FiiO FW3


Reviewer at hxosplus
The junior
Pros: + Great sound quality for the category
+ Good bass extension
+ Expressive mid-range and smooth treble
+ Loud and dynamic
+ Wide and spacious soundstage
+ Good passive noise attenuation
+ Very good call quality
+ Lightweight and comfortable
+ Customizable through the FiiO control application
+ Stable connection with low latency
+ Good build quality and IPX4 certified
+ Physical buttons
+ Lightweight charging case
Cons: - You can buy the FiiO FW5 for only $50 more
- Not the most resolving or transparent
- No active noise cancellation
- Medium battery duration
- LDAC is still experimental
- It feels a little plastic
You can read the full FiiO FW3 review with photos and comparisons by clicking the link.


Executive summary

The FiiO FW3 is an entry level TWS earphone that is $50 cheaper than it's older brother the FiiO FW5.

Just like the FiiO FW5, the FW3 is made with sound quality in mind and doesn't have ANC. Instead it features an independent audio architecture with a AK4332 high-performance DAC and separate amplifiers in each earpiece.

The sound quality is very good for the category, the tuning is mildly V-shaped and quite balanced. Good sub-bass extension, clear and well defined bass, expressive mid-range and energetic but still smooth treble. The FiiO FW3 is surprisingly dynamic and impactful with a spacious and roomy soundstage. It plays well with most kinds of music even classical.

The FiiO FW3 is further customizable through the FiiO control application which supports a 10-band parametric equalizer. Bluetooth connection is stable and call quality is very good. The FW3 now supports the LDAC codec but it still have some issues that need to be fixed.

The FiiO FW3 is well made, it is has physical buttons, it is lightweight and comfortable with good passive noise attenuation. The charging case is compact and lightweight but it feels plastic. Battery duration is average but will last you a day with mixed usage.

In the end, the FiiO FW3 offers great sound quality and good functionality for just $100 and it is highly recommended as long as you don't need ANC.
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Headphoneus Supremus
FW3 provides FIIO sound in budget TWS range
Pros: FIIO warm sound
Tonality is on the fun side
Low end is thick and fun
Warm vocals
Treble enough forward to balance the bass some
Cons: Ergonomics is not the best
Big Case
Slight hot upper mid range
Not the most resolving set
LDAC problems, might be fixed with later firmware
Lack of TWS features people are used to
Feel a little cheap on both case and IEM due to material

FIIO FW3 Mini impression review

A smaller review from me, more can see it here outside the forum thread.

I bought this myself as I wanted to test a new TWS, and the price was also very good. Now it is around $90, but I got it for $70 as an early buyer promotion.
This is a very subjective hobby where everything from experience, anatomy or age will affect what we hear. Also keep in mind that it is easy to use bold words when talking about differences, while it may be perceived as a small change for you. While I can perceive something as natural sounding, I do believe we can never get a perfect performance similar to what is achieved live.

About me and my gear used for the review

My audio preference is neutral with sub and mid bass boost, mids can be forward but not too much. I can also handle some treble spikes if it is not excessive. I am a believer in having different tuned IEMs for different genres or moods instead of chasing the single perfect one.
Main music genres I listen to are Metal, Electronica, Jazz, Indy rock/metal, Pop. I am a music lover, and can also listen to almost all the genres out there. I have been into music gear since the mid 90s, gifted some big speakers at an early age. Then moved more and more into headphones with the Koss Porta Pro and a Sony Discman and Minidisc.

I have also tried playing many instruments over the years from piano to sax and have a feel for what's a natural tone, but not the biggest patience in learning to play. My wife has also played many instruments from string to wind instruments.

My current standard in Headphones is ZMF Verite and Beyerdynamic T1 G2.

My current standard in IEMs is AüR Audio Neon Pro and Penon Serial. The Neon Pro has 10 BAs, and has a near perfect tonality for me on the brighter side. The Penon Serial that also has a near perfect tonality for me, that is more relaxing and organic sounding with its triple DD configuration. Both of them have sound signatures that I can listen to all types of music with.

Gear used in the main rig is Topping E70 DAC together with the Topping A90 Discrete headphone Amp. I also have a Schiit Lokuis I can swap in if I want to do a little analogue EQ.
I have also used the Feliks Audio Echo, one of the more silent OTL amps.

Portable gear used during the review: Cayin N7, Hiby R6 III, Quidelix 5k DAC/AMP, FIIO BTR7 and Penon Tail.

I have a good range of cables from Gladiator Cables, ISN, DUNU, Penon, NiceHCK, XINHS and some others.



You get two nice sets of tips, I prefer the black one as they seal better for me. The case is bulky and in light plastic that feels a little cheap. I installed the app and paired them, a great app where you can update firmware, EQ and choose streaming codec(and some more settings).
As for LDAC it is not really workable together with my Pixel 7 Pro, it stutters and sounds horrible. It is marked as experimental, so some more updates needed to make it work.

As for the case it's easy to insert or take out the FW3, not always easy on some other models I have used before.






Before talking about the sound, I'll talk about the biggest negative about the FW3. The comfort due size and form factor, they are bulky and weirdly shaped. It took me quite some time and tip roll to get used to inserting them securely, not a good thing as TWS is usually something you put in fast while moving about. I have to resort to the method of using one hand to insert and the other to open the ear more, and I have large ears with never any problems on IEMs people call big.

This also leads to discomfort after a short while.



As for the sound, it's great, it is a fun TWS. Bass is big with quite good texture, just a little loose and overpowering on some music. Mids are also slightly forward with some added thickness to vocals and instruments. Treble is detailed enough, but not as in focus as the low end. Not the most resolving set, but I don't see this as a negative thing as this used for on the go music. Soundstage for me is just average, it is actually quite deep but I don't find it as layered or 3D.

In a way the sound is reminiscent of the tonality of VE SiE and Penon Serial.



I currently have two other TWS, Sony Link Buds S ( 5mm DD) and Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 (11mm DD and Planar). Both of them cost almost double as the FW3 and are a big one if tight on money, you do get more TWS features like awareness mode and Noise Canceling.


1 For me, going to Huawei. Even with the oval tips it's more secure and comfortable.
2 Sony on second as they are super small and light, but they don't sit as secure for me and the nozzle is slightly short.
3 FIIO is humongous in comparison and flat out loses.

1 Huawei has the overall best sound in bass, mids and treble.
2 FIIO second and has a thicker sound than Huawei, with less natural timbre.
3 Sony is the worst with a bad timbre that sounds muddy and hollow.

1 Huawei has much better layering of the soundstage and is tied with Fiio in depth.
2 FIIO as mentioned has good depth but lacks refinement in imaging and soundstage.
3 Sony feels closed in and lacks detail.

1 Huawei is almost class leading, super clear for others even in noisy work environments. Removes unwanted noise to go through in most cases.
2 Sony is also very good but when there's more noise in the area your voice gets slightly fuzzy and static. But it removes much background noise for the other person.
3 FIIO clear all the time also on nosy awareness, but it doesn't filter away noise and can be tiresome for the other person listening.

1 Huawei never any problem, had maybe 1-2 drop outs in 1 year use.
2 Had one drop out where they didn't reconnect. Sometimes that they think your taking them off when moving about or yawning.
3 Often drop outs every session longer than a hour, same problem where they think you take them out if your ear etc.


1 Huawei has the best bass and slam harder than FW3 in the sub bass range, more nuances and sound most real.
2 FIIO is close but has some more mid bass thickness than Huawei, it seems slower than Huawei in the decay. Both of them are great in my book.
3 Sony disappoints with muddy and slow bass, doesn't matter if EQed. Lack resolvement and just sounds bad.

Mids Vocals
1 FIIO has more euphonic vocals on the thicker side, not as resolving as Huawei but quite addicting.
2 Huawei has superb vocals but are more clean and natural, not as forward as FIIO.
3 Sony sounds slightly boomy and veiled on vocals

Mids Instruments
1 Huawei do have more natural sounding instruments be it string or brass. Some extra bite in the upper midrange apparent on a few albums.
2 FIIO sounds great on instruments but lacks refinement, and some brass instruments can be slightly shouty.
3 SONY lacks detail and is veiled, same as with vocals. Never too hot for me in the upper midrange.

1 Huawei has more treble detail and airyness, sounds more real and extended.
2 FIIO lacks some treble detail and I don't find it that airy.
3 Sony is similar to FIIO but with less detail.


It might seem like I trash talk FIIO FW3, but no. Except for the ergonomic design, I like them very much as they have a good and fun sound. Think about price here, I compare them to twice as expensive sets so they should lose out. But it rolls over the Sony Link Buds S, no contest really.

If you don't need the TWS extras, and just want a set for listening to music and to talk over the phone with, I recommend them. Just beware if you often have problems with bad fit on bigger IEMs.


Ranking System

1 Very bad or unlistanable
2 Listenable but not good
3 Average
4 Very good
5 Exceptional or having a special sauce

Price can push something up or down half grade.

Going by this ranking system together with my deeper evaluation matrix, the set get a 3.
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Headphoneus Supremus
Fiio FW3- Spunky brother
Pros: -Ergonomic light but strong shells
-AKM4332 integration is impressive
-Superb dynamic, spacious forward large sound quality
-Nicely balanced musical tuning
-Easy to operate and use
-Very decent up to 7 hours of use in Aptx mode
-Strong 30-40ft connection to sources
-Good vocal clarity on the built in mics
-LHDC codec available on Fiios newest players
-New ability for LDAC codec
-Cost to performance
-Good passive isolation
-Amplified sound for true immersion
Cons: -Some will not be happy with the all plastic build and cradle
-Experimental LDAC codec is buggy.
-No cutting edge TWS tech
Fiio FW3

The new FW3 is the 2nd TWS IEM Fiio has made, their first being the FW5 with some surprising results. You can read my thoughts about them here. I was surprised to hear that Fiio was back at the drawing board making a more affordable single dynamic version in the FW3.
Barring some of the negatives of the FW5 design mainly not utilizing any of the top end functions like active noise cancellation, no ambient transparency mode and the use of plastics vs something like an alloy type metal for its build and dock cradle. However the one aspect that made the FW5 and now the new FW3 compelling is its use of an embedded AKM4332 dac chip for sound processing bringing a nice higher end sound quality level to both these TWS products.

What's interesting about the FW3 is that while they share a lot of similarities with the FW5. It simplifies its speaker layout to using a full range 10mm Carbon based dynamic inside the housing of the FW3. Hence the cost benefit. A well tuned single dynamic can easily handle all the sound frequencies you hear so not a big deal. In fact keeping something like a TWS product to be more “simple” might benefit a TWS design more so than hampering it. Truth is if you're looking for the latest wizbang cutting edge ability from your TWS buds both the FW5 and or these new FW3 might not be what you're looking for. However, if sound quality matters to you. Keep reading.

The advantage of using BAs for treble notes for hybrid design is that you get treble micro details, arguably a higher level of definition and treble extension that is easily some of best offered in the industry. So how would the FW5 sound without using the dual BAs for its trebles?

The quick answer is, just fine. Fiio is not new to tuning single dynamic IEMs in fact some of their most popular wired IEMs are their line of single dynamics. FD5 and the FD7 both come to mind. So imagine a TWS IEM using similar drivers used for the FD5 but housing its own dedicated dac chip in the AK4332, wireless with a mic and remote functions and you get the FW3. As of typing the FW3 is limited on its connectable high res codecs to adaptive Aptx and LHDC. I did get word that Fiio will be working on an updated firmware which should allow for LDAC which is something I have been waiting for since the launch of the FW5 toward the end of last year.

With that I would like to thank Fiio for the early release sample of the FW3. These were provided for the purpose of a review and my take on how they perform. You can look up their official release page here. They will be sold for $69.99 early release summer event on aliexpress here.

( As of writing this section the new FW3 is not recognized on the latest version of the control app for me probably due to not being officially released yet. I am sure Fiio will update their control app to notice the FW3. In theory it should work just like the options you get for their FW5)

Extra functionality can be achieved via the Fiio control app, when working to configure the sound curve of the FW3 if you're into EQing. To use the 10 band EQ functionality you need to download Fiio control app on google play or apple apps and launch it. It will recognize the FW3 for the added toggle switches that change EQ, and has some added post processing, volume adjustments as well. Having an option to tweak the sound how you like is always a plus but it will be wise for Fiio to pay more attention to folks wanting LDAC for high res codecs. From how I understand it, LHDC is just as good as LDAC but is limited to Chinese cell phones and or Chinese DAPs. The recent Fiio M15S had LCHD mode so I used that for this mode. Most of the mainstream cell phones in the western world will not be able to use LHDC so it would make more sense to bring out LDAC for the rest of the world.

Build/ fitment and controls/ connection/mic

From all indications the exact same housing was used for the FW3 that the FW5 used. Its housing is more plastic in build vs metals. It's certainly sturdy and light in form but it would be nice to see a more premium build for their next TWS offering. I have nothing against the plastics used for both the cradle and the housing of the earpieces but something like a light but strong aluminum alloy type of housing would have made for a stronger build. Just my 2 cents worth.

The way it fits, and its 4 physical control buttons are exactly the same as the prior FW5. The right side raises volume or answers calls with one click, FF with a longer press or to hang up. The back button pauses and plays and double click for voice assistant.
Left side controls volume down, Previous track and answer calls. Back control button works just like the right side, pauses, play, double click for voice assistant. Easy enough but I would have preferred the button lay out more toward the back of the ear vs being on top simply due to accidentally pressing the buttons when inserting the pieces in the ears. Not a big deal as it's a non-issue as long as you are aware where the buttons are.

While looking bulky, it is actually ergonomic and stays well inside my medium sized ears with no issue of coming loose when being used. I don’t get that dreaded feeling that they might fall out of my ears or anything like that. Of course, your mileage may vary and will depend on your ear shape. The earpieces wedge into your ears and stay well in place. If you have no issues with using the standard earbud which is roughly the diameter size of the earpieces. You should be able to fit the FW3 just fine. I have used them for the past several weeks with no discomfort or have they ever fallen out of my ears.

The dual mics on the FW3 are decent enough to carry on a conversation while using the FW3. My voice was heard nice and clear in a public area. Serves its purpose with good clarity and volume for voice calls. I would say it's about average for clarity and usability for TWS product again nothing to see here. It does seem to focus on my voice more so than ambient noise so that is a plus. I will assume it is using the same CVC noise cancellation tech that's on the FW5 here. I have used the earpieces a good 30-40ft or 10-13 meters away from my phone or DAP consistently with no breakup. With good decent distance indoors or out. These were pleasant to use while mowing my lawn. While the FW3 has no ambient noise cancellation, its passive isolation is actually good. I had to raise the volume up a bit when mowing the lawn but music was heard more than me chopping up my lawn. If I was a guessing man ambient passive isolation is at a decent 26- 28 dbs which is easily above average for in ear applications. Using foams yields even better passive isolation on the go.

The FW3 comes with the earpieces, 2 sets of silicones which change up the balancing a bit of its sound and the cradle with a short USB-C to USB-A cord for charging. I have seen some complaints about the cradle being used for the FW5. The FW3 cradle is the same. I do appreciate that the cradle is deep enough to fit my larger ear tips on the FW3 and the entire earphone will sit snugly within the cradle and close shut completely. Reason why I go over this is because I have had TWS products in the past that do not close 100% with some of my bigger tips/ foam tips for example. No such issue for the FW3.

Each full charge yields about 5-6 hours of music in LHDC with the Fiio M15S and even longer on aptx codec on my samsung galaxy phone at about 7 hours of continuous music listening. Cradle is good for 14 hours of charge time or about 4 charge cycles. If you have conversations with the mic it lessens the battery time. My use case with conversations and music listening yielded more like 5-6 hours before the sound started to cut out but certainly not bad and very usable. A quick dock in the cradle and you're listening to music and conversing again.

Sound quality. The reason why you should take interest in these.
What you're essentially getting is Fiios version of a harmon tuned balanced sound with an uplift for bass, a mild upper mid emphasis for vocal and tonal clarity finished off by a moderate emphasis for trebles. It's the extensions on both ends of the sound that is surprising. The sound quality is solid with a full bodied smooth large and in charge highly musical sound right out of the box. Its sound presentation, an expansive wider stage for in ears, with a full amplified sound is something you will never expect to hear from a TWS product but that is what you're going to hear.

It is something akin to the old days when you used your nicer portable amplifier connected to your phone with your wired IEM on the go. This amplified and expanded sound quality is something to behold. Very dynamic and well balanced with a surprisingly wide and deep stage for in-ear sound. The sound quality here is very versatile for all types of music and its full bodied signature is great to get you into your music on the go. It might not have the absolute best details for earphone presentations but as far as musicality goes the FW3 has that in spades. It will be difficult for wired IEMs to replicate the full bored sound of the FW3 at the price range. And this is the reason why you should be putting in your pre orders in for a set of FW3 to get yourself one. If sound quality matters to you. Take the FW3 very seriously.

Trebles are clean and nicely defined. Here is where the difference is from the FW5 vs the FW3. The driver being used for the FW3 seems to be similar to the one used in Fiios new FD11 which also had a surprising sound quality and treble detail. The FW3 trebles are slightly enhanced with good extension to give you some addictive shimmer and sparkle. Its transient attack and decay for its performance sounds natural in delivery and if you're concerned about too much or too little treble presence. Trebles here is not an afterthought but actually has enough there for tonal accuracy to enhance the rich full bodied sound performance on the FW3. I have to admit Fiio as of late has greatly improved their treble tuning in their IEMs and it shows for the FW3. There is no lack of trebles and certainly nothing with a grating bright tonal quality or an egregious spike in the trebles to cause fatigue. The clean clear trebles are satisfactory and seem to come through easily even without the use of a dual BA that the FW5 is using. The greatest aspect of using a single dynamic is its cohesion of sound. Fluid and effortless in transition, trebles are definitely nicely done if not a refined sounding treble on the FW3.

Mids of the FW3 show good balance for its performance. Fiio usually tunes with a bit of an upper mid lift and here the tonal balance is natural and projects with a dimensional quality again something you don't get much in the sub $100 range for IEMs. Mids emphasis is slightly behind its bass end but to be honest I prefer my music that way on the go anyhow so for me, it sounds balanced and more how I like to hear my music outdoors. Mids presents with a large spacious full meaty sound profile that shows excellent layering in space. Here is where I feel the FW3 gets it right. The mids are the bulk of your music so the important mids here if lacking in imaging or detail will not be good for a full sound experience. Fortunately the mids of the FW3 is rich in tonal character and full bored to get you into your music. The idea of using more drivers for a more involved mids experience is moot here as the FW3 has a surprisingly easy to listen to tonal quality with just a hint of warmth to it, which again is more natural for music performances vs being cooler or brighter on the opposite end of tonal skew for sound.

Vocals come rich and nuanced, roomy with very good range. The smooth transition from the treble notes to the mids are seamless and the mids have excellent technical traits. This driver Fiio is using clearly shows an ample ability for definition and imaging. It's a timbrally accurate sounding experience not lacking any type of body or weight for instruments and vocals alike. The mids performance comes full on with plenty of dynamism from how I am hearing the FW3. If you like your music, weighty, having an excellent body of note the FW3 delivers huge on those fronts and all this is coming from a single amplified 10mm dynamic. The integration of using the AKM4332 chip here clearly has an effect on just how frontal, immersive and grand the sound quality is on the FW3. With nothing limp or thin in the sound the mids come alive and sound becomes very active to feed your musical tastes with plenty of juice on hand. It is the type of mids performance you would never expect coming from the sub $100 TWS product. Vocals sound lush, instruments get that weighty delivery. You love your Jazz, orchestral, folk instrumental and vocal music. The sound of the FW3 dynamic nature makes an eclectic music collection sound very good on the go.

It's not the most detailed sound, especially when it comes to micro details. This is where the benefit of multi BAs has an edge but it easily makes up for it with a smooth big, large effortless and truly dynamic sound experience. Its macro detailing is superb and is right up in your grill as how those details sound and is a strong suit for the FW3. You have to be realistic with a sub $100 TWS product but really for what it was meant for. Fiio nailed the sound quality on this one. If you're into your skinny neutral sound, time to look elsewhere.

I have done reviews for some of Fiios best wired dynamics FD5 and even their flagship FD7. The dynamics of the FW3 are comparable to the FD5 and its richer tonal character is more akin to the tonal qualities of the FD7 but costs a fragment of how much both of those sets cost. Sure those have superior technicalities over the FW3 but when you're out on the street or at the office for a bit of a break time. The FW3 is just as satisfying but with the advantage of not being wired, not being tethered to a large DAP, or a portable amp, not to mention, you can use the included mic for meetings the other two can’t.

Bass. Much like how the FW5 was tuned with punchy bass emphasis, so is the FW3. The bass end of the FW3 is not the tightest or is it the best defined here. But its quantity is just about right for outdoor use. The way bass works for outdoor use is that bass is naturally drowned out by ambient noise. Since the FW3 has no ANC, well bass is your musical ANC! As much bass that the FW3 has, once you're outdoors among a crowded street the sound ends up sounding more balanced than being the bass emphasized tuning the FW3 actually has. You can say this is a design trait of a TWS product for use outdoors in noisy environments. Bass here much like the rest of the sound has forwardness to it with some very good authority.

There is nothing really neutral on the FW3 and it is clearly a colored sound but one that I feel was done very tastefully and actually welcomed for its intended use. You're into your EDM and hip hop. The FW3 is very good for those genres due to its full bass end with a brawny low bass rumble and a wide deep spacious stage. Bass with authority will come at a cost. The Bass has some bleed into the mids of the FW3 but mostly for Bass genres. Overall I don't find it to be a problem on a sub $100 TWS IEM. Music with lighter bass notes stay light and hence the FW3 clearly shows control for the region. The FW3 bass end is a reason why you want to use these outdoors.

Bass is amplified punchy and for its amount of bass there is a bit of bleed. What's really impressive is its sub bass performance. Which is got that woofer like rumble quality going on. Its texture is not world class but certainly satisfactory if not smile inducing at the given price range. Again that AKM4332 DAC integration seems to amplify the entire sound including the bass note for greater presence to how you're hearing it. Truth is, all Fiio made IEMs have bass included with their sound tunings. Only a handful I can recall that they have ever made with a neutral leaning bass FA7S but even those had some punchy mid bass to it. The FW3 delivers a full bored bass end to its sound and it will please folks that want that bass on the go. The bass end could be better defined, and it could use better texture and tightness but for what is on there at the price. It's got a healthy amount in sheer quantity. The FW5 does have a better tighter bass end to its makeup but heck I am OK with the unadulterated bass effect from the FW3.

In the end the FW3 has got so much going for them. They might not have the latest and greatest tech going on for its TWS end but if you need something simple, easy to use, but most importantly a forward punchy full bored dynamic sound quality on the go. The FW3 is one of those products I can easily recommend to family and friends especially if you need a TWS in ear for easy access to your phone's music, media, for meetings or talking for your busy work or commute. Its AKM4332 integration makes them unique among TWS products and it clearly shows just how brawny/ powerful the sound is. This is a product that you're clearly going to get your money's worth in function and especially sound quality and hence it's a product I will gladly give two enthusiastic thumbs up for. These are clearly made for casual and immersive music listening and for that it's a shining example of what can be achieved with good integration of technology with good sound tuning and you have the FW3. Thanks for taking the time to read.
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FW5 sub bass is rather poor. Is it the same for FW3? In other words, could you please compare FW3 and 5 sub bass quality and quantity?
very handy tws on the go