Remember what we’ve started this review blog with about 2 years ago? One of the first review was dedicated to the newly intorduced Hidizs AP100 — portable high fidelity music player that outperformed many of its rivals despite a significantly lower cost. That model represented the essence of our blog name — THE_marketchangers — because it showed the way of creating excellent device while maintaining the best price-to-performance ratio…
And today, we are glad to present you the new flagship Hi-Fi portable player model from the same company — Hidizs — AP200.
Claimed to be developed for two years period, with countless iterations of producing samples and testing, Hidizs has finally came up with the model that should shift the expectation even higher, giving the best possible experience of listening to music. No matter whoever you are, just a music fan or an audiophile — AP200 has many features to impress everyone!
Lets start with the short video overview of this device:
Beautiful, isn’t it? But we would like to describe it again with more technical details. Just follow our text further… Again, this is not a final review. This is just an overview or a first look since the device is yet to be finalized. All units that has been sent to some reviewers are intended to produce the necessary feedback to polish the final production and get rid of bugs, if any.
Too much of attention drawing and interesting stuff here. I would point out the next features and specifications that are of the most interest to me:
- 2 x flagship DACs — 1 per channel. Means that L|R channels should be more balanced and separated giving some more scene width.
- 24K gold shielding of DACs and 3.5mm jack. Means that less to none interference should affect their performance.
- Dual Crystal Oscillatiors. This we’ve already seen in AP100 model. It significantly reduces jitter and positively influences natural sound reproduction.
- DSD and DXD formats support. Very important now, when much music starts to show up in this formats.
- Would work as an External DAC with USB or Bluetooth connection to other devices
- Android operating system with the ability to use preferred apps and special pure music mode to provide the most stable and precise music perfomance in universal OS environment.
- Bluetooth with AptX support. Which means the ability to listen to loseless tracks with the necessary sound quality wirelessly.
- Unibody aluminum or stainless steel case. Feels like a very solid constuction with no free play whatsoever.
- From 32 up to 128GB of memory with additional microSD card slot that accepts up to 256GB cards.
- 3100mAh battery to last for about 10 hours.
Such specifications leave nothing more to desire. I would be able to listen to my favorite music, in my favorite FLAC, DSD or DXD formats with enough memory to fit all the collection… Additionally, I wouldn’t worry about the device reliablity in terms of body construction. Moreover, it would allow me to read books, use stream apps like online radio or even watch a movie if I’d want to… But playing high resolution audio files is the main intent and in the essence of this device!
In the box:
The box is great. Covered with transparent thin film from the factory, painted in black color with matt finish. Front logo and model name imprints are glossy and make the right first impression. Back side contains standing out metallic specification text. This is a good way to supply such valuable device…
My unit was shipped along with the quick start guide — the very first thing that we see inside the box, couple of more liners, microUSB type-C to USB cable, one extra screen protector and case protection cover made of semi-transparent plastic. I don’t know whether box contents are subject to change but I appreciate the current set already.
AP200 rests on its foamy podium inside the box and first that draws the attention is that device screen and back glass cover are secured with special screen protectors applied on the factory.
The only thing what is left for an owner to do — is to peel of the upper screen potector layer from both glass panels. This is very good to have such protectors applied out of the box because locating protection film of the similar shape in local stores would be almost impossible. At least at the beginning of the sales.
As already mentined several times — there would be more than one version of body materials: stainless steel or aliminum with different combination of back side cover — carbon-fiber, glass or rosewood. My version is aluminum with glass, painted in blue or violet — depends from which angle to look…
AP200 feels very solid and comfortable in hands. Even the buttons don’t have any free play and don’t even try to rattle. Case has matt finish with CNC machined vetical pattern. Looks ideal and makes an impression of an expensive device.
Buttons are not much to talk about — one power ON|OFF (screen ON|OFF) switch at the top, one PLAY|PAUSE button at the right together with a coupled button for VOL UP|DOWN (PREV|NEXT track when double clicked). Right side is completely blank and the bottom side contains all ports and connections: 3.5mm 24K gold plated headphones|linout jack, MicroUSB type-c port for charging and data transfer and microSD card slot. That’s it. Nothing less and nothing more.
I wonder how such button/port scheme would affect my habits — I’ve got used to dedicated VOL, FF/REV buttons and separate heaphones|linout jacks on my AP100 model. Hope that the touchscreen experinece would not become a pain for a portable music player.
Initial performace impressions:
Press Power ON button and wait for about 10 seconds of booting into Android 5.1 operating system. Everything looks very familiar here since I use the same OS on my smartphones. Google Play Store is preinstalled. Quickly connecting Wi-Fi to the chosen network and I am ready to go with my favorite apps like TuneIn Radio, Youtube and so on.
Despite having only 1GB RAM AP200 feels pretty responsive, thanks to almost no other apps preinstalled that would eat up all memory… Default application for music player is Hiby — very capable and respected player for Android OS. But you are not limited to this app while staying in the general OS mode. Consequently, as soon as we would switch AP200 to special PURE MUSIC mode (done by pulling down the notification bar and pressing the corresponding quick settings button) — the device would restrict anything but Hiby app, forwarding all processing power and allowing the shortest audio paths for playing music.
Couple of words about the screen: it is very good and suitable for such device. 3.54 inch, multitouch, IPS, 960×640 resolution, crisp and clear. It is more than enough to listen to music while watching at the album art or lyrics and totally enough to read books and browse the internet. Touch sensitivity is on a good level — I haven’t noticed any ghost or wrong screen taps while using it.
Besides the screen, the front side has «Hi-Res Audio» logo sticker. This little detail tells us that AP200 has been certified by JAS (Japan Audio Association) and CEA (Consumer Technology Association) and claimed to comply to high resolutions audio device standards.
And of course, Hidizs has not just taken a «bare» Android OS and thrown it inside AP200… They’ve done a good job of customizing the OS so that it would incorporate all device possibilities and make user experience correspond to its essence — Hi-Def audio performance. This includes various quick setting buttons, additional system settings, preinstalled or|and cleared default apps and so on. As a consequence — the owner would have a device with universal OS capable of many different tasks but preconfigured and intended for perfect audio reproduction.
My first impressions are very positive. I like the device, the way it looks and feels. My first couple of hours playing with it were pleasing and I haven’t found anything that would contradict with my own expectations or with device capabilities / features claimed by Hidizs.
All further tests are yet to be conducted. I am planning to spend many hours with AP200 and my beloved Yamaha RH5Ma studio headphones, as well as with Edifier R1100 PC stereo system. Additionally, I plan to visit one of the largest professional local music store — JAM.UA — to conduct some inevitable hardware testing to compare AP100 & AP200 performance + to confirm some claimed specifications 🙂 I would publish my findings and finalize this review as soon as all tests would be accomplished. I think that it would take me about 1-2 weeks from now.
One reminder here: if you are interested in getting the least possible price for Hidizs AP200 — you can become a backer right now as the Hidizs Kickstarter campaign is still going on. To do so, please visit corresponding Kickstarter page. Backers would start to receive their units in September 2017.
Thank you for reading, stay tuned — part 2 of the review is coming…