Since I started covering audio on TechPowerUp last year, I've mentioned digital audio players (DAPs) in many a headphones and IEMs review. Music players were the norm not that long ago, before phones with tech that blew away the "dumb" players of yesteryear. In an ironic twist, it is again phones that have led to the resurgence of dedicated music players since phone makers rather make money off Bluetooth earphones as separate accessories, and the lack of the humble 3.5 mm jack is the biggest part of it. There are some phones with audio out over the Type-C port, for example, but the associated digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and amplifier are found wanting more often than not. The obvious solution would be to get a cheap dongle, or even a portable DAC/amp, wired or wireless, and we have covered many of them, from the likes of FiiO, Qudelix, Earmen, iFi Audio, Ikko, Aune, and many others. But it makes for a second device paired to your phone, and even there, it means using streaming services or hoping your phone has enough storage for local files. There's a market for DAPs again, and HiBy is among the more popular brands in this market.
I mentioned in my accompanying review of the HiBy Lasya IEMs that HiBy has an exceptional R&D team that has been awarded multiple patents, having come up with innovations galore, including its own Bluetooth codec and Android skin. HiBy OS is an extremely popular Android build for DAPs, so much so that it has been adopted by other companies that make and sell DAPs, too. Today, we examine the newest HiBy DAP offering, the HiBy R5 (Gen 2), which is also referred to as the HiBy R5 II. It aims to be the new standard for DAPs with a premium feature set without breaking the bank and is part of HiBy's player lineup that begins with the inexpensive R2 and ends on the flagship class R8. It promises neat features, such as a dedicated Class A amplifier mode and up to 35 hours of play time, which should grab your eye if you are intrigued by the concept of a DAP. Thanks to HiBy for providing TechPowerUp a review sample via HiFiGo! Be sure to click on the thumbnails below twice for the specifications; one for the player as a whole and the other dedicated to its audio output.