05 Jan 2017 13:23 IST

Carry better music in your pocket

Grab a set of good headphones and this little player for high resolution audio

Remember MP3 Players? They used to be a thing before smartphones came along and ate their lunch. But mobile phones don’t sound quite as good as dedicated music players, which is why some people still prefer them. Plus using one of these has the added benefit of leaving your mobile phone's battery alone for other things.

Just fits your palm

Chinese company FiiO brings an upgrade to one of its well-known music players, the FiiO X1 2nd Gen. Its design will remind you of some of Apple’s iPods. It has a pretty good hand feel — solid and premium. It’s a little bigger than one’s palm, but overall small and light and nestles nicely in your grip because of the rounded edges. The device is made of aluminium and glass and comes in a couple of metallic colours, of which I saw the silver-backed version. The shades match the ones available on mobile phones these days, so that’s a nice touch.

Easy navigation

The FiiO X1 II has this nice touch wheel in the centre, reminiscent of the iPod Classic, which you can twirl, complete with click-y sounds, to navigate tracks. Navigation is easy, though it takes a little while to get accustomed to some of the menus and icons at first.

Once you start, it’s really quite intuitive and simple. There’s even an embedded quick guide that tells you how to use it. The display is reasonable with enough brightness for both indoor and outdoor use.

No inbuilt memory

But here’s the odd thing. The FiiO X1 II has no inbuilt memory. It instead supports a memory card of up to 256GB. Getting music on it is then a bit of a process because you first load your card up elsewhere and then move it to the player — you could either get used to it and find it more convenient than other ways, or not, depending on how you’re setup with your gadgets and music.

Much better sound

The player supports lossless file formats: APE/FLAC/WAV/WMA/ALAC at up to 192 kHz/32bit. The performance of this little device results in good balanced sound with clear highs and good bass without being heavy handed. There’s no doubt that it sounds better than smartphones do. When it comes into its own is when you use a good pair of headphones, especially those that support high-res sound.

The second generation of this player now supports Bluetooth 4.0, which is really nice for in-vehicle users. It automatically powers on or off, depending on whether the car itself is on. The player is supposed to give you about 12 hours of battery life.

Price: ₹7,499

Love: Price, performance, interface, build, Bluetooth

Hate: No built-in memory, slow to update library, low battery life, sometimes buggy

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