for optical output and line output.

    Been a while since we've seen 3.5mm balanced players, right? I was also mildly surprised to see Colorfly moving on from the popular 2.5mm balanced to the least common 3.5mm balanced. Besides, this is actually my first time using the 3.5mm balanced output. Maybe they could of keep the original output or just go for 4.4mm? Giving props to Colorfly for including conversion cables for both 2.5mm and 4.4mm male plugs, though going for 3.5mm balanced is still not the happiest move for me.




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    Balanced, but the all-new 3.5mm Pro

    Although the 3.5mm balanced plugs aren't so convenient these days, these plugs are actually called "3.5mm Pro", which is a new yet advanced standard that differs from the old 3.5mm balanced plugs. Colorfly states that U6 is the first portable player to use this new standard and to have an ideal balance between size, audio quality, and durability.

    Well, I do agree with Colorfly's statement. 2.5mm plugs are convenient but fragile, 4.4mm plugs are durable yet bulky. Could 3.5mm Pro be the next standard for balanced plugs? We'll keep our fingers crossed. Besides, I can't really complain when it comes to sound quality. U6 is packed with powerful performance and intensive musical details. My expectations weren't so high since I thought this would be a lower model from the U8, but a wrong guess. Let's talk more about the sound a bit later on.




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    The EQ

    The EQ system is straightforward but effective and detailed. There are 7 presets available and an extra slot for customization. There are 24 tunable slides, ranging from 25 to 22k. The EQ effects feel very natural and there are lots of options and customized choices available. I usually don't use EQs but the quality seems to be good as Cowon Jet Effects.




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    Wireless and Bluetooth

    The U6 supports Wi-Fi (2.4GHz) as well as Bluetooth 4.0. The Bluetooth works well as it should be and so does the Wi-Fi, though the customized Android environment doesn't allow much to do with the Wi-Fi feature (internet, streaming, etc.) other than downloading software updates.




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    User Interface (UI)

    The U6 runs on Android adopted with Ultron Pure Audio. The booting speed is mediocre, nothing exceptional but not particularly slow. The UI is pretty straight forward and with snappy response speed.

    Tracks can be listed by song, artists, and album along with the file explorer and search by their name. Swiping down from the top brings various options to change the brightness, wireless status, output modes, system settings, etc. Swiping up from the bottom also brings specific audio settings like EQ, timer, gain controls, etc.

    A wide volume indicator shows up on the screen when the volume is getting adjusted and users can adjust the volume by the one on the screen as well. Plus, I've noticed that Colorfly added a scroll bar for navigating big load of tracks for easily. This is yet to be present on the U8 and hope they would apply this feature on the U8 as well.




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    Sound impression: Lows & Overall sound signature

    The output power is pretty powerful despite the compact size. U6 goes for a masculine, vibrant sound signature. The bass is slightly boosted however keeps a good balance and doesn't get dull in texture. It's more on the thicker side with large yet fast punches. It highlights a hint of reverbs but done in a clean manner and never close to being overdone.

    What I like about this player is that the bold and thick bass decays with speed and high accuracy. Probably not the most ideal choice for those who are looking for flat, raw sounding players, but if that reason is based upon the assumption that the bass would sound loosen, slow, or soft, that's not the case with U6. The bass here is thoroughly under control with precision.




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    Sound impression: Mids

    Mids are very up-close and engaging. It's the same characteristics I've found from their flagship model, U8. Though this doesn't particularly mean the sound is fatiguing or lack space. I actually find this more enjoyable and should be the same for those who enjoy lively, realistic, and intensive sound signatures. The textures are smooth and have gently brightened upper mids, providing a bit of airiness while keeping the sound comfortable.

    The overall width of the sound is slightly more on the thicker side, leaving me a bold, vivid impression. Male vocals sound excellent but female vocals aren't left out either. Well, that could be the case if you're into rather thin and calm sounding players (Astell&Kern, for example), but other than that U6 manages well with female vocals too, by presenting them in a passionate tone with rich of energy. It also does a fairly fine job on calm and gentle tracks, but just around being mediocre due to its up-close presentation.


    Sound impression: Highs, etc.

    Highs feel bold, dense, and mildly warmer than the U8. It takes a more careful, smoother approach too. The sound ray feels to be a bit softer and thicker, making the strikes feel more organic compared to the U8. Of course, this is a minor difference and doesn't mean U8 isn't organic or U6 to have a mushy texture. The staging characteristics of these are more focused on high dynamics and the up-close presentation. The wideness is mediocre, - not particularly advanced but not lacking in performance either. Overall, the performance tier between U6 and U8 seems to be pretty much equal with different characteristics here and there.




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    Verdicts

    From underestimation to satisfaction. U6 is a good example showing how to properly accept feedbacks from the customers and apply it to their products accordingly. Lots are improved and fixed, lowered in price, and even the performance matches up with the flagship model, U8. U6 would be an awesome choice for those who are looking for a lush yet smooth, up-close sound signature and even for original U8 users.



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    Thanks to Colorfly for providing the U6 in exchange for an honest impression/feedback.
    I am not affiliated with Colorfly and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.
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