Music

Fiio's upcoming hi-res music player gets an Android heart

Fiio's upcoming hi-res music p...
The X7 is Fiio's first digital audio player to run Android, its first with a touchscreen display and also allows users to swap out the amp module at the bottom
The X7 is Fiio's first digital audio player to run Android, its first with a touchscreen display and also allows users to swap out the amp module at the bottom
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The Fiio X7 comes supplied with a high end amplifier, but audiophiles can swap that out for a different module if desired
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The Fiio X7 comes supplied with a high end amplifier, but audiophiles can swap that out for a different module if desired
The X7 sports a 3.97-in, 480 x 800 resolution, 16 million color IPS touchscreen display
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The X7 sports a 3.97-in, 480 x 800 resolution, 16 million color IPS touchscreen display
The X7 is Fiio's first digital audio player to run Android, its first with a touchscreen display and also allows users to swap out the amp module at the bottom
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The X7 is Fiio's first digital audio player to run Android, its first with a touchscreen display and also allows users to swap out the amp module at the bottom
Headphones and earphones are plugged into the 3.5 mm jack at the bottom, while the unit's 3,500 mAh battery in topped up via a micro-USB port
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Headphones and earphones are plugged into the 3.5 mm jack at the bottom, while the unit's 3,500 mAh battery in topped up via a micro-USB port
Fiio's current X range of digital audio players
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Fiio's current X range of digital audio players
In addition to playback control using the multitouch display, Fiio has included six physical buttons
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In addition to playback control using the multitouch display, Fiio has included six physical buttons
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Over the last few years, Chinese audio maker Fiio has made a name for itself producing high end audio players, headphone amps and earphones that don't necessarily come with the expected luxury product price tags. Though its current line of portable music players certainly deliver on the audio front, they're not particularly stylish or easy to use. Hell, they even have an early generation iPod-like click/scroll wheel. The new X7 is different. Not only does the chunky smartphone-sized high resolution digital audio player feature a multitouch screen and quad-core processor, but it runs Android KitKat.

While the few specs given above may seem a little ordinary by today's smart device standards, for Fiio users this player represents a gigantic leap into the 21st century and the end of a long and patient wait. The X7 has spent some two years in research and development by the company's engineers.

It's the first Fiio digital audio player to make use of a touchscreen for user interaction, a 3.97-in, 800 x 480 resolution, 16 million color IPS touchscreen display to be precise. There are also six physical buttons present for playback control and volume adjustment.

It's the first Fiio device to run Android, specifically Android 4.4.4 with Fiio Music – though the company is keen to point out that the X7 bypasses Android's own sample rate conversion capabilities to send the digital files straight to the unit's ES9018S 8-channel digital-to-analog converter.

That means the X7 is capable of handling WAV files up to a resolution of 64-bit/384 kHz, as well as all the usual uncompressed and compressed formats supported by modern media players, including AIFF, FLAC, WMA, MP3, AAC and OGG, with native DSD64/128 and 352.8 K DXD completing the audio support profile.

In addition to playback control using the multitouch display, Fiio has included six physical buttons
In addition to playback control using the multitouch display, Fiio has included six physical buttons

The included Rockchip RK3188 SoC with Cortex A9 1.4 GHz quad-core processor promises high performance and low power consumption, an OPA1612 amplifier by Texas Instruments has been included for a stable and balanced sound, there's 1 GB of LPDDR3 RAM and a 32 GB ROM chip, of which about 27 GB will be available for storage. That ain't much given the often enormous size of high resolution digital audio files, but the player does have a microSD card slot that's been tested for capacities up to 128 GB.

The 130 x 64 x 16.6 mm (5.1 x 2.5 x 0.6 in), 220 g (7.7 oz) X7 embraces our modern streaming passions too, with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. A micro-USB 2.0 port caters for charging of the 3,500 mAh Li-Pol battery (which should offer nine hours of continuous use for every 4.5 hours on charge), for docking to a desktop amp, for data transfer and for operating the device as a 32-bit/384 kHz USB DAC.

Though many users will likely be satisfied with the supplied headphone amp, Fiio has included the ability to change the amp module for one more suited to a particular audiophile's taste or budget.

Headphones and earphones are plugged in via a 3.5 mm jack, with Fiio reporting total harmonic distortion of 0.0008 percent at 32 ohms/1 kHz, a frequency range of 4 Hz to 60 kHz, onboard 10-band EQ adjustment and three-level gain tweaking.

All of that essentially translates to the promise of high quality music listening and a modern user experience wrapped up in a stylish and affordable machined 6061 aluminum package. The Fiio X7 is set for worldwide availability next month for a minimum advertised price of US$650.

Product page: Fiio X7

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3 comments
HortonTheWho
I'll more than likely be buying one. Sick of the low quality audio phones output and love my current fios's sound quality. It should be $400 instead though.. $650 is a bit steep for a $90 music player, a $20 cpu, $30 screen, and a $2 micro USB slot($142). I feel like they think they're Apple at that price. It should have radio frequency output for that cost so I can highjack the stations I'm surrounded by.
Madlyb
Finally, they have delivered a device that looks as good as it sounds. Still a bit pricey and thick, but they are heading in the right direction.
LedHed
I own a FiiO X3K (2nd Gen) and I am really, really impressed with it for only $299 and it offers DSD playback (.iso or DSF/DFF) along with 192/24 FLAC of course. Now while it may not the be the prettiest thing in the world or have the slickest controls, it sounds amazing and has great battery life. I think this device needs to be more in the $500 price range in order to justify it vs. other models in FiiO's lineup. I could buy two X3Ks along with two 32GB memory cards (maybe even 64GB, depending on sales) for the price of this unit without any SD card. That is a tough pill to swallow when you consider just how good the X3K is. I would love to have this device, but I just can't justify that price. There is nothing in it that should make it that expensive and I believe 12 months after release it will be $499, as it should have been from the start. If you want to start talking about the hardware inside and the screen as justification, look at NVIDIA's upcoming Shield Tablet 2 that is retailing at $299.99 and look at the hardware inside.
I do have one question. Can the player adjust the EQ on 192/24 and/or DSD?