Hidizs AP80 Pro

Going Pro, adding More!

PROS: a compact design with a very small footprint, balanced output, responsive touch screen, dedicated playback buttons, bi-directional BT w/LDAC, USB DAC and Digital Out, impressive sound performance, FM radio and step counter.

CONS: higher price of pro version.

The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.

Manufacturer website: Hidizs. Available for sale on Hidizs and Amazon.


Intro.

Seems like every manufacturer today releases a Pro version of their popular DAPs, regardless if it is an entry or higher end model. In the past “Pro” used to have a different meaning, sometimes referring to a modified design targeting a different group of users. Now, it is just an update or an enhancement, quite often giving a second wind to a product, making it more competitive in today’s audio market where even a popular model can become obsolete overnight. But regardless, one thing I did notice with many Pro releases, they try to keep exterior design close to original while updating internal components, often beefing up the spec.

It is usually not a problem when dealing with bigger size DAPs where you have plenty of space to update the internal design and components. But when you announce a Pro version of a mini size DAP, not much room left to play around with. That is exactly the reason why AP80 Pro announcement got my attention when I heard the preliminary spec of doubling the DAC, adding 2.5mm balanced headphone jack, and a new dedicated FPGA for higher rate DSD decoding. I was more curious what is going to happen to original AP80 size after going Pro. So, let’s find out about this and more in my review of the latest Hidizs release.

Unboxing and Accessories.

Similar to original AP80, Pro arrived in a small sturdy black box with a typical foam cutout tray to keep AP80 secure inside during the shipment. This was a straightforward basic small packaging for a small device. Top of the box had a silver logo of the company and the model name, while the back of the box had a detailed spec in 4 different languages, including English.

Inside you will find a selection of accessories, identical to the original player, which include Type-C usb charging/data cable, silicone skin protective case, Type C to micro-USB cable (maybe to connect to older devices), user manual, and a set of screen protectors with one already applied.

Silicone case is a nice addition since it doesn’t add too much bulk, easy to take off, and enhances the DAP grip. In theory, the DAP is small enough to have a secure grip in your hand even without a case. But if you need extra protection, this silicone skin case is actually not bad, though it is a lint collector. Hidizs also offers an optional leather case with arm-band for AP80 Pro, the same design as they had for AP80, but the case is not available for sale yet, should be soon. Please keep in mind, due to a small difference in size, AP80 cases are not compatible with AP80 Pro.

Design.

Similar to what I said in my original AP80 review, the small footprint of Pro is what makes it unique. Of course, it’s hard to beat the size of the original M0 micro DAP by Shanling, but after many months of using M0, I got a little frustrated with a small display and touch-only interface. At the same time, something like Hiby R3/Pro or Cayin N3 was a little bigger for my mini-dap preference. AP80 Pro, similar in size to the original M1, hits the bull’s-eye for me in terms of the size, touch screen display, hardware playback buttons, and a physical volume wheel.

Please note that, with an exception of a slightly bigger footprint and additional headphone port, AP80 Pro exterior design is nearly identical to AP80. If you look closer, Pro version is a little bit taller and a little bit wider with addition of a small beveled area on the left side and in the lower right corner. But the difference is measured in a few millimeters, and you have to look closer when they are side by side to spot it.

The main focus of AP80 Pro is edge to edge front facing Samsung 2.45” HD IPS touch screen with a reasonable 480×360 resolution. The back of AP80 Pro is glass as well, and the chassis around the sides are aluminum in the model I received. I also saw Copper version of AP80 Pro being teased by Hidizs, so expect that as well. The DAP is very small, measuring 61x56x13.8 mm and weight of 70g, in comparison to original AP80 aluminum which is 58x49x13.5mm and 66g.

Nothing is at the top, left side has spring loaded micro SD card slot (capable to support the latest high capacity flash cards), and at the bottom you have USB-C port, 2.5mm TRRS balanced port and 3.5mm TRS single ended port. USB-C can be used to connect AP80 Pro as usb DAC, used as a Digital out transport, and can transfer data as well as charge the device (type-C fast charge). The single-ended 3.5mm output can also accommodate headphones with in-line remote (needs to be enabled in settings) and could be also configured as Line Out (with a fixed max volume output).

The right side is where you have a volume knob at the top, Japanese ALPS. The volume knob has a nice click action as you turn in and some resistance for a better control which requires two fingers for a proper use. Volume knob also functions as a power button, long press to turn on/off, short press to turn display on/off. Due to a smaller wheel and dual volume/power functionality, on some occasions I was turning the display off as I was changing the volume. Thus, I preferred to use touch screen volume adjustment instead which pops up as soon as I start turning the wheel.

Below volume knob, you have 3 identical hw playback control buttons with Play/Pause in the middle and skip/forward/back above and below it. The buttons have a marking right next to them. All 3 buttons had a nice tactile click response, and nothing rattled as you shake the DAP. Also, these buttons don’t just skip forward/back with a single click, they also fast forward/back when you press and hold them.

Page 2 – Under the hood, and Sound analysis.
Page 3 – Comparison, and Pair ups.
Page 4 – Wired/wireless connections, and Conclusion.

15 thoughts on “Hidizs AP80 Pro

  1. Fantastic review! I must admit to being a little jealous of your collection. I’ve had my pro since early May and I’m enjoying it a great deal. A couple of adds, BT works nicely in the car I am having issues with some jaybird wireless headphones. I like my (very affordable) ms1 mermaids though. A great value set up IMHO. I made a pan unbox and generalist overview video if interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcLwUedNMhw

    Like

  2. Hi. .
    I like your reviews so much…
    I am Sooooo confused between Hiby R3 Pro & Hidizs AP80 Pro…
    Plz suggest better DAP in terms of Sound quality….
    Thanks

    Like

    1. If you need streaming, tidal or quboz, that will be an easy decision. Otherwise, pick whichever looks better to you 🙂 if you want the smallest, or prefer volume wheel vs buttons. It’s your call.

      Like

      1. You have both, right? Of course, this is a subjective opinion, but I have described how they compare relative to testing with 64 Audio U18t and VE Elysium, and in both cases I preferred pair up with AP80 Pro due to the reasons in my comparison notes. Plus, DX120 has a strong hissing with sensitive IEMs, so in many pair ups it was a no-go for me.

        Like

      2. Can’t make up my mind between the Sony Walkman A55, iBasso DX120 and Hidizs AP80 pro.

        I was going to purchase the Cayin N6ii but I had to use the money to help my mother she had an emergency I couldn’t ignore. I can’t get over this months budget so I’ll wait a little longer.

        Care to give me a hand? Your advice would be extremely helpful.

        My priorities:
        Sound quality
        Build quality(dealing with broken parts or buttons is a no no)
        Reliability(I’d like it to last at least 3 years without issues, even if I purchase the Cayin)
        Wifi(Nope)
        Bluetooth (maybe, but not a priority)

        My parings are:
        Etymotic Er2xr
        Moondrop Blessing
        Tin Hifi T2
        Blon BL-3
        Moondrop Starfield
        ThieAudio Clairvoyance

        My current DAPs
        Dx90(I’ll give it to my cousin as soon. As I purchase a new DAP)
        Shanling M5s(on sale)

        Thanks for your time, I’d really appreciate your advice.

        Like

      3. I’m not familiar at all with Sony A55, but between DX120 and AP80 Pro I would go with AP80 Pro, plus it is half of DX120 price. With build quality and reliability, I would assume that Sony will be ahead of both. So, maybe do a little more research about A55.

        Like

      4. My problem with the Sony A55 is it’s power SE output(35mw). It doesn’t have a balanced output as well. It’s 26 hour battery life, smooth UI and well known Sony reliability kinda makes up for it, perhaps…

        The AP80 seems reasonable, but I question it’s build quality and UI functionality. It only provides around 13 hours of battery life.

        On this case, the DX120 is kind of a combination of both(excluding sound according to what I’ve read). It has a decent UI and it’s battery life provides around 15-16 hours of playback. It depends of course on the type of files, usage or headphones/iems I’ll be using.

        Anyway, at this point I feel like the AP80 could be a better choice by sound quality alone. What about the other things? Is the DX120 that far behind?
        Wish I could try them before spending my money.

        Like

      5. Don’t get me wrong, dx120 is a great little dap, but it being 2+ year old audio playback only design, not even BT, and since you are using mostly iems some of which could hiss, if you want to stick with ibasso then maybe get dx160 instead? You will get a powerful Android dap with an excellent sound. But either way. Dx160 or ap80 Pro should be fine.

        Like

      6. Thanks very much!! I’ll have this in mind.

        Although, I’d like to have a internet free DAP since I really want to disconnect from anything related. Having an Android device(in my opinion) takes away the experience.

        Like

  3. Hey there. How does the AP80 Pro compare to the Shanling Q1 in sound, battery, Bluetooth strength and UI responsiveness? Thanks

    Like

  4. hello, i have a ap80pro and i would like to know if it’s possible to connect the ap80 pro to a stereo amplifier to be able to use it as an audio source through its integrated DAC? In this case do you need a USB-c to RCA cable? thank you

    Like

    1. If you are connecting amplifier, use 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable to connect analog signal from headphone output and set it to line out in ap80 Pro setting. USB C to USB is only for external dac/amp connection to bring out the digital signal to external dac.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s