HIDIZS AP80 Review

IryxBRO  |  April 24, 2018 

Technical Specifications:

General:
CPU: Ingenic X1000
Screen: 2.45″, 360×480, IPS
Controls: touchscreen + physical buttons + jog dial
Storage: microSD card, up to 512GB
OS: Linux + HibyOS + HibyMusic + HibyLink
USB interface: type-C, file transfer / two-way USB DAC
Battery: 800mAh, LiON
Battery life: >15Hours
Charging time: ~1.5Hours, DC 5V/2A
Ports & Connectivity:
Audio: 3.5mm stereo headphones output & Line out
Wireless: Bluetooth V4.1 (aptX), FM radio
Audio:
DAC: Sabre ESS 9218P
Stream: 32bit/384KHz
DSD64/128
Gain control: Low/High
Line out: enabled (with volume lock)/disabled
Digital filter: slow descent/sharp drop
EQ: 10band, +/-12dB, 8 presets
Frequency response: 20Hz — 40KHz
SNR: 119dB
Dynamic Range: >105dB
Channel separation: 105dB
THD+noise: 0.003%
Output power: 80mW @ 32Ohms
USB DAC stream: up to 32bit|384KHz
Case:
Materials: CNC, stainless steel / alluminum-alloy
Back cover: 2.5D glass planel
Dimensions: 58x49x13mm
Weight: 70g
Colors: black, grey, steel, red, violet
Additional features:
Step counter
Audio formats:
Lossless: DSD64|128 (.dsf, .dff), DSD64 (.iso), APE (24|192), AIFF (32|384), FLAC (24|384), WAV (32|384), WMA LOSSLESS (24|96)
Lossy: mp3, aac, wma, ogg, etc…
Plenty of good features packed in so small ultraportable DAC. When looking at stated figures and comparing to other DAPs in Hidizs lineup it gets obvious that AP80 stands in between AP60Pro enhanced entry-level player and flagship AP200 DAP. Sound quality is what bothers us the most and we would investigate on it a bit later.

BTW: LDAC function in AP80 is also expected in the nearest time as Hidizs already applied for the certification process.

Box contents:

Hidizs sticks to their recent brand design guidelines and ships AP80 DAP in black satin box with logo and technical specifications embossed with silver paint. Strict, neat and solid box to prevent the device during the delivery process. In addition to that, AP80 is securely held by foamy podium.

Box contents are regular:
AP80 DAP with preapplied screen and back glass panel protectors
Extra screen protector
MicroUSB type-C ->USB A cable (file transfer, charging, USB DAC)
MicroUSB type-C ->microUSB cable (USB DAC for microUSB OTG devices)
Warranty and QC cards
There is no microSD card shipped along with the unit, neither it features internal storage. It means that you should bother to get one up to 512GB and feed it to player.

Design and materials:

We like the overall approach of Hidizs to design as well as we like the new tendency towards implementing more complexity… Very familiar feel of perfectly crafted alluminum case with the introduction of further tiny details and much more efforts spent to shape the right part that includes jog dial and additional control elements.

Not a mere squre or rectangle anymore but the new complicated and organic look that attracts the attention from the first glance.

AP80 has unibody alluminum chassis with gorgeous screen almost covering the entire space at front and curved edge glass panel covering its back. It looks astonishing and creates an image of very valuable possession. Total device weight of 70g and cold solid feel in hands also add up to build perfect first impression. All elements are perfectly aligned, having no free play.

MicroSD card slot is located on the left edge, microUSB type-C port and 3.5mm headphone output at the bottom. But the most important is the right side — it has newly introduced volume jog dial and 3 additional control buttons which are:
Next (long press: seek forward)
Play/Pause
Back (long press: seek backward)
Besides volume control, jog dial elements serves the funtion of ON|OFF switch. Press and hold to switch ON and OFF. All buttons have pronounced clicks and are easy to operate in pocket.

Jog dial is a good addition to such kind of device and serves its role well. Although, we would say that it is a bit smaller than expected and people with large fingers would have some hard times operating it. Rough and textured jog dial edges should help with that. The good news are that when you’ve turned jog dial a little bit to change the volume — you can contunue changing it on screen by moving finger up and down.

What really shines in this unit is a its screen. A giant step ahead comparing to AP60 series DAPs or even to AP200. 2.45″ size, touch-sensitive, 360×480 dots resolution, IPS panel with large viewing angles, excellent crispness, high contrast and brightness values… When placed next to prior DAPs, AP80 screen revelas all advantages over previous models. It has the largest brightness and contrast levels plus the extreme viewing angles won’t invert or bleach the image. Touchscreen sensitivity is high. We haven’t spotted and problems or difficulties while operating UI smallest elements.

In overall, AP80 is the most universal and convenient DAP from the whole Hidizs lineup. It features physical control elements along with the sensitive touchscreen and it also introduced a new beautiful design with handy volume jog dial element. Hope to see the future product from Hidizs utilizing the same approach.

UI and performance:

BASED ON 0.07beta FW

Perhaps, the most responsive DAP from Hidizs until now. Even the initial loading animation is unexpectedly fast… as well as total OS loading time of <8 seconds.

AP80 features modern Linux-based HibyOS UI with logical touch control gestures. If you are using any smarpthones based on iOS or Android — you’d feel like being home. Each feature or program is represented by a separate icon. All general device and audio settings are gathered in Settings Menu, whereas all deep and more precise audio preferences like EQ and filters are located only in HibyMusic application. By the way, HibyMusic looks very similar to its versions for other platforms. No surprises here. It also features such function as HibyLink that allows you to control this DAP from a smartphone.

Menu structure:
Main screen apps:
Player
FM
Step
System settings
About
System settings:
Language
Database update (Auto|Manual)
Brightness (1-100% slider)
Color theme (ON|OFF, pattern selection, slider selection)
Font size (small|middle|big)
Backlight (stay on|10-120 sec)
USB DAC (USB, DAC, DOCK)
Button operation when screen off (ON|OFF)
Time settings (date, format, time)
Idle timer (OFF, 1-10min)
Sleep timer (OFF, 5-120min)
Battery percentage display (ON|OFF)
Standby (ON|OFF)
Screensaver (OFF|Album cover|Dynamic cover)
Restore defaults
Fw update
HibyMusic settings:
Update database
MSEB
EQ
Bluetooth
Play settings:
Play mode (thorugh list, loop single, shuffle, loop list)
Resume play (none, track, position)
Gapless play (ON|OFF)
Max volume
Power On volume (Memory, 0-100)
Crossfade (ON|OFF)
Gain (LOW|HIGH)
ReplayGain (none, by track, by album)
Balance
Antialiasing filter (LPFR, LPSR, MPFR, MPSR, AFR, ASR, CMPFR, BW)
Play through folders (ON|OFF)
Play through albums (ON|OFF)
Drop down PLAY NOW menu:
List now playing
Add to playlist
EQ
View album
Properties
Delete
PLAY NOW screen options:
PLAY|PAUSE
Seek slider
NEXT|PREVIOUS TRACK
PLAY MODE (shuffle, loop, etc)
Menu
Add to favorite
One additional and handy feature — you can drag down quick settings panel from the top of the screen to change gain, USB mode, toggle Bluetooth and toggle line out.

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