Disclaimer: We received the Fiio F1 and F3 directly from FiiO. They are one of our site advertisers. The prices of F1 and F3 are $15 USD and $25 USD respectively.
FiiO is a brand with history now as we all know what they do and what they’re all about. But the things that we know is about to change partly, since our friends from China came up with the idea of releasing IEM’s. Building DAP’s and IEM’s are of course different things from top to bottom and it’s not so easy to achieve a coherent sound. I’m not saying building DAPs is easy but IEM’s can get a little tricky when it comes to critical tuning. Let’s see what they have achieved with these new earphones.
FiiO was established in 2007 and has experience in researching and developing countless portable music products of different types, and sell FiiO-branded products through sales agents worldwide.
I love FiiO, literally. My first serious DAP was the original X5 and it introduced me to mid – high end sources, and it taught me how important a source really is. Also my first DAC was the E17 combined with my first amp, the E9. As you see FiiO was a very important brand for me to find my way in this hobby. Last year I reviewed their X7 DAP in a local website and it was really fun to use.
The Turkish Distributor of FiiO is a friend of mine and I’m happy that they can ship their product line to so many countries. Their efforts to produce good audio products with reasonable prices deserves praise. In a very expensive market, Fiio manages to stay true to their core and identity. They’ve continued to do same thing by creating these IEM’s. Since FiiO is all about price/performance, I hope they will resume their record with the same way and stick to their philosophy.
FiiO F1 and F3
Let’s get into these new earphones. These are obviously not the first ones from FiiO so they have some experience with manufacturing IEM’s by now. The first ever IEM from FiiO was the EX1 and it was a nice first step into a new market. Then they also released the EM3, which is a mainstream type of earbud. Then came EX1 2nd Gen, with a newly acquired “Hi-Res Audio” tag. The general reception for these new products were mostly positive, therefore FiiO is heading to the right direction when we think about their goals and vision.
The Fiio F1 and F3 are the newest Fiio earphones and as far as I know they haven’t started to push them to their distribution networks just yet. I think when they do, these will also get positive receptions from the crowd as I think these are very good earphones for the money. I’m not surprised though, this is what made FiiO who they are.
In terms of specs there only are 2 differences between the two IEMs. The F3 has a 11mm Dynamic Driver compared to a 9.2mm driver inside the F1. It also has a higher impedance of 40Ohm, where the F1 has 16Ohm. All other specs are identical to each other.
OTHER THAN SOUND
FiiO F1 and F3 have the same packaging in terms of content. Both of them have 3 pairs of medical grade silicone tips and a nice small carrying case. The only difference is the F3 having two more replaceable plates to get different (color) looks. The carrying case seems a little small to me but for this price it’s more about just having a dedicated carrying case. I would also like to add that the new cable organizer is sweet. It is fixed to the cable itself and when you need it you just strap up the cable and store it in the carrying case.
Design-wise of course there’s nothing exceptional in terms of looks. The F3 has some kind of a shiny design with changeable plates. They have semi-transparent shells so you can see the internals when you look carefully. To be honest you don’t see too much of the inside but still it’s a nice feature to have. The cables are from a soft material called “polyurethane” and they don’t have a microphonic effect. Durability also seems good to me but I haven’t tested these IEMs extensively on outdoors. Both IEMs also have built-in mic should you be interested in that. The overall build quality is normal for the price so I can’t really criticize them about this.
After studying many people’s ear canals, it was found that a 45-degree angled design allows the in-ear units to better and more comfortably fit the human ear canal – thus, F1 adopts this design.
Maybe these will not attract people who seek a fashionable inear, but what matters most to me is “convenience”. The Fiio F1 has a 45° nozzle angle and a good shape, the fit is seamless and the monitors are easy to insert. You can both wear them over ear or from the ear down but remind you it’s intended to be the casual way. The Fiio F3 is an around the ear model but I personally found the Fiio F1 to be a better fitting IEM. Both earphones are very comfortable though and with the light and flexible cable they are extremely lightweight. So it’s nice to use them on the go.
On the isolation side, things are not superb but not below the required level to use them outside, especially when you find the proper tips. To me it looks like the design is primarily considered to get the best comfort, not the best isolation and they actually achieved that. So you shouldn’t ask or expect a great isolation from these IEMs but they do have great portability and comfort overall.