Good DAP recommendation for under $400?

Any recommendations would be appreciated. I can’t find enough reviews on youtube and I can’t go to a store to check them out. I’m not really concerned with how the DAP sounds, I just want a very smooth and intuitive interface with good functionality. Currently here are the ones I’m looking into. I have an iPhone so buying an LG phone is out of the picture for me.

My current gear: Sennheiser HD58x, and Tin hifi T2.
Music: Scores, soundtracks, classical, jazz, gaming, pop, rockm indie

Fiio M11 - I’m liking it so far but the one thing that’s holding me back is that it’s only android 7.0 and it has no google play store natively. I’ve read that the microSD card slots can be a hit or miss or has a problem? also it’s the oldest of the 3.

Hiby r5 - compact design but the specs are quite lower than in M11 but has google play built in

iBasso DX160 - best screen and the newest of the 3 but also doesn’t have google play.

EDIT 1: so apparently all can be updated to have google play store. Now my main concern would be overall fluidity and ease of use of the DAP based on personal usage.

I think the M11 has had the google play store added in the last update. The android version will probably be older in most DAPs.

If you dont need android or the online functions. Some Cowon DAPs go on sale often on amazon, you just need to continually check for the click for coupon.

And used market too.

Google play is available on both the M11/DX160 if you just update the software (no complicated stuff, just a regular OTA update).

DX160 sounds better than the M11 (I had the M11 before the DX160) but if you want a competent hardware/software experience I cant rec the DX160. It is too slow and a lot of times it feels like it is lagging. To the point where even volume changes wont instantly happen and can happen after a few seconds, resulting in a massive spike in volume.

I didn’t know they had an update for that. Unfortunately, I don’t have amazon locally in my country and I can’t find Cowon DAPs here as well.

Would you say that the M11 is smoother and more responsive than the DX160? It would make sense because the M11 has 3gb of ram compared to 2gb on DX160.

The M11 was like a flagship smartphone in comparison to a low tier smarthphone with the DX160. Very different.

The CPU of the M11 is much better and its also better optimized.

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Thanks! that really cleared me up on what to get.

NP, personally I would try the Hiby R5 (havnet tried it).

i wouldnt recommend the Hiby R5. I bought it as my first Dap and it sounds good, has lots of power but the user experience is horrible in my eyes. Display is too small, its unresponsive, it crashes, its slow…sometimes it takes 10 seconds to start a track…The wireless connection is horrible, works only a few meters before it starts to struggle to keep it up…sometimes it takes many seconds to even wake up the screen…
Maybe it is ok for 300€ in dap standarts, but i would spent more and get something with bigger screen and better hardware under the hood…
I just realize, that i should sell that thing.

hmmm at least I havent gotten any crashes with the DX160. Its a shame, because I think we deserve better performance out of a device at this price range…

I dont know if we can expect that…Dont have enough experience with Daps so far…I hope it gets better in the future. But i guess one major factor is that most of us probably use high tier smartphones that are smooth as hell…going from that to a lagging player, really destroys the music experience…atleast for me. I spent so much time just scrolling through my files etc…

I had the M11 before the DX160 and I have no complaints about the performance on that one. The DX160 is pitiful…and I only use the neutron player to play my local files…I dont want to think about how horrible it would feel to use it more actively…

The biggest complaint about the lag in the DX160 for me is that sometimes when I increase/decrease the volume, the change doesnt happen after a few seconds. So If I think it just didnt respond to it and increase the volume again, after a few seconds the volume will spike a lot…

The M11 is the probably the only one that is running smooth and is not too expensive right…

I had some similar volume change lags aswell that lead to instant earpain, totally understand you on that…

yeah, from what I know the M11 is the only one out of the mid-tier daps that have no problems with performance.

Although I havent researched much about the shanling M6, but since it has a snapdragon 430 it should be fine as well.

The shanling looks good, maybe something to keep in mind!

yeah, I just wasnt interested in it when I was looking to replace my M11. Because it has a pretty high output impedance of 2 ohms, which was the biggest reason I wanted to replace the M11.

Saw the shanling m6 and it looks really promising and has a spec bump compared to the M11 but I believe it is $499?

yeah it is 500 usd.

I wanted to mention a couple of items that I’ve run into with Fiio’s Andriod implementation on my M6. It’s probably a coin toss whether these are also present on their other Android players but it seems at least plausible they could be.

a) If you use the DAP in USB DAC mode, it may be subject to Android’s resampling concerns. I’m by no means knowledgeable enough to state that with any degree of certainty. All I can say is that when I have my M6 connected to Daphile in USB DAC mode, there are options presented for how it should handle resampling. When I have my Topping E30 connected, no such options exist.

b) I came to the M6 from a mostly iTunes library. Dragging it over to the M6 was near effortless. However, replacing my iTunes-ripped .m4a files with re-ripped FLACs on the M6 is a pain in the posterior process. Basically, the software has no mechanism to “scan for deletions” only scan for new additions. This makes you jump through annoying extra steps if you’re essentially replacing items in your library.

Again, these may be unique items to the bottom-end Android on the M6. I just wanted to throw them out there for consideration.

Can it not play ALAC natively? or you’d have to convert them to FLAC for it to play on the M6?