Disclaimer: the iBasso DX200 is my own and we didn’t get it via iBasso like the DX150. The review of that latest will up on Headfonia reasonably soon.
When Ibasso released the DX80, I was a bit perplexed. It didn’t have the appeal the first generation DX50 and DX90 had. These were a must have when they were launched, and yet the DX80 sold like hot cakes. Sure, sound was nice but the design was half-assed, UI was strange to use and it never really fitted in my hand correctly, leaving me with a bad after-taste.
Complete turnover with the DX200 though ($899), it’s bulky, it’s heavier but at last it feels right. The volume knob can be used swiftly, the Android experience is quick and boy does it look premium. Not as premium as an AK SP1000, but clearly way above its elders.
Compared to its direct competitors, there is more to keep than ditch : big wide screen with thin bezels, optical/coaxial out , swappable amps with a full range of modules. It practically makes up for the half-baked DX80, being more of a DX90++.
Too bad Ibasso just kept one micro-SD card slot, even tough they don’t use the infamous charriots system. The knob feels right but doesn’t look right, as if they just added it after the first batch was out. Also, It sounds really good. The new Sabre inside makes up for the terrible DAC used in the previous generation. You don’t get the supreme sound of the SP1000 but it’s a close match for a more cost friendly Q1PR.
The responsiveness of the screen combined with a recent android make it faster than its direct competitor too. You can install Qobuz/Tidal and do a search without having to pray for the gods. It simply works. Of course, for the same price and size you can get a good old smartphone and a Mojo, but you’d not get a sound stage as wide as the DX200’s.
Okay, it’s still a big player with a clunky aluminum back, the output aren’t gold plated, the side buttons are hard to reach but I still like it. I don’t think it will look puzzling like the AK240 in the future, maybe outdated but not this much. Or so I hope, the new DX150 will confirm. Or not? Soon on HFN!