Japanese audio company Onkyo is getting into personal media players this month with the release of its first high-resolution audio device, the DP-X1. This $899 Android-powered PMP sports two ESS Sabre digital-to-analog converters and amplifiers — one of each for each channel of audio. The audio chips and circuitry reside on a separate board from the applications processor, with Onkyo aiming to minimize the intrusion of unwanted electrical noise. They even have independent local power supplies for truly phobic level of interference attenuation.
Those are the most meaningful specs about this device: its internal design and hardware are specifically geared toward delivering pure, undiluted, and powerful sound. But the exigencies of marketing require big slogans like High-Res to denote better audio quality, and Onkyo's gone the full length of supporting pretty much every high-resolution audio standard, stretching up to DSD 11.2MHz and 384kHz / 24-bit FLAC or WAV files. The X1 will also be among the first PMPs to support MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) format.
With two 200GB microSD card slots and 32GB of built-in storage, the Onkyo DP-X1 can store up to 432GB of music or anything else that an Android device can play. Other than its audio-centric design and engineering, the only tangible differences between this latest Android slab and your typical smartphone are the absent camera and cellular connectivity. You'll still get access to the Google Play Store (albeit on Android 5.1 rather than the latest 6.0) and you can plug into any of the growing cadre of high-res audio stores out there, such as Tidal and Onkyo's own OnkyoMusic.
The DP-X1 promises up to 16 hours of continuous playback from its 1,630mAh battery. The display up front is a 4.7-inch, 720p panel, and the whole thing weighs just over 200g. So there won't be any confusing it for a slick smartphone, but the same is true of Sony's rather more expensive high-res Walkman and the Astell & Kern PMPs that the DP-X1 seems to have been partially modeled on. I'll be honest, the X1 isn't the most sophisticated looking thing on the market, but its design sophistication has gone where it matters (on the inside) and its price is actually highly competitive for its class at $899.