HiBy W3 II Review

HiBy W3 II Review by MajorHiFi

Recently, I reviewed the Yvain IEMs from HiBy. I wasn’t too familiar with the brand beforehand, but they made a good impression on me with these IEMs. There’s a new version of their portable W3 Bluetooth DAC/Amp, and I’ve been able to get my hands on it. There are a few neat design choices here, but what’s going to interest you the most is its $49 price tag. There aren’t a lot of portable Bluetooth DAC/Amps around, so let’s see what the W3 II has to prove.

What You Get

  • W3 II
  • USB Type C data cable
  • User Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • QC Certification

HiBy W3 II front

Build

The W3 II is one of the smallest Bluetooth DAC/Amps I’ve seen. Compared to the Fiio BTR5, the W3 II is shorter and slimmer. It even has the same mirrored surface as the BTR5, but with a stylized graffiti faceplate. The added shirt clip comes in handy too. Other than that, is is a very simple device, whcih is fitting considering the price. You only get a 3.5mm port for headphones, and a slot for USC Type C cables. In terms of controls, you have a button for power/pairing, and skip/rewind track. There are no dedicated volume controls, so your source will do your loudness adjustment.

HiBy W3 II Clip

Design

The W3 II is built using a CS43131 DAC and amp chipset. It is designed to make the most out of your sound resolution and amplification while encased in this small device. There’s a microphone built into the W3 II as well, so you can take phone calls while in use. This microphone integrates cVc de-noising technology that ensures clearer voices without audible obstructions. Other features like EQ are accessible through HiBy’s companion app, which does a good job adding some personalization to your sound.

Bluetooth

With its Qualcomm QCC5125 Bluetooth chip, the W3 II is able to offer some interesting features for the price. The spotlight here is on the use of hi-res CODECs like UAT, which is able to support resolutions up to 192kHz through Bluetooth so long as you’re usingĀ  an Android device. In addition to that, the W3 II also gives you LDAC, aptX, and aptX HD. This is more than some other Bluetooth DAC dongles give you for more, so the W3 II is very impressive here. Other neat Bluetooth features include NFC pairing, which allows you to quickly pair your device with just one tap as long as you have a compatible device.

Battery Life

You’ll be able to listen to your music while using the W3 II for around ten hours. For only fifty dollars this is well above average for what you expect from a Bluetooth dongle. The iFi Go Blu has the same battery life for well beyond that price point.

HiBy W3 II side

Sound Impressions

I used the W3 II in both wired and Bluetooth mode with a few different IEMs and headphones. The first paring I used was with the Meze 99 Classics, which responded smoothly and accurately to the headphone’s sound signature. Vocal ranges on the 99 Classics are always a standout, and the W3 II ensures liveliness and depth when paired with this DAC/Amp. It feels like there’s more space dedicated to separating the sound elements, and enunciating the layers and adding a roomier feel to the mix.

Moving over to HiBy’s own Yvain IEMs, and the sound has similar separation but with even more percision and accuracy. The width of the soundstage grows a bit, but the sounds never feel thin or too stretched out. With the W3 II, the midrange is presented as consistently full and unveiled with most pairings. Using the Yvain with this device, revealed some impressive detail that I wasn’t expecting, making the timbre appear very refined and realistic.

The last pairing I tested was the W3 II with the 7Hz Salnotes Dioko, which was what I tended to use EQ the most with. I wanted to see what some boosted low-end could add to the IEMs and I wasn’t disappointed. Most of what I heard was a more pronounced mid-bass, which added more body to the sound signature thanks to a thicker tone. This wasn’t the most detailed bass, but the feeling of it was there and easy to control.

Summary

For only fifty dollars, HiBy is offering a strong Bluetooth DAC/Amp that at its best competes well with the Fiio BTR5. Its sound is smooth and reveals a surprising amount of detail with enhanced resolution for your headphones and IEMs. It may only offer single-ended unbalanced connections, but the W3 II does more than enough to match other top portable Bluetooth dongles with its in-app EQ, battery life, and CODEC options.

Pros Cons
  • Accurate sound response
  • In-app EQ
  • Small and easy to carry around
  • UAT CODEC
  • Good battery life
  • Price
  • Only offers SE 3.5mm for headphones

The HiBy W3 II is available here.

Compare the ranking of various headphones, earbuds and in-ear monitors using our tools.

Discuss this, and much more, over on our forum.

---
MAJORHIFI may receive commissions from retail offers.
Previous articleHifiman Svanar Wireless Jr Review
Next articleFinal Audio VR2000 – Review
Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.