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FiiO X1 Review (S$189): Why Go Back to Using an MP3 Player?

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With the advent of powerful smartphones like the iPhone, many of us have ditched our old walkmans and iPods. Who needs the extra inconvenience of carrying around another device in our pockets just to listen to music when our phones can do the job? Well, FiiO clearly disagrees, with its new X1 High-Resolution music player. This music player is built with the needs of audiophiles in mind, to deliver your high-quality music, beyond what your smartphone can convey to your dedicated high-powered earphones.

Build

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The dimensions of the X1 are 97 x 55.5 x 12mm and it has a weight of 102g. I wouldn’t consider it an extremely lightweight or compact device considering its thickness, but it is definitely portable.

On the device you will find a display, as well as a ring control which resembles the old iPod classic alongside 4 other control buttons. On the base, you get a 3.5mm audio jack for music playback, a micro-USB cable, and an microSD card slot since there is no internal storage on the device.

The front of the X1 looks glossy whereas the sides and the rear have a sandblastic metallic finish, which gives it a classy look that appeals to both genders. The sides are rounded off as well, which makes them comfortable to grip with one hand.

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Within the FiiO X1, you get a Texas Instruments PCM5142 digital-to-analogue converter alongside an Intersil ISL28291 digital amplifier buffer. The X1 can handle all types of headphones as well, since it has an impedence range of 16-100 Ohms. Some smartphones on the other hand, don’t have sufficient juice to power up high quality studio headphones.

High-Fidelity Music

 

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Apart from the fact that the X1 can support all kinds of headphones, it also is capable of playing all kinds of music files. In fact, it supports APE, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, OGG, MP3 and MP2 formats, giving you lossless and high-res audio quality which hits up to 24bit/192kHz.

User Experience

 

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Navigating around the FiiO X1 was quite a chore at first since I was used to a typical touch screen. Using the dial to scroll through songs was a tedious experience since it was hard for me to select and hit the right song in the beginning. However, once you get used to the sensitivity of the dial, it works fine. The display is rather rudimentary, basically just serving as a screen for you to select your songs, so you don’t have to shuffle through everything like the old iPod Shuffle.

Controlling music playback was fairly easy since the 4 buttons available around the dial works are dedicated to helping you navigate through the FiiO and select your music.

Transferring files using the USB Port is simple enough, much more convenient than using iTunes in my opinion, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Unlike its predecessor, the updated FiiO X1 also supports bluetooth listening now, so using it with your favourite wireless earphones is simple and convenient.

For most purposes, I’ve relied on using Spotify as my daily source of beats for my morning commutes ad my workouts, so using the FiiO X1 made things a little bit more tedious. However, with the enhanced quality of the audio files provided by the FiiO X1, it was somewhat worth it. If you listen mainly to normal pop songs, instead of haunting vocal and orchestral music, you may not detect the high-res audio quality on the FiiO X1. You have to use really quality headphones that probably go above $200 to be able to detect the difference. So if you are an audiophile like me, yes it will matter, but if you just want to use your default Apple or Samsung earpieces, you probably won’t find it too useful.

 


About the Autv-modahor

A Dentist-To-Be Dabbling in Tech Journalism:

Zayne is a writer who reports for VR-Zone, Stuff Singapore and The New Paper on all things tech-related. Follow this geek on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

Zayne Seah
A tech geek going beyond specs.

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