FiiO UTWS3 TWS BT Amplifier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FiiO UTWS3 True Wireless BT Amplifier

 

Introduction:

The UTWS1 was the first True Wireless Bluetooth Amplifier solution from FiiO for In-Ear Monitors that was in my opinion a pretty good solution. The new UTWS3 on the other hand is a more sophisticated BT Amplifier Module that is available with MMCX and 2Pin (0.78mm) connector configurations.

The UTWS3 utilizes some interesting features like App Control, an independent TPA6140A2 amplifier chip; Qualcomm’s QCC3020 Bluetooth 5.0 SoC with SBC/AAC/aptX codec support and offers also IPX4 water resistance and many more.

 

 

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank FiiO that provided me the UTWS3 TWS Amplifier for review purposes. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.

 

 

 

Price & Availability:

The actual price of the FiiO UTWS3 TWS Amplifier is about 79,99 USD. More information’s can be found under the links below;

 

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The FiiO UTWS3 came in a square-shaped box in black color that shows the illustration of the device on the top and some technical detail at the rear (bottom) side.

 

This box contains the following items;

  • 1 x pair of FiiO UTWS3 True Wireless BT Amplifier Adapter
  • 1 x Charging Case
  • 1 x USB Type-C Charging Cable
  • 1 x Print Material (User Manual, Warranty Card)

 

 

 

Design, Build Quality, Fit & Comfort:

The UTWS3 is a True Wireless BT Amplifier for In-Ear Monitors in form of an Ear-hook that is available in the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) and 2-Pin connector variant. The body is made of plastic material with a mate surface that doesn’t feels cheap or fragile; on the contrary, it feels very robust.

On the front of the module are the multifunctional circular button and the FiiO brand logo.

The multifunctional button is according to FiiO, designed to correctly reject unintended touches button as well as eliminate any unwanted negative tactile feedback.

At the rear side of the main body is the magnetic surface and 3 metal dots that are connectors to charge the UTWS3 when you put it to the charging chase.

Here are also L (Left) and R (Right) markings.

Each UTWS3 adaptor features two microphones, one primary and one secondary microphone.

The primary microphone that is located at the bottom of the adaptor right under a plastic mesh is responsible to pick up your voice. Here is also a LED status indicator.

The secondary microphone is located at the rear side of the adaptor that is also protected by a plastic mesh. This microphone picks up the ambient noise and features Qualcomm’s cVc noise cancellation technology.

The adaptor has flexible metal memory ear hooks that do have soft rubber isolations.

Inside the ear hooks are is a high quality cabling which is made of High Purity Monocrystalline Silver Plated Copper wire material. My review unit came with the MMCX connector variant that is also available with 2-Pin connectors. The MMCX connectors of the UTWS3 do offer a nicely secure and tight fit with all IEM’s I have tested.

Both adaptors do have left and right color indicators near the male connectors in form of a metal that do look very esthetical.

The UTWS3 IPX4 rated coating that protects the internal parts of the modules from sweat/water that is a nice ability if you want to use it while exercising.

The overall build quality of the adaptors is pretty good like with all FiiO products I have experienced in the past. The compact design makes the UTWS3 to a TWS solution that is ideal for On the Go and for longer listening periods.

 

 

 

Charging Case & Battery Life:

The FiiO UTWS3 comes with a charging case same like TWS earphones, which is made of plastic material in black color with a smooth surface.

The top of the case has a plane surface with a small FiiO brand logo. The corners are nicely rounded and do give a nice sense of grip.

On the front of the case are 3 LED indicators, the one in the middle shows the charging status of the build in battery that is integrated in to the internal case body. The smaller LED’s do give information about the charging process of the Left and Right adaptors, which is a nice feature.

At the bottom of the case are some technical specifications and industrial certification about the UTWS3.

On the rear surface is the USB Type-C charging port and hinge in dark grey color.

When you open the case you will see the seats for the adaptors. These seats have a magnetic surface to ensure a tight/save connection for the charging process and to avoid any drop out of the monitors.

Here are also left and right marking and a small circular pairing button that resets the pairing status when you put both adaptors in to their seats.

The case has a build in battery with a capacity of 580mAh and is pretty lightweight tanks to the use of plastic material.

The charging case, with its built-in 800mAh battery, provides up to 30 hours of battery life for each adaptor when fully charged.

The unit battery life of each adaptors is about 5 – 5.5 hours, while the TWS+ mode offers an even higher battery life of about 6.5 – 7 hours, which means that each adaptors can be charged for around 4-5 times If the charging case is fully charged.

 

 

 

 

Technical Specifications:
  • Model                                      : UTWS3
  • BT SoC                                    : Qualcomm QCC3020
  • Bluetooth Version                   : Bluetooth ver.5.0
  • Transmission distance            : approx. 10meters
  • Codec                                     : SBC, AAC, aptX
  • Amplifier Chip                         : TPA6410A2
  • Noise                                      : <8μV
  • THD+N                                   : <0.06%
  • SNR                                        : 100dBr”A“
  • Crosstalk                                : 94dB
  • Balance                                   : ≤0.5dB
  • Output Power                        : 38mW @ 16Ω load / 25mW @ 32Ω load
  • Output Impedance                 : about 0.7Ω
  • Drivability                               : 16~100Ω
  • Battery Life                             : 5 – 5.5 Hours TWS, 6.5 – 7 hours TWS+
  • Charging Time                       : approx 1.5 hours
  • Waterproof Level                   : IPX4
  • Charging Connector Type     : USB Type-C
  • Total Weight                          : approx 125.5g

 

 

 

 

Pairing, Navigation, Signal Strength, Latency & Call Quality:

The pairing of the FiiO UTWS3 with your source like a Smartphone, Tablet, DAP, etc is pretty easy. You only need to turn on the left and right monitors when you first use them and do some easy steps to pair it with your source that is detailed described in the user manual.

Once you have pair the left and right monitors by the first use the pairing action will be done automatically. You only need to take it out from the charging box/case at the same time. A female voice is announcing the status of your FiiO UTW3 like power on/off or pairing.

You can easily control the UTWS3 with the multifunctional buttons to answer, hang up, play, pause and many more.

Here are some basic button controls;

  • Vol+ :tap left unit
  • Vol- :tap right unit
  • Play : tap 2times
  • Pause :tap once when paused
  • Next :Long press right unit
  • Prev : Long press left unit

 

The operating distance of the UTWS3 is approx. 10 meters which is also quite stable, while the call quality is on an average level.

When it comes to the call quality when paired with my Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra, I can say that the performance of the UTWS3 is pretty good, the voice transmissions where fairly clear.

The FiiO UTW3 has a pretty good performs in terms of latency. I didn’t noticed any significant lip sync issue, while watching to some TV Shows on YouTube and movies on Netflix, paired with my Note20 Ultra or Apple iPad Air2.

 

 

 

 

Some Key Features:
A. Qualcomm QCC3020 Bluetooth 5.0 chip:

The UTWS3 utilizes the Qualcomm QCC3020 Bluetooth 5.0 chip, which supports the SBC, AAC, and aptX audio codec’s.

B. Detachable Earhook design supporting 0.78mm/MMCX

The UTWS3 is available with either 0.78mm 2-pin or MMCX connectors, allowing a greater variety of earphones to be True Wireless.

C. Qualcomm TWS+ Dual Transmission Technology:

The TWS+ technology allows your Smartphone to directly connect to each 2 wireless earbuds / IEM’s separately. This is a useful feature for a lower level of latency and more stable connection.

D. APP Remote Control

The UTWS3 is compatible with the FiiO Control and FiiO Music Applications; you can adjust the EQ settings, Channel Balance and other Audio options of the device. Even a OTA (Over The Air) FW update is possible that is only supported with Android devices.

 

 

Equipment’s used for this review:
  • TWS Adaptors         : FiiO UTWS3, FiiO UTWS1, Fostex TM2
  • Paired IEM’s             : FiiO FD5, FiiO FH3
  • Paired Sources         : FiiO M11 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, iPad Air2

 

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Spotify)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Twerl – Lishu (Spotify)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
  • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)

 

 

 

 

The Sound:

This review is written after a burn-in process of approx. 50 hour and is mainly based to my impressions paired with IEM’s like the FiiO FD5 and FiiO FH3.

The UTWS3 is able to drive both the FiiO FD5 and the FiiO FH3 to pretty high volume level thanks to its independent amplifier that offers up to 38mW @ 16Ω load and up to 25mW @ 32Ω load, which is impressive.

So, let’s talk about the sound. The subbass area of the FiiO UTWS3 has a good sense of depth, intensity and rumble when paired with both the FiiO FD5 and FiiO FH3, while it shows less quantity and depth compared to a wired pairing with the FiiO M11 Pro. However the UTWS3 offers a quite impressive performance for a TWS solution especially in terms of control in this area.

The midbass reproduction of the UTWS3 is able to show a nice sense of warmth and fullness to the overall presentation without to have any remarkable/audible muddiness or mixings. The intensity and depth was pretty good with both the FD5 and FH3 that do show a nice synergy when paired with the UTWS3.

The UTWS3 shows a good level of clarity and detail retrieval in the midrange. The difference is less noticeable with the FH3, while the lower midrange depth and upper midrange extension is noticeably better with the FD5 if you listen to it with its High-Purity Monocrystalline Silver-plated Copper cable.

Male vocals do have a nice amount of warmth and fullness with the FD5 while female vocals do sound fairly transparent and lively with the FH3. Instruments like the pianos, guitars or violas do have a slightly warmer tonality with both IEM’s compared to the wired pairing with the FiiO M11 Pro.

The UTWS3 offers a fairly clear, airy and spacious treble presentation when paired with both In-Ear Monitors. The detail retrieval and level of extension is quite solid for a True Wireless BT Amplifier, but sounds slightly reduced compared to the wired solution.

The soundstage of the UTWS3 shows a sufficient sense of wideness while the depth is on an average level.

 

 

 

Comparisons:
FiiO UTWS3 vs FiiO UTWS1:

The FiiO UTWS1 was a quite successful product in terms of sound performance for its price that has a very small form factor. The UTWS1 has less driving power and shows a slightly warmer tonality compared to its bigger brother the UTWS3. The subbass of the UTWS3 shows a better sense of authority and control, while the midbass region have a better level of clarity and authority compared to the UTWS1.

The midrange of the UTWS1 is slightly warmer and musical in its tonality, but sounds less transparent and detailed compared to the UTWS3 that offers a noticeable upgrade in this area. The upper midrange of the UTWS3 has a better level of extension and resolution. The UTWS3 offers also a noticeably upgrade in terms of treble extension and detail retrieval. It sounds a bit more energetic / dynamic in this area while the performance in terms of control is pretty close on both devices.

The soundstage of the UTWS3 is slightly wider while the depth of both adaptors is on an average level.

 

 

FiiO UTWS3 vs Fostex TM2:

The Fostex TM2 was one of the first TWS adapters on the market that came with a modular connector system. The sound performance was pretty good while the price is a bit on the higher side even if it came with its own In-Ear Monitor that has a fairly good sound performance.

The FiiO UTWS3 doesn’t comes with an In-Ear Monitor in the box, but has a much lower price so that you can purchase the FiiO FD5 or the FH3 that do offer a higher value for your money.

When it comes to the sound performance I can say that the UTWS3 outperforms the Fostex TM2 in almost any area, when you pair it with the FD5 or the cheaper FH3 (better resolution, clarity, imaging and detail retrieval).

 

 

Conclusion:

The FiiO UTWS3 is a very good example that shows how far True Wireless devices have come in terms of sound quality and general wireless audio performance in recent years. The UTWS3 offers an excellent sound performance for a product in this price range and comes with some interesting features like a powerful independent amplifier, IPX4 water resistance, App control & OTA update and many more.

 

 

Pros & Cons:

  • + Sound Performance for a TWS Amplifier/Adapter
  • + Price to Performance Ratio
  • + Good Battery Life & Powerful Amplification
  • + Comfort & Ergonomics
  • + APP Control/OTA Update

 

  • – All Plastic Housing
  • – Next Product should have LDAC support
  • – It would be great to have both MMCX & 2-Pin Connectors in form of adaptors

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

 

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