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FiiO X7 Mark II Review

Usability

At the time of this review, FiiO has just released firmware 1.0.8 for the X7 Mark II, the update added the company’s latest Music app and brings the device in alignment with the features found on the new FiiO M6, M7 and M9. These include AirPlay receiver functionality, USB-DAC functionality, gesture control, FiiO Link as well as some improvements and bug fixes to the existing operating system.

FiiO X7 Mark II UI

Released in July 2017, at a time where smartphones are running Android 7, FiiO made Android 5.1.1 the platform of choice for X7 Mark II. A platform which it has earlier upgraded the original X7 to as well as implemented successfully on the X5III.

FiiO’s implementation of the Android 5.1.1 is a deeply customized version of the OS. Optimised from the core-level for enhanced audio playback, FiiO’s implementation allows users to toggle between two modes of operations namely; Android mode and Pure Music Mode.

FiiO X7 Mark II Android Mode and Pure Music Mode

In Android mode, the X7 Mark II functions as a typical Android device allowing one to install Android apps either via Google Play if you are using an international release version or white list apps on FiiO market. This allows the device to perform real-time wireless audio streaming, with Internet connectivity via Wi-Fi through a Wi-Fi hotspot. At the time of this review, both latest version of Spotify and Tidal works on the device with Tidal playing back in Master quality.

X7 Mark II running Spotify and Tidal

In Pure Music mode, the X7 Mark II boots into a variant of the OS where FiiO Music app is the only app running, this allows the player to function exclusively as a playback device. With a music app as comprehensive as FiiO Music, the Pure Music mode is what I would use when I am playing music files off the device’s internal memory or the Micro SD cards.

Supporting both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the wireless capabilities of the X7 Mark II makes it a capable device for real-time wireless audio streaming which is trending today. The Wi-Fi supports 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz) while Bluetooth 4.2 is implemented with support for aptXTM codec.

On the wireless front, the X7 Mark II’s WiFi capability supports up to IEEE 802.11 b/g/n on dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) spectrum. Bluetooth wise, the device is capable of supporting Bluetooth 4.2 fully, coupled with support for the aptX codec.

For compatibility with the interchangeable amplifier modules which are also used by FiiO’s Q5 and Q5s DAC Amplifiers, Micro USB continues to be the USB port of choice, much due to MFi certification requirements for Q5 and Q5s. Although the X7 Mark II supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 and MediaTek, the package does not include the 12V/1.5A charger which would allow 15W charging power on the DAP, reducing the charging time of the 3,800 mAh battery to 100 mins from 5 hours on conventional charging (5V/2A). Do invest in a 12V/1.5A USB charger if you own an X7 Mark II.

During the review period, I was able to achieve an average playback time of 8 hours and 53 minutes from the device’s internal 3,800 mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer battery, not too far from the 8 hours on the specifications provided by FiiO.

In the area of memory and storage, FiiO has doubled the offering on three fronts. Firstly, double the RAM from 1GB to 2GB, allowing capacity for multitasking and a more fluid UI experience. Secondly, double the internal storage from 32GB to 64GB and thirdly, double the micro SD card slots, effectively doubling the capacity for external storage and at the same time implementing the concealed micro-SD card slots design first implemented on the X5III.

The X7 Mark II supports audio playback of up to 384 kHz/32 bit as well as DSD up to DSD256, formats supported include WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF.

Part 1: Introduction, Design and Build
Part 2: Usability
Part 3: Sound Quality
Part 4: Product Specifications
Part 5: Review Ratings, Summary

Author

  • Goh Beng Yeow

    Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp. Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

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Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp. Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

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