General

Hidizs AP80 Player Review - Baby with Lead Application

Remember, many years ago in the mobile marketphones started a wholesale fashion for miniature handsets? It seems that portable players are now going through a similar stage, and good ultra-compact solutions began to appear more and more often. Today we will talk about this new product from Hidizs, which received the index AP80.

In developing this model, the company's engineers decidedgo from the firmware, and ordered the latest from HiBy, so the novelty works on the same customized Linux as its own HiBy R3 player. In the pursuit of miniaturization, WiFi and Tidal were removed from the AP80 (although it is possible that HiBy was forced to do this, and the competitor was obviously not needed), but they added FM radio and, for some reason, a pedometer. A good acquaintance ES9218P acted as the “responsible for all chip”, the processor was taken from Ingenic, a good Samsung touch screen is attached to it, and Bluetooth is the cherry on the cake.

According to the recent tradition, HidizsWe decided to collect money for Kickstarter, so now you can pre-order the AP80 for only $ 115, which is about $ 50 below the expected retail price. Or you can pay a little for various bonuses like a cover, Seeds headphones (not those that Kinera, but from Hidizs) or even take a limited version in a stainless steel case.

Specifications

  • CPU: Ingenic X1000
  • DAC: ES9218P
  • Frequency range: 20 Hz - 40 kHz (± 3 dB)
  • Output power: 75 mW per channel @ 32Ω
  • Output Impedance: <1Ω
  • Signal to noise ratio: 120 dB
  • Common harmonic distortion + noise: 0.003%
  • Dynamic range: > 105 dB
  • Channel separation: 105 dB
  • Recommended load impedance: 8Ω - 300Ω
  • OS: HiBy OS 3.0 (Linux version)
  • Bluetooth: 4.1 with SBC, aptX and HiBy Link support
  • Screen: touch, 2.45 ″ IPS, 480 × 360
  • Memory cards: MicroSD up to 1 TB
  • Format support: DSD (DSF, DFF, ISO), APE, AIFF, FLAC, WAV, WMA (lossy and lossless), MP3, AAC, OGG
  • Maximum supported resolution: 384 kHz / 32 bit, DSD128
  • USB: Type-C with USB DAC, USB OTG and USB Audio
  • Battery: 800 mAh
  • Operating time on one charge: up to 15 hours
  • Charging time: <2 hours
  • Dimensions: 58 mm × 49 mm × 13.5 mm
  • Weight: 145 grams (aluminum version)

Package and Delivery

I do not know if I have the final version of the box, butJudging by other products of the company, this option is close to the final one: thick black cardboard, a minimum of printing. Inside is the player itself, a spare screen protector (thanks to Hidizs for sticking films from the factory), a regular USB-C wire and a USB-C wire on MicroUSB. The latter is useful, for example, for connecting external DACs.

Of course, I would like a bundled case, but when there is a battle for every penny, you need to pay extra for "luxury" separately, since the KickStarter is cheap now.

Design and management

Hidizs engineers were clearly inspired by the worksuprematists, AP80 is very close to the black square, except for a small protrusion on the right side, containing playback control buttons and volume control. However, a slight deviation from squareness always benefits the product, be it a painting or a player.

The body of the gadget is made of aluminum, the front andthe back panels are covered with glass (or transparent plastic, very similar to glass). Designers of the company decided to show their masculinity, so there is not a single rounded corner or fashionable 2.5D glass. Realizing that they turned out very brutal, the developers decided to provide the opportunity to choose from several colors: black, silver, blue, red, in the future they might add some more shade like golden. Also, lovers of gravity and reliability can pre-order a version of the steel, it costs $ 50 more, but you can make custom engraving on it.

In general, the player turned out quite spectacular,Hidizs managed to make it really small, but not so much to completely kill usability. In fact, it is very close to the size of the Shanling M1, only better controlled by the touch screen.

The controls on the case are not many, but everythingnecessary priostitil. On the left side there is a slot for memory cards, the device does not have a flash drive, but it understands almost any card, plus it can read USB OTG flash drives. On the right side, where the projection, placed the volume control wheel, it also works as an on / off button and screen lock. The AP80 uses a good encoder, so the fixation of rotation is clear, without false positives and gaps. Under the knob there are three playback control keys, and this is certainly the best that designers could do to improve usability. The bottom panel is assigned to the headphone jack and USB-C connector, the latter is very versatile, in addition to charging and memory access, it allows you to connect the player as a USB DAC or vice versa to make it a digital signal source for an external D / A converter.

By the way about the power for full batteryIt takes about an hour and a half, and it lasts for 11 hours and 10 minutes of playback (FLAC 44.1 / 16, MEEAudio P1 as a load). It is worth noting that the operating time here is highly dependent on the impedance of the headphones and the use of the screen, so it is better to use the hardware navigation buttons more often. The player well supports the sleep mode, spending about 3-4% of the charge per night. In general, the numbers are not a record, but for such a compact device - quite decent.

Almost the entire front panel takes touchscreen flirtatiously shifted to the left side of the player. As Samsung did it (according to Hidizs themselves), it turned out quite well: despite its compact size, it has good resolution, pleasing the user with clarity, color reproduction and viewing angles. The display shows everything in a slightly cold light, but not so much that this feature becomes a bug. The brightness margin is also decent, so the screen remains readable in the sun, although it may be necessary to cover it with a palm in a very bright light. The response to pressing is not bad, but simply due to the size of the screen, it is not always possible to hit the desired buttons.

Firmware

Rejoice Android lovers, it is not here. But there is Linux, well hidden by the developers HiBy, called in many promotional materials HiBy OS. In fact, the firmware is very close to what offers one of the hits of the season HiBy R3 minus Tidal and with the addition of FM radio and a pedometer. However, there is a cosmetic difference, the AP80 provides a “main menu” of five points: a player, a radio, a pedometer, system settings, and player information. It was not possible to accomplish a design feat and place it all on one screen, so the menu also scrolls: 4 items on the first screen and a lonely device information icon on the second. I will describe briefly everything not related to the music application itself.

FM radio Well, it is and it generally works. RDS is not included in the kit, so you have to be content with the usual list of frequencies. Thanks at least there is an automatic search function here, albeit a little thoughtful. The reception quality is not bad, although slightly inferior to the M7, however, in terms of thick ceilings and the airport radar behind the house, it will probably be worse to catch than me.

Pedometer To be honest, I did not even test it, if there is a pedometer in the phone and a clock, another one in the player, and even without synchronization with something else, for me it looks like a “function for the sake of function”.

System settings It may surprise someone, but there really are system settings. Here you can change:

  • language (Russian available)
  • media library update mode (manually or automatically)
  • screen brightness
  • color theme (you can choose a color and the whole interface will be of this hue)
  • font size (you must immediately put at least medium)
  • screen time
  • USB mode (file access, DAC or a dock)
  • Do the buttons on the locked screen work?
  • date / time settings
  • sleep timer when idle
  • sleep timer
  • display of battery charge in percent
  • standby mode
  • do the headset buttons work
  • lock screen settings
  • reset to factory settings
  • firmware upgrade

But, of course, the main application for mostusers will be a player. He, by the way, is like two peas in a pod like HiBy R3, on the one hand it’s convenient, you don’t need to be retrained, but on the other hand, where is the variety? The fact that the player is here - the head of everything is hinted even by the fact that it will not be possible to get out of it so easily. In the main menu there is an “Exit” item, but it also stops playback. What to do if you urgently need to look at the pedometer, but you do not want to interrupt the music? This secret hides the Hidizs logo in the player's application menu; it’s enough to tap the main screen without interrupting the music. When you recognize this fact, it is a little puzzling why it was not to make some kind of normal gesture, like on the same FiiO M7. However, I already find fault with it, I just want a good player of ideal usability, which does not cause questions.

The player application starts with the screenplayback, most of which is reserved for the album cover. The panel under the cover adapts to the color gamut of the picture, which looks very impressive (I even advised FiiO to copy it in my firmware). Tap on the cover will show the lyrics, if present. There is also information about the track, navigation buttons, progress bar (finally it was not made circular, I hope that the Android version will repeat this innovation), the add to favorites button and the context menu button. The latter allows you to view the current album and playlist, delete the track, add it to your favorites or turn on the equalizer.

Swipe, from left to right, opens the media library. It has two sections: music and playlists, switching between them by the central buttons at the top. In music, there are traditional lists of artists, albums and genres, as well as viewing all the files at once and the folder browser, allowing you to watch music as you laid it out. Playlists, favorites, and recently played files are available in playlists. In general, the media library is convenient, although it is here that small inscriptions and buttons require the greatest concentration to get into.

Another right swipe will show you the menu itself.player. There are available: updating the library, equalizer, MSEB, Bluetooth settings and sound, as well as output. The first two and the last paragraph do not really need explanations, well, what can be said about the equalizer except for the presence of presets in it and the fact that it works best in the “off” mode? Well, yes, you can also note that scanning the library is average in speed, not super-fast, but not very thoughtful, something in the middle.

Much more interesting MSEB. The name of this notion of gloomy geniuses from HiBy is decoded as MageSound Eight Ball and in fact in this menu there is another opportunity to adjust the sound for yourself, with the difference that you will not need to move the sliders corresponding to the equalizer frequencies, but to operate with more complex concepts like " massiveness of LF "or" sharpness of attacks on HF ". At the hearing, all these settings are somehow translated into EQ changes, but changing them is much easier than thinking about “which of the sliders and how much should I move to add Beam Dylan’s voice with a little more weight?”. So if you really tune the sound, then do it like a boss.

Bluetooth settings are quite familiar.other HiBy firmware. Turn on / off the wireless interface, search and connect devices, turn on HiBy Link and aptX. In the future, the developers promise to add at least LDAC, and if it goes, then even in both directions, to receive and transfer. It is not excluded the addition of AAC, but aptX HD is unlikely to wait. There is a story about how a greedy company, which greatly complicated licensing, loses its market advantage, giving the company a little less greedy.

Sound settings are also quite extensive, for many years on the HiBy market, almost all user needs have been studied, so here you can change the following:

  • playback order
  • remembering the current track / position when shutting down
  • play without pauses
  • maximum volume
  • power-on volume
  • smooth transition of one track to another (I don’t know why you might need it)
  • gain
  • volume leveling, aka replaygain (an indispensable thing for collections of music with different volume)
  • balance
  • digital filter DAC (all 7 pieces)
  • go to folders or albums during playback

Do not forget about the traditional "curtain"opened with a swipe from the top of the screen down. Here you can quickly switch parameters like Bluetooth and line-out. To add a bit of similarity to iOS, the developers also made a control panel that opens with a swipe from the bottom, the brightness and volume change, as well as quick track navigation buttons are available.

Generally speaking, despite version 0.08 beta (Hidizs generally suffer from an inferiority complex in software numbering), firmware works well. Of course, I did not test every little thing, but the main functions work without complaints, I did not notice any failures or major problems during the tests. The only complaint about the firmware is the size of the controls.

Sound

Used to listen to the deviceThe following headphones: iBasso IT04, Meze 99 Classics, Audio Zenith PMx2, Noble Kaiser Encore, Campfire Audio Andromeda, Unique Melody Mason V3, HUM Pristine and others.

In general, in terms of the overall supply, the AP80 is somewhat reminiscent of a Hidizs DH1000 DAC, a neutral sound that is a little monitorable, but with an adequate supply of emotions that saves from boredom.

The bass is very linear, it is not accented, the player is notit adds masses to it, but at the same time, the LFs are good in speed and resolution. Attacks and fading are slightly accelerated, so there is a slight hint of dryness in the bass feed. However, if you like accented bass or extra weight, then this is easily corrected with the help of an equalizer or MSEB, well, or you can immediately choose headphones, taking into account personal tastes. The depth is also quite good for this price category, not prohibitive, but very decent, the control of the bass is very good, it feels that the player has a good power for its size.

Middle frequencies are captivating with good transmission.emotions and neat balance of microdetails. AP80 does not go into the dry monitor, but it shows a decent level of detail without trying to smooth or soften something. This leads to a sufficient level of realism, but imposes certain requirements on the recording in terms of quality, poorly recorded tracks may not be enough corporality on the MF. The player builds an imaginary scene in a very high quality, it is slightly more than average in depth and width, but at the same time the plans and tools are very well separated, which gives a realistic positioning effect.

The high frequency range is naturally notIt hits the top models, the attacks with attenuation are slightly simplified, the layering is almost absent, but it is silly to expect something different from the budget player. Despite this, the device does everything to play this part of the range as best as possible. HF here are distinguished by good resolution, length and naturalness sufficient for most purposes. The top is accentuated here a bit, but it does not go over the edge of what is permitted, therefore the player doesn’t have excessive harshness and tendency to sibilance.

Well, in brief about comparisons. Since I can not compare the AP80 with all competitors in the price category, I chose the models that are closest to him in form factor, adding a couple of larger players. I also do not consider the difference in price, convenience and power, making the main focus on the overall nature of the feed.

Hidizs AP60-II Apparently, Hidizs decided to kill their younger model. With a similar price, the AP80 offers not only a slightly more neutral sound, but also a lot of advanced features.

Shanling M0 An example of how with the same DAC canget a very different sound. The AP80 works out the scene better, gives LF and HF more naturally, in general, superiority, albeit not huge, but in almost everything.

Shanling M1 This player is closer to the AP80 in terms of “level”. Of course, M1 is massive at low frequencies and due to this it loses a little in naturalness and resolution, but here, albeit with a noticeable stretch, we can assume that the difference is taste.

iHiFi790 Here, of course, the chasm for ease of use, but the sound of a small Xuelin turned out to be very similar to the AP80, it accentuates the bass a little more, but at the same time loses a drop in detail.

HiBy R3 A more massive, more assertive player for those who want extra “authority” in sound. Also R3 slightly accentuates the RF.

FiiO M7 The player from FiiO focuses more on the LF and HF range, is also better at working out MF and HF, while it offers a more “engaging” feed.

Compatibility

Of course, 75 milliwatts is not a huge stock.power, but it is enough for almost any IEM and most full-size models, with the exception of high ohms and tight ones. The fact that the AP80 is not the most "weak" in terms of power is noticeable in good frequency control, and the low output impedance makes it a good choice for multi-driver headphones. The background noise is very quiet, it is heard only with the most sensitive low-impedance models.

Stylistically, the player is quite versatile, provided that the user prefers unpainted feed. The recording quality of the AP80 is quite critical, about 8 points out of 10.

As always, a few tracks for example.

Gloria Estefan - Hoy Enough "pop", but a well-recorded track, saturated with details and emotions, does not pose a problem for the AP80, which plays all the richness of the background accompaniment and the nuances of the vocals.

Fever Ray - Keep the Streets Empty For Me Good electro-pop can always be goodan example, because the performers are trying to fill the music with nuances and three-dimensional sound effects, as in this case. Here the hero of our review also shows his best side, playing volumetric and atmospheric.

Miles Davis - Flamenco Sketches (Alternate Take) For relative external simplicity of modalJazz hides very high demands for naturalness and naturalness. The kid from Hidizs passes this test, though not perfect, but at a very good level playing the absolute classics of the genre.

findings

At this time I will try to be brief: there was a replenishment in the regiment of budget compact players, and the newcomer has every chance of a confident leadership in this segment.

Pre-ordered Hidizs AP80 by KickStarter

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