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on 6 February 2014
The previous reviewer has kind of said it all and said it well, so I'll just add a couple of comments, but note the 5 stars - the X3 sounds like it should cost five times the price or more, so the following observations from having used this for a while should be placed in that context.

Firstly, yes, you can just about operate the controls without having to look, unlike smartscreen players like the iPod touch; but it takes a lot of getting used to, and the controls are not what I'd call intuitive at all.

The firmware as it stands can be a bit slow. Not instantaneous, like most Apple products.

And I really miss parametric eq. Even presets, like my old faithful iPod nano. The X3 has hardware bass and treble control, which is supposed to be higher quality sound shaping than a software parametric, but I need more control to adjust the sound of my headphones. Call me weird, but for this reason alone I may trade my X3 in when the X5 (with its built in parametric) comes out.

But... if you want high end portable sound, and you don't want to spend £600 and up, the X3 is for you. Really, hear one and it's a no brainer. Any of the other points i've listed are niggles compared with that. (If I didn't know the X5 was coming, I'd just blow £250 on a pair of Beyer DT1350s, plug them into my X3 and be in sonic heaven. In fact, maybe that's not such a bad idea...!)
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on 3 January 2015
When I ordered this I started to rip my CD collection to my PC as WAV files, when the X3 arrived I loaded the music onto the device and was immediately impressed by the sound quality the X3 produces - even with the cheap ear buds I already had the music seemed clearer and more open. My previous portable music player had EQ settings for Rock, Classical, Pop, etc. however, the X3 does not have any of these gimmicks and doesn't need them because it's sound is so good as standard. It does have bass and treble controls and I do tweak these depending on what headphones I'm using - my AKG's are a little bass shy and this sorts them out a treat.

It gives my music a new lease of life, I imagine some of this is due to being able to play hi-res files; however, now I am unable to listen to my music on my hi-fi system because it just doesn't sound as good!

Various reviews online comment about the poor user interface, while it is a bit clunky you do get used to it's idiosyncrasies and I rarely find it bothersome. One thing I do miss from my previous music player is the ability to make playlists; while it does have a favourites feature, it's not quite the same.

Battery life is excellent, I have the X3 set for putting the screen to sleep after 10sec and probably get about 12-14 hours of listening before it needs recharged.

The X3 is a solid little lump, it feels well made and good quality; you even get a protective rubber cover with the X3 which is a nice touch.

On one occasion the X3 froze on me while I was deleting some songs from it's menu; however, switching the X3 off and on again solved the issue.

Loses one star for the slightly clunky interface (no playlists) and the freeze issue (only occurred once). Otherwise, this is a superb music player that has all but replaced my home hi-fi system and I can use it on the go too - recommended.
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on 27 November 2015
I sort of wish I'd gone for the more expensive piece because the X3 only has a single microSD slot. I've got mine loaded with a 128GB card and it only holds about 500 mp3 CDs at 320kps. The larger model takes 2 cards.

The audio quality is amazing.

Purchased primarily as a FLAC player, with some decent headphones I can't hear too much difference between FLAC and high quality mp3 and have now reverted back to mp3 to take advantage of the lower memory usage.

I had a couple of questions which FiiO customer services answered fully and intelligently by return, so that's a bonus. (Ever tried to get sense from an Apple Store?)

The only; and I mean only, gripe is that the user interface is a bit out of the Stoneage. It take a while to get to the album you want.

I've had mine nearly a year now and it's all good. Battery life is fine.

Getting music onto it is drag and drop - doesn't get much easier than that.
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on 1 May 2014
I bought the x3 to replace a much used Sony Walkman as I wanted a FLAC player. Having read a few reviews, the X3 seemed like a good place to start. As it was at the bottom of the price bracket, I did not expect too much from it. Boy, was I surprised!

I am using it with Grado RA1 / RS1, or when on the move, with Grado igi's. The better the headphones that you use, the more benefit you will get from the player. I also re-recorded a load of cd's using FLAC format.

With either headphone set it simply blows the competition away at anything close to the price, but it was with the RA1/RS1 that it really hit home just how good the player is. There are plenty of reviews that explain in technical or detailed terms how well the player works. In simple terms, it has led me to rediscover much of my music collection. Although it does individual things well, its greatest achievement is in the overall presentation of the music, which is simply staggering. The fact that it also accepts micro SD cards, giving infinite memory is a huge bonus.

The player has had some adverse comments due to the controls and screen; I have not found either to be an issue. The controls are very simple and straightforward and the display, whilst not modern (and not brilliant in bright light), is certainly sufficient for everything I need it for.

The only negative so far has been a tendency for the x3 to lock up occasionally. As is suggested elsewhere, keep a paper clip handy. Whereas this is less than ideal, the reset is very quick and so it is not a major problem. If the unit had cost twice the price, I might have knocked a star off - but not at this price.

Overall, I could not recommend the Fiio X3 too highly. Whereas there may be better sounding DAPs out there, you would have to pay a much higher price for one to beat the X3 and unless you have very good headphones, you may well not even notice the difference. For the money, you cannot go wrong.
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on 7 November 2015
The Pono might have Neil Young's backing and a better marketing team but seriously, this high-res player sounds just as good for less than half the price.
The chip in this player is a Wolfson WM8740 which is the same chip that is in Astell and Kern's high end player with costs £1100!
The player will play any format you ask it to (WAV, IAFF, OGG, MP3 etc etc) and can accept expansion SD cards to hold more music.
It is not the prettiest design and the operating system can be a bit fiddly but they are minor gripes. If you are looking for a high-res player that delivers quality sound and wont break the bank, this is the player for you.
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on 4 September 2014
My favourite MP3 player of all time? Probably Sansa's E260, I've owned many but in terms of sound quality and battery that stands out. A dying breed in today's pop. culture, some would say, is the stand alone MP3 player and - as well as that the strict volume guidelines many companies follow mean you're better off not bothering, for example Sony's new 384 is quite pathetic in terms of sound quality. The only company which transcends this is the Sansa.

That is until now, with this baby you get amazing sound quality - a high volume capacity which can be increased further with some of the new firmware, a player which makes the best out of headphones (I bought some Sennheiser MX 365s and they work a treat with this), the player feels beautiful to touch and comes with 3 different themes, but there are some draw backs. Battery life for my FiiO is maybe 6 hours, which isn't the 10 advertised. Interface is tricky and it takes a slick hand to use it for example at night time when your in bed with no lamp, or in the dark. Would have been easier if the volume buttons were somewhere else, or together as well as the arrows. It should be state that you need an SD card to update the firmware, I didn't know this and have since forked out for a 32gb kingston card. Also the player is incredibly large, almost like a gameboy of sorts, so if anybody laughs at you for owning one just play 'em a song or two and blow their minds away when they either have to buy one or revert to today's rather flaky, useless fodder. Unless it's an E260... I would say older I pod's too but this has the edge I feel, especially if you're buying one today with the new volume limitations.
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on 15 December 2014
What a marvellous device this is, better by far than the iPod classic it has replaced. The sound is absolutely stunning, capable of playback of a large number of formats. It's like listening to my large collection of music, as if for the first time ever, also at a very reasonable price. Absolutely mind blowing.
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on 2 May 2014
If sound is everything and you have a limited budget then this is a good buy, however if you want a slick interface then perhaps the Sony F886 would be a better bet.
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on 24 April 2015
Cracking little 'lossy' player. Well built, has been slung down the road two times at high speed (cycle) and still works wonderfully. Shell is rugged. Just ordered the Fiio E10K Dac/Headphone amp. Fiio, get bang for your bucks.
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on 19 January 2015
Loving the sound, NOT loving the user interface. That really needs some attention. Unquestionably good value for money and physically robust. The 'condom' protector it comes with is pretty grim too; has about it the clinical and Victorian. User manual could use the attention of a decent translator. Buy this for what it does well, nothing else, because it does that very well indeed.
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