RRP – £230-£250
If you like your brand names to look like the first line of an optician’s eye chart, the Hidizs AP100 is certainly worth considering – the name might take some getting used to, but it’s plain to see that this player is getting some covetous glances!
The AP100 has some stiff competition in the low-cost DAP (Digital Audio Player) market, not least from Fiio’s ‘X’ range. The AP100 appears to be a halfway house between the X3 and X5 in terms of size and cost, but how about sound quality?
The same can easily be said – compared to the Fiio X3, the AP100 is a little more accurate and coolish but this is not to say that the Hidizs AP100 is harsh. Listening to unyielding and brittle-sounding early 80s pop such as Duran Duran is fine on the AP100 but the X3 just gives it a bit more warmth and roundness to a presentation – the AP100 wins in terms of detail.
With the default firmware, tracks stood a good chance of having the first second chopped off if selected from the track list on the device, but this was fixed after upgrading to V1.31067. One problem I had after upgrading was that the unit reverted to its native Chinese language – there was no clue how to get it back to English again. Luckily I found the option in the menu as the only item with 2 Chinese characters. Select this and you’ll see ‘English’ in the sub menu.
The buttons on the Hidizs AP100 are lovely to press; there’s a great chunky feel to them and they are good solid buttons which will last. The only problem is that Hidizs saw fit to add separate buttons for ‘fast forward/rewind’ – I’m so used to using the same buttons for track skip and forward/rewind that I keep skipping tracks by accident. Also the ‘back’ button is on the right of the other navigation controls, which makes it feel like a forward/select button; this may lead to a few wrong turns for the uninitiated but it’s easy to get used to.
There’s a little flap in the case which is held shut by velcro. It took a while to figure out but this is for spare micro SD cards; just be aware that you may need tweezers to remove them again. SD cards can be changed simply in the device, however a tool or long fingernail is required to ‘click’ it into place and retrieve it.
I did also notice a problem with the track list on the player – select ‘track 1’ for instance on the track list and skip forward a couple of tracks via the play screen. Then on going back to the track list, ‘track 1’ is still highlighted as if it is still playing. Perhaps this will be addressed in future firmware updates.
A good little player; I look forward to future firmware updates but in the meantime the UI is quite useable, and the unit gives a clear uncluttered sound with a good amount of power. A great first effort which begs the question: whatever next from Hidizs?