Review : iBasso DX220 – TOTL Recall

Design & Build Quality

Casing

From afar, the iBasso DX220 doesn’t look that different from the DX200. Same massive screen, same aluminum case, but that’s until you hold it in your hand. There’s been a lot of modifications, essentially improvements from what was once, a very bulky player.

First, iBasso got rid of the metal plate surrounding the volume controller. You now have free access to the magic wheel, so you crank up the volume up to the max, whenever you want. It’s not much, until you put it inside your pocket and discover how intrusive this design was (even if I preferred this bulky style)

Next, the screen now takes almost all of the front panel. Compared to the DX150 and DX200, this may be only a few cm, but in an era of full-glass tablets/smartphones, this makes a real difference. Sure, there’s still a little black bar at the bottom but it’s almost twice as small, for your reading pleasure.

Last, but not least, the back is covered with glass. Some will love it – looks much more sophisticated – some will hate it – damn greasy fingerprints all over my new player. Personally, I didn’t mind it, until I plugged the old amp module and found out they are all made of aluminum… and not glass! The only one with a glass panel is the AMP9, the tube version.

Double glass panel also means double the chance to scratch your player. You should keep the cover on at all times if you’re an OCD guy/gal, or you may end up with a worn-out player in no-time. Even though, that should not minor the fact that iBasso has perfected the aluminum case: it feels more robust, yet lighter, and the edges are much smoother.

The iBasso DX220 feels like a smartphone with an overkill battery, compared to the SP1000 which looks like a weapon from a sci-fi movie. That said, this thickness gives more grip and… a complete layout.

Layout

The layout of the iBasso DX220 depends of the amp modules you use, out of the box with the AMP1 MKII, you have :

  • a 3.5mm TRS output
  • a 2.5mm TRRS output
  • a 3.5mm Line output

On the left side of the player, you have one micro-SD slot compatible with SDXC up to bazillions gigs. On the right side, you have three buttons for play/pause, forward/fast forward, previous/fast rewind and the new volume control wheel. Finally, on the upper side, you get one USB-C port, an optical/coaxial output, and the power button.

To swap the amp, you just have to unscrew the bundled one with a small flat screwdriver. The SATA connector making impossible to plug the amp incorrectly, so no worries. Until you realize all your old amps doesn’t wear the glass back panel, alas.

Screen

The iBasso DX200’s screen was good, even with today’s standards. Good news, the DX220 screen is even better, and bigger. Provided by Sharp, the LCD screen covers up to 95% of the sRGB color gamut and can brighten up to 480cd/m2 when the settings are maxed out.

As I said before, the player’s screen is now covering 87% of the front panel. This is highlighted by the 2.5D Corning glass, which gives smoother edges all over. The screen’s definition raised from 720p to 1080p, in case you’d like to watch HD videos on your DX220. The resolution reaches 445ppi, which is very very good, or overkill for a music player, it’s up to you.

Visually, the difference is not striking but there’s a real improvement compared to the DX150 in example. Even more, if you come from another player such as the FiiO X7 or the DX120, which will look pale and pixelated in comparison.

All in all, this screen is one of the nicest ones I’ve come across, with the FiiO M11. Astell&Kern got really nice screens too, but the resolution falls apart in my opinion.

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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.

    6 Comments

    • Reply August 22, 2019

      fire2368

      How would this compare to the SP1000?

    • Reply August 23, 2019

      John

      Comparing to the M11, which a nice player, isn’t in the same range of a player. The DX220 is a TOTL player and with the AMP8 or AMP9 bests my Sony WM1Z.

    • Reply August 25, 2019

      Shane

      Any issues with the Rockchip Soc that people keep moaning about on other forums (shocking, disgraceful for a totl player, etc, etc)

    • Reply August 27, 2019

      Gary Griffiths

      I like the players sound but the battery life is pretty poor. Lovely screen though

    • Reply December 27, 2019

      Dug Scott

      Great sounding player, drives all my headphones and IEMs without any problem. Biggest issue with this player is battery life, I’m struggling to get more than 5 hours playback from a full charge, listening to Tidal offline with wired IEMs, I should be getting 2-3 hours more from a full charge. Seems a common complaint

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