Fiio F5 review: Hi-Res on a budget
“The FiiO F5 boasts support for Hi-Res audio and comes with detachable cables with MCMX connectors”
It’s a good time to be an audiophile. Thanks to the combined efforts from manufacturers across the electronics industry, Hi-Res audio has finally entered the mainstream market. From dedicated DACs to smartphones like the LG G6 – capable of outputting phenomenal sound – there’s no shortage of equipment which can satisfy your urge for good audio quality on the move. However, going Hi-Res often comes at a hefty price and even if you are able to get your hands on a DAC or a good smartphone which comes with a DAC, you’ll still have to invest in a pair of IEMs which are capable of reproducing the Hi-Res audio that you so desire. Well, folks at FiiO have heard your woes and have come up with the Fiio F5, an affordable in-ear monitor which boasts support for Hi-res audio. But is it all talk and no trousers? Read on to find out.
I’ll cut straight to the chase – the FiiO F5 looks and feel great. The housings for the earphones have been constructed out of anodised and galvanised aluminium alloys which gives the F5 a good amount of weight. While it’s not going to weigh your ears down, but at the same time, you will notice the F5’s presence when it’s plugged in your ears. Coupled with the earphone’s Matte Black finish, the FiiO F5 looks extremely minimal and subtle, unlike the FiiO EX1 which shipped with a colourful trim on the earpieces. Moreover, the earphones are the first from the company to utilise an MMCX connector and therefore, ship with a detachable cable. Besides ensuring the F5’s longevity, the detachable cable also furthers the company’s Hi-Res sales pitch, allowing buyers to swap out the included cable should it get damaged or if they prefer the output from a different one.
As I mentioned previously, you do get a balanced 2.5mm output cable with the earphones inside the box which speaks volumes about the company’s commitment to Hi-Res audio as well. Moving on, the F5 comes with an angular design which makes it so that you don’t have to insert the earphones directly inside your ear canal, unlike some other earbuds. This, in turn, results in a comfortable listening experience over long durations and if you like to curl up in bed with your earphones plugged in, then the angular design won’t bite your ears either. There are in-line controls built into the F5’s 3.5mm audio cable as well, which allow you to seamlessly control your music or answer/reject calls with the provided microphone. Interestingly, the FiiO F5 ships with a switch positioned underneath the in-line remote which will let you switch between Android or iOS mode, ensuring compatibility of the buttons on the in-line remote controls on both the ecosystems. Unfortunately, it doesn’t protrude outwards, and you’ll have to use a paper clip or a SIM-ejector tool to flip the switch.