Fiio M3 Ultra Portable Audio Player Review: Fiio has been among one of the biggest proponents of the high-resolution audio and its range of the audio players has enjoyed success over the whole world. The Fiio X-series offers varying levels of the sonic performance. Now, the M3 is the most affordable model yet and it is priced at Rs. 4,499. Let’s take a look.
Fiio M3 Ultra Portable Audio Player Review
Look and Design: The M3 is smaller and lighter than the X1 and that makes it easier to store and carry. Another key difference is the use of the plastic as the primary construction material. It is also available in four colours: white, cyan, blue and black.
With sharp edges the edges have a brick-like shape and buttons that sit flush with device itself. The right side has the lock slider and on the left side it has the power button, the bottom has Micro-USB port and data transfers, the microSD slot and the 3.5mm socket. So it is conveniently small and it is a lightweight package that is very easy to get used to.
The Fiio M3 also comes with the earphones, but as far as sound is concerned these don’t offer much of sonic isolation. In the box for data transfers and charging there is also a standard Micro-USB cable.
SPECIFICATIONS and SOFTWARE:
The device has internal storage of 8GB and that is notable because the X1 has none. The M3 does have the microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 64GB, that will allow you to have up to a maximum of storage space on the device of 72GB. The battery of 550mAh that powers the device for up to a claimed of 24 hours.
For visual cues and controls the device has a small 2-inch 240320-pixel screen, that is oriented in portrait mode.
The device has a limited support for high-resolution audio formats that supports only up to 24-bit/96kHz WAV and 24-bit/48kHz FLAC files. WMA, OGG, M4A and MP3 are supported but it does not include M4A-encrypted Apple Lossless(ALAC) files, this is a bit of disappointment. With an impedance range of 16-100Ohms the device can drive headphones.
A long press lets you to the settings menu and a short press of the menu button lets you browse through the files. The directional navigation buttons are used to control the volume, to move around and select options or tracks, depending on where you are on interface.
We used the Fiio M3 with its headphones as well as with Trinity Atlas and RHA S500i in-ear headphones during the testing. Our test tracks included Michael Jackson’s, Bonobo’s Days To Come, Gotye’s State of The Art.
Starting with the Days to Come and the M3’s own earphone, we found the sound was ordinary and fairly standard. This is predominantly because of low-power DAC unit, that is likely no more capable than that we had expected to see on most of the mid-range smartphones.
Now moving on to the State Of The Art with Trinity Atlas, we got generally acceptable sound with fair sense of decent and openness separation, so thanks to the qualities of aggressive signature and Atlas earphones. Imaging is good and the soundstage is moderately wide.
The Fiio M3 is the Chinese company’s the most affordable high-resolution audio player, but it is far offering the capabilities of excellent X series of the players. The sound of M3’s is only about on par with the most smartphones will give you.
If you do choose to buy it then its good battery life and small size might make it worthwile. So, if your phone has limited storage or poor battery life then you could use the M2 is your car or as the alternative. The low price of the device makes it worthwhile as the backup and the clean sound and the neutral sonic signature sound provide a satisfying enough sound that will work for anyone.
Price (MRP): Rs. 4,499
- Internal storage of 8GB plus slot for expansion
- Small and light
- Open and fairly neutral sound
- Poorly designed user interface
- Sound quality is ordinary
- Not all common file formats and bits rates supported
Ratings (Out of 5):
- Performance: 3
- Design: 3
- Value for money: 4
- Overall: 3