Cayin i5 Master Quality Portable Digital Audio Player Review
Cayin i5 Packaging and Closer Look
The Cayin i5 comes in a clean white rectangular box, and some of its features are printed at the back of the box. I was not expecting this, since most of the DAPs nowadays, not all, are usually housed in a black box. Right after I slide off the outer white box, lo and behold a black box! I guess a black box puts emphasis on the product itself rather than the packaging. Overall, the packaging was good and the unit was securely cradled in the middle of the inner box.
Underneath the i5, there’s another compartment which houses the accessories. You get some reading materials (instructions) and a couple of screen protectors for the front and back side of the i5. You also get a USB to Type-C USB connector and a microUSB (female) to Type-C (male) adapter.
Here’s a closer look at the Cayin i5 fresh from its box. Initially there’s a transparent sticker on the screen with labels on it. Both the front and back screen protectors are not installed by default and you’ll have to install it yourself. Aside from the buttons and dedicated volume knob, the Cayin i5 has a home button on the lower center section. It’s not a tactile button, but a touch display button that will immediately return you to the home screen when pressed. It also serves are a charging indicator, the white LED will blink constantly while the i5 is recharging. The back of the Cayin i5 features a carbon fiber back plate, giving it that elegant and premium feel. The carbon fiber plate is then layered with a glass or glossy finish, not sure which is it, but the surface is not scratch proof thus the need to install a film protector at the back.
On the top portion, you see the large volume knob, a standard 3.5mm single ended headphone out and a dedicated 3.5mm line out. There’s no 2.5mm balanced out on the Cayin i5; not really a big deal for me, but for those you are into a balanced setup you might want to take note of this. At the bottom is the all-in-one USB Type-C connector that serves as the charging port, S/PDIF out, USB DAC and data transfer. The original design doesn’t have that black plastic sheet actually, later they redesigned it and placed that black plastic sheet to “enhance the WiFi connectivity of i5 without affecting the look and feel of the facade design. The revised design will reduce the internal interference caused by reflection and minimize channel effect”.
The Cayin i5 does have a leather case, but it’s not included in the packaging. It is sold separately and retails for around $25. I’m not sure if third party sellers, like Dignis, are selling one or not, but for now Cayin is offering this option for those who want to provide their i5 with some protection.
Here’s how the Cayin i5 will look after inserting it to its leather casing. The volume knob and the output ports on top are very much accessible. Even the buttons on the sides and the Type-C port at the bottom have cut-outs as well. However, I’m not sure if a cut-out for the microSD card is really necessary or not. It’s very open and you can easily install or swap micro SD cards, but accidental ejection of the SD card may happen.
The Cayin i5 features a CNC aerospace aluminum alloy chassis and a carbon fiber back plate. It feels very solid, one handed operation is very doable, and at 195 grams the weight feels just right on hand. The power button is located on the left side of the i5; while the previous, next and play/pause button is located on the right side of the unit. The volume knob sits on the top right hand corner of the i5, and doesn’t seem to have any protection from accidental turns. The good thing is, you need to apply a little bit of force to turn the volume knob; one finger is doable but using your thumb and index (or middle) finger to turn the knob is better.
Next page, let’s take a look on the Cayin i5’s user interface.