Macworld

ASTELL&KERN AK70 MKII: THE BEST POCKET-SIZED DIGITAL AUDIO PLAYER IN ITS PRICE RANGE

The Astell&Kern AK70 MKII delivers a number of refinements that easily makes this powerful, flexible, and sweet-sounding hi-res digital audio player the best in class.

When I reviewed the original Astell&Kern AK70, it checked off all the right boxes: Sleek styling, compact size, superb audio performance, and a robust feature set. Now Astell&Kern is back with an updated version of the AK70, designated as MarkII or MKII. Die-hard music lovers who want to squeeze every ounce of fidelity from their music won’t mind shelling out the additional $100 commanded by the new model’s numerous refinements.

EXTERNAL REFINEMENTS

The player itself is the same 3.81-inch height, but measures a hair thicker (0.59 inches) and wider (2.47 inches). It’s still highly portable and fits in a front or back pocket with ease, weighing a modest 5.29 ounces.

While the screen size remains exactly the same, the beveled side and knurled volume dial are where you’ll notice the size difference. Even though the volume dial is just a bit larger, it makes a remarkable tactile difference when using the AK70 MKII. It felt more natural to use, and my thumb rested perfectly along the AK70 MKII’s right side. The volume dial sports a new, wave-knurled pattern, which gives a cool visual when it reflects light.

The MKII’s all-aluminum body comes in your choice of two new colors, cadet blue or black. My review sample came in the former

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