Disclaimer: The sample of the Fiio X7ii DAP was sent to us free of charge. Fiio also is a site advertiser but if you’re read our reviews you know we will always look at a product in an objective way. Fiio also insist that all reviewers are critical and honest.
The Chinese based Fiio never stops innovating and it’s one of the most active companies when it comes to product development, and most of all, upgrades. Not very long ago Fiio launched the 3rd generation already of their very successful X5 portable player and now it’s also time for an update of their flagship DAP, the X7. The original X7 was launched around the beginning of 2016 if I’m not mistaken so at the same time I’m not surprised Fiio is upgrading their TOTL offering after a year and a half.
The first time I saw the new Fiio X7ii was at the High End show in Munich where Fiio’s CEO was present himself. HE showed me the X7ii and a whole bunch of other devices, of which some will still have to be released. So keep your eyes open for more updates. But back to the new Fiio X7ii aka the 2nd generation X7 aka the Fiio X7 mark 2.
The web page of the Fiio X7ii can be found right here, on Fiio’s website
When Fiio released the 3rd generation of their X5 DAP, everyone fell in love immediately with how it looked and how easy it was to use compared to other DAPs. Sure there were some funny comments on how it was made to look like the Astell&Kern AK380 but in the end that Fiio design really was excellent. It actually also I my personal favorite Fiio DAP design, and I prefer its looks and usability over those of the original X7 and even this new X7ii.
As everyone loved the X5iii design, it was clear Fiio was going to do something with that for the X7ii. The problem of course was that the X7-series are using the changeable AM amplifier modules, so they couldn’t just copy the X5iii’s design. Fiio came up with a sort of hybrid design which basically is a mix of the X5iii’s lay-out and the X7’s vertical looks and dimensions.
The new Fiio X7ii measures 128.7 x 67.2 x 15.5 and weighs only 210g which makes it slightly lighter than the 220g X7. The Fiio X7ii still shares the 480 x 800 (3.97″) IPS TFT touch screen for that matter, and it comes with a pre-applied tempered glass screen protector. You can still use the old AM amplifier modules on the X7ii but with the new modules, like the AM3A, you will have to use the side mount to make the design keep its slick looks.
The silver X7ii’s frame is as good and beautiful as it was before (titanium colored CNC Machined aluminum alloy). It’s also very nice to see the color of the AM modules now finally fits the color of the X7ii’s body.
Something that hasn’t changed is the typical blue LED on the front of the player. Some like it, some don’t but in the end it can be personalized, so if you don’t like it you can just turn it off. It’s a bit of a shame that the screen or at least the screen’s/glass surface doesn’t cover the full size of the player as it does with AK or the X5iii in example, but as Fiio is using the bottom mounted AM modules, that simply isn’t possible. It would have made the X7ii look a whole lot more sexy though.
On the left side of the player we now find the play/pause button on top with the new non clickable volume wheel situated right below. Right under the volume wheel you can find the previous and next button and that’s all there is to see, as the volume button made a move to the top right side of the player. That’s actually a welcomed change for me and I’m sure the majority of X7 users will feel the same. On the left side of the top you’ll find the 3.5mm output which has a triple function: Analog line out, Digital optical out and digital coax out.
The right side of the player features the double MicroSD slots, and on the bottom from left to right you have the 3.5mm headphone out, the Micro USB port and the 2.5mm balanced headphone output. Personally I button-wise like the lay-out of the X7ii a lot, even though they could have incorporated the play/pause button in the volume wheel by making it clickable (think SP1000). It would have made the design/lay-out a tad slicker but it’s not a necessity to have this feature.
The X7 mark ii – Inside
On the inside quite a few things are new and Fiio uses it in their marketing campaign.
“Thoroughly transformed, inside and out”
First of all the Fiio X7ii uses a new DAC chip and Fiio have moved up from the ESS9018 to the ESS9028PRO which is a very logic choice. The Fiio X7ii, besides the regular formats, handles DSD, DXD, PCM hi-res up to 384kHz/32BIT and Wav up to 384kHz/64bit. A full over view of file-types can be found on Fiio’s website (see link at the end).
Another important change is the use of 3 Crystal Oscillators. Not only more than in the Fiio X7 but also faster and that leads to reduced jitter, increased clock precision/stability and a more correct Digital to Analog conversion in general. The battery size has increased from a 3500mAh to 3800mAh and it should be capable of producing 8 hours play time. Of course that depends on the files to be decoded and the output used. The Fiio X7ii does have a rapid 9/12v charging system though.
Next to that the new X7ii gets 2GB of RAM (1GB before) and instead of the single MicroSD slots on the X7, the mark ii now features a double slot, allowing up to 256gb each. The internal memory got upgraded as well from 32Gb to 64GB which means the X7ii in total has a 576gb storage potential. And then there’s streaming…
Another change is that Fiio finally decided to add an optical output via the 3.5mm output. The X7ii now has 3 digital outputs (coax, optical, USB), 3 analog outputs (Line out, 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm single ended) and then there’s theX7ii’s improved wireless connections: Wifi and BlueTooth (4.A & aptX). Like many, I was a bit surprised to still see a micro USB output at the bottom of the unit. More and more companies are switching to the more developed USB-C and I like that trend. (The AK KANN even has both) On the other hand, Fiio is still heavily using and promoting their K5 docking station, and as that is equipped with Micro USB, I don’t see then changing their mind any time soon. Maybe the X7III or IV will have the USB-C feature…
The X7ii review continues on Page Two after the click HERE or the jump below