Many people now listen to music using their smartphones nowadays, but for the few that love good audio and are not quite satisfied with the audio quality today’s smartphones have to offer, getting a HiFi music player is not an option. That’s where the XDUOO X3 HiFi Lossless MP3 Music Player comes in.
For those who are accustomed to the art of purchasing separate music players to suit their audio needs, especially those that rocked the Apple iPods when it came out but can no longer afford it, companies like XDUOO and other Chinese companies have been sources of great relief because they keep churning out good music players at affordable prices.
The XDUOO X3 is a HiFi music player that combines a sleek and elegant look with superior sound quality and modern internals to deliver that satisfying audio experience you’ve been craving. I’m not saying it’s the best, but it’s certainly not the worst, and at this price range, you can’t ask for more. Find out why in this XDUOO X3 HiFi Lossless Music Player Review.
Is it worthy to be the best budget music player?
Unboxing and Packaging Details
The XDUOO X3 comes in a black rectangular box with the only word on it indicating the company that produced the product it contains – XDUOO.
Upon opening the box, you are greeted with the XDUOO X3 music player itself with a black ribbon fastening it to the box.
Removing the main device from the top will reveal the other contents of the package; a USB cable for charging the device and transferring data to other devices, a screen protector for the delicate OLED display, a user manual, and a warranty card.
- XDUOO X3 Music Player.
- USB Data/Charging Cable.
- Screen Protector.
- User Manual.
- Warranty Card.
XDUOO X3 Design and Build
The first time I saw the XDUOO X3 live unit, I didn’t know whether to conclude that I had been cheated because the device looks very much like a remote control. The buttons on the
remote control music player are scattered, but its small size could come in handy in times when we need to move around with it.
The XDUOO X3 comes in a solid aluminum case that gives it a robust look and would hopefully make it last longer than its predecessors.
Another design language that would hardly go unnoticed is the pattern and brushing/styling of the front of the music player. When exposed to light at different angles, the view is simply fantastic.
At the right side of the XDUOO X3, there are two micro SD card slots (two?!), the volume keys and a RESET button in case there is a problem with the device’s software.
The left side houses only the LOCK key.
The serial number of the product, as well as model and brand details, are printed on the back of the XDUOO X3 music player.
The back is also designed like the front, and it creates different patterns on exposure to light. The device is comfortable to hold thanks to the 45-degrees chamfers that have been developed into its back.
At the bottom of the XDUOO X3 are the 3.5mm headphone jack and the LINE OUT port.
The top of the device houses the micro USB port through which it can be charged and data transferred to other devices (laptops, computers, or smartphones via OTG).
The XDUOO X3 is 1.4cm thick, the same thickness you get when you stack seven coins on top of each other.
It is just 4.5cm wide.
Looking at the design and build of the XDUOO X3, I can see that this device has come a long way from the XDUOO X1 which is very broad, and the XDUOO X2 which doesn’t particularly cause any excitement regarding design.
It is worthy to note, though, that the back and sides of the XDUOO X3 are prone to scratches (as can be seen in the picture below), and should be handled with utmost care when around sharp objects.
Two SD Cards Slots?!
This is one feature that took me by surprise. Two SD Card slots on a music player! What in the audiverse could be better than that? Maybe having three SD cards (as I hope) would beat that, but for now, this is the real deal.
I’m not saying that this is the only music player with dual SD card slots, but it’s veery hard to see one at such a low price tag as that of the XDUOO X3.
Display and User Interface
Powering up the XDUOO X3 for the first time, you would be greeted with the main interface which is the first of its kind that I’ve seen in a music player. There are six different menu items to choose from, and the selection is made sideways. The menu items include Now Playing, All Songs, Cue, Folder, Favorites, and Settings.
You can view the song currently being played,
The CUE music player. This is a great feature of the XDUOO X3, and it’s one I’m excited about, as it offers a beautiful and responsive front end player, and it’s a great tool for building a playlist.
You can view all the songs you currently have on the player.
You can navigate by the different song folders; that’s if you’ve so organized them.
There’s also a favorites interface. All the songs you’ve marked as a favorite would appear here.
Lastly, in the selection pane, we have the Settings menu where you can tweak and change a lot of things on the device.
Now let’s come to the Now Playing list. It displays the song currently being played, and more. From the top left of the screen, the volume level is displayed followed by the track number and then the battery bar at the top right corner. Below this is the name of the song in the play, below which the time duration is displayed, followed by (in a downwards movement) the bit rate.
The interface of the XDUOO X3 is very impressive, just that I would have loved it more if the fonts and icons/images were in white color rather than blue because of white blends more with the black background.
Before you start getting excited about the display which by the way is 1.3 inches in size and made with OLED panels, I have to warn you that you have to cover the display with the screen protector included in the package if you want it to last longer than the day you bought the music player.
I would have loved this device to come with a toughened glass protection (like Corning Gorilla glass in smartphones), but with a price tag as low as that of the XDUOO X3, you can’t complain.
It’s not really the fact that you have to cover the display with a screen protector that is irking me, but the fact that the protector can never be attached smoothly across the surface of the screen. No matter how hard you try, some bubbles would remain and ruin the erstwhile beautiful appearance of the music player, except if you take the time to pop into the office of the manufacturer and have them attach it for you. Things like this (the screen protector) are called the necessary evil.
There is another downside to the display. The display is ravishing and easy to read, but only when you’re in a dark place with the display as the primary source of light. When taken out into the sunlight, it becomes harder to read, and the screen protector makes it even worse by reducing the display contrast. Talk of necessary evils!
The buttons on the XDUOO X3 are pretty self-explanatory. The power button is used to switch the device on and off, the ESC button to go back to previous menus, the MENU button for viewing the menu interface, the PREV and NEXT buttons for scrolling back and forth respectively between songs and menu items, and the big round PAUSE/PLAY/ENTER button for performing the first two actions on songs as well as choosing/selecting menu items.
It looks like the manufacturer of the XDUOO X3 is obsessed with triangles. The MENU, POWER, and ESC buttons are arranged triangularly, same as the PREV, NEXT, and PLAY button, not to talk of the fact that the edges of the PREV and NEXT buttons are chipped, and their ends pointed to make them into triangles. This design is optimized for one-hand usage, as you would find out within hours of using the device.
Software and Usage
The XDUOO X3 runs on firmware version 1.0 from the box, and I must say this software doesn’t offer a lot of features and tweaks to play around with regarding tone control. Let me just spit it out; the XDUOO X3 has no equalizer control settings. I’ll get more into that later.
In place of equalizer controls, there are two settings for
- switching to a +6dB high gain mode; and
- toggle the slope of the interpolation filter of the CS4398.
The Settings menu offers some customization options, and although it’s not the full-fledged menu you would expect to find on a world-class HiFi music player (which the XDUOO X3 is certainly not!), it’s manageable.
Under the Music Settings, you can adjust the DAC filter between slow roll-off and fast roll-off, as well as other contexts like Gain, Play Mode, and Current song properties.
You may experience some lag on the device occasionally, especially when you have a lot of files stored on your SD card(s). Don’t be afraid, though; this happens rarely, and you can avoid it by splitting up significant amounts of data between two SD card slots. That’s what those dual slots are there for!
There is an advantage to the software; if you turn the device off while listening to a song, the song would be remembered when you turn it back on. That’s similar to music playback on smartphones, with the only difference being that the XDUOO X3 would start the song from the beginning rather than pick up from the point it was when the device was turned off.
Sound and Audio Quality – The Real Deal
The sound output and quality are the main reason for buying a separate music player, so I’m going to be testing the XDUOO X3 with three different earphones; the Dunu Titan1 Earphones, the Sennheiser MX500 earphones and the Phonak Audeo PFE 112 earphones.
Let me start by giving you a general overview of the sound quality of the XDUOO X3 HiFi Lossless Music Player. It’s ok, and any audiophile would love it, though it’s a but airy and spacious like some old music players. Overall, the XDUOO X3 gives a good, balanced sound and audio quality that is not common with music players in its price range.
Starting with the Titan1, at low frequency the music sounds a bit stiff, but otherwise, it’s fine.
The background play apparently comes out with the PFE 112. I also used the PFE 112 to listen to one of Alan’s song, and although it felt comfortable, the pitch was a bit higher than normal and could give a sensitive fellow some goosebumps.
The MX500 works well with high frequency, and the output is quite higher in volume with it than with the other earphones. Listening to fast music with the MX500 is not recommended because not all the sounds were relayed completely when I tried doing so.
The XDUOO X3 does well to reduce background noise to an almost non-existent level, and this is one of the reasons why this music player appeals to me. Alas! The XDUOO X3 is living up to the “lossless” description in its name.
- Great design.
- Durable build quality.
- Excellent Display and User Interface.
- Balanced and overall quality sound output.
- Stable and well-optimized software and features.
- Great value for money!
- The body is prone to scratches.
- Button layout not familiar and needs some practice to get used to.
When choosing music players like the XDUOO X3, the goal is not to get the best type out there as that will cost you upwards of two hundred dollars. The goal is to get a music player that will satisfy the basic purposes of a standalone music player, which is to offer good and balanced sound with an incentive quality enough to make you move from listening to music on your smartphone to slugging it out on a separate device. Dear reader, that’s exactly what the XDUOO X3 does.
And while there are a million (ok, I’m exaggerating, maybe a thousand) others out there that offer the same features as the XDUOO X3, none of them comes close to the price-to-feature ratio of the XDUOO X3. At a price less than $80, the XDUOO X3 is simply it.