FiiO X1 Review

Excellent Entry-level Portable Player

FiiO X1 Review

The Far East manufacturer FiiO brings us the X1 entry-level portable player with a distinctive design, simple control, full functionality and very good sound.

In addition to the more expensive portable music players, like the X3 and iBasso’s DX50, FiiO now offers a more affordable model, the X1. Its design draws heavily on the prestigious X5, but with somewhat smaller dimensions (96.6 x 57 x 14mm) and a reduced resolution to 320 x 240 pixels. However, the manufacturer has kept the main control type – a large circular control wheel – which takes up almost the entire lower half of the front and proved to be very practical to use. The control wheel is coated with rubber, which prevents fingers from slipping and provides a great feeling when usingit. Placed around it are four metal buttons for rewinding, or skipping to the next or previous track, as well as to move around the menus. Buttons to turn the device on and off and a volume control are placed on the left side while the right have a slot for a micro SD card, and on the bottom is micro USB port.

FiiO X1 specs
FiiO X1 price

Although it doesn´t quite reach the heights of more expensive models, the X1 is equipped with very high-quality electronic components inside. The heart of the system is the Ingenics 4760BS dual-core processor, while the digital-to-analog conversion is handled by a Texas Instruments PCM5142 with integrated DSP system. In the analog section you find TI OPA2322 amplifiers, while the headphone amplifier uses the Intersil ISL28291.

User and Listening Experience

FiiO X1 is delivered as a complete package, which includes several pieces of protective film for the screen, a protective silicone sleeve in black, and even the GUI uses different patterns and backgrounds (imitating carbon fiber, brushed steel, wood, etc.) that can be adjusted to the users taste. There is also a small operating manual, as well as USB-A / micro USB cable for charging the internal battery.

Given the fact that the X1 does not have its own internal memory, it is necessary to use a MicroSD memory card, and we are for the purpose of this test using a 64GB card, although it can handle up to 128GB cards. On the recommendation of the manufacturer, before the start of the evaluation, we updated the firmware to the current version (v1.3), which gives you general support for playlists, as well as other functions.

The X1 is turned on by pressing the on/off button for a few moments, after which the screen shows a nice and quite easily navigated menu system. The categories are represented by graphic symbols, and makes navigation even more easier. In addition to the eight languages, the main settings allows you to select a different combination of colors on the display. It also has a display mode called Tracks, a sleep timer and a feature that turns the X1 off automatically after a period of inactivity to save battery power.

FiiO X1 silver

FiiO X1 Silver

FiiO X1 gold

FiiO X1 Gold

In addition to running a headphone, the output can also be used as a line-out to connect to a stereo system. Although you physically use the exact same output, switching the function of it is done in the menu, and while the differences in sound quality isn´t great, it´s there. With headphones, the X1 offered a warm sound character with plenty of detail. Dynamics and the sense of space was quite good. Higher frequencies are precise and well defined, but the music feels more playful than analytical. Bass, which put rhythm and weight to the music, has good definition and speed, and you also have the option to adjust any frequency to your liking with the 7-band EQ. In short, playback via headphones provides a calm and vivid music experience, which is more than adequate for listening on the go.

The next step was to try the line-out and test the X1 as part of a stereo system. A switch of electronic circuits in the signal path brought some changes to the end result. The sound is overall smoother and more linear, with more details and, in our view, a more 'authentic' sound. The X1 in line-out mode presents itself as a fairly neutral device, which means that the signal quality is a good match for use with entry- to mid-level two-channel systems.

The width and depth of the sound stage and the positioning of instruments is equivalent to a decent CD player in the budget class, and it is a real pity that the X1 can´t be used as an external USB D/A converter as we are sure it would prove to be quite useful in this setting. However, the desire for a more competitive price probably prevented FiiO from adding this functionality to the X1, which remains reserved for the more expensive models X3 and X5. Finally, it should be noted that during the test, X1 unquestioningly reproduced FLAC files at resolutions up to 192 kilohertz and 24 bits, and supports all popular audio formats.

FiiO X1 7-band EQ

Versatile and Affordable

After weeks of rigorous testing, impressions of this small and affordable music player are more than positive. The build quality is great, and well selected electronic components provide a lot of musical joy for a modest price. Another thing we have not mentioned is the internal battery, which during the test lasted without issues for 12 hours, which is great. When it comes to sound quality, a lot of factors has to be considered; the quality of the headphones, amplifiers, speakers, etc. In addition, the X1 allows adjustment of the sound using the 7-band equalizer that includes seven presets and optional settings done by the user. In total, FiiO X1 owners will enjoy high-quality sound on the go, with the ability to play their entire music collection on a home audio system, all at more than a reasonable price.


Fiio X1 2ND Generation Portable Music Player Silver
  • Current Price: $95.00
  • Ends: Feb 6, 2018 23:44:57 CET
  • Features
  • Specifications
  • Supports Five Lossless Audio Formats
  • Texas Instruments PCM5142 DAC Chip
  • Intersil ISL28291 Amplifier Chip
  • Switchable Headphone/Line Out
  • MicroSD Card Slot Supports up to 128GB
  • 2" TFT Color LCD Display
  • Lightweight Aluminum Chassis
  • Scroll Wheel with Textured Rubber
  • Built-In Battery Lasts up to 12 Hours
  • Includes Black Silicone Case

2 Comments on FiiO X1 Review

    • No, there’s no built-in speaker, but you can use the headphone output as a Line Out (option in the menu) if you want to connect it to active speakers or your stereo for example.

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