It has been 6 years since FiiO introduced X3, an adventurous budget DAP that draws many of us into the audio hobby.
4 years later the X5iii took the general mid-fi DAP experience to a new level, with huge leaps in product design, durable machining, dual DACs, and smooth UI experience.
Thinking there couldn’t be a more appealing budget device and another leap on user experience to come this soon, I am jaw dropped with the M11’s arrival and its features and pricing.
With the X5iii in the rearview mirror, you could debate that there is a certain degree of homage to competing designs and the whole package did not seem premium enough. The new design on the M11 changes that. It packs in the best bezel-less design implementation with the fastest Android system on DAPs I have seen so far, completely brushing up the experience from the X5iii.
The device combines a huge screen, balanced connection, and a full Android OS with upsampling to DSD; something you cannot find on phones nor any similar-priced DAP in the market. This is what makes it special being not just a multimedia player but a functional backup device comparable to phones or even better.
In this review, we will walk you through functions and possibilities the M11 offers and test whether this fancy device matches our expectations on sound and technical performance!
The build is similar to X5iii, sleek and solid machining with a golden knob on the left. The longer screen ratio makes it feels much cooler and it feels quite beefy on the hand, the right size and weight for good grip and a premium feel.
On the top, you will find the power button with a blue LED rim, a signature design of FiiO’s similar to the K3, and the older X5iii. A similar volume knob and control layouts like the X5iii and the X7ii can be found on the side as well. The click on the button has clean feedback and everything looks durable. You don’t need to worry about button accuracy with the preinstalled soft case.
Taking off the soft case and turning to the back of the M11, a huge piece of carbon fiber textured glass panel is fitted closely to the edges, with Gold Hi-Res logos printed in the inner side.
It feels more premium than I expected, much alike some flagship DAPs. It got me thinking and hoping someday FiiO will consider releasing a stainless steel or copper version.
Buttons & Slots
On the metallic body, you will find etched indications near the buttons, output jacks, and the dual card slots. The 4.4 and 3.5 jacks are decorated by a golden rim much like Sony devices. Everything feels solid so far and the form factor is easily controlled single-handedly.
Much like the digital crown on the Apple watch you will find a stepped volume knob on the M11 with fine machining patterns on top. The digital controlled knob touches up the whole design nicely and the feedback with steps feels great.
You will see two card slots supporting up to 4TB cards however some users have reported instability issues with one of the slots. For now, I advise using the second card slot first and check with FiiO for the latest updates for compatibility for all slots.
FiiO has very successfully grabbed our attention during its 2019 Spring launch event with the M11’s bezel-less screen design and fully functional Android 7.0 OS. A 5.15 inch full laminated IPS screen sits on the 211g metallic CNC chassis, in which 6 cores and 3GB ram are stuffed inside.
The M11 covers all the hottest features from 4.4mm/2.5mm termination, FPGA technology, QC2.0+MTK PE quick charge to LDAC/APTX-HD connections.
Stepping up from M9’s Exynos 7270, the M11 features flagship processor Exynos 7872 with 3GB of RAM onboard accompanied by dual Asahi Kasei Microdevices 4493 DAC chips. The design adopts true-balanced signal paths with custom version OPA926 opamps. Both are aimed to bring down distortion and noise floor along with enhanced signal to noise (SNR) performance than older generation chipsets.
The more powerful 14nm tooled 2.0 GHz processor rivaling snapdragon 625 along with 3GB ram and arm Mali-G71 GPU promises smooth UI experience and game-play, not just doodle jump but heavier 3D graphics. The huge 18:9 bezel-less multiple-touch screen does 720p, great for gaming on the Android 7.0 Nougat OS without the white-list policy.
However, there are no accelerometer and other types of sensors onboard of the device sadly but we couldn’t ask for much or else the power consumption may affect the audio circuitry.
Hi-Res Audio Wireless certified
As defined by JAS which established the Hi-Res Audio standard, Hi-Res Audio Wireless logo has been introduced after Nov. 28, 2018, and could be registered for wireless products that meet similar standards alike normal Hi-Res certified products when connected wirelessly. LDAC is the only certified Audio Codec that can be registered for Hi-Res Audio Wireless.
The M11 supports all of the popular Bluetooth codecs and allows you to connect to all the latest Hi-Res receivers or earphones. The device also packs in Airplay support for Apple TV/ other speakers that support Airplay.
The 720P 5.15″ IPS 18:9 panel packs in 1440*720 pixels in total, 310+ pixels per inch alike Apple retina products. The screen can get very bright, with good contrast and vivid colors under the sun.
The screen ratio is just right for Youtube at 720p, you could still see subtitles clearly and listen to the music with 4.4mm output with the bonus All to DSD upsampling which we will introduce later in the article.
Packaging & Accessories
Before unboxing the paper box you will see two hi-res logos. The M11 is amongst the first products that have acquired the hi-res wireless certification. Turning to the back of the box you will see aptX HD, LDAC and HWA being supported, this DAP covers basically all the popular high-resolution Bluetooth standards in the market.
Much alike FA7 we checked earlier, taking off the sleeves you will find a hefty inner box with FiiO’s logo embossed and laminated. In the box, you will see the M11 sitting right in the middle wrapped in a milky plastic bag, with a glass screen protector applied and TPU case pre-installed.
Packed in the accessories box you will find a Coaxial cable and USB cable aside from the user manuals. There is a sim-card pin that could help you open up the dual micro-sd card slot. You also get your usual warranty and FiiO quick start guides inside the box.
Click On Page 2 below for Software Impressions & Performance