FiiO M7 High-Resolution Lossless Audio Player: Samsung’s Exynos 7270 SoC, aptX-HD , LDAC, FM radio

General Information

FiiO M7 is FiiO’s first music player for the year of 2018 featuring:

※ A Fully Modern Technological Core (Samsung’s Exynos 7270 SoC)
※ State-of-the-art 6-layer multi-stage Blind and Buried Via PCB technology
※ Suppoorts high fidelity wireless including aptX-HD and LDAC audio codecs
※ USB audio digital output by pairing with M7 / Q1MKII through USB or Bluetooth
※ ESS Sabre 9018 chip for unsurpassed sound quality
※ Discover a whole new world of FM radio
※ A play time of 20 hours and a standby time up to a whopping 40 days
※ Employs a 3.2-inch 480 x 800 display with image zooming support
※ 2GB of built-in storage + up to a single 512GB micro SD card for storage expansion
※ Getting modern with USB Type-C

Go check the detailed introduction of M7 (available in Black and Silver now) at:http://fiio.net/en/products/89

Latest reviews

Pros: Size and build quality
- Battery life
- Audio quality
- Volume wheel and buttons feedback
- User interface
- Extensive BT support
- FM Radio!
- USB-C
- Good support (recieved 2 updates while I had it)
Cons: Performance issues
- Anti-ergonomic form factor
- No Wi-Fi
- Screen quality could be a little bit better
DISCLAIMER

Although FiiO provided this unit to test it on the international review tour they have organized, the review I present here shows just my opinion as objectively as possible, without any bias nor other interests beyond my personal beliefs and overall impressions that I had with the device.

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Introduction

When FiiO announced this DAP, it immediately caught my attention along with other recent contenders like the HiBy R3 or the Shanling M0, as I was looking for something around the $200ish range that offered the best bang for my buck.

At the time that FiiO organized the international tour and saw that I could be eligible (this was a few months ago, July to be exact), I didn't hesitate to sign up to give the M7 a try and see if it met my expectations. Unfortunately, due to the delay to have it in my hands (because of other participants, added to the need I had for a dedicated music player), I ended up buying an xDuoo X20 that I got at a very good price in an offer, same that I now use as my personal DAP.

On the bright side, now I have a starting point to assess the good and bad that this new M7 offers, in a more objective and contrasted way, instead of reviewing it as if it were the first DAP I've ever tested.


Package & accesories

I'm not going to evaluate the quality of packaging in depth, mainly because this is a unit for an international tour and therefore the box is considerably damaged and not very pleasant to see (it has gone through other hands), but you can see it in detail in other reviews, like this or this one.

Be that as it may, the package qualifies as correct for the price, including the DAP with a pre-applied tempered glass screen protector, a USB-A to USB-C cable and a silicone case.

Additionally, I received another small box with the Type-C to microUSB adapter, which I haven't tried since I no longer have a phone with microUSB input or an external portable amplifier (such as the Q1 Mark II or the Q5 recommended by FiiO).

Hardware & design

The M7 I received was in an elegant and well finished black color, but you can also get it in silver, red or blue. The construction consists on a block entirely made of aluminum (except for the small bluetooth receiver on the back and the screen on the front), with solid buttons and excellent touch, providing a very satisfactory feedback.

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The design, although subjective, I think is safe to say that it's attractive at least, with a perfect size and sleek angular forms, looking for a minimalist approach. However, in terms of ergonomics I have to say that this is a negative point, since the comfort when holding it with those square and sharp corners is far from comfy, even with the silicone case on.

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Below we find the always well received USB-C (believe me, I have ruled out the purchase of many modern products only for the absence of USB-C, it seems to me that in 2018 there is no excuse to continue using microUSB), so THANKS for using common sense here, FiiO.

In the upper part we find the power button, also made of aluminum with a red ring around it and a LED that lights up in a not-so-nice blue tone when the DAP is turned on (I would have preferred white, or at least have the option to change the color or deactivate it). It also serves to see the status of the battery charge in a glance when you are charging it.

We find the 3.5 mm jack too, which also makes the line output function works when we select it in the settings menu.

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On the left side we find the pause, forward and rewind buttons, as well as the volume adjustment wheel, which seems to be one of the crown jewels of the player, offering an excellent clicky feel when we rotate it, with an ideal travel and solid arrangement, just like the rest of the buttons.

Finally, on the right side we find the microSD card slot (up to 512 GB). There is not much more to see on this side.

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Features & user experience

The FiiO M7 comes with a highly customized layer of Android on top of what appears to be version 7.0, which is quite direct and pleasing to the eye, with gestures that facilitate navigation and almost all functions related to the music playback and connectivity that someone may need in this price range (or at least all that I need, for sure) in a very minimalist and practical way. Compared to the xDuoo X20 in this regard, the difference is overwhelming, the FiiO looks perfectly like a 2018 device while the xDuoo looks more like a decade ago.

It also has a FM radio that works very well and is a pretty useful addition for a device of this nature (which for some reason most manufacturers forget), as well as a gallery app to see the covers of the albums we have stored or the clock function (my xDuoo X20 doesn't even have clock with the original firmware).

With regard to connectivity, it has BT 4.2 for broadcast and reception (with the latest firmware), support for a large number of codecs, including aptX-HD, LDAC and even HWA (also with the latest firmware). It does not have Wi-Fi though, but it seems a perfectly acceptable concession for me, especially since I'm not interested in using streaming services in a device like this (even though it could undoubtedly have been useful for local area connections or to receive OTA updates).

USB DAC works like a charm too, instantly recognized by Windows 10 with no need for additional drivers, just plug&play.


Unfortunately, the good work in the software and connectivity department is overshadowed with performance issues, even with the latest firmware (v1.0.4) installed. The lags happen more often than I would like when scrolling, in the gallery, browsing through the music folders and even while skipping songs... I have no doubts about the processing capacity of the Exynos 7270 or the FiiO software team, but I think there is some hardware bottleneck in the M7 that makes it impossible to offer a completely fluid experience (maybe RAM quantity, I don't know). Performance-wise, even my X20 feels snappier and more responsive with its prehistoric non-tactile navigation and poor sofware support from xDuoo, so I really hope that this has been addressed with the M9 or miraculously corrected with future software updates, FiiO!

Do not get me wrong, the M7 is a great player and it's perfectly usable, but that sense of lag and inconsistent performance is still clear compared to a modern mobile phone (even a low-end one). I think it's something that DAP manufacturers should take note of, particularly with Android-based tactile DAPs, so please take note of this, FiiO.

Audio quality

I would like to remind you that this is an objectivist review, written by someone who doesn't believe in "wow so amazing" sound differences between devices with characteristics that exceed our listening capacity (something that I've been able to contrast thanks to blind controlled tests in the past), so please don't expect tons of subjectivist poetry.

For me, the reasons that justify the purchase of a DAP lie in the ability to carry a huge amount of local music thanks to the storage expandability (which fewer and fewer mobile phone manufacturers offer today), a greater power in its amplification stage than any phone on the market, additional features such as USB DAC functionality, BT transmission, great battery life, dedicated buttons for music playback, low output impedance, gapless playing, etc.

That said, the audio quality of the FiiO M7 is excellent, with a flat frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (as marked by the manufacturer's specifications), so no coloration, magical enhancements, sweet musicality or terminology alike... Only the music doing its job and the M7 projecting it with solvency while offering enough power to drive my Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee and let's not say my Massdrop Plus (which is what I've at home for now).


Speaking of which, output power is rated at ≥40mW@32 ohms (THD+N<1%), but even with the 150 ohms of the Jubilees, I find myself never going to the max 60 steps of volume that the M7 brings, so think twice before underestimating the M7 by its power figures.

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Compared to my xDuoo X20, at the same volume, both sound just as good to me, with the power difference in favor of the xDuoo, which provides a bigger headroom thanks to the output power it offers (overkill in my opinion, I don't even use the balanced output). Of course, your mileage may vary if you use headphones with high impedances and low sensitivities, but I don't think you get a M7 to drive an HiFiMAN HE6 anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Both DAPs offer very low output impedance values, which allows perfect compatibility with low impedance IEMs like my Massdrop Plus. The xDuoo X20 has 0.1 ohm of output impedance at its normal output, but compared to the 2 ohms that FiiO indicates for the M7, I haven't noticed any major differences between the two, so big kudos here for FiiO.

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As far as music formats goes, the M7 can handle with everything PCM up to 24bit/192kHz and DSD up to 5.6 MHz (DSD128), which is fine if you have music in those esoteric formats. For what it's worth. I have some samples in DSD128 and the M7 plays them without hesitate.


Conclusions

Despite being the first contact I have with a FiiO product, I think they have done a remarkable job with the M7 in general terms. In the absence of trying other alternatives similary priced (such as the HiBy R3), I consider that the package offered here is quite complete and not very easy to overcome across the board.

For $200 you get a pretty small DAP with excellent build quality, great music playback controls, very good battery life, modern and easy-to-use interface, many useful functions (thanks for the FM radio!), enough power for portable purposes, compatibility with most of the formats that you can have in your music library and of course, a well established reputation by FiiO support team with regular updates.

Needless to say, it is not perfect, I think that both the form factor in ergonomic terms and some inconsistencies here and there with the performance penalize it the most... But hey, it's not that bad either, is it? :wink:

I hope you guys found this a little useful for your purchase decisions and not too annoying to read!


Many thanks to FiiO again for having provided me with this unit for testing and review.

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(Bonus) Comparison pics with the xDuoo X20

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elNan
elNan
Buena reseña!! Ya saca las chelas carnal :wink:
U
usuario74
So which one do you prefer the m7 or the Xduoo X20?
Merkurio
Merkurio
At the end of the day, I think I prefer the X20 a little more.
Pros: - Excellent Shape, Portability and Build Quality
- Accepts all known Bluetooth Protocols, very versatile
- Bright, well colored display
- Good Battery Life
- Neutral Sound that fits with any headphone you try to pair it with
- Clear, Crisp, Textured sound
- Good firmware support
- The microSD slot offers support for all microSD cards available on the market
- Case included in the package
- It has FM Radio and DSD decoding abilities
Cons: - No Balanced Output
- The display could have been a bit brighter for daylight legibility
- Soundstage is not quite that wide
- No Wifi
FiiO M7 - Versatile in Bluetooth

FiiO M7 is a great little DAP from FiiO made with one thing in mind, to be truly portable. We're going to compare it to similarly priced Players, as well as test its sonic performance, since its price indicates it to be at least a midrange DAP.







Introduction

FiiO is ubiquitous in the audiophile industry, everyone knowing them for their great products, amazing customer support, and for always offering an excellent price. It is much better to have FiiO (as well as other known companies with good customer support) products and their excellent support than having to deal with companies that offer no support and send you through tens of hours of talking with their customer support, where you may never get a solution. We know firsthand that FiiO does offer excellent support, and they will always find a solution that is good for the customer. M7 makes an interesting entry, as FiiO was never known for their bluetooth products before, M7 being the first FiiO product to feature all the important Bluetooth Audiophile Protocols, as well as the promise of an excellent sonic performance, as well as software support, in a really tiny package. Of course, we need to test those things by ourselves, especially with FiiO sporting many promotions and bundles including M7, and their best-selling IEMs, FiiO F9Pro.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with FiiO, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by FiiO or anyone else. I'd like to thank FiiO for providing the sample for the review. The sample was provided along with FiiO's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review will be as objective as it is humanly possible, and it reflects my personal experience with FiiO M7. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in FiiO M7 find their next music companion.



About me

https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/about.html



Packaging

First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:













The package of M7 is pretty much essential, but all-inclusive. It comes in a nicely designed package, and it comes with a silicone case, as well as a USB cable. There is a screen protector applied on the display from the factory, thing which is quite lovely. Besides the case and the USB cable, as well as the manuals, there's not much included in the package. Happily, not much else is necessary for one to enjoy this one little DAP, and we feel FiiO did a great job at including stuff one may require, without going over-the-top.



What to look in when purchasing a high-end DAP

https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/what-to-lookl.html



Technical Specifications









Build Quality/Aesthetics/UI/Firmware

The build quality is quite amazing, the whole device is made of metal and glass, with certain plastic patches, clicky and satisfying buttons, and the device is well put together.

At the top of the device, there is a power button, as well as the Single-Ended Line-Out / Headphone combo jack. There is a volume wheel on the left side, as well as the seek / music cntrol buttons, and there is a USB Type-C port at the bottom of the device.


We are quite happy that FiiO switched over to Type-C rather than using microUSB USB ports.













M7 comes with a display protector made of glass installed on its display, thing which made us quite happy. The display is rather bright on typical light conditions, and it is readable in full sunlight, but we wish that future display panels used in Players would be even brighter. The display is crisp and sharp, both fonts and cover art looks nice.

The firmware is quite different from other FiiO DAPs, this time FiiO having done an amazing job with the firmware, developing a user interface and operating environment for M7 themselves, instead of having Hiby do it for them. The firmware is average in speed, but it is rock stable, we haven't had a single crash. IT is mostly intuitive, and it holds all the features most people will require for their DAP, including easy access to Bluetooth, EQ, and all of the bells and whistles FiiO included with M7.

The back of the device has a large plastic area at the top, where the antennas are, for better Bluetooth reliability.





If there's anything we aren't sure about, that is the aesthetic of M7, it is a beautiful device, and it is very ergonomic once in hand, but many people may have the tendency of holding it upside down the first few times, as most devices tend to have the larger area without display at the bottom rather than at the top. The only other slightly satisfying aspect of M7's shape is the fact that it has corners. We prefer our DAPs (Digital Audio Players) without any corners, and with less sharp edges, for both their ergonomic protection while in a pocket, and for better comfort. In this aspect, M7 is rather thin and slim, so we can look the other way when it comes to corners and sharper cuts, but less corners and less edges mean better ergonomics for the user in general.

Now, when it comes to bluetooth, FiiO embedded a truly amazing BT module in M7, having a really strong BT signal, as well as support for all those popular and new BT options, and being rock-stable in APT-X, as well as all the other modes we tested it in. There's almost no delay when using bluetooth, and in all honest, M7 is simply crazy fun to use as a bluetooth transmitter with its small size, and snappy performance.



All in all, we feel that FiiO did a lot of effort in designing M7 to be as ergonomic as possible, and in making it reliable. It reaches the golden standards of build quality, aesthetics and firmware.




Sound Quality

For the sonic impressions, we had a serious amount of burn-in, and we used M7 via its headphone port, connected to a multitude of headphones and IEMs. We have tested the bluetooth abilities of M7, but the sonic signature there will be determined by the DAC and AMP modules embedded in the headphone, not on M7.







So, when connecting a headphone to the headphone port of M7, you will hear everything. A truly transparent and clear window that has no errors, it is so transparent that you'd be quite impressed this is possible at this price point. The word that would best describe M7 is neutral, it is neutral from the bass to the midrange and the treble, everything is neutral, no warmth added, no brightness added, everything is perfectly neutral. This also means that it works quite well with anything you're going to connect it with, being quite versatile.

Starting with the bass, it is neutral, quick and quite deep. The bass is fast enough to be impressive when it has to, but also deep and explosive when the music calls for it. While not warm or tilted towards any direction, the bass is most fun and pleasing to listen to. The fact that there's no tilting towards a warmer or a colder sound means that M7 is very versatile in pairings with IEMs and Headphones, so you don't have to worry about pairing and synnergy.

The midrange is also quite interesting, as it is rather neutral, well toned, has just the right amount of thickness, and it has a nice amount of texturization. In all honesty, the detail level is great for the price point, and we couldn't find any negatives to the sound of M7.


The treble of M7 is very neutral and well-extended, which is quite different from the smooth experience FiiO X5-3, but similar to X7mkii's treble. The highest notes can be heard quite easily, and there is enough air to consider M7's sound to be truly neutral.



Considering the way M7 is tuned, it is basically a clean window without any tint or color, it is as transparent as we've seen for this price point, and if you're looking for a honest representation of your music, M7 should be able to help you a lot.



Soundstage

The soundstage of M7 is good for the price point, but not quite that large compared with premium DAPs like X7mkii, being clear that it is in a different price range. Instrument separation is quite good on an overall level, instruments are separate and sound distinct from each other, the biggest throttle point for instrument separation being the headphones and IEMs rather than M7 in most pairings you will do.



ADSR/PRaT

The ADSR and PRaT (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release, and Pace Rhythm and Timing) characteristics of FiiO M7 are great for the price point. The overall PRaT is natural to slightly quick, textures are clear and vivid, micro textures are audible, although they are not overexpressed.



Portable Usage

FiiO M7 makes a statement in what a portable DAP is by having a tiny size, a great battery life, and even having connectivity with almost any Bluetooth device, including the latest Bluetooth protocols made for high-quality music.

The screen is bright, not overly bright, but readable in full sunlight in a Summer Romanian day.





The overall device is smol, lightweight, the navigation is rather intuitive, every feature works the way it is supposed to, and the bluetooth has a strong signal that doesn't break while walking or jogging, making M7 an ideal player for those actions.

The silicone case helps with keeping it outdoors, and it will protect M7 if it takes a hit to the ground, making a great addition to the package.


We tested the Bluetooth stability and interference while taking a jog through the Politehnics Park in Bucharest, where we run for a good 15 minutes, and we go near a power transforming station, and below high-tension wires. We can happily say that we detected no signal degradation with M7 during this test.



M7 can also do FM Radio, if you want to switch to something more tradition for a change, and it can also do DSD Decoding, so you can enjoy everything, from the lower resolution FM Radio, all the way to high-resolution music.

The battery life is better than average for a DAP, with up to 20 hours quoted by FiiO with their average usage tests, and with about 10 hours in our tests, with high volumes, max screen display, and with a lot of screen-on-time. We'd like to see longer battery lives in the future, in all devices, but most music lovers prefer their devices smaller, and this is why most companies tend to include smaller batteries with their offerings.



Select Pairings

Please note that for any pairing, the IEM has more impact on the final result than the DAP, the best DAP being one that is as transparent as possible - FiiO M7 being rather excellent in this sense.



FiiO M7 + FiiO F9Pro - FiiO F9Pro has a unique balanced-neutral sound that was loved by many around the worlds, and it is understandable that it has a great synergy with FiiO M7, sounding as clear, as crisp and as balanced as ever. Some listeners may still prefer to employ a little EQ to warm up FiiO F9Pro's sound a bit, but we feel that with M7, you get a really well-priced, interesting and intriguing experience.

FiiO M7 + FiiO FH5 - FiiO FH5 has taken a different road from F9Pro, featuring a much stronger bass, much warmer overall sound, with more thiccness, less treble quantity, but with the same nice extension, and with a little midrange peak that brings the voices forward more. FH5 also has a smaller soundstage, but much better instrument separation when compared to F9Pro, which makes it quite an experience in its own right. FH5 sounds quite nice with M7, another pairing that is not only well-priced, but also has a nice weight, nice impact, nice thiccness, and a clear overall presentation.

FiiO M7 + Etymotic ER3XR - ER3XR is a different IEM from FiiO's offering, by having a much more linear bass, a similarly intimate soundstage like FH5, but with more focus on the midrange, as ER3XR also has less treble than FH5. It is basically, an amazingly well-done midrange IEM with a lot of midrange. A good reason to test how M7 sounds with ER3XR is that ER3XR is quite good at revealing the PRaT and ADSR of a source, basically showing how well a source handles textures and actual revealing abilities. In all fairness, FiiO M7 is at least as good as most DAPs in this price range, being quite amazing how much FiiO was able to do for the 200 USD that M7 costs.




Comparisons







FiiO M7 vs Cayin N5ii - Now, this one is rather interesting, because with the sales going on for N5ii, it may be found at prices with only 50% more than M7 in some places, and the two are somewhat similar in shape, but quite different in actual operation. N5ii had a much higher price at release, but with the current discounts, we're sure people may be considering both as their future music companions. Let's begin with the obvious, they look similar in design. In fact, M7 is so similar to N5ii that coming from one, the other feels quite native in one's hand. There are some differences in the way the volume wheels are implemented, but you're basically looking at two devices that look pretty much the same. Going to the user interface and software, the two are rather different, N5ii providing support for Streaming services, Wifi, as well as Bluetooth, where M7 has the advantage of providing much stronger bluetooth support when it comes to newer and better Bluetooth protocols, but it doesn't have any Wifi. On the other hand, if we're talking about the storage abilities, N5ii has two microSD slots, while M7 has one. The displays are hugely different, N5ii's display being blue-tinted when compared to M7, which has a pretty naturally-colored display. N5ii has a 2.5mm Balanced output. The sound is actually different between the two, and although they have a similar amount of driving power, M7 feels more neutral, where N5ii is a bit warmer, a bit wider, and a bit more forward. M7 feels a bit more neutral, a bit more laid back. If you want two microSD slots, Wifi, and if you don't mind having a slightly blue-tinted display, then N5ii makes a great choice, while if you only need one microSD slot, but you want the latest Bluetooth Protocols, you want a better display, and if you don't need the Balanced output that N5ii has, but M7 doesn't then M7 makes an excellent overall choice.


FiiO M7 vs Opus #1s - We picked Opus #1s because, like M7, it is a rather minimalistic DAP with no Wifi, being more of a typical usage-scenario DAP. The two devices are a bit away in price, but they are a bit away in performance as well, Opus #1s being much stronger in its driving power than M7, having a warmer sound, more control, a slightly smoother tone, and a wider soundstage. M7, by comparison feels more neutral, a bit more intimate, and doesn't have the driving power of #1s, rather, being better oriented for IEMs, where #1s can surely drive some big headphones as well. The buttons on the two DAPs are really nice, but if you like having a wheel for controlling volume, then M7 features one, while #1s only has buttons for you to control the volume with. On the other hand, #1s has a larger display, and a brighter display, if you need to see your device well in full sunlight, while M7's display is smaller and not quite as bright. Opus #1s has a Balanced output, while M7 doesn't have one. If you need more driving power and a warmer sound, #1s is a great option, but if you want a more neutral sound, along with a smaller device, but with excellent Bluetooth abilities, then M7 still makes an excellent choice, being about half of the price of #1s.

FiiO M7 vs HIFIMAN Megamini - Megamini is a similarly shaped device when compared to M7, but it has no touchscreen, relying on buttons rather than a touchscreen. At the same time, Megamini is priced at half of M7 at the moment of writing this review, and we can say, without a doubt, that as far as the user experience goes, M7 is infinitely better. Megamini is incredibly minimalistic, having no advanced features, no Bluetooth, the buttons feeling slow and taking a lot of time to browse large lists of music. Megamini also has certain limits to the maximum microSD card size, that FiiO M7 doesn't have. When it comes to the sound, though, Megamini surely isn't anywhere to be complained about, at only half the price of M7, being pretty much one heck of an experience. FiiO M7 tends to be heavier than Megamini, if ultimate portability is a concern, but M7 has a volume wheel if you like controlling the volume with a wheel. There are some differences in sonics as well though, Megamini being warmer, wider and more powerful in its sound, M7 being more intimate, more neutral, and a tad less strong when compared to Megamini. Even so, if you need Bluetooth, and proper touchscreen navigation, then M7 is a much better option, while if you need a great sound that is warm-ish, wide, and powerful, then Megamini still is an interesting choice.




Value and Conclusion

We've been reviewing a device that costs about 200 USD at the time of writing this review. This places M7 in the area of entry-level DAPs, as well as midrange DAPs. M7 has to justify its position in a market that's quite full of great little devices, so we'll start a little recap on what we've been saying so far.



Starting with the package, M7 feels well packaged, and it comes with things you may find handy. It doesn't come with a wall charger, but we feel this is for the better, considering that this is supposed to be a global DAP, and many countries have many types of plugs. In fact, it charges just fine from any of our wall chargers, so you don't need to worry about that. There is a silicone case included in the package, as well as a USB cable, which you will find handy.

The portability of the device is quite excellent, and so is the user experience, with FiiO M7 sporting all of the big Bluetooth protocols, including the latest and best sounding ones, as well as a single microSD slot, where you can fit microSD cards as big as they exist on the market, which at the moment of writing this review is about 512GB.



If you're a fan of a clean, crisp, clear and transparent sound, then FiiO M7 will make a great companion, as it is as transparent as we've heard, without any kind of tilting towards warmth or brightness. The soundstage size is quite commendable for its price, and the instrument separation is great. If anything is questionable for M7, it is how it manages to be so different from FiiO's house sound, which used to be warm for this price range, but nevertheless, we're quite happy with it, and we feel most music lovers will be, as it will not color the sound, and it will leave all coloration to be done by the headphones / IEMs.



In the end, if you're looking for a mini DAP, something that is truly portable, something crisp and transparent, something little but strong, then FiiO M7 makes a great choice and should bring you lots of happiness for a good while.



Playlist used for this review

While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
Eskimo Callboy - Frances
Incubus - Summer Romance
Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir

Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
Manafest - Impossible
Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
Doctor P - Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
SOAD - Chop Suey
Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
Eminem - Rap God
Stromae - Humain À L'eau
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
Metallica - Fuel
Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
Masa Works - Golden Japang
REOL - Luvoratorrrrry

Korn - Word Up!
Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
Fever The Ghost - Source
Fall Out Boy - Immortals
Green Day - Know The Enemy
Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
A static Lullaby - Toxic
Royal Republic - Tommy Gun
Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
Skillet - What I Believe




I hope my review is helpful to you!

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Contact us!










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Pros: fairly neutral, black background, easy UI, price, bluetooth, nice stripped down player
Cons: Many may want wifi and balanced etc, but FiiO has that covered with their other daps
FiiO M7 Review
- Expatinjapan



FiiO M7 review
- expatinjapan
http://www.fiio.net/en/products/89


FiiO M7 and FiiO FB1 Bluetooth earphones

A pleasing dap that at a generous asking price of US$200 delivers a wide range of options within its UI, plus Bluetooth and line out to boot, an expandable memory of 512GB via Micro SD slot, light weight and a beautiful screen.
The FiiO M7 is a pure player minus many of the bells and whistles that the audio community has come to expect. It is suitable for the budding audiophile, sporty type or person on the go.
The FiiO M7 has a natural, smooth delicate sound that is fairly balanced, approaches neutrality with a wee touch of warm depth at its nether reaches. It has enough clarity, transparency, speed, resolution to satisfy even the serious audiophile.

Unboxing










Clear case and USB C cable
















Micro SD card slot, up to 512GB. More than enough.




Nice rotary volume wheel, physical buttons.



Size! FiiO M7 and FiiO X7ii







Booting up and initial guide menus













Price

US199 on Amazon USA store.



Specifications

Main Unit
Name / Model No. M7 Operating System Deeply customized Android
CPU model Exynos 7270 14nm No. of cores 4
CPU operating frequency 1.4GHz DAC ES9018Q2C
Keyboard Virtual QWERTY keyboard Input method Touchscreen
Special features LDAC,FM radio,clock,gestures operation User interface Deeply customized /FiiO Music
Chips used SoC: Samsung Exynos 7270 , DAC:ES9018Q2C, FM chip:Si4705,Bluetooth chip:SAMSUNG S5N5C10B01-6330
Connectivity
WiFi N/A Bluetooth Bluetooth V4.2,aptX/aptX-HD supported
USB TYPE C USB2.0 LDAC Supported
Display screen
Display size 3.2 inches Number of colours 0.26 million colors
Display type TFT Viewable angle Full-view
Resolution 480×800 Pixel density 292 ppi
Touchscreen Yes

Storage
RAM 768MB Total ROM 4GB
Storage expansion type Micro SD card ROM available to user 2GB
Maximum storage expansion 512GB (only one micro SD card slot)

Buttons and ports
Buttons Side buttons + side volume wheel+ touchscreen Custom key mapping N/A
Headphone out 3.5mm standard headphone output jack (shared PO/LO) Balanced output N/A
Line out 3.5mm standard headphone output jack (shared PO/LO) USB connection TYPE C USB2.0(charging / data transfer)
Digital Coaxial/Optical out N/A
General
Color Black / Silver / Red / Blue Dimensions 52mm×109mm×13mm
Weight About 116 g Volume control 60 steps digital potentiometer
Recommended headphone impedance 16~100 Ω Equalizer 10-band EQ (±6dB), 9 presets+custom preset
Treble boost N/A Bass boost N/A
Balance control ±5 dB Gain control N/A
USB DAC N/A

Power specifications
USB power adapter DC 5V/2A recommended Battery Internal 1880mAh Li-polymer battery
Charging indication Red light indicates,blue light turns on after fully charged Charging time <2.5 h(DC5V/2A)
Battery indication Yes (accurate battery % readings)

Battery Life & Test Conditions
3.5mm headphone output:≥20 h
Volume 15 Load M3 open earbuds (27 Ω)
EQ OFF Screen OFF
Test File MP3 44.1kHz/16bit
Bluetooth output:>26 h
Volume 60 Load 32Ω
Test File MP3 44.1kHz/16bit Screen OFF

Others
Firmware Upgrade
Supported via zip file placed in internal storage or micro SD card
(*The product uses GPLv2 compliant firmware.)
Font size N/A
Clock Supported Third-party apps support N/A
FM Index
Output power
>20mW(76MHz)
>30mW(108MHz)
SNR
>50dBA(76MHz)
>70dBA(108MHz)
THD+N
<0.3%(76MHz)
<0.1%(108MHz)
Frequency response 20Hz~4KHz(-3dB)
Covered region 76-108MHz

Line output specifications
THD+N <0.004% (1 kHz/10kΩ) SNR ≥117dB (A-weighted)
Frequency response 20Hz~90 kHz(-3dB) Noise floor <3 uV
Channel separation ≥100dB (1 kHz) Line level >1.2Vrms (10 kΩ/1 kHz)
Headphone out specifications (3.5mm headphone out jack)
Output power 1 ≥70mW(16Ω / THD+N<1%) Output impedance <2 Ω(32Ω loaded)
Output power 2 ≥40mW(32Ω /THD+N<1%) THD+N <0.004%
Frequency response 10Hz~90 kHz(-3dB) Peak output voltage 3.35 Vp-p
SNR ≥117dB (A-weighted) Noise floor <3 uV
File format support
Lossless:
DSD:DSD64(“.dsf”,“.dff”)
APE - FAST:192kHz/24bit(MAX.)
Apple Lossless:192kHz/24bit(MAX.)
AIFF:192kHz/24bit(MAX.)
FLAC:192kHz/24bit(MAX.)
WAV:192kHz/24bit(MAX.)
WMA LOSSLESS:96kHz/24bit(MAX.)
Lossy compression:
AAC、MP3、WMA、OGG...



Firmware updates
http://www.fiio.net/en/supports/56
I am running the latest Firmware 1.03 as I finish up this review.
The following changes and improvements have been made to the FW1.0.3 compared to the FW1.0.2:
1. Added Replay Gain function;
2. Added support for DSD 128 tracks;
3. Added new function of controlling Q5 via Bluetooth;
4. Added new function of displaying the whole track list of the current directory when playing track through the File Management app;
5. Fixed issue where the Previous Track button might not work after using the screenshot function;
6. Fixed issue where the beginning of the DSD track was missing when using USB audio output;
7. Fixed issue where FiiO Music might exit abnormally with the operations: play Favorites list -> remove a track from Favorites -> add that track to another playlist;
8. Fixed issue where after switching the language, adding a track from a playlist to the Favorites list would not work correctly;
9. Fixed issue where the album art could not be displayed for some APE tracks;
10. Fixed issue where the keyboard would not popup automatically after entering Search function;
11. Miscellaneous improvements and bug fixes.


Menu

Basic stock screen.
FiiO Music, FM radio, File management, Gallery, Technical support (Firmware update info, FAQs, quick start guide), Settings.


Wallpapers can be chosen for lock screen or main screen


FiiO Player interface, basically the same as the FiiO X7ii.
Swipe to the left side for tracks easy access.


Additional options and shortcuts within the player screen



Available Bluetooth options. variety a must for many these days.







Delete Tracks, always useful.










Sound

Full, energetic, yet additionally fairly, delicate and even in its presentation.

Gentle, smooth and soft with a slight warmth at the furtherest low end, but also clear and fast.

Fun and musical with the right earphones, neutral and transparent with more reference earphones.

Not overly analytical, although it does has enough detail, clarity and separation to please.

These all may seem like opposing forces to some, but think of it more as inclusive and able to contain and include these within one form. The ideal is to find a sense of neutralness and transparency and the M7 comes very close to that. Thus allowing the earphones used to demonstrate their tuning.

Whilst the resolution, separation and layering is more than decent, it of course is not as high performing as higher priced daps, that is to be expected. It does not detract however from the quality of the M7 music playback ability and it place in the FiiO universe of daps and dacs..

It does well, stripped down of some functions other daps in the FiiO line up have such as wifi and swappable Amp modules etc means the low price does not automatically place this dap strictly in its price point. The omitted extras means you get a bit more, for less...If you are looking for a pure player minus all the extra bells and whistles.

The FiiO M7 has a natural sound, fairly neutral with a clear transparency and a solid black background.



Overall

The FiiO M7 is an easy to use, light weight entry level Dap that should prove pleasing to many a budding audiophile. From its responsive touchscreen and its physical buttons is makes it a winning purchase for the person on the go, sports person, gym goer or budding audiophile.

Able to handle a wide variety of codecs, has Bluetooth, USB out to be used as a source, decent battery life, expandable storage via Micro SD cards to 512GB and a decent dac chip the M7 is a no brainer for many of the above mentioned potential users.

No wifi so that means no streaming Tidal, Spotify, Spot the dog for all you screamers. Its a pure player. That also means you have to do a hands on computer to SD card for any firmware updates.

The volume pot has 60 steps so it is very easy to find the perfect volume setting, the wheel is smooth in its usage and the little clicks than resonate to ones fingertips are pleasing.

I had no problems using it with my Campfire Audio Andromedas, the M7 has a very black background.

As a couple of other companies have recently released daps that are half the size of the FiiO M7 some may be forgiven for thinking FiiO missed the boat on this one. But for many the size of the M7 is very human and more what they desire than a tiny dap. Each to their own. Perhaps FiiO has something new up their sleeve....?

I am running the latest Firmware 1.03 as I finish up this review. See a few sections above (Firmware updates) as such features such as replay gain have been added.

The FiiO M7, with its many UI options, Bluetooth, light weight is a pure music player with a natural, smooth and lovely balanced response with enough neutrality, transparency and resolution to please.

A brave new world dap, thats also Kickin it old school.





With the FiiO FB1 Bluetooth earphones and the FiiO BTR BT amp.






















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