Last year I reviewed the X3 and thought it a very good release from FiiO but with a UI that had some growing pains and a design that was not that appealing in aesthetics but certainly functional and well built. I also remarked on the viability of the X3 in today’s hi-tech DAP market given its slightly aged looking design and hardware controls that were slightly behind more modern DAP’s but overall the tonality and the codec coverage where excellent and represented a decent start into the DAP market.
Since then the X3 has had a ton of feedback both positive and negative and further than that FiiO have been true to their word in reflecting that feedback with regular updates in the firmware to combat the UI and media library issues and also releasing new features such as DAC functionality. As a result the X3 is a popular underdog with plenty of audiophiles and at the sub $200 price point its seems to have performed pretty well.
FiiO though are never one to rest on their laurels and with the launch of the new X5 FiiO have well and truly stepped out of the budget audiophile market with a DAP that is aimed squarely at the mid-fi audiophile who values a high end DAP but maybe can’t quite reach the heights of the AK100 or the HM901. At $350 SRP the X5 is a bit of a bargain, packs most of the modern features you could want into a modern DAP, a big step up from the resolution and tonality of the x3 and importantly, oh so importantly, it works right out of the box without freezing or huge bugs. The value of the learning curve with the X3 now seems very much present in the x5.
Click on next page for build quality…