You cannot be an audiophile and fail to invest in the best DAP, even on a budget. DAPs produce premium hi-fi audio that enhances your favorite songs and balances the lows/highs. Here is good news; with under $200, you can buy HIDIZS AP80, FiiO M3K, and FiiO M6, among others.
It doesn’t matter if you like listening to music on public transport, the Hi-Fi system in your living room or the park. The DAPs are the versatile and intuitive solution to enjoy premium quality music. More so, when you combine them with Bluetooth headsets or hi-fi headphones, such audio players guarantee high-quality sound. However, you will need to choose a model that suits your desires.
But, some will argue otherwise! Yes, phones can play music, but the truth is they’re not ideally suited for that job, apart from all the distraction that comes with messages, notifications, and phone calls, plus the issue of audio quality. Give yourself that freedom of listening to your favorite music whenever without any distractions via DAPs.
Well, here is the review of the top 6 best DAPs under 200 dollars available now and an elaborated buying guide to help you out.
Read on for more information!
Which Is The Best DAP Under 200 Dollars?
Here Are Quick Snippets Of The Best DAP Under $200:
HIDIZS AP80: Overall Pick
The device top our list as the editor’s overall pick. Well, it’s a portable Hi-Fi listening device that offers impressive sound quality. Moreover, the vocals are crystal clear with the deep and punchy enough to satisfy experienced listeners. Its durability, affordability, and large memory storage capacity further make it the best.
FiiO M3K– Budget Pick
The FiiO M3k is an affordable model that presents value in terms of software experience and sound quality. It’s the cheaper model on our list, costing less than 100 dollars.
FiiO M6– Best For Value
This model ranked a better choice over several DAPs within this price range and over. FiiO M6’s ability to run streaming applications with its customized Android OS makes it worth the value. Moreover, this excellent device is very competitive within this price range due to its versatility, size, and other features.
Pioneer Hi-Res– Durable Model
Just by looking at it, the model displays its reliable yet durable design. It’s made from solid metal and small screen glass. Due to its design and excellent sound quality, the product has gained more popularity over the years.
FiiO M3 Pro MP3 Player– Best Upgrade Model
The FiiO M3 Pro is an upgrade of FiiO M3K and comes with many features making it worthwhile. The new touch screen interface is a significant change of the model from its successor. That helps a lot in terms of functionality and convenience.
SanDisk 8GB: Best Super Lightweight Model
This super-light device is very suitable for athletes and fitness enthusiasts because it has a clip to attach to your clothes. The model weighs only 0.9 ounces, and its battery lasts for 25 hours, making it perfect for sportspersons.
Comparison Table Of The Best DAP Under 200 Dollars
|Device Name||Weight Ounces||Connectivity Type||Battery Life(hours)||Screen Size (Inches)||Memory Storage Capacity|
|HIDIZS AP80||2.47||Bluetooth, USB||12||2.45||1 TB|
|FiiO M6||2.93||Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi||13||3.2||2GB|
|Pioneer Hi-Res||4.6||Bluetooth, USB||15||2.4||16384 MB|
|FiiO M3 Pro MP3 Player||2.47||USB||15||3.5||16 GB|
|SanDisk 8GB||0.9||USB||25||1.44||8192 MB|
Reviews Of Top 6 Best DAPs Under 200 Dollars In 2021
Choosing the right DAPs can be overwhelming and time-consuming due to various models in marketing. But, don’t worry, we’re here to guide you; check this list of our reviews containing the top six DAPs currently in the market. Each product has been chosen carefully based on different factors like durability, connectivity, audio quality, and brand to represent the best option for you. All these products are affordable and fall within the budget of under 200 dollars. Read through for a wise pick.
HIDIZS AP80: Overall Pick
1. Battery life: 15 hours
2. Storage: Up to 1TB
3. DAC: Sabre ESS 9218P
4. Headphone Output (PO): 3.5 mm standard, support LO output
5. USB power adapter: DC5V/2A
6. USB Audio: DSD 64/128 support,
7. Max sampling rate: 32bit/384 kHz PCM support
|Dimension||2.28 x 19.3 x 0.53 inches|
|Item model number||HIDIZS AP80|
|Connectivity Technology||Bluetooth, USB|
1. Anti-aliasing filter available with eight different options
2. MSEB mode enables you to customize the sound
3. Robust build
4. Compatible with one terabyte SD card
5. Support a wide range of file formats
6. One-year warranty & 24 hours’ customer service
1. They don’t come with storage space
2. Sensitive and can be a little noisy
HIDIZS AP80 is a portable Hi-Fi listening device that offers impressive sound quality. The device vocals are crystal clear with the deep and punchy enough to satisfy experienced listeners. Compared to its rival FiiO M5, this incredible model gives absolute comfort due to its 2.45-inch screen. You don’t worry about internet connection as the HIDIZS AP80 is for listening via a micro-SD card.
With its Sabre ES9218P DAC, the device offers good sound power without sacrificing any details or quality. The operating system also has many settings for an excellent experience. In addition, this device features a superb metal build. So, if you drop or shock accidentally, the music playback remains stable.
FiiO M3K- Budget Pick
1. Battery life: 26 hours
2. DAC: AK4376A
3. IN generic X1000E Soc
4. Max sampling: 32bit/384kHz
|Dimension||1.77x 0.59 x 3.54 inches|
|Item model number||FiiO-M3K-BK|
1. Excellent sound quality
3. User-friendly UI
4. Perfect for starters
1. Lack Bluetooth
2. UI isn’t as intuitive as other touchscreen players
The FiiO M3k is an affordable model that presents value in terms of software experience and sound quality. Regarding the software experience, the device has a more straightforward approach that allows fast and direct navigation. Even though we can’t compare with the premium DAPs, but FiiO M3k is the best found in that price range.
The model has a fun and warm sound that pairs exceptionally well with most premium IEMs. And, although it lacks Bluetooth, it still stands out among other models within this price range. Considering the number of features and excellent software implementation, M3K is perfect for entry-level DAP to get you started.
FiiO M6- Best For Value
1. Dual-Mode Bluetooth 4.2
2. DAC ES9018Q2C
3. Exynos 7270: dual-core 1GHz 14nm
4. Wi-Fi Music Streaming Airplay
5. Battery life: 13 hours
6. Max sampling rate: 32bits/384 kHz
|Dimension||2.1 x 0.45 x 3.64 inches|
|Item model number||8492|
|Connectivity Technology||Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi|
1. Great battery life
2. Ability to run streaming service perfectly
3. Bluetooth, USB plus Wi-Fi connectivity
4. Small form factor
1. Slow operating system
2. 2 GB internal memory
The ability of M6 to run streaming applications due to its customized Android OS makes it’s among the best DAPs under 200 dollars. Similar to its counterpart Sony, the M6 has small form factors with an overall solid build. It’s less warm if you compare it with other devices within the budget. In terms of excellent service, versatility, size, plus other features, FiiO M6 still tops our list.
Its battery life, storage and software experience are some of the features that need to be upgraded to be at the same level as the Sony NW A55. However, M6 isn’t snappy like A55 due to its lower specs and demanding OS. The drawback side of this model is the 2GB internal storage, which may not be ideal even if you can upgrade it via Micro SD.
Pioneer Hi-Res- Durable Model
1. Battery life: 15 hours
2. Storage: up to 16 GB/512 GB
3. DAC Chip: Dual ES9018C2M
4. Max sampling rate: 32 bit/192kHz
|Dimension||2.5 x 0.6 x 3.7 inches|
|Item model number||XDP-30R-B|
|Connectivity Technology||Bluetooth, Wi-Fi|
2. Reliable build
3. Possibility for memory capacity with two in-built slots for Micro SD
4. Excellent sound
5. Compatible with various file types
1. Pretty tiny screen
The model remains competitive even after being in the market for an extended period. It’s a reliable device with a small screen and offers quality sounds. You can play PCM files up to 32bits/192kHz and even double the speed DSD without facing any problems. Streaming is dealt with by Tidal, Deezer, and TuneIn support built-in.
This device’s built-in internal storage capacity is 16 GB, although there is a particular slot for a micro SD card to add its memory capacity to 512 GB. Connectivity is standard, with a 3.5mm headphones output plus a 2.5mm balanced output. The model is equipped with twin SABER ES9018C2M DACs inside together with a pair of ES9601 amplifiers chips.
They come with two specified clocks, i.e., one for 44.1 kHz family of sampling rates while the other is 48 kHz and multiples. To reduce jitter’s errors and give a better sound, its 1630mAh battery provides a maximum of 15 hours of use before the need to recharge. However, the time still changes depending on the load you put on your device.
FiiO M3 Pro MP3 Player- Upgrade Model
1. Battery life: 15 hours
2. Full-screen e-book reader
3. Lossless HD sound recorder
4. Pro-grade ES9218P DAC
5. Calculation convenience
6. Max sampling rate: 32 bit/384 kHz
|Dimension||3.78 x 1.77 x 0.39 inches|
|Item model number||FiiO|
|Component type||Digital signal processor, Battery, Display|
2. Pocket friendly
3. USB Type-C
4. Touch screen interface
1. No Bluetooth
The FiiO M3 Pro is an upgrade of FiiO M3K, and it’s still pocket-friendly. It has many features, thus making it worth the price. The new touch screen interface is the significant change of the model from its successor, which helps a lot in terms of functionality and convenience, unlike the M3K’s button-based design.
The device’s new sleek design and black color scheme feel very familiar as it is closely similar to the premium FiiO M6. Plus, a glass screen protector on the front and back similarly add to the premium feel of the M3 Pro.
The OS is pretty well executed. It’s fast, reliable, and has a layout similar to FiiO Music app that’s usually found in FiiO devices. In comparison, the DAC is upgraded to ESS9218P, which is common in expensive DAPs. FiiO M3Pro is more versatile as it can connect to external DAC/Amps like iFi iDSD Nano Black Label. With upgraded DAC, digital audio output support, god file types support makes this model arguably the best within this price range.
SanDisk 8GB: Super Lightweight Model
1. 8GB internal memory
2. Dynamic audio quality
3. Memory card slot for more audiobooks and more music
4. Clip support mp3 Player
|Dimension||0.63x 1.6 x 2.6 inches|
|Item model number||SDMX24-OO8G-G46K|
1. Super lightweight design
2. Compatible with most popular file format
3. 8 GB internal memory
5. User friendly
6. Perfect for athletes and fitness enthusiasts
1. No Bluetooth
2. Not waterproof
The DAP is well suited for athletes and fitness enthusiasts because it has a clip to attach to your clothes. Interestingly the battery lasts up to 25 hours, making it ideal for running and hikes. With an internal storage capacity of 8 GB, you can store thousands of your favorite playlists. If you need more storage, it will be taken care of by a micro SDHC memory card slot.
Durability is taken care of by premium materials used with seven styles to choose from. Therefore, you get more personalization.
The built-in buttons is another excellent feature that allows you to skip between songs, pause and regulate music. The device is compatible with AAC, MP3, other audio formats, and an FM tuner if you want to listen to radio shows.
Unfortunately, the device doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth, meaning you can’t connect wireless earphones or headphones. But regardless of the same, this model is an excellent budget option for sportspersons.
What To Consider For Best DAPs Under $200 Buying Guide
There’re many factors to consider when buying the best digital audio players in as much as the price is our utmost concern. Of course, you will want a high-quality and dependable yet affordable model. To pick out the best, here are some of the factors you need to consider;
Two hundred dollars is not little money, so you need to consider a durable device that will give you service. Go for a metal chassis one rather than an old plastic model.
The more storage, the better the DAP device. Most of the DAPs come with a specific amount of built-in storage, although it’s not always the case. It’s essential to buy a device with at least one SD slot to increase your storage capacity since high-definition audio files can take up a lot of space.
It’s essential to know how long your player will work without recharging. Besides, the sound and the screen affect autonomy. So the larger and brighter the display, the more energy it will consume. Depending on your need, picks the model with better battery life.
We are confident you’ll have several music tracks and media in different file formats. Therefore, make sure that your DAP is compatible with all those file types. To be on the safe side, choose a DAP that covers all the bases.
The best DAP should deliver incredible audio quality. They need to have the ability to recognize and play any loss, high-resolution, or lossless audio formats. Pick a Model with the ability to deliver digital audio sampled at up to 384 kHz in standard PCM Wav formats.
Suppose you can manage to get a DAP with a touch-sensitive screen that is responsive and large; the better. Screen display color will be a bonus for you.
It’s very significant to determine the connectivity type before you purchase your DAP. Will you go for a Bluetooth, AUX, USB, or Wi-Fi one? If you can get a model that offers all of them the better, even two is excellent.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Are The Primary Three Groups Of Audio File Formats?
Here are 3 major groups of the audio file format:
1. Uncompressed audio such as AU, AIFF, PCM, OR WAV
2. Lossy compression formats such as MP3, AAC, Vorbis, or WMA lossy
3. Lossless Compression formats like ATRAC Advanced lossless, FLAC and MPEG-4ALS, etc.
2. Which Is The Best DAP Operating System?
Generally, DAPs comes in either Android or their custom proprietary OS. Many people nowadays prefer to stream music rather than downloading it onto their devices. In contrast, others don’t want to rely on an internet connection and listen to their music collection offline.
There are great music apps for iPhone and Android if you belong to the latter group. Google offers various paid or free players like rocket players, black players, power amp, and shuttle music players. So it depends on your personal needs.
3. Can I Get A High-Quality DAP Device For Under 200 Dollars?
HIDIZS AP80, FiiO M3K, FiiO M6 are among the best DAP devices under 200 dollars. So, yes, there are several models that you can invest in even when on a tight budget. You can pick any of the top six high-quality models under 200 dollars rated in this article based on your needs.
Now you understand, it’s not just a matter of playing music. Your pair of headphones and smartphones would do the trick. But, if you’re a music lover who prefers listening to quality renditions of their favorite songs while enjoying a wide range of additional features, then DAP is your thing! Spoil your inner soul with fantastic music without any disruption in your leisure time, and thanks us later! With a budget of $200, you can choose any of the six rated products.