Design & Build Quality
I can only write good things regarding the Shanling M2X design. The brand shrunk the M5S and got rid of the awkward lower section on the front panel. The screen size is the same but for me, that made a huge difference in term of design. The player is made of a CNC milled aluminium case, smoothly polished, anodized and tinted, sandwiched between two plates of curved glass. If you ever had an iPhone X/XS in the hand, you get the idea : amazingly smooth touch and gorgeous design.
This time, Shanling shipped us the M2X with a neat leatherette case, but hat is only for reviewers. It is for sale separately though, and you should get one. It’s a smart move, even if the player looks astounding without it, it’s best to keep it covered. This is one of those player you would feel very sorry to drop, such as the SR15 or the SP1000m from Astell&Kern.
Quality/price ratio is very high. There is no gap or flaws on any part of the player, the M2X is a true jewel in this regard. Of course, if you’ve already read our picture Sunday of the Shanling, that’s no surprise to you.
The layout is almost identical to the Shanling M5S we reviewed before.
Even if the M2X embeds a touchscreen, Shanling kept the multi-function scroll-wheel. Provided by ALPS, it’s clickable and rotative, allowing you to rise or lower the volume and turn on/off the player. The scroll wheel is made of the same metal and colour than the main body, again a seamless design.
On the left side, you have three buttons to control the playback : play/pause, next song, previous song. A small but nice difference is how those buttons slightly stick out from the player. This makes the player a little more easy to control in blind mode, a good upgrade.
You also have the micro-SD port, sealed with a rubber mat to avoid dust and particle penetration. Only one port though, the iBasso DX120 still remains one of the few player with a dual port in this price range now.
All the outputs/inputs are found at the bottom side of the M5S :
- 1x USB Type-C port, dual-way to connect the Shanling to a computer and use it as a DAC/Amp, or to a DAP to make it the source.*
- 1x single ended 3.5mm TRS headphone output to connect your usual headphones
- 1x balanced 2.5mm TRRS headphone output, a good news for me as most of my gear hasn’t switch to the new 4.4mm, yet.
Going from the M5S to the Shanling M2X is very much like going from a family wagon to a sports coupe : so much more enjoyable.
Screen size is the same but fitted on a smaller, proper case, it makes a big difference. Everything fits perfectly under the palm of your hand, and the smooth curves on each side outshine the screen presence.
The screen retains the same 3.2” diagonal and the resolution remains at a low 320×480. If everything looks a bit pixelated, the contrast and brightness are fairly good, even under sunlight you can read what’s displayed.
Responsiveness is good and if not for the low resolution, this would be a great display.
Inside the box
The Shanling M2X bundle is as simple as it gets, inside the box you get :
- the Shanling M2X
- a USB-C cable
- a quick-start manual
- a leatherette case
It’s better than the M5S, all thanks to the leatherette case. Yet, it still misses a few accessories in my opinion but I’m sure most users won’t feel a difference.
The review continues on Page Three, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.