This positive experience continues onto the player’s build and design. The AP60 immediately has one of the more catching designs amongst the compact budget players I’ve tested. Its sculpted bottom corner and gold headphone port are reminiscent of Sony’s flagship Walkman devices, making it the more sophisticated player compared to the Fiio M3. While the body is entirely plastic, the device feels quite solid without creeks or joining issue like the much pricier Sony NW-A25. The AP60 has a matte finish that feels a little nicer than satin Fiio M3, though the M3 feels a little denser, commanding a greater quality feel in the hand. The all-aluminium Nano feels more premium still and incredibly solid in the hand, though that device is also double the cost.
*Of note, the AP60 is available in a wide array of colours (black, gold, red, blue and pink) great for households with multiple AP60 users or simply a tinge of personalisation.
The AP60 is also a great size, compact and easily pocketable even within gym shorts; for reference, it’s the same size as the Fiio M3 and iPod Nano but thicker than both in terms of depth (and about 2.5x thicker than the Nano and just slightly thicker than the M3). Despite being a bit chunky, the AP60 is very lightweight and was no more cumbersome than my Nano during running and other physical activities. From the front, the AP60 and M3 both employ the same 2” screen size with the same 320×240 resolution and similarly cramped front-facing controls. The display on the AP60 is of pleasing quality with enough brightness to be visible outdoors and adequate saturation and contrast. It’s a bit cooler than the displays on the M3 and Nano, but provides better sunlight legibility closer to the Nano than the dimmer Fiio player. While the capacitive buttons on the AP60 do look more integrated into the front face than the physical controls on the M3, they have no feedback and were quite inaccurate. The d-pad and centre button were generally responsive though the touch sensor for the back and menu buttons seemed to be slightly above the printed icons, leading me to frequently press the forward and backwards buttons instead. Since the player has no fast-forward function, I found this to be quite aggravating in daily use, something I didn’t experience with the M3 nor the even more intuitive touch-based Nano. The buttons are backlit with brightness changing with screen brightness, they illuminate when the device is powered on and turn off when the player is put into sleep. When the screen is off, the touch buttons become unresponsive to prevent accidental presses. This does make pocket usage difficult though Hidizs do allow users to remap the volume buttons for convenience (more detail in usability section).
Onto the physical features, the left side houses the hardware buttons within a slightly recessed facet. Placement is thoughtful and the two volume buttons are well delineated through sculpting that puts the volume up button higher and the volume down button a little lower.
The bottom of the player houses the 3.5mm headphone jack in addition to the micro-usb port. On the bottom right, the AP60 as a micro sd card slot, which comfortably read my 128GB card formatted via EXFAT.
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