AP80 Review - Head-Fi (1)
HIDIZS AP80 DAP Player - Reviews
Dobrescu George | May 14, 2019
Pros: + Excellent Build Qualty
+ Good dynamics
+ Fairly natural soundstage
+ Musical treble presentation
+ Versatile DSP implementation, good sonic quality
+ Good price/performance ratio
Cons: - Not the most easy to carry around, sharp corners
- Battery Life could be better
- Display is colorful but not the brightest
- No clip case included in the package and none available
HIDIZS AP80 is the latest ultraportable DAP from HIDIZS, a Company with a slightly controversial history about support, but which created a few really solid products, like their HIDIZS Sonata HD DAC Cable. With a fair price point of 115 USD, AP80 sure brings some competition to the ultraportable DAP scene.
HIDIZS is a rather interesting company, because on one hand, they appear for a few months, offering strong support in that time, then they change their internal company structure and it is a bit hard to get in touch with them, especially for the English speaking market, so I can't exactly recommend them entirely, without first letting you know that their current support has been good in general, but there are spots where they could be getting better, like getting a full time employee to take care of the English speaking market. My understanding so far has been that they have a stronger support in China, but this is not a first hand experience I can really attest to. Either way, so far I noticed that most people did eventually get their problem sorted out, but the waiting time is on the long side. They are clearly trying their best, and will most probably be getting better in the future though.
It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Hidizs, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Hidizs or anyone else. I'd like to thank Hidizs for providing the sample for the review. The sample was provided along with Hidizs's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review reflects my personal experience with Hidizs AP80. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Hidizs AP80 find their next music companion.
The packaging of AP80 is pretty typical in style for HIDIZS, but considering the rather affordable price of AP80, it is a great package, and they included a lot of extras with it, making me quite impressed. Not only you get the DAP, but you also get screen protectors, with one already applied from the factory, and you get good quality cables.
I can say that with a Type-C cable included in the package, I'm quite happy about what HIDIZIS did for 115 USD.
What to look in when purchasing an entry-level Ultraportable DAP
DAC: Sabre ESS 9218P
Gain control: Low/High
Frequency response: 20Hz — 40KHz
Dynamic Range: >105dB
Channel Separation: 73dB
Output power: 80mW @ 32Ohms
USB DAC: up to 32bit|384KH
Starting with the fun stuff, the build quality is pretty much excellent. There were some issues with some HIDIZS Products in the past, like DH1000 and AP200, but with AP80, like with their HD Sonata DAC, there are no build quality issues that I can see. In fact, AP80 is made just as good, if not even better than similar DAPs at a similar price point.
The case is high-quality CNC milled Aluminium, painted in a matte paint. With rather strong angles and corners, the whole device feels a bit square.
The display is very colorful and crisp, also much bigger than the display on Shanling M0, which I reviewed before, but you should keep in mind that AP80's display still isn't quite enough for my fingers in terms of size. There are physical buttons on the side of AP80, thing which I absolutely love, and think will surely come in handy for an ultraportable DAP, as you're most probably going to be using it portably, and blind navigation will surely come in handy.
HIDIZS AP80 is able to play both lossless files, and even DSD files, and although in the original version, which was a pre-production Beta, was a bit laggy, with the latest firmware installed, it is pretty snappy and works very well, even when playing DSD128 files.
With a 9218P DAC installed, AP80 is supported by a rather strong piece of hardware for an ultraportable.
The battery life is good for an ultra-portable, about 11 hours in a normal screen off run, compared to their quotation of 15 hours. The battery life decreases when you turn on the display though, although for such a small DAP, you're most probably going to be using the display just for browsing your music library.
Overall, the build quality is very good, especially for its price point, the aesthetics are striking, especially of you like a device with stronger angles and corners, and the firmware is very fluid and stable, there's no mistaking it, HIDIZS sorted out their firmware rather nicely with this one.