One of the best things about the M5 is, the form factor makes it a wearable device. There are a couple of accessories that you could take advantage of to wear the M5:
Stock Clip Case:
The clear shirt clip case that comes included with the M5 is a decent option. But I don’t like to use this for a couple of reasons. One, the device is a bit on the heavy side for clipping on your shirt. Two, the case hardly offers any protection against scratches and drops. Three, the case attaches to the M5 by snapping on tightly that I feel it might scratch or smudge the device when snapped on and off regularly.
Fiio SK M5A Watch Strap:
Fiio’s first version of the watch strap was a simple unibody silicone case with straps. This was the one that I have received. It doesn’t have have cutouts for the headphone and the USB ports. But you can insert or remove the M5 easily. But Fiio recently updated it to a more robust one. The new version of the watch strap has a plastic housing with easily removable straps. The case still seems to lack a cut-out for the headphone port. I am unable to comment on the new version as I don’t have it. But I do like the silicone case as it is easy maintenance and gets the job done. As with most silicone cases, this one is also a lint magnet as you could see from the pictures.
Purchase Link: Fiio SK M5A Watch Strap on AliExpress.com
DD C-M5 Case:
I would like to thank DD HiFi for providing the C-M5 case free of cost, in exchange for writing some impressions about the case in the M5 review.
This is a leather case with a loop in the back. The openings in the top and the bottom allow access to the Headphone and USB ports. The leather part on the top, while it seems to obstruct the volume buttons, is quite supple that you can press on it to press the volume buttons. The case provides adequate protection from scratches and drops. It comes with 2 velcro straps of 2 different lengths. You could choose between the short wrist band or the longer arm band depending on how you prefer to wear the M5. And if you are going to wear it on your wrist and are going to access is every now and then, you probably need to turn the screen orientation to 90degrees, which can be found under the system settings.
For my use case, I want the ability to transition the M5 between handheld and wearable seamlessly, while keeping the device protected at all times. And when the device is being used as a handheld, I want access to all ports. The way I achieve this is, by alternating between the DD C-M5 case and Fiio’s Watchband. I keep the M5 in the C-M5 case for handheld use and when I need to wear it, I pop it out of it and slide it into Fiio’s watchband. While I could take advantage of the watch strap included with the DD C-M5 case to use as a wearable, inserting and removing the strap, as well as changing the orientation of the screen isn’t as seamless as popping the M5 out of the DD case and sliding it into the Fiio watchband. I wish the case was structured to form fit the device more precisely.
Purchase Link: AliExpress.
The most logical comparison would have been against the Shanling M0, but unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on one. What I will say though is, between the M0 and M5, I would pick the M5 because of the volume rocker buttons which are easier to use in-pocket than M0’s volume wheel. M5 also has the advantage of physical buttons to control the music play back.
Radsone ES100 is quite a popular Bluetooth Receiver. While it sounds slightly clearer and more dynamic than the M5, it is strictly a Bluetooth Receiver. Sandisk Sansa Player is another device that does a few things that the M5 can, but still cannot do things like Line Out, Digital Out, Bluetooth Receiver and Handsfree Calling. Shanling’s M2X has almost all the features of the M5, but is a bit too big and heavy to be used a wearable device while working out.
The distinct advantage of the FiiO M5 is, it is a feature rich device in a tiny form factor. It is so small and light that you could even wear it with the preferred wearable accessory. While the User Experience and Sound Quality of the M5 makes me wanting for more, it has become my ideal device with my Bluetooth headphones at the gym or when I am out for a walk. If you are in the market for a tiny music player that is wearable and packs tons of features, I highly recommend the FiiO M5.