Review: Fiio X7 – Fiio’s Number One

Some more specs:

Dimension:                                        128 * 16.5 * 64 mm

Screen:                                               3.97 inch 800*480  full touch IPS

Battery:                                              3500mAh.

Input/Output interface:            Micro SD slot  X 1

Build in Memory:                          32 GB .

Wifi/Bluetooth:                              802.11g/b/n, Not APT-X.

DAC chip:                                          ESS9018 X 1, ESS9018 includes 8 channels DAC so it doesn’t need 2 DAC chips. L/R both are quad DAC

Output power :                                100mW/32 ohms, 200mW/16 ohms ( Stock IEM module ).

Soc:                                                       RK3188

RAM:                                                   1GB

Weight:                                               220g ( With IEM module )

S/N:                                                     117dB

THD+N:                                            0.002%

Output impedance:                      < 1 ohms

Crosstalk:                                           > 72dB ( PO ), > 110dB ( LO )

Output level:                                    1.5V ( LO )

Design

In the looks department I can safely say that the Fiio X7, design wise, is the first Fiio DAP I actually like. Saying I “like it” actually isn’t doing it justice, the Fiio X7 is simply gorgeous. I have to admit it isn’t the smallest size and weight wise (128 * 16.5 * 64 mm for 220g) but the X7 looks sexy, slick and classy all at the same time. Looks are a personal thing though but to me the X7 can easily be put next to AK, L&P, Cayin (not the N6) and iBasso units. I’ve in fact had several colleagues asking me if it was my new phone and where they could get one.

The X7’s build quality is very good and right up there with the best. As a matter of fact it takes Fiio quite a while to make just one unit: 160 minutes to cut out of the aluminum block (CNC machining), 80 minutes for color anodizing, 100 minutes for buttons machining and 50 minutes for the amplifier module machining. Phew! First thing you notice when holding the X7 are the soft edges, the symmetric button layout and the slightly lifted 3.97 inch full touch TFT screen (480 x 800). The lifted screen makes the X7 look special but I wouldn’t recommend dropping it (screen first). In fact I always use Fiio’s proprietary leather case when on the go.

Fiio X7 4

On the left side of the player you’ll find the volume buttons and the lock screen switch while the buttons on the right side of the player have to be used to skip tracks and play/pause. On the left side you’ll also find the microSD slot. The Coax Out is on top as the Headphone Out, like in most DAPs nowadays, is on the bottom. The advantage of the symmetric buttons is the ease of use but then again it isn’t always as easy to differentiate left from right in the dark or when the player is in your pocket. In one of the next firmware it actually should be possible to reprogram the button settings (like the L&P L5pro partially offers). I also have to mention the buttons are light to the touch and I have had many involuntary track switches happen to me with the X7 in my back pocket.

On the front, right under the screen, you’ll find Fiio’s pulsating blue light which shows you the player is “active”. When using the leather case however, this light unfortunately can’t be seen. The only “design thing” I don’t like is the fact that the amplifier modules don’t have the same color. AM1’s color is identical to the X7’s but AM2’s grey is very different from the original. Luckily it isn’t visible when using the superb leather case. The case, made by Fiio itself, is quite nice and it fits the player perfectly. I’d say it’s about the same quality as the AK cases but the L&P case, to me, still is the best. Overall, I’m very happy with the design choices Fiio made.

Fiio X7 10

On Head-Fi there are rumors already a new version of the X7 with more internal storage and some updated internals. No idea if those rumors hold any truth but Fiio, with the “SG” versions of the X3 and X5, has proven before they like releasing new versions. Personally I think it’s rather unlikely this will happen anytime soon (besides maybe a version with more internal memory) as not even all the X7’s amp modules have been released.

Firmware/ User Interface

Fiio’s new X7 runs on … Android. Yay! It actually comes with 2 specific modes: Pure Music in which only the basic/core DAP functions are available & the Android mode where a whole lot more apps are available for download such as Spotify, Tidal and so many more. Because the X7 runs on Android it is highly configurable and going over all the possible features is as good as impossible. This review focuses on the normal usability/features of the X7 when using Fiio’s Pure Music mode, using Fiio’s proprietary music app on FW 1.8. I personally find the Pure Mode to sound a little better than the Android mode but that is extremely hard to prove.

Fiio X7 Menu

In Android mode, as explained, you can install other apps either via Fiio’s own app approved store or by transferring APK files directly on the X7. Some of these apps are: ES FileExplorer, Onkyo HF player, Joox, Poweramp, Rockbox, Tidal, Spotify, Neutron and Swiftkey. I’m sure many more will follow over the next months.

Sound and more after the CLICK

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

45 Comments

  • Reply March 3, 2016

    Headfonia_L.

  • Reply March 3, 2016

    Brooko

    Fantastic review Lieven. Covered everything, and agree that The X7 pushes the envelope in that it lives comfortably with the kilobuck DAPs.

  • Reply March 4, 2016

    Xactoc

    Long yet great review! One question: how does X7 sound better than Mojo?

    • Reply March 4, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      Thanks. It has better layering, depth and timbre. I’n not a big fan of the rather boring sounding Mojo

  • Reply March 4, 2016

    lowbies

    Hai Lieven, have you tried Hifiman 901S?
    Can you compare it with Fiio X7, they shared the same DAC chip (ES9018) but the 901S use 2 chips and X7 only 1 chip.
    Thank you

    • Reply March 4, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      I’m sorry but the 901S never came to us. Hifiman doesn’t seem to seek reviews of it

  • Reply March 5, 2016

    Athos

    Great review and wonderful DAP.
    On the first page you said the battery is 3500mAh, and then 3700mAh on the specs. Which one is correct?

  • Reply March 6, 2016

    Jann

    Hi.
    Thank you for the review!
    I have an AUDIO VALVE RKV mark II amplifier (tube) + Fiio X7 + K5.
    I wonder will I get a really good sound quality if I will buy a pair of Sennheiser HD 800? Can my Fiio X7 + K5 replace a good quality (for HD800) desktop DAC or I have to buy one?
    Thanks for reply.

    • Reply March 7, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      Why not X7 + Audio Valve? You don’t have to buy an external dac but there sure are better dacs then the X7. Depends on what you want and what your budget is

  • Reply March 8, 2016

    theswordofdoom

    “With a Violectric V281/V850 setup and the K5 in your living room, you tend to use that instead of the X7.”

    Dude, when are we going to see the V850 review? I took your recommendation on the V281 and am absolutely loving it. Concero HD is my current DAC, and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it, but I am assuming the V850 would be a pretty awesome upgrade for me? If you can give me an idea I would probably pull the trigger on a V850. Thanks dude!

  • Reply March 13, 2016

    Juan Luis Quiroz Guevara

    Considering the price of X7 + AM2 and X5SG + Cloud Nine , which combination provides the best value for money ?

  • Reply March 15, 2016

    Alex Ignatiev

    Hi! Could You help me a little? Going to change my sony nwz-a15 for something better(around 1000$). At the same time I have VorzAMP Pure II +. Thinking of L&P L5Pro( but someone said VorzAMP Pure II +doesn’t imrove L&P L5Pro much) So maybe I should take Fiio X7 or something else to my VorzAMP Pure II +? Thanks in advance.(also going to buy DUNU DN-2000J )

    • Reply March 15, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      I can’t fully agree, a Duet or vorzuge will definitely improve the L5Pro when using it with full sized cans. the X7 + Vorzuge will also be very good!

  • Reply March 27, 2016

    Matthew Thomas

    Which of the three DAPs would you recommend with Shure SE425 and Chord Mojo?

    -Questyle QP1R
    -L&P L5Pro
    -Fiio X7 with AM2

  • Reply March 28, 2016

    Aaron

    Hi Lieven, do you think it it would be a big difference between Fiio X7 Dac and Similiar priced desktop Dac? Can you compare X7 and e10K dacs? Thanks.

    • Reply March 29, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      Yes of course there’s a difference.
      X7 vs E10K is like Porsche against Daewoo

      • Reply March 29, 2016

        Aaron

        Do you talk about dac performance between them? I dont really care about either amp. Do you know any similiar sounding stand alone dac as Fiio X7? Whoud it be a good purchase if i whould use it mostly as dac?

        • Reply March 29, 2016

          Headfonia_L.

          You can do that, but like I mention in my reviews, I wouldn’t buy a DAP as DAC

  • Reply April 12, 2016

    sulbh

    How does it compare to ibasso dx90?

    • Reply April 12, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      Wider, deeper, more details and better layering. I always loved the dx90 but it is a bit “old” by now

  • Reply April 17, 2016

    Kiki Galuh

    i’m looking for more slim look dap for sport user..can u recommen something?
    lately i saw more bulky outlook and a little a bit look heavy.
    thx..

  • Reply April 21, 2016

    Ant

    I’m excited to see how this compares to the L&P L3

  • Reply May 20, 2016

    Ant

    Hey, how does the x7 pair with the harmony 8 pro? I’ve been ising the dx90 with the alo rx iem amp. I’m thinking about moving to the x7.

    • Reply May 21, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      I haven’t used that combo. You would need the AM2 module for sure. The RX is a great amp, if you change it would be to get a better DAC and more modern DAP

      • Reply May 22, 2016

        Ant

        Thanks for the help man. So the AM1 doesn’t have enough power for the Harmony 8 pro?

        • Reply May 22, 2016

          Headfonia_L.

          Power it has, the sound of AM2 just is better for iems

  • Reply May 21, 2016

    Dreamriser Kit

    Hello Lieven, may I ask you to compare AM2 to Cypherlabs Picollo? I already have Picollo and wonder if I need AM2. My headphones are ATH-M50X and Fidelio X2. Thank you.

    • Reply May 21, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      If you have the picollo I wouldn’t bother getting the AM2, unless you don’t want to stack up. AM2 is lighter, less body in bass and mids but is maybe more layered

      • Reply May 21, 2016

        Dreamriser Kit

        Thank you sir!

  • Reply May 22, 2016

    Darren How

    I have an E17K Portable Amp, will it be able to stack with the already available amp paired in the X7?

    • Reply May 22, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      only if you use the line out of the of the X7. I don’t think you can bypass the X7 DAC by USB, probably not

  • Reply May 25, 2016

    Mark Gagas

    Hey guys. I just ordered the X7 with the AM5 amplifier. Using it to
    drive some Klipsch in ear buds which I know won’t be an issue. I also
    have the Sennheiser HD800 which is what I got the AM5 for. Overkill or
    good to go? On a side note a have the Audioengine D1 for my desktop. Any
    use for running these together or could I run the X7 as the DAC
    instead? Thanks for you input. Can’t wait to try this thing after all
    I’ve read!

    • Reply May 25, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      I haven’t even unpacked the AM5, sorry. I found the HD800 to sound OK with AM1 so AM5 must surely be better.

      If the D1 has a line in you can use the LO from the X7 and use that DAC

  • Reply May 27, 2016

    Yaroslav

    Hi, I’m considering getting X7 or ak100 II to use with Westone UM Pro 50. Can you please recommend which of them will be a better fit for these IEMs or maybe there’s any other DAP I need to check? Thanks.

  • Reply November 27, 2016

    Etienne

    Hey guys,
    I’m contacting you to have some advice. I was using an old ipod touch + a JDS Labs C5D Amplifier + a Philips Fidelio X2. I just wanted to upgrade my player and get rid on the way of the iThings and especially Itunes that I hate.

    So basically I bought a Fiio X7 !

    My question is now more about the Amp. The JDS Labs C5D is really doing a great job and I really like the way it sounds. The only problem with it is the battery autonomy and the fact that you cannot charge it while listening music. Anyway, the question is which Fiio additional Amp should I pick to have the same kind of sound.

    I’m not a specialist so my question is maybe a bit stupid. I’m mainly listening to blues, rock and metal, I don’t know if the kind of music could influence the Amp choice.
    By the way, I used to have the bass boost switched on on the C5D.

    I guess the best would be to try both but they are not cheap.

    Thanks a lot for your help

    • Reply January 15, 2017

      Lieven

      Excangig your C5D with a Fiio amp sounds more like downgrading to me. THE E12(A) is a nice amp but I wouldn’t get rid of my C5D for that. The portable amps I most of the time recommend are the Duet, Vorzuge, Picillo but they’re not cheap.

  • Reply February 12, 2019

    Bruce White

    Would love to know what you think of the Fiio X7(AM3) now, especially if it only sold for $300.

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