Fiio X1 DAP review - Setting a new bar

User Interface

X1's UI left me with mixed feelings. Sure, it's easier to use than the X5, but it's still miles behind Android or iOs devices. However, seeing how I only had to spend several hours to get used to all buttons combinations, I'd say the interface is pretty good. Yah, several hours to learn all of its little secrets and be comfortable using all button combinations is a good thing, because in the world of DAPs, there are devices where I have to mix saltpeter with sulfur and have a six week ritual just to amp up the bass.

The status bar on top showcases the volume, output mode, play status, tf card, and battery level indicator. 

Fiio X1 - Display

The menu can be navigated using either the central wheel or the buttons. As it stands, the menu is split in 5 categories: Now Playing, Category, Folder Mode, Audio / Play Settings and System Settings.

I'm going to jump over Now Playing, Category (which lists available songs, Album, Artist, Genre and Favourite), andd Folder Mode (where you can investigate through the microSD card), and write about the Audio / Play Settings and System Settings, the two important bits.

Audio Settings

Here you'll find options for play and resume modes, gapless playback, volume default settings, built-in equalizer and balance modes. The EQ is 7-band, and comes with 9 presets (including 'off') and one customizable profile that you can tweak and save.

Fiio X1 - Play Settings 

The presets are more than decent, and I played around with it for several hours. The presets are good enough, and the custom one can be quite handy, though I wish I had the option to save more profiles, like 4-5 types for different headphones.

System Settings

System Settings is split between media library updating, lock screen (with 3 available options), timeout, and sleep timer settings, output (H/O vs L/O), color theme, brightness and power-off; settings to adjust display language, and info about the X1 (storage, tracks and firmware version), as well as a format.

 Fiio X1 - System Settings


Having a plethora of options is almost always a good thing, but what is just as important is how quickly you can access them. X1 still needs some work done in this department, but for the most part it probably one of the most user-friendly DAPs available.

You can go around the menu by either using the nav-wheel or buttons, with the interface changing according to your preferences. By using buttons, you will get a tiled layout, whilst with the wheel you get a circular menu, which makes it easier to navigate through.

Shuffle, repeat playlist (track) are available via the top-left button. The shuffle method is true by default, mixing the tracks continuously without following a certain pattern. With firmware update 1.1 you can also create multiple internal playlists and read external '.m3u' playlists.

The Upper Right Button plays the role of Return, backing-up by one level per press. Lastly, the two lower buttons are forward / back, up / down, fast-forward / rewind, depending on what you're doing.

The centre button is used for general selection. Akin to the X5, you can also hold it pressed to activate volume control. The side volume buttons (when in lock mode) double as volume and track up/down buttons. Tapping them will raise or lower the volume and holding them down will either go back or jump ahead a track.

For the most part, the UI is responsive - I actually think it's superior to X5. There is a 0.5 second long delay when skipping tracks (whilst playing), but other than that I can't say I found other serious faults with the UI.

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