Design & Build Quality
To say that the iBasso DX160 is a massive improvement, compared to the previous DX150, would be en understatement.
Gone is the brushed aluminum case. If the frame is still made of CNC carve aluminum, both sides are now covered by a beautiful bonded glass. More than a simple revamp, it gives a totally different vibe to the player, magnifying the screen and pushing the DX160 a league above the DX150 – and DX220 – in terms of design.
If available in multiple colors (black, red, blue, silver), the model I received the red version. And, to be honest, I quite like it. The tone is vibrant and you’ll not be surprised to find the same hue displayed on the back of many iPhones.
The screen-ratio is excellent and the front panel is almost entirely covered by the display. Sure, there are small bezels left and right, and a very discreet bar at the bottom, but as I said, once you got the player in the hand, that’s invisible.
It looks and feels premium, with no visible screws, no gap, no flaw and I think iBasso totally nailed it with this player. Next to the FiiO M11 and Shanling M6, its direct competitor, the iBasso DX160 doesn’t fall short and offer a real alternative, at least visually.
Long story short, the iBasso DX160 is as good-looking as it is well-built. So let’s see if the player continues on that trend.
The iBasso DX160 layout is quite different from the DX150, or even the DX120.
First and foremost, the new player doesn’t support modular amps anymore. If I’m a bit sad about that – the AMP7 and AMP9 really sound great on my DX220 – it allowed the brand to create a cleaner frame for the DX160.
The scroll-wheel is still there, slightly recessed into the case to avoid any misclick. If not as cool as Shanling’s multi-use wheel, it gives good feedback and the gold color feels… premium.
Just under, you have three buttons to control the playback: play/pause, next song, previous song. This makes the player a little more easy to control in blind mode, and iBasso already offered that option on previous models. It feels clicky and the height was just perfect in my daily usage.
On the opposite side, you get the micro-SD port. Not sealed with a rubber cover (ohhh) but still avoiding the tray-cart (yees) so you can easily change your card on the go. Sadly, there is only one port, but now that micro-SD cards are available in ultra-high capacity, this doesn’t feel like a problem anymore.
If the USB-C port is located on the upper side of the player, the outputs were put downside. iBasso ditched the separate line-out and 2.5mm balanced output, going for a more traditional option (in 2020):
- 1x single-ended 3.5mm TRS headphone output, doubling as a line-out and SPDIF-out
- 1x balanced 4.4mm Pentacon headphone output (check for 2.5mm->4.4mm if you need one)
So far, so good. Let’s take a look at the screen now.
Good news, iBasso is still offering one of the best screens for a DAP out there, all categories included.
The 5.0” 1080×1920 IPS IPS screen offers wide view angles, an outstanding 445ppi retina display, almost no input lags and a vivid experience overall. Brightness is excellent, and you should be able to use the player, even under the bright sun.
Full-HD may sound like a joke to Samsung, Huawei, or One Plus users, but for a DAP, this is really impressive. Album covers are crisp, fonts are cleaner and the overall experience is simply better.
On top of that, the screen-ratio remains excellent, making the iBasso DX160 one of the best players in this regard, as far as I can tell.
Let’s check the bundle, and we’ll be able to look at the spec sheets then.
The iBasso DX160 bundle isn’t particularly extensive :
- the iBasso DX160
- a USB-C cable
- a glass protection
- a quick-start manual
- a silicone cover
No adapters or cable, but thankfully, no burn-in cable either! I know some of you will miss that little box of wonder, but I won’t (ahaha)
The review continues on Page Three, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.