FiiO M23 Review


In this article we review the latest DAP from the brand, the FiiO M23, priced at just $/€749 USD.


Disclaimer: the FiiO M23 was sent to us, free of charge, by the brand in exchange for our honest opinion.

About FiiO

Founded in 2007, FiiO is one of the pillars of the portable audiophile world, with companies like Astell&Kern, iBasso, and Meze. IEMs, headphone amps, DACs, and obviously DAPs, they did it all and did it well, filling every corner with an endless list of multi-awarded devices, like the K9 ProBTR5Q15, or the M15S.

And if the brand began as a chi-fi maker, with cheap but nice products, FiiO has been constantly moving upmarket and, nowadays, it’d be hard to truly label them as “chi-fi”, rather than Hi-Fi – especially with TOTL players like the FiiO M17.

An amazing player, I considered “one, if not the best player you can get in this price range – as long as you’re okay to carry this little brick with you – that was gifted an “Headfonia Award” for best DAP, thanks to its amazing performances, sheer power, and unrivaled versatility.

But, as you’d expect, high performance comes at a high cost – $1799 precisely – making the M17 out of reach for most audiophile users, the only other high-end option the brand offers being the Q7, a DAC-AMP that still needs a source to be completely potent. Sure, you could get the FiiO M15S, but at $999 USD, this player wasn’t designed to be mid-range king – rather high-end in fact.

And that’s where the new FiiO M23 comes in: a revamp of the brand’s previous best-sellers, the M11 series, praised for their exceptional price/quality ratio.

A new milestone for the brand? Time to find out

The FiiO M1X / M2X Series

Few players have experienced as many variations as the M11. Since its first appearance in 2019, this player has seen no less than five variances:

  • the M11S, FiiO’s actual entry-level DAP, that fits almost all of its bigger siblings’ features, at a cheaper price point, only with lesser sound performances and power
  • the M11 Plus LTD, introducing a new design, a faster CPU, and the same audio circuit found on the M11 Pro
  • the M11 Plus ESS, same as the LTD but with a dual ES9068AS chip instead of the AKM (for obvious reasons)
  • the FiiO M15S, the brand new top-of-the-range player, keeps everything that made the success of the first generation and corrects all the defects that were pointed out on the previous device
  • the FiiO M17, a flagship packing a dual ES9038Pro DAC, 5 different kinds of outputs, and desktop-class amplification
  • and now the FiiO M23, the spiritual heir of the M11, introducing a whole new naming and bringing back the famous AKM chips in their DAP’s range

A good line-up, that only misses a true entry-level player like the old M9 in my opinion, but let’s dig into the review.


Design & Build Quality


Same player, shoot again.

For the FiiO M23, the brand did a slight revamp of the original design but, honestly, not much was to be changed, considering how successful that series was. From afar, the difference could be hard to spot for the untrained eye, but for anyone who owned an M11 first-gen, the various upgrades are more than welcome. For the M11 Plus users, things might those changes might appear negligible, or even invisible – even if there ARE differences.

You get the same aluminum case, with the same asymmetrical design – even if not as hardcore as what A&K would do – hard bevels at every corner, and superb tempered glass front and back. On a good note, the M23 ditched the carbon-fiber pattern for the back panel and replaced it with a stunning iridescent blue plate, which slightly evolved under the grazing light. It’s hard to display in the picture, but in reality, I can assure you that’s one of the nicest plates FiiO made, up to this date.


As usual with the brand, build quality is flawless, with no gaps and premium materials everywhere your eye can see, and your hand’s touch. Front panel? Gorilla glass. Back panel? Same. The case? Neat, CNC’ed, polished matte black aluminum with enhanced coating that gives that subtle, but delightful premium touch. Top that with flush buttons, outlining the seamless design that FiiO pushed over the last years.

Size-wise, the FiiO M23 is almost identical to the previous M11 Plus: 136,5mm tall, 75,7mm wide and 18,1mm thick, and 299g on the scale (392.3g if you go Stainless Steel). Dimensions that remain smaller than the M15S, but don’t be fooled, this is still a thick player and if I had no problems fitting the player in my (relatively) large pockets, some might favor a slimmer device.


On first look, the FiiO M23 layout didn’t seem to change, but on a closer look, there are, indeed some variations: the micro-SD moved from left to bottom, the 2.5mm port was ditched, there is now a second USB-C port… so many small, but clever upgrades.

On the left side you now have:

  • the classic power on/off button
  • a volume up / Volume down pad
  • a multi-function button

On the right side, you get:

  • the HOLD switch
  • prev/next and play/pause buttons
  • a desktop mode switch


At the bottom :

  • a data/charge USB port
  • a dedicated USB charging port
  • the micro-SD tray (why not keep the good old port…)

And finally, up-top you get:

  • a 3.5mm headphone/line/digital output, so you can connect your headphones, a headphone amp, or even a DAC
  • the now almighty 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced headphone output that doubles as a balanced line output, for amplifiers like the Astell&Kern PA10

All headphone outputs are now completely blacked out and if some will like this sobriety, others will prefer the classic gold-plated 4.4mm Pentaconn look.

A very nice layout all-in-all.


No difference here, the screen remains the same as before.

I won’t complain though, with a 5.5 inch wide IPS screen, boasting the same 16,7 million colors, “retina” 300PPI definition thanks to the 1440×720 resolution, and a 88% screen-to-body ratio, FiiO is proud to announce a borderless screen.

In addition to that, the screen remains in the top range with a large viewing angle, fast refresh rate, and vivid colors, boosted by Android 10 and a faster CPU (Qualcomm 660+), so if you want to get a better screen, you’ll have to check out higher-end models like the M17, or the wondrous DX320.




Inside the box

Contrary to the M17 and M15S, the FiiO M23 bundle is quite dire as you can see with the picture.

In the box you get:

  • the FiiO M23
  • a silicone case
  • a USB-C to USB-C cable
  • a USB-C to USB-A adapter
  • the famous micro-SD card removal tool
  • some documentations

So yeah, FiiO wasn’t very generous with this one, so you better check for some accessories.

The article continues on Page two, after the click here, or after the jump

Page 1: About the brand, design and build quality

Page 2: Comfort, usage, bundle

Page 3: Specifications

Page 4: Sound performances

4.6/5 - (34 votes)

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.


  • Reply May 23, 2024


    As much as I like that Fiio is making so many great DAPs at the moment. I feel they’ve completely run away of their original premise of making budget HiFi equipment. It’s been literally years since they’ve made something like the M6 DAP and it’s a shame because it’ll force me to look elsewhere. Or does anyone know if they’ve got something in the works?

  • Reply May 25, 2024


    So is it worth it to go for m15s or m23 is good enough? I’m kinda confused swinging between those two options.

  • Reply May 26, 2024


    Can you compare it with latest shanling m5 ultra? Thanks

  • Reply May 26, 2024


    not a single word about soundstage?? probably because there isnt much to speak of because of the thx amps, right? or did i just overread it? never heard any differences in resolution of devices above 300 EUR range but certainly in soundstage, which is one of the most important technicality besides dynamics at least for me. to each his own i guess..

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