Review : Shanling M2X – Harder, better, faster, stronger

shanling-m2x-picture-sunday-headfonia (9)

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.

4.3/5 - (48 votes)


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.


  • Reply April 25, 2019


    I’ve owned the Fiio M9, Fiio M6, Fiio m3k, Shanling m0 and the Shanling m5s. I think the m5s has the best sound of all of them. I also feel like the OS on the Shanling m5s is the best/easiest to use/intuitive of all these devices. How’s the screen in comparison to the m5s? Is it the same resolution/quality? I really like the smaller size of the player vs the m5s which is tank.

    • Reply June 11, 2019


      can elaborate more in that statement?!
      how is m5s compared to fiio m6 for music like metal or rock?!

  • Reply April 25, 2019

    Skirmantas Milius

    Should I upgrade from my current ibasso DX90 which I still enjoy?

  • Reply April 27, 2019


    I have an M2S, the output power with the M2X is lower, how does the sound compare between the two??

  • Reply May 7, 2019

    Malay Raj

    Hi does it support .m3u8 playlists?

  • Reply May 14, 2019


    Can you please make comparison with hiby r3. Thank

  • Reply July 26, 2019


    Great review! I like the Shanling M2x, Can you sum up the difference between the m2x and fiio M9, thanks

  • Reply March 13, 2021

    Lo Testoni

    Hi, i’m planning to buy my first DAP that have bidirectional bluetooth but torn between m2x and HiBy R3 Pro Saber.

    Could anyone help to compare their sound signature and quality? Since R3 pro saber hasn’t been review in here and I read many good review from it

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