The iPod and iTunes revolutionized music consumption. Arguably, we wouldn’t have the iPhone or Androids if it weren’t for those breakthroughs. Now, instead of iPods, everyone’s smartphone has access to Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, etc. You can listen to countless songs for free, or for the cost of 1 album per month, listen to unlimited songs of your choosing. Gone are the days of walking into Sam Goody to buy a new CD. Simply pull out your phone, punch in what you want, and you can stream it instantly. So, with everything on your smartphone, now begs the question of why anyone would want a separate hi-fi music player in 2018. The Dodocool music player tries to answer that question.
I’m a musician, so I’ve always appreciated high-quality music. In fact, there was a time when I listened to super high-quality FLAC (free lossless audio codec) files whenever possible. For an audiophile like myself, the difference was extraordinary. However, on a daily basis now, it’s so much easier to just use my smartphone and my favourite streaming service. When I jump in the car, the magic of Bluetooth makes it happen automatically. When I come home, I tell my Google Home to play whatever I want.
Using the Dodocool Hi-Fi music player was a bit of a trip. It’s a blast from the past for sure. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the novelty of it, and here are my thoughts!
I’m making a conscious effort to talk about the audio quality first. In short, it’s great! I loaded up several albums of FLAC files, with MP3 versions to compare. The MP3’s sounded good, on par with what my Samsung Galaxy is capable of. The real difference, and where the Dodocool shines, is when playing the high-fidelity versions. The sound is fantastic, full, and rich. I didn’t want to listen to MP3’s on this hi-fi music player anymore.
The Dodocool player also has a voice recorder and traditional radio capability, which was pretty disappointing in quality. No matter where I was, the radio was fuzzy and annoying. It was a bummer, considering how well it played the FLAC’s. So if you want to play MP3’s, it’s okay. If you want to play FLAC files, it’s great. If you want to listen to the radio, it’s awful.
Specs and Features
Display screen: 2.0 inch QVGA LCD, 320*240 resolution
CPU: ARM Dual-core Cortex-M3
Audio format support: DSD64, DSD128, DSD256(.dff & .dsf), FLAC 192kHz/24bit, ALAC 192kHz/24bit, APE 96kHz/24bit, OGG, WAV, MP3 and more
Voice recording: High-fidelity 192kHz/24PCM
FM radio: Support FM stereo radio and high-fidelity FM radio recording
Distortion: ±0.05% with 32mW
Internal storage: 8GB
TF card slot: Support TF card up to 256GB (TF card NOT included)
Power source: Built-in 3.7V 1400mAh rechargeable lithium battery
Charging time: Approx. 2.5 hours
Playback time: Up to 30 hours
Built-in microphone: Yes
Language: English, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Polish, Danish, Dutch, Greek, Czech, Turkish, Hebrew, Arabic, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese,
Interface: 1 * Micro-USB port, 1 * TF card slot, 1 * 3.5mm headphone jack, 1 * Line out port
Item size: Approx. 3.82 * 2.17 * 0.51 in / 97 * 55 * 13 mm (L * W * H)
Item weight: Approx. 3.81oz / 108g
Touch and Feel
The Dodocool Hi-Fi music player feels really nice. It’s a solid and relatively heavy chunk of gray aluminum. It feels substantial and dense. The buttons are clicky and don’t feel cheap. All the seams are tight, and you can tell that it is well-built.
The one complaint I have is with the build quality is the wheel. Remember the original iPod? That’s how you do a click wheel. This one here is rubbery, scrolls inconsistently, and just doesn’t fit the quality of the rest of the hardware.
In a world of super-responsive, high-quality, pixel-dense touch screens, the Dodocool music player’s UX feels old. The graphics are simple, bland, and not very pretty. Picking out artists and albums to play is easy enough. However, I just want to point at Kendrick Lamar with my finger and start listening, without scrolling around with a wheel and then pressing the center button to select. This isn’t very 2018.
I could live with most of those complaints, but the one thing that has driven me absolutely crazy is the scrolling direction. Now, this only happens on the home screen, where options are selected by using the wheel. When going through my song list, scrolling clockwise means you scroll down, like you’d expect. However, on that home screen, scrolling clockwise means selecting the option to the left, and counterclockwise moves to the right. It still doesn’t feel natural to me.
Loading songs onto this player is fairly old school as well. Plug it into your PC via USB, and drag and drop your songs using your file explorer. The trouble is that you can’t get high fidelity files from iTunes or the like. You need to go to a site like Acoustic Sounds and pay $25+ for an album. And no geeks, I won’t be recommending any sketchy pirating sites here.
Should You Buy the Dodocool Hi-Fi Music Player?
If you are an audio fiend and MUST have the highest audio quality, you will be happy with the Dodocool player. It’s built well, sounds great, and is relatively easy to use for a dedicated audio player. Buy it now! If you’re used to getting your music instantly and don’t care about the difference in bitrate, don’t bother. Stick with your smartphone.
What do you think? Do you want a dedicated music player or is your phone good enough for you? Vote now and let us know why in the comments!