FiiO M11S Review

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UI & Usage

Android 10.0

While the old FiiO M11 / M11 pro and M15, ran on Android 7.0, the new M11S – like the M11 Plus ESS and LTD is fuelled by the 10th version of the popular OS. 

Thanks to that, the player sports various optimizations like dark mode, gestures, and most of all, a full Google Play Store experience. This means you can install all third-party apps, like Qobuz, Tidal, and… Apple Music, which became my main service, thanks to low price, good pay-out for the artist, and most of all true Hi-Res streaming!

Of course, if you prefer to use FiiO’s own market, you can and the app is still pre-installed for those who don’t want to create a Google account. And thanks to the faster CPU + Wi-Fi chips, download speed is still on par with its bigger siblings, and just a bit slower than iBasso’s flagship, the top-dog in this aspect – A&K being at the bottom by comparison…. A very good experience overall!

Compared to the previous generation (M11), the difference is quite impressive with faster boot-up speed, quicker firmware upgrade, better app compatibility, and other little caveats, now gone. To sum it up: a better UI and a better experience.

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Overall navigation

The FiiO M11S gives you the same exact same navigation menu as before. No more, no less, which is a good thing as the FiiO M11 really outperformed a lot of players on this point.

What’s interesting however is how snappier the whole player appears, compared to the “old” M11 / M11 Pro. The new CPU and new UI really edge the previous generation in terms of speed, smoothing out every action as when you download some tracks, try new apps or navigate through those same apps.

All in all, it’s one of the best experiences available at the moment, but I expected no less.

Streaming / DNLA / FiiO Link

Now that every FiiO was gifted with a Google Play Store certification, all it takes is a Wi-Fi connection, and you can directly install all the apps you need.

FiiO Link is still available: with Bluetooth pairing, you can control your player directly through your phone. It works well and somehow gives the same seamless experience as the Hiby link on Hiby and Cayin players, or the new Variations V6 that I previously reviewed. The only catch is that it’s only available for Android, and that will remain the same as it seems.

Strangely, FiiO ditched AirPlay support and if you can still stream your music through the Bluetooth connection, no more streaming from your Apple devices!

Ok, small mistake here: FiiO still supports AirPlay with its player! But, unlike the first generation of M11/M15, the dedicated AirPlay button isn’t directly shown in the upper menu anymore. To access AirPlay mode, you know have to:

  • slide your finger from top to bottom
  • Click on “Mode Choose”
  • and THEN you’ll have the new AirPlay mode available !

Once activated, and if you have Apple devices hooked on the same network, you’ll then be able to stream your music directly to the M11S, up to 16bit/48kHz – so better than Bluetooth, but worse than direct access to your HD streaming service.

DNLA works the usual way, and you can even access your distant drives from the FiiO Music app. Or any compatible app, like HiBy music or Audio Player Pro.

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FiiO Music

Sure you can use any android music player app you want, but the FiiO Music app is now very, if not the most, competent solution available for the player, and matches the FiiO M11S perfectly well. It’s fast, reliable, easy to use, and remains one of the best player apps out there. iBasso is (very) close, but I still prefer FiiO which offers more frequent updates.

From there, you can :

  • scan your SD-card or the internal storage, to access all your music, neatly sorted in album/artist/genre/folder
  • access your NAS and use the FiiO M11S as a network player
  • transfer files from your player to your computer/smartphone wirelessly
  • change the equalizer

With HiBy UI, it’s one of the most potent apps I used those last months, 

Battery Life and Charging

Surprise, surprise, the FiiO M11S embarks an ultra-high capacity lithium cobalt oxide battery sporting no less than… 5300mAh! In fact, FiiO advertises 15h of continuous playback and 75 days of deep sleep. In real-life usage, the player outmatched those values and peaked at 16h30, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth always on.

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USB-C and SD Card

As expected, the FiiO M11S gets an USB Type-C port, an all-in-one plug with a reversible design, fast data transfer, and Quick-charge to fill the massive battery.

Once again the USB port works both as an entry and a gateway: you can either plug the M11S into your computer and use it as a DAC or connect a DAC and use the player as a source. A cool option we are seeing more and more on DAPs, and one I use much more than I expected with my actual setup.

Sadly, unlike the M11Plus ESS and M11Plus LTD, the M11S doesn’t get USB 3.0 support, but only USB 2.0If that doesn’t make a big difference in your daily use, it’s a game-changer when you have to copy/remove some music from your player – but not this time. So, if you have a massive audio library to transfer, I’ll strongly advise you to use a micro-SD card reader, instead of the player itself.

Finally, like every FiiO player, the M11S sports a classic micro-SD slot, but now without the tray system, making it easier to install/remove the card.

Everyday carry

If smaller, the FiiO M11S is also thick(er) and heavier, giving me mixed feelings on the go.

To be fair, compared to the OG M11, it’s only thicker by a mere 2-3mm, but it’s considerably heavier: 307g on the scale, roughly 70g more! And if that doesn’t look like much on paper, combined with the thickness, it gives a false sense of heaviness.

It’s a fatty smartphone or one with a big battery attached, and if It’s not impossible to carry – especially compared to the FiiO M17 – but I would be lying if I said it’s an easy player to carry, even compared to my phone, longer but thinner.

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On the other hand, the volume controller has been slightly improved, and honestly, this is one of the smoothest sliders I tried across every DAP out there. To lower/increase the volume, you can just click up and down and the player will make that cool, tactile sound. It’s simple and surprisingly accurate, even on the run!!

Last but not least, there are the new honeycomb-shaped buttons. I found them pretty cool to look at and handle, especially when you use the leather pouch. Add to that the option to configure the “shortcut” button with extensive options like ‘filters, playback modes, USB DAC / Media Storage” and it’s almost fool proof.

The article continues on Page Three, after the click here

Page 1: about FiiO

Page 2: UI, Usage, Bundle

Page 3: Technical specifications

Page 4: Sound performance 

4.5/5 - (73 votes)
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A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

1 Comment

  • Reply November 11, 2022

    Sal

    Hi,

    Did Fiio send you a prototype?

    I see on their website that internal storage is 32GB, DSD is up to 256 and the battery is 5300 mAh.

    https://www.fiio.com/m11s

    Sal

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