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HomeTech and GadgetsFiiO FW3 assessment: Plastic, not fairly incredible

FiiO FW3 assessment: Plastic, not fairly incredible

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FiiO has lengthy made a reputation for itself in hi-fi circles for its well-priced high-res moveable music gamers – however its wider vary of moveable audio equipment and headphones arguably hasn’t but constructed up the identical legacy, outdoors of China no less than.


Enter the FiiO FW3, a pair of sub-$100/£100 true wi-fi earbuds with lofty claims about readability and sound high quality – claims we’ve got the inclination to listen to out, contemplating the model’s background. Nonetheless, in a value bracket that now boasts a great deal of competitors, do they ship? Here is my full assessment.

Fiio FW3 1

Fiio FW3

$80 $100 Save $20

FiiO has received our consideration with these value-driven earbuds – it hasn’t nailed each component, however there’s sufficient right here to counsel that subsequent efforts might properly tick plenty of bins.

Execs

  • Properly balanced sound
  • Strong battery life
  • Light-weight
Cons

  • Really feel slightly low cost
  • Not essentially the most highly effective
  • No noise cancellation

Design

  • Weighs 6g per earbud
  • Accessible in silver or white

There is not any getting round it – FiiO has gone with a fairly out-there search for the FW3. The case is completely unremarkable, a clamshell of silver plastic with some LEDs for charging indicators, however the buds themselves are one other story.

They’re plastic, identical to the case, however with a scalloped, vented outer face that’s definitely eye-catching, albeit in a doubtlessly divisive means.

As demonstrated by the Nothing Ear sequence, an earbud that appears totally different could be a breath of recent air, however the place Nothing’s see-through design appears to be like cool, this appears to be like slightly janky.

Fiio FW3 3

It additionally contributes to a form that makes the FW3’s particular person buds slightly unwieldy and chunky, though they’re nonetheless snug to put on as soon as you choose the suitable earbud tip from a large assortment packaged with them.

This consolation is basically all the way down to the truth that every earbud is critically gentle at 6g, and I discovered them tremendous to put on for a couple of hours at a time, which suggests they move muster for many makes use of I can think about.

Every earbud has two tiny buttons on its high edge, one with a raised dot so you’ll be able to inform them aside, and these controls work decently (though they don’t seem to be essentially the most instantaneous).

Fiio FW3 5

They’re simple sufficient to press with out placing stress in your ear, making them a strong various to the touch controls that may typically be unpredictable on competing choices at this value.

Their charging case can be actually gentle, and whereas that makes the FW3 a simple set of earbuds to hold round, there’s a reliance on plastic that leaves them feeling fairly price range – not fairly flimsy, however heading a way in that path.

Sound high quality

  • 10mm drivers
  • Helps LHDC/aptX Adaptive Hello-Res Bluetooth

FiiO’s entire sport is to supply sound high quality that belies the sub-$100 value of the FW3 and, in equity, it manages that to a level with these earbuds.

There’s a formidable array of supported codecs, together with LDAC, LHDC and AptX/AptX Adaptive, in addition to AAC and SBC – plus they’re additionally Snapdragon Sound licensed, for excellent sound and low latency. All of which means for those who throw the suitable information at them from the suitable units, they will instantly punch above their weight on responsiveness and element, with assist for 24-bit/96kHz playback.

Fiio FW3 6-1

Slipping them in to cruise via some playlists, it is instantly obvious that you just do certainly get a pleasant and delicate presentation that does not go heavy on anyone frequency.

They’re very balanced, and for lighter music (suppose indie and people) this makes for a extremely nice listening expertise that does not strive something foolish with bass ranges. The flipside to that delicacy is that EDM and more durable rock do miss out on low-end response, fairly noticeably to my ears.

Do not get that twisted an excessive amount of – they nonetheless attain low sufficient that you’ll select loads of low-end particulars, however there isn’t any oomph – whether or not you name that vibration or rumble, you will not get it right here.

Fiio FW3 4

The midrange is strong sufficient to ship vocals with focus and perception, and there isn’t any distortion with excessive frequencies both, so that you get a transparent and cozy pay attention throughout the board.

Their balanced method means FiiO’s audiophile branding is lived as much as, in a means. You’ll be able to admire songs actually properly with the FW3, however they don’t seem to be essentially earbuds to move you completely and emotionally right into a monitor – significantly people who may require some additional wallop within the low finish to take action.

There’s not a lot customisation in FiiO’s primary app to assist that both, however one attention-grabbing twist is obtainable up by the truth that you’ll be able to regulate the restrict on the buds’ quantity manually – for those who prefer to pump up the quantity past what’s advisable, you may get there (simply do not inform your physician, eh?).

Battery life and options

  • 7 hours on a cost, two extra expenses in case
  • No ANC

As you’d hope for earbuds that do not pack in a bunch of bells and whistles, or certainly additional options, the FW3 provide very strong battery life at seven hours earlier than they want to return within the case.

Fiio FW3 7

With two extra expenses within the case, that equips you for fairly a very long time earlier than it’s important to plug it again in, and makes them strong day by day drivers for many who use their earbuds a bunch.

On the subject of options, there is no such thing as a energetic or adaptive noise cancelling of any kind within the FW3, so for those who’re hoping to pay attention on a practice or airplane you may discover they don’t seem to be the perfect decide.

I am forgiving of this as a result of the sound profile the earbuds provide is attention-grabbing sufficient to make up for it, nevertheless it’s additionally the case that sub-$100 earbuds are more and more discovering methods to supply ANC with out main value hikes, so it’s going to be attention-grabbing to see what FiiO does down the road on that entrance.

Fiio FW3 8

ANC can typically compromise an audiophile’s appreciation of a monitor, nevertheless it’s additionally a significant usability providing nowadays – one thing the Sony WF-C700N provide on the identical value. Nonetheless, I discovered that the earbuds had average passive isolation as soon as I received the suitable eartip fitted, so it relies upon how vital noise cancellation is to you as as to if this shall be a deal breaker.

Verdict

The FW3 looks like what they’re – one among FiiO’s very first units of wi-fi earbuds, at a value that is very exhausting to nail on the primary try. There are some creditable particulars right here, not the least of which is an audiophile-tuned sound signature that’s detail-oriented and properly balanced. I used to be left eager for a bit extra energy, although, and the construct high quality and design aren’t fairly slam dunks both.

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