Greetings,

Today we’re checking out a budget friendly media player, the X02 from Ruizu.

Ruizu was founded in 2010 and makes a wide range of products, everything from Bluetooth speakers to car air purifiers to MP3 players like the one we’re checking out today. The 20 USD/25 CAD the X02 goes for is a great price for a basic player, but the X02 isn’t overly basic. When you take a look at the extensive list of features and file support, it’s a great value, even if it isn’t perfect.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Disclaimer:

While she is no longer with Ruizu, I want to thank Ashley for reaching out to see if I would be interested in checking out their products, and for providing a discount code to purchase the X02 through Amazon.ca. It was delived to my door for a whopping $0.38 CAD. The thoughts within this review are my own and do not represent Ruizu or any other entity.

https://www.amazon.com/RUIZU-X02-Recorder-Playback-Expandable/dp/B073R7ZHVC/ref=sr_1_1?m=A2IEP708A7H6JC&s=merchant-items&ie=UTF8&qid=1538575116&sr=1-1

What I’m looking for:

When it comes to portable amps and DAPS I take a pretty casual approach. If you’re looking for an in-depth look at this thing with measurement graphs going over THD, sine waves, etc. you’ll want to look elsewhere. None of that matters to me, nor do the components inside that make the device tick. All I really care about is ease of use, how well it can drive my headphones and earphones, and if they still sound good to me plugged into it. Great battery life is a bonus. This review will be mainly my subjective experiences with the Ruizu and how it has served me over the last month or so.

Specifications:

  • Interface: 3.5mm audio jack,TF/Micro SD Card Slot
  • Compatible Operation Systems: Linux,Mac OS,Windows 7,Windows Vista
  • Languages: English, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese
  • FM radio: Yes
  • Internal storage: 8GB
  • Screen size: 4.7 x 3.5 cm / 1.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Resolution: 160 x 128
  • Audio support: APE, MP3,WAV, WMA, FLAC
  • E-book support: TXT
  • Picture support: BMP, JPEG, JPG
  • Product weight: 0.030 kg
  • Package weight: 0.080 kg
  • Product size (L x W x H): 9.00 x 3.80 x 0.60 cm / 3.54 x 1.5 x 0.24 inches
  • Package size (L x W x H): 16.90 x 9.80 x 2.80 cm / 6.65 x 3.86 x 1.1 inches
  • Battery life: up to 80 hours

Packaging and Accessories:

Looking at older coverage of the X02, it seems that along with some internal upgrades, the packaging received a buff too. The black and white design is attractive and the ridged texturing along the sizes and top looks and feels nice in the hand. I suspect this packaging is used for a number of their products because the model isn’t printed anywhere. A sticker on the back has that covered. Some statements on the back of the package like “BATTERY long time playing” and “MENU easy and comfortable interface” also lend to the idea that this package is used for other Ruizu devices since they are so vague.

Inside is another cardboard box with the X02 nestled in a foam insert. Lift that out and you find a few accessories and some documentation. In all you get:

  • X02 media player
  • Ruizu earbuds
  • Micro USB cable

The included earbuds certainly aren’t amazing, but they definitely exceeded my expectations. Material quality is mediocre of course. The cable feels quite fragile and the white plastics are low rent with their yellowish tinge. But, comfort is great and fit and finish is as good as it gets for a cheap freebie earphone. When it comes to sound, it’s a typical old-school earbud signature; lots of mids, very little bass, and neutral-ish treble with some roll off. I found clarity excellent, especially in the mid-range. They’re pleasantly inoffensive and capable enough to provide a decent experience. Heck, they even have a spacious presentation with good layering and separation. At high volumes they do distort, but that is par for the course with toss in buds. If you’re even remotely serious about your sound quality you’ll want to replace them immediately, but for the average user that just wants to listen to their music, they’ll do the trick.

Build and UI:

The X02’s design takes great inspiration from Apple’s iconic but long discontinued iPod Mini. Like that device, it has a small screen set above a circular input pad within which is a central selection button. The X02 is all-plastic with a soft matte finish. While I like the look and feel of the finish, past experience with it on other devices has shown significant deterioration as the years progress. Hopefully that will not be the case with the X02, but the way people consume new products nowadays the device would probably be replaced long before it ever became an issue. It’s also not the most solid feeling device. Despite being small and compact, there is a fair bit of flex and twist to the chassis. Not something you’re likely to notice though, unless you deliberately start wrenching on it.

The circular pad covers four buttons in the cardinal positions. They perform a multitude of functions from menu navigation to track control. The center button is used to select menu options and pause/play music. I found the buttons satisfying to press as they respond with a prominent click that you can feel and hear. Unlike on some devices which are spongy or quiet, you know when you made a selection on the X02. On the bottom of the device is the micro-USB input port, headphone jack, and on/off slider switch that moves into position with purpose. To the right is a micro-SD card slot with support for 128GB cards, adding onto the already decent 8GB built in.

The X02 is a satisfying device to interact with. The velvety matte surface feels good in the hand and the buttons depress with a quality tactile response. In addition, they are laid out in a tried and tested manner that many will already be familiar with had they used an Apple device prior to their move to touch screen only devices.

Battery:

Admittedly I didn’t do any testing of the 80 hours of battery life the X02 is rated for. Sorry ’bout that. What I can say is that since the device arrived on September 1st, 2018, it has been used for a couple hours every day. I’ve only had to charge it once since the out of the box charge depleted a couple weeks ago, and at the time of writing it’s still going strong on the next charge. Regardless of whether or not it will achieve the rated 80 hours, it’s got more than enough juice to keep even power users going for long periods without the need to juice up. Another thing that helps to conserve battery is if not playing music or in use, the X02 will turn off after a few minutes of inactivity. Handy!

GUI:

Perusing through the X02’s menus is for the most part, a pleasant experience. I can think of a few players offhand, namely the HiFiMan MegaMini and XDuoo Nano D3, that do it with less grace and intuition.

On the home screen you’ve got nine menu options. Record, Folder, Ebook comprise the top row. Across the middle you’ve got Pictures, Music, and Video. On the bottom row you’ll find Tools, Settings, and your FM Radio. In the tippy top left corner is the time, while opposite is a battery life icon. Unlike on the XDuoo Nano D3 which has a similar Windows phone style grid layout, you can traverse the X02’s menu options any way you want; up, down, left and right. Delay when moving around is very minimal too. Good thing because laggy interfaces drive me nuts.

Once you start diving into the individual menus, you realize the X02 has a lot more functionality than it’s price and size would suggest. For example, under the Radio feature I was expecting just to be taken directly to the radio, but instead selecting that feature gave me a number of options; Station list, manual tune, auto tune, and FM recording. Under station list is all of your preset options. Manual tune lets you hunt through stations manually. Auto tune seems to update your presents with all available radio stations in the area. Insanely handy if you’re traveling to a new location. FM recording allows you to listen to past recordings saved to either the internal memory, or a memory card you have installed.

Under Tools you are given a calender, stopwatch, and an alarm. They didn’t need to include these, but they did. The calendar feature is very basic in that all you can do is select the date. The stopwatch feature give you five splits to work with which is nice. The alarm lets you set up a one-time, daily, or work day alert using the in-built songs or a custom track of your choice, and at the volume you set. The alarm feature is nice to have, but it doesn’t make the X02 a suitable replacement for a regular alarm. The X02 doesn’t have a built in speaker. That means you’re either going to need to hook up to one, or only use the alarm during circumstances where you’re using the device and have your headphones in, like during break at work, or while at the gym to let you know when you should move onto the next exercise. The alarm also doesn’t turn the device on, so if the X02 is off when the alarm should be sounding, you’re out of luck.

The X02 also has a basic video player, but I don’t think anyone is going to be using it all too often, especially given the dominance of smart phones. The X02’s screen is small and low resolution and watching the pre-installed music video reveals a very blurry image quality. The optimal viewing angle is also somewhat bizarre being optimal at around a 160-170 degree angle. The included video defaults to a horizontal format, and to watch it you turn the X02 sideways and tilt the screen away from you. If you don’t, the screen is either too dark or becomes extremely washed out. Not so much of an issue during normal use, but if you actually want to make use of the video player, this is certainly something to keep in mind.

In the music app you’ve got tons of options too, all laid out ion a fairly logical manner. The first page has nine options; Now playing, all songs, update card data, artists, albums, genres, playlists, local folder, and card folder. Once you’ve selected a song, hit up or M on the control pad and you’ve got nine new options; home, shuffle, language learning, sound settings, a-b repeat mode, bookmarks, delete, add to playlist, and remove from playlist. While I’m not one for playlists, many of you out there are so being able to construct and deconstruct playlists on the fly will be a blessing.

I’m not going to go through every menu, but there are some handy features under sound settings. First is the equalizer. You’ve got OFF, six of the usual preset options, and a basic 5-band custom setting. Unfortunately, the particular frequencies affected are not mentioned, instead letting you adjust B/L/M/H/T. Still, it works as you’d expect. Bass frequencies to the left, moving through the mids to treble on the far right. Another cool setting is speed. I can see that being useful if listening to an audio book. Last is volume limit. Helpful feature, especially if you’re going to give this to a child, but it has one very annoying quirk. That brings us to my favorite section.

Quirks:

No device is perfect. There are some of the more prominent quirks I’ve experienced in my time with the X02.

  1. When setting the volume limit in the sound settings, you are required to press left and right to raise and lower volume despite the volume bar being displayed vertically. Odd decision. Make sure you don’t have music playing when adjusting this setting. It starts off with the volume maxed out, and if you’ve got your headphones in and music on, whatever is playing is bumped to max volume. Ouch in numerous ways. This thing gets pretty loud which could damage your ears or your headphones if they’re particularly sensitive.

  2. Volume does not have a dedicated control. While on the now playing screen, you need to hold down on the control pad for a moment to access the volume controls. On one hand this is simply annoying. On the other, this is a great way to prevent unwanted volume adjustments.

  3. When listening to the radio, if you hold down the centre button for X02 will start a 3 second countdown. Keep holding through the countdown and it turns off. Not sure why this exists since they have a dedicated on/off switch on the bottom of the device.

  4. Ever since I accessed the radio, that has been the default app the device opens to on startup regardless of what was used last.

Sound:

The X02 is a decent sounding player, as long as you keep the cost under consideration. I was quite impressed with the sound stage and instrument separation. It does a good job off keeping tracks open and uncongested. It also helps that clarity and detail are also good, though micro-detail seems to be masked slightly. The mid-range isn’t dialed back and seems quite prominent, helping out v-shaped earphones a bit. Bass is severely rolled off in my experience so products that have excellent sub-bass extension, like the ADVANCED GT3 Superbass, lose a lot of that extension. This is not a good player for bassheads. It’s not not going to be a great option for those that like to listen at really high volumes either as you get noticeable distortion. The X02 sounds best when kept away from the extreme highs of it’s volume output.

Overall there isn’t much to say here. It has a reasonably uncolored signature and sounds okay. Definitely not up to the standards of a picky audiophile, but good enough for it’s target audience and affordable price.

FM Radio:

While most audiophiles would never in a million years touch this feature, this was one of the features that had me most interested. This is an affordable device for the average user, and at least where I live, FM radio is still going strong. As is common, the X02 uses the headphone cable as the antenna and it has no issues picking up a number of stations in my area with a strong, stable connection.

The controls are intuitive and will be right at home for someone that uses and radio frequently. A single, quick press lets you manually hunt down stations while holding the button for one second automatically searches for the next available station. It’s quick and works perfectly. And, if radio presets are your thing you’ve got 30 to work with. Sweet.

IMG_4620.JPG

Final Thoughts:

MP3 players have fallen out of popularity over the years thanks to smart phones. Why carry multiple devices when you’ve already got what amounts to a powerful, fully featured PC hanging out in your pocket? The X02 is the kind if device you take with you when you don’t want to put that expensive smart phone in harms way, or just want something quick and simple to listen to music through.

Yes, it has some quirks, and yes, the sound quality isn’t going to win any awards, but that should be expected. It’s a media player for your average consumer, and taken as it is, it’s a wonderful little device. Bring it with you to the gym or on bike rides. Toss it in your purse to use those times you miss the bus by a minute and have to wait for the next one. Make it your kid’s first media player. You know they’ll probably break it at some point so you might as well start them off with something inexpensive, yet capable of sparking their interest in music and the arts.

The X02 costs less than most budget earphones, it has great file support, the controls are intuitive and familiar right out the gate, and the graphical interface is quick and easy to navigate. It has a ton of features too, like a radio, e-book reader, video player, and voice recorder. You might not use any of it beyond your first run through of the device, and it’s certainly not the ideal device to consume videos or books, but it’s all there and everything works. The battery life is outstanding as well and I have yet to have the device crash or shut down unexpectedly, so it runs reliably too.

While the X02 isn’t something I am likely to continue using since I already have considerably more capable (and expensive) media players, I respect it and really enjoyed using it over the last month or so. It’s an honest device that should make a lot of customers happy.

Thanks for reading!

– B9Scrambler

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