Inside the box, you’ll find the Hidizs AP80 Pro X DAP, some replacement protective films for the front and back glass panels, a USB cable and some Hi-Res Audio stickers.
Coming in with dimensions of 61.2 x 54.5 x 13.8mm, the Hidizs AP80 Pro X is small enough to easily hold in one hand. It has a robust aluminium chassis and a 2.45″ touch screen. The device feels robust and premium in the hand.
On the right side of the DAP is a multi-function wheel and button plus the playback control buttons. The wheel is used for powering the unit on or off, controlling the volume and navigating the menus.
The buttons have a reassuring tactile click and can be easily felt. This makes it easy to control playback when the DAP is in a pocket or bag.
On the bottom of the AP80 Pro X are a 3.5mm single-ended output, a 2.5mm balanced output and the USB-C port for data transfer and charging the battery.
As with the DAP’s previous iterations, the AP80 Pro X comes with Hiby OS. The user interface is straightforward and easy to use, much like an Android phone or iPhone. Navigation is done via swipe and touch gestures on the screen.
The OS is snappy and responsive and I haven’t noticed any lag when using the device. Some text is truncated but any text is clear and easy to see. In fact, you can even adjust the font size which is an unexpected bonus.
There are a couple of additional features on the device. The first is a step counter (pedometer) that keeps track of how many steps you take in a day. Secondly, the DAP has an e-book reader for reading .txt files. I don’t know how many people will find this feature useful but it’s nice to have just in case.
You can expect to get around 8-11 hours of playback time from the 3.5mm output and 6-8 hours from the 4.4mm balanced output. That’s a bit low but acceptable for such a small device. The best part is that the AP80 Pro X supports fast charging and it only takes a short time to get the battery back to 100%.
Hiby’s MSEB gives you a huge amount of audio customization options. If you can’t achieve the sound you want with EQ, you’ll surely be able to get there with the help of MSEB. The options include:
Connecting the AP80 Pro X via Bluetooth is easy. The unit has bi-directional Bluetooth meaning it can transmit a signal as well as receive one. The DAP supports all manner of Hi-Res wireless codecs including AAC, SBC, HiBy UAT, Sony LDAC and CSR APT-X.
Using the AP80 Pro X as a USB DAC is simple. First, you need to select the USB DAC function in the device settings. Then all you need to do is plug the device in using the included USB cable and you’re good to go. No additional driver installation is needed. The unit natively supports up to 32bit/384kHz on my Windows PC (in addition to DSD and MQA).
The AP80 Pro X also works as a USB transport via an OTG cable. You can playback music on the DAP and send the pure digital signal to an external DAC.
With up to 190mW @32Ω from the balanced output, the AP80 Pro X can drive most off the shelf headphones. Hidizs recommends the device for headphones up to 200 ohms and I think that’s a good ballpark figure.
The AP80 Pro X’s sound is familiar and reminds me of the Hidizs S9 Pro i.e. clear, transparent and leaning slightly towards analytical. Neutral is the operative word here – the sound is uncoloured with no sonic embellishments. This makes sense considering the large number of EQ and MSEB options available; it’s easy, for example, to add more bass or bring the midrange forward if desired.
The AP80 Pro X faithfully delivers Skyharbor’s “Miracle”, presenting the track with expressive dynamics and clarity. The soundstage is spread wide and delivers the track with height and airiness. The DAP’s transparent nature works well with busier songs like this, creating ample spacing between instruments with its separation and clarity.
It shows a good grasp of dynamics in Anathema’s “The Beginning and the End”, conveying the anguished vocals with gusto and emotion above the piano and electric guitars. At the same time, the AP80 Pro X shows its command of rhythm as it renders Gavin Harrison’s excellent drums with fervour.
Slowing things down with Bruce Soord and Jonas Renkse’s “Frozen North”, the acoustic guitars in the chorus are clear, articulate and surrounded by a black background. The AP80 Pro X is a precise, agile DAP with a transparent, resolving character.
Hidizs AP80 Pro X Verdict
The Hidizs AP80 Pro X is a welcome refresh in the established AP80 series. It’s an incremental upgrade adding dual ES9219C chips and some slight tweaks to the aluminium chassis.
I find the AP80 Pro X to be the ideal size for ultra-mobility. It’s small enough to fit unobtrusively in a pocket yet large enough to have readable text and easy controls. For the price, the AP80 Pro X is a feature-packed DAP that’s easy to use and sounds great. It’s one of the best entry-level players money can buy. In fact, it’s so good we’re giving it the PAR recommended award.