Looking for sub $300 DAP

The last dap I have owned/ still own is a 6th gen ipod. I am currently using my old Galaxy S8 as a transport to a Fiio Q5s, but the battery life on the S8 is terrible and the screen is cracked in a few places. I would like to invest in a DAP in the $300 or less range. There are a few I have been considering and some are not exactly a new product, but are perhaps still relevant in terms of sound quality. Any input on which one I should go with or other suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I’m leaning towards either the DX 150 or dx120, but these are now 3+ year old products now, so not sure they still hold up

Wants/ preferences:
Neutral to warm
Balanced phone connection
Line out
USB dac function

Hiby R3 pro saber ($210)
Hidiz AP80 pro ($200)
Fiio M6 ($220)
Ibasso dx150 ($260)
Ibasso dx120 ($200) - no Bluetooth or wifi, but still interests me

I have the Hiby but I got it on sale for $170 on Amazon, for this price it’s great not sure if I would buy it at full price. If you want to save money and live in the US a Motorola G Play 2021 for AT&T prepaid is only $50 at Target or Walmart if you can find it and just stack that with your Fiio (I bought one and it’s my transport for my iFi Hip Dac 2) although a little bulky.

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I have definitely seen the hiby on sale a few times and if I went that route would wait until it does again. I am trying to avoid a smart phone and see how I like the DAP experience this time around.

what about an LG Vxx?

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I have looked into that option but something in me just really wants to go the dap route :man_shrugging:

The Fiio M6 is SE only, if that’s a deal breaker.

I have the R3 Pro (non-saber) and really like it for on the go, small form factor and great battery life (non-Android). It’s meant to be slightly warmer than the saber version but I haven’t heard the saber so as ever ymmv.

I upgraded to Shanling M3X so I can stream as well - I’m an Amazon HD guy and the R3 only has Tidal/Qobuz baked in to the firmware. M3X is Android but also has a Prime Mode that shuts everything off apart from Shanling’s music app and gives it serious battery life (they claim 19hrs I think on balanced and it’s actually not far off). For me it’s a better DAP all round - but when I bought it was slightly over $300 and they have just hiked the price a bit more I believe.

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Nah balanced is not a deal breaker as long as the power is there. I was checking out the m3x, but as with many days the price had skyrocketed or are not available. I am trying to use up a $100 Amazon credit as well if I can, so I do limit my choices by trying to go that route. If I bumped my budget up another 100 my options do widen a good amount.