This is a Review of FiiO X3 II (2nd gen) DAP. http://www.fiio.net/en/products/39 and also available on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Generation-Resolution-Player-Titanium-NEWEST/dp/B00VR5JHVK/?tag=vectron00-20 As a diehard fan of FiiO audio products, I feel a little embarrassed how the original X3 II announcement flew under my radar. Can't believe I almost missed it considering I used to count days before X5 and X1 releases, knowing in depth specs of those new gen FiiO DAPs that followed up their popular X3 – the original FiiO DAP that started it all. I guess it’s very easy to get overwhelmed in today’s “DAP” market with so many new releases and announcements where unfortunately some companies pay more attention to sound quality rather than design ergonomics or the other way around with fancy looks to compensate for performance shortcomings. Also, a trend of using popular brand name chipsets for marketing hype can stir you the wrong way if you don’t consider a fact that without experience of a proper architecture design, schematic capture, and layout tricks – not even the best and the most popular DAC going to make your DAP sound good. I became a fan of FiiO not because I get a chance to review a lot of their products, but because I see they really know what they are doing, they have a clear plan of how to do it, they deliver on their promises, and they have a great support. But going back to my "confession" intro, perhaps I was under an impression that FiiO already covered entry level DAP market with their budget X1 ($99) and upper mid-fi market with X5 ($349), while the upcoming X7 ($TBD) should make a serious dent in TOTL hi-fi market. So where would X3 II fit in? For starters, it can still fit in very comfortably in a pocket of your pants (lol!!!), and it got a few tricks under its supercharged X1-hood to go head-to-head with some of the more expensive DAPs. So let’s take a closer look at what I found after testing this new release from FiiO and comparing it against their other DAPs. Starting with packaging, I do appreciate FiiOs attention to details with a sturdy carton "gift" box inside of a packaging sleeve which comes handy for storage of DAP and accessories. It definitely enhances your unboxing experience and adds to a premium feel of the product versus cheap plastic throwaway packaging. I do have to note that considering this is an early review unit, it still has X3K label on the cover though moving forward it will be changed to either X3 or X3 2nd gen. X3K was an early reference, similar to updated designs of E10k and E11k where "k" suffix was added to distinguish a new model. Moving forward, the model number should stay the name, only new generation reference will be used to indicate updated version. Also, on the back of the packaging sleeve/box you still have a comprehensive listing of main functionality and spec summary. Unboxing. With a cover off, sitting in a protective foam cutout you will find X3 with a very familiar “face” of X1 DAP dressed in a silicone black skin. In addition to this skin and already attached screen protector, as part of the included accessories you will also find additional replacement screen protectors, a charging power/data usb to micro usb cable (quality thick cable to handle 2A charging), Coax digital patch cable, personalized skin stickers (3 sets with wood finish, carbon fiber, and USA flag?!?), warranty card, a quick start guide, and X3 II quick reference card. Obviously, personalized stickers are for scratch protection, though I would prefer to carry X3 II naked without any stickers covering its slick titanium finish aluminum alloy body (front to back). As a matter of fact, in comparison to X1 where the back was plastic, X3 II is all metal including a thicker metal back cover where thickness of the unit is the main physical exterior difference between X1 and X3 II. Another interesting detail I noticed was a transparent film used on the back of the DAP - comes handy to protect back of X3 II from scratches without covering its smooth back, just wish they would include a spare set. At the same time, for a piece of mind, silicone skin does a good job protecting from both scratches and minor drops, not to mention of being an excellent lint magnet lol!!! Also, I was pleased to see FiiO guys finally added a small pinhole in silicone skin at the front bottom of the case to show power led. Other open ports in this silicone case are micro-usb at the bottom, and 3.5mm HO at the top, with LO/Coax port cover with a rubber flap to keep dust away. Obviously there is a cutout for navigation wheel, while 4 control buttons and volume up/down and power are covered/sealed with a raised shape imprint. As a bonus, X3 II will have add on accessories with HS12 stack up kit (the same as X1), LC-FX3221 leather case (crafted to access all the buttons without flipping a cover), and C03 clear plastic cover case - all to be purchased separately. If I get a hold of these accessories, I will update my review with additional pictures. Accessories. For anybody familiar with X1 footprint, physical exterior design of X3 II will be nearly identical with an exception of a slightly thicker body – only 2mm difference. Other than that, you will be greeted with a familiar layout of 2” TFT screen (with a decent contrast and 320x240 resolution) and a mechanical scroll wheel with a large round button in the middle and 4 small round buttons in the corners. Furthermore, you have 3 buttons on the left side where a Power button is leveled with a body of the housing (to prevent accidental power up/down) and a slightly raised volume up/down with a small dimple on volume up which you can id just by sliding a finger across it. Buttons have a nice tactile response, and there is no rattling or shaking. Right above the volume/up, there is a Reset pinhole, something fortunately I didn't have to use during my testing. Micro-usb port is at the bottom, along with a pair of pentalobe screws located toward the corners. MicroSD card (X3 II supports up to 128GB) is at the bottom corner of the right size, and at the top you have a dedicated Headphone Out (HO) 3.5mm port and a shared Line Out (LO) and Digital Coax Out port. I have been enjoying FiiO’s mechanical scrolling wheel since the day I got X5. After awhile of using it, I did find some little issues, but to this day it’s still my favorite navigation control. I’m sure FiiO got a lot of feedback from their users, and with every new release I see the wheel being updated with further improvements. Keeping in mind my X5 was the original production unit and X1/X3 were early preproduction review samples, here is how I would rate evolution of this navigation wheel: X5 - mushy, a bit loose, no feedback, and feels plastic to the touch. X1 - a little tighter control, some click-feedback, and still feels plastic and slippery to the touch (a wheel "friction" sticker would definitely benefit in here). X3 - rubbery finish with a nice grip, wheel feedback with a noticeable click, a better scrolling control. Design details.