Review: FiiO FW5 TWS Bluetooth 5.2 Earphone

Review: FiiO FW5 TWS Bluetooth 5.2 Earphone, True Wirless Earbuds 10mm Dynamic Driver for Hi-Res Premium Sound, LHDC/aptX Adaptive, App Customization
3/5 - (1 vote)

FiiO FW5 are hybrid True Wireless Stereo headphones with unique specifications. They are equipped with a Bluetooth 5.2 interface with aptX, aptX Adaptive, and LHDC codecs and have three converters per side, i.e., one dynamic 10 and two Knowles armature.

I recently tested an interesting TWS from Campfire Audio, the Orbit model. I appreciated their ergonomics and sound, but I was not delighted with the quality-price ratio because Orbit is an expensive pair of headphones (Euro 325) and functionally deficient. The title FiiO FW5 also does not spoil with possibilities because it lacks ANC and many standard functions from consumer headphones. Nevertheless, the FW5 were packed with transducers and priced much more attractively than the Orbit model because you can have them for PLN 840. Are they worth that much?


Set contains:

  • 3 pairs of silicone tips (sizes S, M, L);
  • 3 pairs of FiiO HS18 tips (sizes S, M, L);
  • USB-A > USB-C cable (length 17 cm);
  • charging case;
  • cleaner with a skewer;
  • cleaning brush;
  • User manual and documentation.

The equipment is rich, but unfortunately, the box lacked thermoactive foams. I think the manufacturer should have given up one set of silicone tips in favor of foams. I also do not understand why the user needs two cleaning tools – one would be enough, the one with a spike and a brush. It would also reduce the amount of plastic.


FiiO FW5 resembles in-ear headphones from the FD series due to the circular covers and characteristic grilles. This is where the similarities end because the FW5 is more significant than the FD5 or FD7, and they are made not of aluminum but of plastic. However, this is forgivable because all the electronics had to fit inside the headphones, and the metal housings would interfere with the work of the antennas.

Instead of touch panels, a total of four buttons were used. They are placed on the edges, in the upper part of the enclosures. Some microphones were located in the front of the headphones. On the inside, however, you can see triple charging contacts, channel markings, and angled sleeves with strainers. The latter has a larger diameter than typical TWS headphones because the armature transducers are hidden in them.

The horizontal and round charging case is also made of plastic. In the front part of the box, there is a notch to facilitate opening the lid, under which there is a row of four white LEDs. On the back, there is a wide hinge and, of course, a USB-C socket, and inside the case, you will find standard molds for headphones with pogo-pin connectors.

The build quality is excellent. The plastics are flawless, the individual elements have been precisely fitted together, and the magnets are strong, built into the molds for the headphones and the lid of the case. As a result, the headphones attract each other flawlessly, and the box closes with a resounding slam. In addition, the hinge in the case has only minimal slack, and the accessory does not bend under pressure and does not creak.


FW5 is comfortable, but not everyone will be satisfied. The headphones did not cause discomfort and were held securely, regardless of the situation. Unfortunately, the FW5 is large, so they do not hide in the ears and stand out clearly. There is no tragedy because the headphones are smaller than the once-tested HiFiMAN TWS 800. However, there is no question of comfort from consumer TWS – Sony WF-1000XM4, Technics EAH-AZ60, or Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 stand out less than FiiO FW5.

I have no significant complaints about the case. It is handy; it is easy to open and remove the headphones from it, which I complained about in the case of the Campfire Audio Orbit mentioned in the introduction. It is a pity, however, that the case is not more minor because the box stands out in the trouser pocket. Its dimensions, however, are similar to the Sony WF-1000XM4 case, so the accessory is much smaller than the boxes of the UTWS3 and UTWS5 models, i.e., TWS adapters from FiiO.

Usage and functionality

I prefer touch panels, but the buttons in the FW5 are satisfying because they are on the edges, not the lids. It is a pity that they are not more challenging – I often press them accidentally, putting on headphones or correcting them in my ears. Operation is not a challenge because the buttons have been distinguished by shape – the front ones have a noticeable convexity. They are used to adjust the volume and control the music – they left one reduces the volume and plays the previous track, and the right one increases the volume and changes the track forward. On the other hand, the back buttons are uniform and perform different functions depending on the number of clicks.

The attenuation is average. FiiO FW5 does not have active noise reduction, and the passive one does not cut off from the world. Although the environment is subdued, it allows you to focus on the music in a quiet to moderately loud environment. Unfortunately, sound insulation is not sufficient – when we are on a crowded street or public transport, the noise quickly penetrates our ears. For comparison, the Sony WF-1000XM4 provides blissful silence, almost entirely masking sounds from the outside. I must admit that ANC spoiled me, so I complained about its lack in FW5.

Unfortunately, you can also dream of a transparent mode, inductive charging, multipoint or automatic music pausing. However, there was also support for calls or voice and hardware assistants, i.e., precise volume control, which is rare. The Bluetooth 5.2 interface with support for AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive, and LHDC codecs is also impressive. However, I would replace LHDC with LDAC if I had to choose because finding a source supporting the LHDC standard is demanding. I have only encountered this codec in the Nothing Phone (1) smartphone and the FiiO M11s player. Still, it is also supported by Oppo, Huawei, or Xiaomi smartphones, but I do not know which specific models.

It’s great that the aptX Adaptive codec is available, but I had a problem with it because, with the Realme GT ME smartphone, the sound broke off after a few seconds each time. The playback was intermittent, only a few clicks could be heard, and the headphones had to be paired again. I’ve never encountered this before. I couldn’t fix it; I could only deactivate the aptX Adaptive codec in the FiiO Control app. Surprisingly, this problem did not occur with the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion smartphone – in this case, the aptX Adaptive connection was stable.

The manufacturer promises a seven-hour working time, which I confirmed in practice. In my test, the headphones lasted exactly 7 hours and 3 minutes when playing music at the optimal volume using the aptX Adaptive codec. In turn, the case is to replenish the headphones’ batteries twice more, giving 21 hours of music playback. So there are no records, but the FW5 are three-driver hybrid with an advanced AKM system, so the working time is satisfactory. I also like the easy-to-read battery level indicator in the case.


The FiiO Control application, well-known for the manufacturer’s Bluetooth adapters, is used to configure the headphones. In the case of the FW5, it allows you to turn off the status LEDs (hidden in the grilles), turn on the battery protection (charging up to 85%), or activate the game mode (reducing picture/sound delays). The manufacturer has also prepared a selection of codecs, a digital filter, and separate volume controls for calls, multimedia, or notifications.

The graphic equalizer has also not been forgotten, which allows you to adjust the bands from 32 Hz to 16 kHz manually, save your settings or use ready-made presets. There are three ready-made ones, i.e., “Pop,” “Classical,” and “Harman curve” – ​​the latter is undoubtedly the most interesting. Interestingly, the equalizer was unavailable in the FiiO Music app on the FiiO M11s player. I also noticed that the headphones sounded different with the M11s player than smartphones, but more on that in a moment.


  • interface: Bluetooth 5.2 LE with AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive, LHDC (QCC5141) codecs
  • DAC: Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4332
  • drivers: dynamic 10 mm DLC + two armature Knowles RAD
  • frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • efficiency: 108 dB
  • functions: control buttons, smartphone application, IPX4 waterproof, support for voice assistants
  • working time: up to 7 hours (one time); up to 21 hours (including case)
  • batteries: 65 mAh (single handset); 380mAh (case)
  • weight: 6.4 g (single earphone); 44.4g (case)


I was not satisfied with the sound of the FW5 on factory settings when the source was smartphones. It quickly turned out that armature drivers have more to say than dynamic ones – the FW5 sounded clear and detailed but a bit too bright and shallow because the upper midrange and soprano dominated the bass and lower midrange. The influence of the dynamic driver was still audible in the smoothness and softness of the bass, but I still missed the weight and saturation of the sound. This surprised me because the AKM AK4332 DAC was used, the same as in the UTWS5, i.e., a Bluetooth adapter with a warm, colorful, and gentle signature.

The situation changed dramatically when I used the corrector in the application. It was enough to activate the “Harman curve” preset, and the headphones began to sound warmer, softer, smoother, and more colorful. Dynamic drivers came to the fore because there was more bass (both low and medium), and the treble and upper midrange calmed down (but were not truncated). The sound was evened out; the headphones sounded more natural and gained color saturation but did not lose clarity or detail. When I was on them straight from the box, after activating the Harman curve FiiO FW5 delighted me. The sound was saturated, pleasant, and smooth, but still detailed and varied.

The FiiO M11s player with an active LHDC codec gave even better results. I am convinced that the “Harman curve” equalizer is factory active in this connection, which is the main reason for the superiority of the M11s over smartphones. Comparing the FW5 on M11s with LHDC and smartphones with aptX/aptX Adaptive, the latter sounded sharper, shallower, and less colorful. However, it was enough to turn on the Harman curve in the FiiO Control application on the smartphone almost to eliminate the distance between the devices. Almost because the LHDC codec adds its two cents, the FW5 generated a larger scene in combination with the M11s, which strengthened the channel separation.

FiiO FW5 – comparisons with other headphones
The factory settings show that the Campfire Audio Orbit has single dynamic transducers and the FW5 is a hybrid. The former sound warmer, more colorful, and smoother, and the latter clearer, brighter, and more analytical. Orbit should be brightened in the application, and FW5 should be softened with the aforementioned Harman equalizer. Then both models sound musical, smooth and warm, and spacious. However, I believe the FW5s are better due to the armature drivers that enhance resolution, increase detail and provide a more natural treble. For me, the Orbits start to sound slightly digital in soprano when we brighten them with an equalizer. So from me, a point for the FW5, headphones are almost half the price of the Orbits.

The FiiO FW5 also defends itself in confronting the Sony WF-1000XM4 because it is again single dynamic converters combined with three-driver hybrids. Again, a better extension of the treble and a more complex outline of the upper midrange can be heard in the FW5, which also sounds more colorful and spacious than the Sony headphones. I like the WF-1000XM4, but in this case, I would choose the FW5 with the Harman equalizer precisely because of the higher resolution and larger soundstage. It is worth knowing, however, that the Sony WF-1000XM4 wins with a bass attack that hits hard and dynamically. Bass in FW5 is slower; there is no such impact. It was similar in the confrontation of the WF-1000XM4 with the Orbits, so this is a characteristic feature of the WF-1000XM4.

I will add that the Technics EAH-AZ60 are, in my opinion, more technical, clearer sounding headphones than the FW5 with a “Harman curve.” At default settings, the difference in the signature between the AZ60 and the FW5 decreases, but again you can hear that the in-ear headphones from FiiO are … hybrids. I also think the FW5 leaves behind another consumer TWS in the price range up to PLN 1,000 and above. The once-tested Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 also does not sound as clear, colorful, and spatial as the FW5. It is hardly surprising, however, because FiiO focused on the sound, ignoring virtually all other aspects.


FiiO FW5 fail with functionality – they do not have ANC, transparent mode, inductive charging, or proximity sensors, i.e., almost standard functions in consumer TWS headphones. In addition, the FW5 protrudes slightly from the ears and attenuates on average. Fortunately, there was also no support for the LDAC codec.

At the same time, the FW5 headphones are comfortable, easy to use, and sound great. In my opinion, however, it is necessary to activate the Harman-inspired EQ to realize the potential of the three-driver hybrid design. Then the sound becomes saturated and colorful but remains clear and spacious. I was also not disappointed with the working time and the smartphone application, which allows you to specify many aspects of sound and usability.

FiiO FW5 in this cost, if we are primarily interested in the sound, it is worth getting interested in them because, in this aspect, the FW5 leaves the popular models behind. It is also an exciting alternative to classic in-ear headphones with Bluetooth adapters – maybe the FW5 does not sound as good as the BTR5 with FiiO FH3, but they are much cheaper and more practical. On the other hand, if we care about ANC and other functions, the FW5 may not work. I missed active noise reduction.

+ rich equipment
+ good workmanship
+ good ergonomics
+ simple operation
+ Satisfying working time
+ functional FiiO Control mobile application
+ Bluetooth 5.2 with a range of audio codecs
+ clear, detailed, and spatial sound (especially with “Harman curve”)

– very low functionality
– no LDAC support
– no thermoactive foams included