Portable DACs take on different forms: some are smaller, some are larger, some have Bluetooth, some only offer USB. The Shanling UP2 is a tiny Bluetooth DAC, while the xDuoo XD-10 Poke is a USB DAC that also works as a pure amplifier. Both have interesting features, which are different as they serve different purposes.
The Shanling UP2 is diminutive, to the point it’s smaller than a tin of mints. It comes with a modern USB Type-C port, which should make it easier to charge it and make it futureproof. It’s also useable as a USB DAC, so it’s more useful than it might seem at first sight. The device has the same design as the bigger DAPs – glass front and back and a small volume wheel on the right side, with the frame made of aluminium. It’s really nice-looking and nice-feeling. The package includes a clip case, which comes in really handy as one can use it even when doing sports or just if one needs to clip it to their dresses. That’s something ladies will find especially interesting, given how their trousers always seem to lack decent pockets.
The xDuoo XD-10 Poke is much bigger, but it also offers much more power. Unlike the UP2, it does not feature Bluetooth but just USB. It has a full-size USB connector – a male one! – so that one can use both USB patch cables or OTG cables to connect it to their devices. That’s the same strategy already seen on the iFi nano iDSD BL. The package is really complete: it has a USB patch cable, a USB to micro-USB cable (to charge the battery), various short cables to connect the XD-10 Poke to various sources (micro-USB, Type-C and Walkman), a 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm cable and an adhesive mat. That last element is especially interesting as it allows one to fix the XD-10 Poke to the source device, e.g. a phone or a DAP. The XD-10 Poke can also work as an amplifier only, so that’s why the package has an audio cable.
The reviews are almost ready, so stay tuned for their publication in the coming days! As a teaser, there’s a horde of “true wireless” earphones coming – be prepared!