|FiiO X5 Second Generation Review|
December 2013, FiiO Electronics Technology Co., Ltd., an audio manufacturing company in China that produces high quality portable music products at reasonable prices, released the FiiO X5. One and a half year after that, its successor, the FiiO X5 Second Generation has greeted the market.
The FiiO X5 Second Generation, also known as FiiO X5 2nd Gen, FiiO X5SG, FiiO X5 II, FiiO X5ii and FiiO X5K, is a high-resolution DAP with native Direct-Stream Digital 128 (DSD128) decoding, can play Super Audio CD (SACD) ISOs directly and of course, supports the usual AIFF, ALAC, APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, etc. up to 192 kHz/24bit.
UNBOXING and HARDWARE:
FiiO X5 II Unboxing and Hands on Video
The retail package consists of the unit, silicone sleeve, three pieces screen protector (one is pre-fitted plus two extra), USB cable, 3.5mm coaxial S/PDIF adapter cable, three different kinds of stickers, quick start guide and warranty card. To know more about its physical appearance, please kindly watch the video unboxing and hands-on that we prepared above.
|Design and interface|
The FiiO X5 II sports a 2.4-inch IPS display with 400x360 resolutions, which translates to about 224 pixels per inch. The screen size and resolution is actually the same with its predecessor, but the black borders around the LCD is now much smaller. In terms of size and weight, the 2nd Gen DAP is about 12 percent more compact and about 15 percent lighter.
If the first gen X5 already has a good exterior design and build quality, you will be amazed how these two things are greatly improved in the newer version. The body is now made of aluminum alloy with brushed finish. The buttons are now labeled and very tactile. Meanwhile, the lack of touchscreen means that the scroll wheel is still your best-friend in navigating the whole interface. Based on our experience, it is very responsive, however, if you have a very long list of audio files (which we believed you have, especially that it can support up to 256GB), scrolling might be troublesome.
Overall, there is not much to complain about its aesthetics, it is very solid and premium, both on how it feels and how it looks.
|Specifications (Click to enlarge)|
The FiiO X5 2nd Gen runs on single core Ingenic JZ4760B processor clocked at 600MHz and powered by a slightly smaller 3,300mAh battery. In terms of audio architecture, it uses a more powerful precision Texas Instrument OPA1652 Operational Amplifier on the current to voltage (I/V) conversion stage and TI BUF643U Op Amp on the current amplification stage, supplying up to 250mA output or about 67% better than the 1st Gen. For more information, you can check the illustration below.
Moreover, it has Texas Instrument PGA2311A analog volume controller, which is one of the best in the world, it avoids interpolating of signals and provides good channel balance and durability. On top of that, it also employs two SiTime MEMS oscillator that improves accuracy 25 times better. In the language that we can understand, it simply means that the X5SG has more capable internals among all other DAP in the FiiO line up.
To test the capability and sound output of the FiiO X5 II, we used two micro SD cards loaded with audio tracks of different genres (from classics, instrumentals, love songs to hard core) in FLAC, ALAC, WAV, WMA and MP3 formats. We also used varieties of headphones, such as Urbanears Kransen, Urbanears Humlan, Monster Diesel VEKTR, Superlux HD 562, Sennheiser HD 600, LG Quad Beat 2 and Marshall Mode EQ.
It has no problem playing all the files I threw at it from 320kbps MP3 to 140MB+ 24-bit FLAC files. It produces amazing audio output that is quite dynamic, refined and distinct with a bit thick, dark and slightly warm sound signature. The lows are deep enough, the mids are very clear and the highs are full of details. Overall, it has a well-sounded and balanced output that provides excitement and fantastic experience.
Meanwhile, the X5 II can drive IEMs quite easy and you can easily feel that the in-ears are getting what they need. Based on our test, the output is already powerful enough at about 40/120 volume. There is no doubt that it is a good pair for most IEMs out there in the market and the same is true with entry level on-ear and over-ear headphones. However, switching to a more demanding Sennheiser HD 600 is a different story, and that is because the X5SG's driving ability range is only 16 to 150ohm whereas the HD600 has 300ohm impedance. Do not get me wrong, it can still drive it at high gain without the need of external amp, but the output is less than stellar.
In addition, it is CTIA-compliant, which means that is compatible with the earphones supplied in mobile phones with the likes of Apple, Samsung and LG. Speaking of LG, those already familiar with the Quad Beat 2 already know that it is a great monitor and with the X5 II, it does feel better when compared to the high-res audio capable LG G3.
On paper, it is rated to last for more than 10 hours at normal volume. During our test, playing music continuously using IEM registered about 11 hours, take note that the screen is off almost the entire period of the test. Meanwhile, it lasted for about 9 hours playing audio tracks using HD600.
In terms of charging, the package does not include a dedicated charger, so what you can do is either charge it through the computer's USB port for about 8 hours or use a different charger with 2A output (which is very common these days) for approximately 3 hours.
The FiiO X5 Second Generation is able to deliver most, if not all the elements you need for a high-resolution digital audio player. It has an amazing premium build quality, great sounding output and very decent battery life. It is one of the best DAPs that you can buy in the market today.
Many will say that it is a great value for money for having high specs-to-price ratio. However, if you take into consideration the lack of built-in storage, that means additional cost. There is no problem if you are just going to use two 16GB or 32GB micro SD cards, since they are quite cheap these days, but going to a higher 64GB or 128GB would simply mean more money to spend. We are also hoping that the next iteration of FiiO DAP will come equipped with touchscreen for better and faster navigation.
In the Philippines, it is distributed by Xoti Corporation and retails for Php17,990.