Test 1 De­sign

Is there style to match the sub­stance?

Mac Format - - APPLE CHOICE -

Of the five play­ers, Astell&Kern’s is the pret­ti­est, with its glass back and gor­geous AMOLED dis­play. The mono­lithic Onkyo is re­deemed by its su­perb build qual­ity, swoopy back and knurled vol­ume knob, while Pi­o­neer’s of­fer­ing hides its rec­tan­gles be­tween two funky plas­tic bumpers. We don’t rec­om­mend putting any of these sharp-cor­nered play­ers in the pock­ets of skinny jeans, although we wouldn’t rec­om­mend us­ing a kara­biner clip for the Pi­o­neer ei­ther: that bumper is re­mov­able, so we wouldn’t want to risk it. The FiiO is the most un­usual here. It’s mod­u­lar: the amp mod­ule at the bot­tom can be un­screwed and swapped for other au­dio com­po­nents.

And then there’s the Opus#1. It looks like a bat­phone, an off-cen­tre rec­tan­gle sur­rounded by plas­tic poly­gons. It looks hideous, and it’s not much bet­ter in the sup­plied leather case.

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