The first thing users will notice when using the R6 is its screen which is easily the best I’ve seen on a DAP. Not only does it boast a higher 1280×768 resolution (350dpi), but it has excellent contrast and saturation too. The panel also provided great viewing angles with no colour shift or significant brightness drop-off. Maximum brightness is among the highest I’ve seen, higher than the X7 II and DX200, remaining easily visible under the harsh Australian sun. The touchscreen is also very responsive, not quite as precise as an iPhone or high-end Android, but certainly more so than most Android DAPs. As the screen is the main interface of the device, the R6 is simply a pleasure to use.
And beyond the display itself, what powers it can make or break the experience; an example being the Hidizs AP200 whose lag-ridden UI was practically unusable. On the contrary, the R6 is once again exemplary, keeping in mind that these comments are in relation to DAPs, not smartphones. This can be attributed to the implementation of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 425 which provides a huge leap in performance over the Rockchip RK3188 that powers the vast majority of Android DAPs. To my knowledge, it’s the first DAP to assume this chipset and the benefits to real-world performance are immediately apparent.
The R6 zips through its UI with quick animations and smooth transitioning between apps. It feels unburdened by its higher resolution screen or fully-featured Android implementation, unlike other DAPs that forgo Google services to improve performance. I would also hypothesize that Android is more optimised for Qualcomm chipsets as they’re used by the vast majority of smartphones. Combined with a huge increase in raw compute performance, the R6 offers the fastest, smoothest UI I’ve ever experienced from a DAP.
Hiby R6 – Fiio X7 MKII
The 425 also brings an extended feature set and various optimizations, being based on a vastly newer, more power-efficient process. For instance, standby power draw is much-improved over most Rockchip DAPs and, during use, the R6 managed to just meet Hiby’s 12hr claim, which is highly impressive considering that it has superior power output to Fiio’s X7 II which only manages a modest 8hrs. This can also be attributed to the R6’s large battery capacity at 4000mah. It isn’t unheard of, similar to the DX200 and Echobox Explorer, but it’s a slight bump over the 3800mah Fiio X7 MKII and impressive given how compact the R6 is.
The R6 delivers quick r/w performance
The R6 has 32GB of internal storage which is on par with most midrange to high-end DAPs. Storage is expandable via a single micro-sd card slot that supports all available capacities. What most impressed me, however, was the speed of Hiby’s solution, which is magnitudes faster than other DAPs and rivals flagship smartphones. This is a specification that isn’t at all marketable but can have a huge impact on the user experience; especially when updating apps, opening and closing apps and most importantly, scrolling through an extensive music library.
In addition, the R6 supports USB OTG, extending to external DAC/AMPs. It provided enough current to power my Cozoy Takt Pro which has no internal battery and draws around 200mAh. The R6 also supports Quick Charge 3.0 which is a little more efficient than 2.0. This enables users to top up its large cell in just over an hour and a half.
Of course, DAPs were never intended for multitasking and games, but the R6’s 3GB of RAM, speedy quad-core processor and fast internal storage all ensure that the DAP never freezes as the 1GB Fiio X5 III and X7 could. It also keeps more services alive in the background, most noticeable when streaming music whilst browsing. Another notable aspect of the R6 comes in the form of connectivity, with support for dual-band WiFi and BT 4.0 with Apt-X. This resulted in tangibly faster streaming when compared to the competing models using single band solutions.
Ultimately, I can’t say enough good things about the R6’s hardware and user experience. No, it’s not as fast as a flagship smartphone, but it never kept me waiting nor did I experience any instability or hiccups in its performance. That big, vibrant display makes everything pop and the R6’s excellent battery life and WiFi speed ensure a consistently strong experience. Not every DAP maker has the financial power to implement hardware like this so it’s truly remarkable that Hiby are offering such a device at just over $500 from their Indiegogo campaign.
The R6 runs Android 6.0 like most midrange DAPs on the market, though a few are still running 5.X ROMs. My unit is running firmware version 0.01G_Beta at the time of review so some of the following comments may be subject to change with future updates. Hiby’s ROM is clean with no bloatware, it’s essentially stock besides an included wallpaper, the Hiby music app and a few utilities. It should be noted that the R6 also runs a full version of Android complete with the play store and services where some DAPs require the user to sideload additional applications.
Though immensely flexible with a huge variety of apps and deep customization, running Android does introduce several issues for dedicated audio payers. One notable example is Androids inbuilt sample rate conversion which processes music files and degrades audio quality. While some apps are able to bypass this, Hiby are the first to provide system-wide bit-perfect audio through the use of DTA, or direct transfer audio.
And, similar to Fiio, Hiby have baked audio settings into the native Android settings app providing greater convenience than DAPs that place the settings within a proprietary app. This grants users system-wide gain, channel balance and tone control in addition to some subtler DAC filters for fine-tuning to user preference. Hiby also offer some unique settings such as the ability to alter tonality through harmonics; offering the choice of a reference, warm and simulated tube-amp sound. The filter options aren’t as extensive as iBasso’s or Fiio’s, with the choice of minimum phase, fast and slow roll-off. I used the minimum phase setting during testing as it sounded a touch more precise to my ear.
Though the player works perfectly fine with other apps such as Poweramp, Spotify and Tidal due to DTA, the native Hiby Music app is very fully-featured. It has a swipe-based UI that feels most similar to iBasso’s music app, however, its animations are slicker and navigation is a lot faster. It has the usual features one would expect; replaygain, gapless, eQ, lyric support and online streaming. I personally appreciate the album art based library navigation and found each menu smooth and without stutter. Scanning for music is also incredibly fast, significantly quicker than any DAP I’ve previously had experience with.
However, I feel that MageSound 8-ball will really win over fans. It functions similarly to an eQ, but manipulates frequency range by the intended effect rather than specific frequency ranges. For instance, the menu enables users to alter overall temperature, note thickness and vocal positioning all on variable sliders. It’s a really nifty utility for those unfamiliar with eQ and frequency ranges. Additionally, the R6 keeps the music player service alive in the background when the Hiby music app is closed, a small but easily appreciated feature.
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