Page 3 UI
This is something that I know you guys have a varying interest in but regardless of how fancy you want your DAP, solid working and lack of bugs and glitches is a must. While all of these players are seeing firmware updates to continually improve the user experience we will be looking at the current state of players. Now iBasso have certainly been known for their players having bugs, especially on release so I was really hoping these guys had cleaned their act up and the other 3 being unknowns, I hoped that they had not rushed into a market they were not ready for, making something sound good is one thing but also making it usable is another.
Now over the four players we have two that have opted for touch screens and two that have all button controls. The Opus takes on the most traditional touchscreen, having a 4 inch display take up the entire front panel. The iBasso has a smaller 3.2 inch IPS touch screen but this trade off comes with an advantage of 3 big traditional buttons for quick pausing and track navigation (Opus has these on the side). The Aune actually has the same 3 buttons but comes without the touch ability on its much smaller screen. For navigation the volume wheel also acts as a scroll wheel. Lastly the Cayin has the smallest screen and comes with a 3 navigation buttons on the front and then a scroll will that houses a final button. All units have volume on the side and everything but the iBasso has the lock button top right like Apple pioneered.
Obviously the two players with the touch screens have a more modern feel to them and I know some people now days snob at anything with buttons. The Opus’s heavily skinned over Android certainly has the best aesthetic in my eyes although the use is simple and it is no where near the level of polish as Astell & Kern lately. It really is quite basic in what it does, having the different headings (artist, album, genre) for music navigation down the bottom and access to settings on the top right. One click of settings will give you the basic ones that you will use the most, while a second click will get you into the more nitty gritty settings like sleep times. It has a 10 band EQ and you can save up to 3 user settings. Some of my favourite parts of the UI are the big artwork that is displayed, the clean information on the now playing screen and the ease of swiping to go back and forth through tracks. There are a few little quibbles for me such as when you access folders on the system memory you have all the standard Android folders such as ringtones, this winds me up but is not really an issue. More of a problem would be that this player probably had the most glitches, resetting itself and sometimes just not responding. There was nothing dangerous but it could certainly be annoying and tedious at times. At first view this may appeal the most being touch screen and Android but when you get down to it I wish it didn’t play up quite as much. You can of course go through an entire listening session without a problem.
Coming off the Opus’s touch screen the DX80 is ever so laggy. Every swipe or press is accompanied by a short pause before we see an action. iBasso have also gone very simple with this and I actually like the contrast of the screen better than the #1 but it still does not quite have the overall look. You have basically 3 windows open, a centre window which is a now playing screen with artwork and the info you want. Then you can go left for My Music and right for Settings. I actually like the simplicity and found this to be less buggy than my DX50 was although that is not to say this has been without a few little problematic run ins but again nothing major. Probably the worst thing it does is a random bumping and jolting in the sound when playing, it clips in the music. Also while I like the ability to use the big tactile buttons for pausing and playing quickly without unlocking the screen, the placement of the lock button can confuse me when I am so accustomed to it being top right like with the other players. The EQ on this is also a 10 band but is a little easier to work than on the Opus and comes with presets.
The Cayin actually instantly gave Josh a dose of De Ja Vu because it uses an identical GUI to the Shanling M3 he previously reviewed. While the actual button layout and control scheme is completely different, everything on screen is that same, from the themes to the menus. You can read all about the Shanling here. The combination of the buttons and scroll wheel did not once leave me wishing for a touch screen. While it is admittedly a very basic UI it is very easy to control and I ran in to very few problems, thats what is important.
Lastly we have the Aune and this is a very different kind of basic, a much more frustrating basic. The play screen is empty with no artwork and that is just the start of it. We can’t break our music down into the standard headings and instead can only browse folders, leaving you wishing to just go into artists or albums like every other player can do. Then you have the fact that a play/pause, forward and back button are not enough to handle movement options. They all double up as other functions and a little help pop up does appear when trying to do something but nothing is ever easy. You then have the fact that the volume wheel is also a scroll wheel. Meaning if you’re not on the now playing screen, don’t even think about adjusting volume, grrrrr. On top of that I have had problems with it playing the wrong songs and not dealing with files properly. I think what Cayin and Shanling use is obviously an open source UI and it works, why could Aune not have just picked that up. Instead they have tried their own and I just am not a fan of it.
Another thing of note is how every player here lacks WiFi, meaning we cannot stream, do OTA updates or actually use Android properly in the case of Opus. That being said I am down for basic, as most of these have been and only Aune seems to over step the boundaries of basic to hard work. I wish Opus had polished this a little more but it is their first go unlike the other brands here.
Go Back to Page 1 for the Introduction
Page 2 will cover Features
Page 4 is Build
Page 5 is IEM Performance
Page 6 is Headphone Driving Ability
Page 7 is Sound Quality
Page 8 is Our Summary