Fiio FW3 Review: Punches above its price tag

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FiiO has been known in the hi-fi circles for delivering well-priced high-res portable music players. However, its expansion into portable audio gear and headphones, especially outside of China, hasn’t quite made the same splash. And now comes the FiiO FW3, a pair of sub-$80 true wireless earbuds that promise impressive clarity and sound quality. Given FiiO’s reputation, it’s intriguing to see if they hold up in a crowded market. Let’s dive into my detailed review.

Fiio fw3 Review Snapshot

Editor’s rating: 4/5


Companion app



Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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  • Dynamic Driver Performance
  • Comfortable Fit
  • Excellent Codec Compatibility
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound
  • Affordable Price


  • Polarizing Design
  • No Active

Fiio fw3 review: Design

FiiO hasn’t held back in terms of design for the FW3. While the case is pretty standard, made of silver plastic with charging indicators, the earbuds themselves are quite the showstoppers. Made of plastic, like the case, they have a distinctive scalloped and vented outer face that’s bound to catch your eye, albeit in a potentially divisive manner.

While unique designs like Nothing’s transparent earbuds have been cool, the FW3’s look comes across as a tad unpolished. The design also contributes to a somewhat chunky and unwieldy shape for the individual earbuds. However, once you find the right earbud tip from the generous selection provided, they do sit comfortably.

This comfort is largely thanks to their featherlight weight of 6 grams each. I wore them for hours without discomfort, which bodes well for most everyday scenarios. Each earbud sports two small buttons on the top edge, with one having a raised dot for easy identification. While these controls work well, they’re not the most responsive.

You can press them without causing discomfort, offering a solid alternative to touch controls that can be finicky in earbuds at this price point. The charging case is equally lightweight, making the FW3 easy to carry around. However, the heavy reliance on plastic gives them a somewhat budget feel – not outright flimsy, but heading in that direction.

Fiio fw3 review: Companion App

So, let’s talk about the FiiO Control app for iOS – it’s a breeze to use. Once your device is linked up, you can tweak the settings right away without any fuss. And the best part? The settings themselves are super user-friendly, so no need to scratch your head over how things work.

Now, let’s get into what’s fresh with the FW3. A cool addition is the codec transmission control. This nifty feature ensures that your favorite codec is sent to the earbuds every single time you use them. No more fussing around – just smooth sailing for your audio preference.

Oh, but wait, there’s more! Check out the “Earbud Volume” control. This gem lets you directly set the max volume for the earbuds, rather than solely relying on your player. Why does this matter? Well, it means your player can pump more juice into those earbuds, potentially shaping the sound you’re getting. Cool, right?

Fiio fw3 review: sound Performance

Honestly, the Fiio FW3 punches way above their price tag. These earbuds come with a hefty lineup of codecs, including LDAC, LHDC, AptX, AptX Adaptive, AAC, and SBC. Plus, they proudly sport the Snapdragon Sound certification, guaranteeing top-notch sound quality and low latency. Basically, when you pair these buds up with the right files and devices, they step up to the plate with impressive responsiveness and detail. Oh, and did I mention they even support 24-bit/96kHz playback? Fancy, huh?

Now, let’s get them in our ears and hit play on those playlists. Right off the bat, you’re in for a delicately balanced audio experience. No single frequency is flexing its muscles too hard and overshadowing the rest.

So, speaking of sound, let’s start with bass on the FiiO FW3. It’s hanging out right around the corner, not exactly stealing the spotlight. Honestly, I was half-expecting a bit more thump in the low end, but FiiO decided to keep things level-headed. Sub-bass is a bit of a wallflower here – no deep rumbles or bass vibrations shaking things up. However, the mid-bass is a bit more sociable, making its presence felt in the party.

But don’t worry, things aren’t going overboard. There’s a good sense of control at play, so the upper frequencies aren’t getting all bloated. When it comes to bass notes in musical riffs, they’re like those quick bursts of energy – a fast attack and then a quick fade.

And guess what? These earbuds are quite good when it comes to clarity. For a single dynamic driver setup, they manage to serve up some impressive transparency in the midrange. The sound profile leans slightly towards the “V” shape, so a little dip in the midrange isn’t exactly surprising. Plus, they’re definitely following the warm and inviting vibe that’s usually a FiiO trademark.

Now, let’s talk about that overall full-bodied goodness. The vocals and instruments are chilling in the same rich, full playground. There’s no hint of a tussle between the upper and lower midrange. Whether it’s a male crooner or a female songbird, both get their moment in the spotlight with lush, weighty tones. Although, if I were to get picky, it could use a bit more fine-tuning in terms of technical details – but hey, you’d need to be listening real close to notice that. And when the stage gets crowded with instruments, you’ll still hear the separation – it’s like each musician got their own spotlight.

And, because of how they’re built, there’s a sense of openness. The midrange stretches out and takes up more space, so things sound pretty darn expansive. The accuracy and tonality are on point, especially considering they’re a true wireless setup.

Alright, moving on to treble territory. There’s a healthy amount of treble action happening in the FW3, but don’t worry – no sharp or peaky stuff here. It does lean towards the brighter side, but it’s all part of completing that V-shaped signature these earbuds are rocking.

Honestly, I’m a bit blown away by how far that treble extends – it’s like they’re reaching for the stars. This gives the vocals a delightful airy and sparkly quality. When guitars strum and cymbals crash, it’s like a detailed fireworks show – crisp, energetic, and with a splash of shimmer.

Fiio fw3 review: Battery Life

As expected from earbuds without a heap of extra features, the FW3 boasts a solid seven hours of battery life before needing a recharge in the case. With two additional charges in the case, they’re set to last quite a while before you have to reach for that charging cable, making them reliable daily drivers for those who use earbuds regularly.

On the feature front, there’s no active or adaptive noise cancellation in the FW3. If you’re planning to use them in noisy environments like trains or planes, you might find them lacking.

While I’m lenient about this due to the earbuds’ intriguing sound profile, it’s worth noting that other sub-$100 earbuds are beginning to integrate ANC without hefty price increases. It’ll be interesting to see how FiiO addresses this aspect in future iterations.

ANC can sometimes compromise the appreciation of a track for audiophiles, but it’s also a significant convenience these days – something like what the Sony WF-C700N offers at the same price. That being said, I did notice moderate passive isolation once I found the right ear tip, so whether ANC is essential depends on your personal preferences.

Fiio fw3 review Verdict: Should you buy it?

The FW3 feels like a first attempt from FiiO in the wireless earbuds game, and it manages to offer some top-tier audiophile goodness without smashing your piggy bank. FiiO worked their magic on those dynamic drivers, tuning them up just right. What you get is a sound that’s like a perfectly blended smoothie – the bass, mids, and trebles all play together without any tantrums. It’s a harmonious symphony for your ears.

Thanks to the minimal distortion, you can have these earbuds in all day without feeling like your ears are getting a workout. Instead, you’re treated to an audio experience that’s both rich and controlled. The bass isn’t running the show like a bulldozer, and the midrange takes the spotlight with its confident presence.

If you’re after a wallet-friendly pair of headphones that know how to party with different audio codecs and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon sound tech, the FiiO FW3 is a no-brainer. Seriously, give these earbuds a spin – you won’t be disappointed. Your ears will thank you.

Reasons to buy

  • Dynamic Driver Performance
  • Comfortable Fit
  • Excellent Codec Compatibility
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound
  • Affordable Price

Reasons to not buy

  • Design May Divide
  • No Active Noise Cancellation

Aryan VyasAryan Vyas
Aryan is the youngest tech enthusiast at Smartprix, with a deep passion for technology, automobiles, cricket, and Bollywood. He is a meticulous researcher and writer who write on a wide range of tech topics, including smartphones, laptops, wearables, and smart home device.

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