The smartphone has become a one stop shop for all of our mobile computing needs. Phones have absolutely decimated the market for standalone consumer electronics like cameras and media players. Though for those folks in our audience who enjoy high quality audio, we’re still regularly asked about dedicated music players. We originally started producing this comparison with a different player in mind, but before we started shooting, Apple completely walked away from the music player market. The iPod is mostly dead.

Shifting gears, we’ve relied on Fiio in the past for our Real Audio Reviews, as a way to compare a USB DAC against phone music hardware. One of Fiio’s more popular solutions is the 3rd Generation X5 music player. The X5 is a small brick featuring top tier signal processing and a surprisingly loud amp to properly drive nicer headphones. It’s a nostalgic throwback with tactile controls, a HUGE battery, and plenty of room to add more storage, but also includes support for modern conveniences like WiFi for streaming services and the Bluetooth APTX codec. If we’re going to compare a media player against a phone, shouldn’t we use the best possible music phone in our arsenal?

Over the past year, Juan has lavished praise on the LG V20 and its Quad DAC, so it’s the number one device on our list for fighting this battle. Does the phone deserve to be the main music player when you’re on the go? Has Juan been on point with his analysis of the V20? Can a standalone music player crossover into mainstream use again? It’s time for a showdown!

Fiio X5 vs LG V20: Should you use a dedicated music player?

Juan has been geeking out on personal computing since before PCs had GUIs. After studying Theatre in college, Juan worked with a contractor that supported servers and mobile devices for Department of Energy facilities. After moving to Los Angeles California, and working as a commercial casting director, he now dedicates his time to discussing the tech landscape as a consumer advocate. You’ll often see him pop in local news broadcasts. Passionate about mobile content creation, he recently published his first book on smartphone photography.

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