REVIEW: HIBY R6 PRO II
HiBy sent us a retail sample of the R6 Pro II for this review. We appreciate the continued support, and the freedom to express our opinions without fear or favour.
I have fond memories of HiBy’s original R6 Pro DAP. It was my first ‘serious’ DAP, and boasted some breakthrough specs compared to what most of the more established brands were offering at the time.
It was also one of the more expensive DAPs, retailing for $800, which may not seem like much in today’s world of $3,000+ flaghsips, but believe me when I tell you it was quite the aspirational device for many back then.
It’s been more than four years since those pioneering days of portable audio, and HiBy has finally released the spiritual successor – if not the actual successor – to the R6 Pro. The new R6 Pro II is, for all intents and purposes, a completely different class of DAP, virtually unrecognisable from the original.
It does include some cute callbacks to its ‘predecessor’, like the choice of purple colourway (there was a limited-edition purple version of the R6 Pro for a while), and comes in at a very similar price point – the only difference being it’s very much a ‘midrange’ offering in today’s market, at least in price.
Everything else about the new R6 Pro is different. Gone is the stainless steel chassis, replaced by a lightweight aluminum frame with a modernized design. The 4.2” 720P screen has evolved into one of the largest screens on a DAP at 5.9”, with a full 2K resolution that’s one of the brightest and sharpest I’ve seen too.
For me, the original R6 Pro pushed the boundaries for what a sub-$1,000 DAPs was capable of, with some ‘groundbreaking’ features like hi-fi grade parts, abundant power to drive larger headphones, and a comparatively speedy processor for its Android 8.1 OS. In some ways the R6 Pro II is walking the same path, with some astonishingly good parts and performance for its (now relatively modest) price.
Whether or not it will have the same broad appeal as before, only time will tell. For now, let’s find out what this, the latest in a flurry of DAP releases from HiBy, has to offer, and what makes it better – or at least notably different – from the rest.
The new Pro
The first thing you’ll notice on receiving the new Pro is the distinctive design cues and purple styling. R6 Pro II is available in two colours – purple and black – but even the box of the black version has the purple design on the cover.
The box itself is different to recent ‘R6-class’ packaging in that it’s not a clamshell design but a more traditional lidded box with two internal trays. The top tray holds the DAP inside a pre-cut foam frame, and the bottom tray holds the included leather case and USB-C cable. A few other accessories are also included, a quickstart guide and spare front and back plastic screen protectors (two protectors are pre-applied).