Over the last few years, portable audio players have taken a backseat with smartphones being an ideal solution for all your music consumption needs. However, audiophiles the world over know that there are things that a dedicated music player can do which no smartphone can match. FiiO has always been at the top of their game when it comes to Hi-Resolution media devices and their newest ultra-portable M5 is no exception.
The FiiO M5 gets critical acclaim because of its miniature form-factor and after being unveiled earlier this year we have been itching to try it out. This surprisingly small customer boasts a dual microphone, pedometer, a colour touchscreen, USB DAC as well as a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver. And this is merely scratching the surface. Read on to know more about the FiiO M5.
What separates the FiiO M5 from most of the competition is its extremely portable size. The most obvious comparison to this is the Shanling MO; however, FiiO has done well-keeping the consumer in mind here and with each control being well-designed to provide the most optimal user experience.
The M5 is pretty lightweight at a mere 38g and boasts dimensions of 45.3 x 42 x 13.7mm. The player is made of fine materials as well with it being constructed using a machined aluminium alloy with rounded corners that make for extremely comfortable handling. FiiO, with its price, are targeting this DAP at a wider audience apart from the audiophile community and have also launched it in a variety of colours. Our review unit was finished in Black; however, the company is selling it in other colours as well including Silver, Dark Grey, Blue and Red.
The FiiO M5 features a 1.5-inch HD display that’s touch-sensitive and comes with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels. To make it ergonomic and easier to handle, FiiO has used a 2.5D curved glass on both sides. These are the small things that go a long way in making the device stand out which makes us appreciate it even further. The display isn’t the best when compared with smartphones; however, we have zero complaints here as it gets the job done. The M5 also has a LED indicator that illuminates during Bluetooth receiving mode. The rear, as mentioned earlier also comes with a 2.5D tempered glass overlay and it adds a bit of protection as well. On the back, we find the relevant certifications for FCC, CE, etc. along with the company’s logo and logos for Hi-Res Audio, Hi-Res Audio Wireless.
The player features a multi-functional power button on the top and besides it, there are microphones for conversations and recordings. Here we also find the volume rockers and a 3.5mm audio port that can be used for coaxial out, lineout and phone out. The bottom of the FiiO M5 features a USB-Type C charging port that can also be used for data transfer and a microSD card slot that can support up to 2TB cards, as the device doesn’t have onboard storage.
Overall, the FiiO M5 is designed to perfection and its sturdy build appears to withstand accidental knocks.
The FiiO M5 is a miniature player but don’t for even a second be mistaken as for its size, it packs quite a punch. The brand has fitted it with incredible hardware that will help drive whatever you throw at it. The player comes with an Ingenic Semiconductor X1000E chipset that’s clocked at 1.0GHz and has a high performance and low power consumption.
For Bluetooth, FiiO is using the class-leading Qualcomm CSR8675 and for receiving it supports popular formats such as aptX, aptXHD, AAC, LDAC and SBC. For transmitting Bluetooth, the FiiO M5 supports SBC, aptX and LDAC.
The FiiO M5 comes equipped with the AK4377 DAC from Asahi Kasei Microdevices and is a 32-bit D/A converter with a headphone amplifier that enables playback of DSD sound sources in portable audio players.
Apart from this, the FiiO M5 is also capable of an audio output through USB up to 384kHz/32bit in DoP and D2P. It can also be used as an external asynchronous USB DAC with support up to 384kHz/32bit and DSD128. The audio outputs supported here are headphone out, line out and coaxial out.
The M5 is also capable of connecting with smartphones and tablets that support USB OTG. After connecting via a USB OTG cable, you can easily transfer files on the M5 in an easier and convenient manner.
Lastly, the M5 has a high-precision pedometer chip that allows it to display numbers of steps taken as well as calories burned. This allows you to keep track of your fitness goals while listening to hi-resolution audio.
The FiiO M5 is fitted with a respectable 550mAh battery that has a headphone out the battery life of up to 10.5 hours in wired mode, and 13.5 hours using Bluetooth. A top-up of the battery takes about two and a half hours and the sleep standby time is rated at 22 days.
FiiO has made a name for themselves especially in the audiophile-grade audio department and just because the M5 comes with an affordable price tag; it doesn’t mean that there is any compromise on quality. In fact, the FiiO M5 is a perfect solution for those who want the best possible performance on the go.
To start, the M5 has a full sound with no compromises whatsoever in detail. The bass is slightly on the enhanced side and this added bit of thump does wonders for the lower mids. Apart from this, the midrange is pretty neutral and transparent and it is a wonder how the brand managed to do so much in such a tiny media player. Overall, the midrange performance is on the stronger side considering just how budget-friendly the M5 is.
The upper mids has a control that you expect from products that cost a fair bit more. It has a precise pronunciation with vocals and instruments such as violins offering a crisp, detailed sound. The treble performance on the FiiO is well represented with a solid, clear and neutral tone while the overall soundstage is decent enough for a product in the sub-Rs 10K price bracket.
While the FiiO M5 can only perform as much as it can, the rest is heavily dependent on a quality pair of in-ear monitors or headphones. So, to get the best out of the player, we would advise you to invest in a good pair of in-ear monitors or headphones to get the best possible audio performance.
The FiiO M5 is priced at Rs 9,990 in India and as of writing, it has been discounted to Rs 8,990. If you are serious about your music and want the best possible performance on the go, the M5 is a great option to get you started on the road to a purely magical experience. Also, with it absolutely littered with features, and in a form-factor that betrays its capabilities, the FiiO M5 is hands-down our choice for an entry-level high-resolution music player for most people.
If you are in the market looking for a great DAP and you’re on a budget, the FiiO M5 is an option that you should invest in blindly.