In this review we are taking a closer look at the new flagship DAP by Lotoo – the PAW Gold Touch. Is it a worthy upgrade from the original PAW Gold? Let’s find out!
Disclaimer: The PAW Gold Touch was provided directly from Lotoo for this review. It was sent out from their Headquarter in Beijing and I only had to pay for importing it. Lotoo is not a site advertiser or in any way affiliated with Headfonia. Many thanks for the generosity and opportunity! Also a thank you goes out to Dune Blue, who were willing to help out before the sample was confirmed by Lotoo’s CEO.
Lotoo is not a new name to the audiophile community, as their previous products have already been pretty popular.
Founded in 1999, Lotoo has focused primarily on professional audio recorders and has only tipped their toes into the audio player market 15 years after their start. They introduced the PAW Gold as their absolute reference player, and legend has it, that it was only made because the owner of the company was not satisfied with what the market had to offer.
The PAW Gold has quickly risen to become a wildly beloved product. It stood out from the market with its unique looks and software, which could be described as rudimentary. To this date, the PAW Gold is one of the top players in the field.
In 2015 Lotoo released the PAW 5000, a much cheaper DAP, that again proved popular. In late 2016 they have released the hyper compact PAW Pico, a DAP comparable to the iPod nano, as it featured no screen.
Lotoo has always shown good interest in keeping their products up to date by offering new firmware versions for their players throughout all the years. To me it’s also very positive that they kept the Paw Gold as their flagship, where other companies push new products in a two-year cycle, they have just slightly updated the original and kept going.
After four years, Lotoo has decided to give the crowd a new version of the PAW Gold. Updated with modern features and a new interface. However, the PAW Gold will still be available and has not reached EOL (End Of Life) status just yet.
About PAW Gold Touch:
It has been rumored that Lotoo was working on a new audio player with a touchscreen for quite a while, and in early 2018 it was finally confirmed. The specifications came out and the interest for the new PAW Gold Touch (PGT) was very high.
After many months the Touch saw the light of day in late Fall 2018 and was introduced to the Western markets only a few weeks later.
The successor of the PAW Gold is equipped with a few features the original lacked, like the obvious touch screen, Bluetooth (bi-directional) with LDAC support, WiFi, a 4.4mm balanced output or USB C input with the ability to work as a USB DAC. Since they are using USB 3.1, transferring files via the Touch is very fast and filling up that SD card is done in no time. It registers as regular memory when you hook it up to the PC for data transfer.
The PGT has a 3.77-inch IPS touch screen and comes with an in-house developed software called Lotoo OS. It’s not based on Android or Linux according to their website. That however also means that we are not likely to see streaming services added to the Touch any time soon.
The PAW Gold had an unfortunate problem with many screens going bad and fading out. I am sure Lotoo has looked into that and the IPS screen of the Touch will not have this issue.
Though it has WiFi built-in, the purpose is still unknown to this date. Currently you can update the firmware via OTA (over the air). I suppose what would be possible, is implementing DLNA or UPnP in the touch, making it able to access network attached storage.
Lotoo has opted for the AK4497 DAC chip accompanied with the AK4437 sample rate converter, it gives support for PCM up to 32/768 and DSD512. They have implemented two different chip setups for each headphone output. The single ended output uses a configuration of two OPA1612 with two LME49600 and the balanced output comes with a quad OPA1612 and dual OPA1622 set. Both headphone outputs moonlight as Line Outputs as well, so you can use an external amplifier with the Touch.
One thing Lotoo has been famous for, is their professional Parametric EQ. This of course also is featured in the PGT. We’ll take a look at it a little later.
The Touch has a battery with a 5400mAh capacity, which gives me about nine to ten hours of battery life before it’s drained. Just like the PAW Gold it comes with a single SD card slot. It’s one of the last remaining DAPs that takes full sized SD cards. That means, don’t throw away your micro SD to SD converters. The PAW Gold Touch has no internal memory.
The PAW Gold Touch is available for 3,199$ or 3,199€ through Lotoo’s dealers.
More about the PAW Gold Touch on page two!
This is looking good. Any comparison between SP1000M and Plenue L?
I currently own the former but I am also interested in PGT and the latter. I do mainly listen to pop songs and would like vocals to be a bit closer.
It looks like PGT has a more reference sound while PL is great in smoothness and warmth. PGT should also drive my 64 N8 better than SPKM, although SPKM is doing well in transparency and emotional expression.
Great review, thanks!
many thanks for your comment.
The Plenue L performs really well on the balanced output, which is more neutral than the single ended. Compared to the SP1000M it’s a bit fuller and less bright up top. I find the M to be a bit too active in its treble, which can sometimes be a bit too much with brighter IEMs like the Fourté in example. With gear that could use a treble push it’s excellent, something like the EE Phantom for example.
The N8 I find best on the PAW Gold Touch. You’re right about emotions on the M, that it does really well. The Lotoo might miss that in comparison, but it lets you build your own signature with the PEQ. 🙂
Interesting to learn. I’ll definitely try to listen to the PGT and PL when possible.
Thanks for the comment.
Please review also the Enigma Acoustics / Lotoo Dharma D200 IEM ;
thanks a lot, much appreciated.
Currently there are no plans for the D200 IEM. If that changes, I’ll let you know.
hi.. thought you should mention that LPGT cannot read 400gb or more microsd (with adapter) normally.
i have 12k songs but lpgt only read 6k songs.
Lotoo have already know this issue months ago, release 2 or 3 firmware update but didn’t kill this issue
thanks for your comment.
Sorry for the late reply.
That’s interesting, I haven’t tried the PGT with a 400 gig card. I’m using a 256GB card and it’s good. Too bad Lotoo hasn’t fixed that issue yet.
I’m also still waiting for fixes I’ve told them about, but I’m confident they’ll fix them. Maybe it takes a little longer. Coding isn’t always as straight forward as one might think…
Hated Chinese manufacture… just can’t stand their design and UI.