It was interesting to see how Lotoo transformed their original non-touch LPG into a touch-screen version. The focus of any touch screen design is usually a glass display which can look boring. To make the shape unique, Lotoo carried over the same outline around the volume wheel, paying their homage to the original LPG. The size of LPGT is bigger, 68.6mm x 119mm x 21mm and the weight is 293g. Then, above its 3.77” IPS Retina LCD touch screen (with 480×800 resolution), you will find the original shiny gold volume wheel with a secure guard around it. In my opinion, the golden wheel with its Apollo Sun pattern is still the focus of the design. And just like in the original, you can configure its direction to change volume either clockwise or counter-clockwise. The level of configuration and customization in LPGT is very impressive, you can even configure to double tap the screen to wake it up.
Bottom of LPGT hosts a full-size SD card with a dust cover, just like in the original LPG. Don’t expect micro SD and there is also no internal storage, so you must use SD card. Those are still easy to buy, or you can use micro SD with SD card adapter. Next to it is USB-C port for charging of the DAP, data transfer, and USB DAC connection. Right there you can already see that you no longer need to deal with a proprietary LPG charger, and you finally got USB DAC functionality.
Nothing is on the left side, and the right side has 4 round metal buttons with their functionality etched on the surface. 3 playback control buttons (play/pause and skip) are grouped closer while a power button (also used for screen on/off) is a little further away. Play button has a bump identification (for a blind id) if you are planning to use Touch without a case, while with a case on this bump is irrelevant. Either way, buttons have a nice tactile response, with or without a case.
The top of the DAP, besides already mentioned volume wheel with a “breathing light” underneath, also has 3.5mm single ended and 4.4mm balanced outputs with a flexible configuration. Single-ended 3.5mm low impedance output uses LME49600 op-amp (TI high performance, high current HiFi headphone buffer), has 125dB SNR spec with 500mW max power output, and can be selected as Headphone output or Line out, where as HO can be set to high/low gain and have independent L/R balance adjustment. Balanced 4.4mm low impedance output uses OPA1622 op-amp (TI high performance SoundPlus HiFi audio opamp), has 127dB SNR spec with 500mW max power output, and can be selected as Headphone output or Line out, where as HO can be set to high/low gain and have independent L/R balance adjustment.
While LPGT is a little bigger than original LPG, it still feels compact and lighter (relative to SP1000, WM1Z, and N8), and easy to operate with one hand. And it’s still build like-a-tank with its aircraft aluminum alloy chassis and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 display with anti-fingerprint and DLC coating.
Under the hood.
In the heart of LPGT you will find the AKM flagship AK4497EQ DAC, but in addition to AKM DAC, Lotoo also implemented AKM AK4137EQ up-sampling chip. On the fly you can up-sample PCM to 768kHz and DSD to DSD256. Up-sampling is Enabled in the Settings and based on my brief testing, it’s not a gimmick but the real deal. The same as Lotoo’s own operating system being the real deal – optimized and super fast with a boot up time of about 2-3 seconds.
LPGT supports all the popular lossy and lossless formats up to and including DFF, DSF, ISO, FLAC, APE, WAV, AAC, ALAC, MP3, WMA, M4A, and OGG, with PCM sampling rates 32kHz-768kHz. It also supports DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, and DSD512 with corresponding sampling rates of 2.8MHz, 5.6MHz, 11.2MHz, and 22.4MHz. I didn’t notice any lag or glitches when switching between different file formats or during Gapless playback (which usually buffers ahead), thanks to its multi-processor architecture which handles multiple tasks in parallel.
I already mentioned about the implementation of TI OPA1622 SoundPlus opamps on 4.4mm BAL output and TI LME49600 High Performance opamps on 2.5mm SE output. To my surprise, both ports have the same output power, rated up to 500mW, and I confirmed the output level to be in a perfect match when switching between SE and BAL headphone ports. Each of these ports can be selected as Line Out as well, to drive external amplifier in either Single Ended or fully Balanced connection.
USB DAC is supported without a problem when you connect Touch to computer or smartphone. You can also take advantage of LDAC wireless protocol with 2-way Bluetooth 4.2 support (LDAC 96kHz/24bit, up to 990kbps). With duplex BT support, you can either pair up with wireless headphones and speakers or connect Touch as a wireless Receiver to your Smartphone which enables wireless high-res streaming to LPGT. I tested it with my Galaxy S9 which supports LDAC and was able to stream Spotify wireless without a problem.
Unlike LPG with its proprietary charging connector, now you can take advantage of USB-C port, to charge its 5400 mAh battery which should yield a playback time of up to 10hrs. I will have to run multiple charge/discharge cycles to verify this when I get my longer-term review sample. There also a nice feature of when connecting USB DAC to either select “computer” so you charge the battery or USB DAC Phone, so you don’t drain your phone battery.
There’s also WiFi interface, but its current implementation is only for over-the-air (OTA) download and update of the firmware. I’m not sure if there is a plan for any native plugins support in the future, but for now WiFi functionality is limited only to OTA fw downloads which I verified to work without a problem.