The Hidizs AP100 is a great media player. I look forward to future firmware updates but in the meantime the UI is quite useable, and the unit gives a clean, uncluttered sound with a decent amount of power. This is an amazing first effort which begs the question; whatever next from Hidizs?
- Built to last
- Neat, useful carry case
- Large clear display
- Firmware can be updated
- Sounds superb at this price point
- Internal data/file storage
- Button layout may need getting used to
- Micro SD card could be easier to insert and remove
If you like your brand names to look like the first line of an optician’s eye chart, the Hidizs 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 Hidizs AP100 has some stiff competition in the low-cost DAP (Digital Audio Player) market, not least from FiiO’s ‘X’ range. The Hidizs AP100 appears to be a halfway house between the Fiio X3 and X5 in terms of size and cost.
Inputs and outputs are well represented; both headphone and line-out sockets are present on the top and a separate 3.5mm coaxial in and coaxial out can be found at the base of the unit. Volume buttons are side by side on the front, and on the left side there are both the source/SRC and EQ buttons. Being capable of playback at up to 24bit/192KHz, the SRC button can select the bitrate the player works at. The EQ button scrolls through available presets, and the user can define their own preferred EQ settings.
The case is a really nice design; it is enough to protect the AP100 without bulking it out, and has an understated look much like the player itself. The case is made from a synthetic leather-like material which looks quite durable.
The battery lasts a good long while, and although no precise measurements were taken, there was a good amount of playing time between the ‘low battery’ warning and the player turning off – maybe an hour or two. My experience with the Fiio X3 gives little chance to enjoy music before the unit runs out of power – perhaps 20 minutes at most. Helpfully, the status of the battery is given as a percentage on the screen when charging the unit, so we can make an informed choice of whether to leave the unit charging or to take our chanced with what power is there.
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. Someone said that they are reminiscent of Gameboy buttons – certainly the placement of the volume buttons on the AP100 give a flavour, but they are the kind of buttons that let you know they’ve been pressed – there’s no doubt involved as with touch screens and wheels. The only problem is that Hidizs saw fit to add separate buttons for ‘fast forward/rewind’ – usually the same buttons are used for track skip and forward/rewind, but not on the AP100. 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.
Compared to the Fiio X3, the AP100 is a little more accurate and coolish but this is not to say that the 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.
Compared to the Fiio X5, the sound is extremely similar; the X5 comes across as just a little smoother up top. Soundstage and imaging are similar, but with just a hint of edge to the sound on the AP100 which brings up harmonics a little more.
Added to that, the AP100 holds enough wherewithal to power some less than sprightly headphones such as the HifiMAN HE-400 very well, so the need for a separate amp is lessened.
An excellent player with a bulletproof design. Solid and reliable, the Hidizs AP100 gives a similarly solid sound and user experience. The sound quality and power gives amazing results, however less sensitive headphones may need a little help. The Beyerdynamic T1, at 600 ohms/102 dB gets up to a good level, but quieter recordings will be lacking in headroom. In our opinion, it bridges the gap between Fiio’s offerings and Astell and Kern’s AK100 but at a very favourable price.