You can’t start talking about the design of SR25 without mentioning the tilted screen. A&K created quite a stir when they introduced the original SR15. The idea behind it was based on the analysis of how we hold the DAP in our hand, especially as small and compact as SR15. It is different when it comes to balancing a bigger and heavier DAP, but A&K design team decided that a tilted screen will be aligned “straight” when we naturally tilt our wrist holding SR15. SR15 display does look straight in my hand, and it was less noticeable when looking at the DAP due to a darker color of SR15 body. With a silver color of SR25, the tilted angle of the black screen is a lot more noticeable, though it still works similar to SR15 – relative to the angle of my wrist the display was aligned straight.
From the exterior perspective, the design went through a lot of changes between SR15 and SR25. The chassis are wider and longer, now measuring 63.5mm x 16.1mm x 108.3mm to accommodate a bigger upgraded HD touchscreen, from 3.3” (SR15) to 3.6” (SR25). The display is not just bigger, but also has a higher resolution and deeper and more vibrant colors. The difference here is really night’n’day going from original 480×800 display to higher resolution 720×1280 WVGA TFT LCD touchscreen. And with a bigger screen and slightly bigger size, the weight went up as well, 178g (SR25) from 160g (SR15).
The body is still metal (aluminum) with an asymmetric tilted screen in the middle. The color of SR25 is moon silver, and like the original SR15, the back has carbon fiber glass inlay. The bottom of the chassis has usb-c port for charging and data, and next to it is a spring-loaded microSD slot for a flash card, so you can expand its 64GB internal memory with up to 1TB of external. Right side at the top has the volume wheel, taller/deeper than original SR15, and with a new watch-crown design. The top has 3.5mm SE headphone output, 2.5mm BAL headphone output, and a power button with a typical long press to turn power on/off and short press to turn screen on/off functionality. On the left you will find 3 identical playback control buttons with play in the middle and skip above/below it. The shape of the buttons is now similar to their upper end models.
The overall design of SR25 has a more premium look to align it better with futura and ultima series, including all these angled asymmetric lines on the front, back, and all around. SR25 really does look like mini-me version of their upper end models.
Under the hood.
While a few things haven’t changed moving from SR15 to SR25, like dual CS43198, or 64GB internal storage, or the headphone output voltage with 3.5mm SE (2.0Vrms) and 2.5mm BAL (4.0Vrms), a lot of others things have been updated. Still get playback of all the popular formats of WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA, with sampling rates of PCM (8kHz-384kHz), DSD64 (2.8MHz), DSD128 (5.6MHz), plus SR25 now also adds native support of DSD256 (11.2MHz).
As already mentioned, low res 3.3” 480×800 screen has been upgraded to 3.6” 720×1280. No more micro-usb port, SR25 now up to date with USB Type-C. Bluetooth also saw a big update with SR25 now supporting LDAC codec in addition to aptX HD. Still OpenApp and MQA support, and SR25 fw is based on Android 9.0 with additional sound optimization, including Performance Mode to optimize playback of high res audio files.
And despite using the same size battery (3,150mAh 3.7V Li-Po), A&K managed to double the playback of SR25 in comparison to SR15. As a matter of fact, while playing 24b/48k high res FLAC, 2.5mm balanced output, using average sensitivity/impedance IEMs at normal listening volume level of v50 and with wifi/BT off, I was getting a solid 22hrs 25min of playback time!