Fiio’s M7 high-res digital audio player (DAP) delivers wireless high-res music with aptX HD and LDAC support in a pocket-sized package for cash-strapped audiophiles on the go. It’s a great player as long as its modest storage capacity and dearth of features doesn’t phase you.

Features

The M7 is an elegant successor to Fiio’s M3 high-res DAP. The M7 is Fiio’s first player to use Samsung’s Exynos 7270 SoC (System on Chip), made on a 14nm FinFET process. Fiio says that compared to the older 28nm process, the two ARM Cortex A53 processors use 20 percent less power for better battery life. Storage, power management, and memory chips are part of the ARM cores. The result? The new SoC takes 40 percent less space than if the chips were packaged separately.

Less space means a smaller player, better cooling, and a larger battery. The M7 sports an 1,180mAh battery rated for 20 hours of play and 40 days of standby time.
Detailed view of the Fiio M7 Fiio
A detailed view of the Fiio M7 high-res digital audio player.

Unlike the M3, which came with 8GB of storage, the M7 comes with just 2GB. Fiio says that the M7 is designed to cater to younger consumers, but Fiio must know something that I don’t. With only 2GB, you can’t store more than one or maybe two high-res albums. At 960MB, for example, Pink Floyd’s FLAC version of Wish You were Here takes up almost 50 percent of the Fiio’s storage. The DSD version of Dark Side of the Moon takes up just about all of it: 1.8GB.

During my test period, I even felt limited with 16-bit/44.1kHz CDs. I ripped a series of Sarah McLachlan CDs as AIFF files. I could only squeeze about eight albums onto the player. Nevertheless, I give credit to Fiio for calling out this modest storage size clearly in their marketing materials. Buyers shouldn’t get a post-purchase surprise.
The Fiio’s internal storage couldn’t store two complete hi-res albums: DSD version of Pink Floyd’s D Theo Nicolakis / IDG
The Fiio’s internal storage wasn’t adequate to store two complete high-res albums: The DSD version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and the FLAC version of Wish You Were Here.

But what about those of us who own large high-res music libraries and want to take that music on the go? Fiio justifies the M7’s modest native storage with a microSD card expansion slot supporting cards up to 512GB. Some other high-res players only support microSD cards up to 256GB or less. Adding a 512GB microSD card, however, will set you back at least another $150 to $200.

While small doesn’t work for storage, it certainly works with the Fiio’s form factor. The M7 is considerably smaller than Fiio’s X7 Mark II high-res DAP, which I reviewed last year. For comparison, it’s slightly smaller than a deck of cards.

Easy-to-use interface

The M7’s small form factor is complemented by a 3.2-inch, 480×800-pixel touchscreen. It’s a decent size and reasonably bright. I found Fiio’s highly customized Android 7.0 operating system easy to use and navigate.