Design & Build Quality
The FiiO M11 isn’t a small player and doesn’t intend to be. Where the FiiO M6/M7/M9 were all true portable devices that could be carried in a tight pocket, the M11 won’t. It’s 13cm long, 7cm wide an 1.5cm thick, almost like an iPhone X but twice as thick.
That said, this is for the greater good and if longer, the screen also got bigger. Yes, the FiiO M11 takes almost all of the front panel : 86% screen ratio ! That’s stratospheric numbers if you compare to the other FiiO players which kept the bottom free of any pixels.
Build quality is superb. The brand took what worked on the FiiO X7 Mark II – aluminum casing, glass panels front and back – and improved it a little more. For example, the wedges are smaller and the glass panels are even more seamlessly integrated. So much you can swipe your fingers from through the borders and miss the gap.
Another quirk you won’t miss when you hold the FiiO M11 : the volume wheel offers a little resistance. It’s light but that truly gives a high-end impression to the whole ordeal, like those alcantara roofs in luxury cars. You won’t know until you try.
That said, the layout is pretty complete as I’m about to show you :
- 1x 3.5mm headphone/line output. A single-ended output that suits all basic needs, it can be switched to line-out function or coaxial if you need to connect an external amp/DAC to the M11.
- 1x 4.4mm Pentacon balanced output. It’s becoming a thing, the 4.4mm output is now available on almost every DAP on the market. You have to choose people : 2.5mm TRRS or 4.4mm Pentacon…
- 1x 2.5mm TRRS… or maybe not ! FiiO has given us every chance with a second balanced output !
- 1x USB-C. A standard now, used for charging, data transfer and even to connect an external DAC to the FiiO M11. Also, the DAP supports the USB-DAC function, so you can plug it to your computer and bypass your sound card, a good point.
Apart from the 2.5mm TRRS plug, the two other plugs are either gold plated or gold circled. This is classy and reminds me of the iBasso DX120 which also carried the same setup. The USB Type-C doesn’t get any gold, but the volume scroll wheel does !
On the left side, from up to bottom you have :
- the play/pause button,
- the gold platted volume wheel
- next/previous track button
On the right side :
- 2x micro-SD port
On the upper side :
- a power/sleep/wake button, surrounded by a led light
On the bottom :
- the USB Type-C input/output
- all the headphone outputs
All the inputs feel sturdy and the buttons react nicely to the touch. As usual, the silicon case offers a better grip but this time doesn’t cover the control buttons.
You don’t need an eagle eye to see how much of an upgrade the FiiO M11 screen is from the previous versions.
First, it takes almost all of the front panel. So once you power on the player, you’re delightfully surprised by a surge of pixels, screaming : “Hey ! It’s 2019 B$tches, eat some more DPI”. That combined with the smallest bezels I’ve seen on a DAP, narrows the gap with modern smartphones.
The definition is great and the FiiO M11 is rated at 312ppi and the resolution at 1440*720. Colors are vivid, backlight even and, for those who might be concerned, viewing angles are pretty large. Actually, this is important to say because, for the first time, you can truly use Google Chrome on the player and watch videos! Not slideshows at 10fps, real videos from YouTube and such.
For a 500$ player, this is a big surprise. Sure, even a 100$ smartphone could do the same… but does it carries a double AKM DAC ? Hum ? That’s what I thought.
So yeah, the FiiO M11 is, for now, the new top choice if you want a truly versatile audiophile player, with a 5.5inch screen.
Inside the box
To be honest, when I received the FiiO M11 box, I expected a complete bundle. But it ended to be pretty scarce, so here is what you have :
- the FiiO M11
- a TPU protection case + glass screen protection
- a USB-C cable
- a jack to coaxial adaptor
- a quick-start manual
Of couse, FiiO is going to offer a full range of accessories, but I like complete packages.
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