I’ve never felt the need for a remote. You don’t need to go into the app for airplay but I do if I want to use Bluetooth (I don’t have roon so I don’t know about that specifically). It uses the same streaming platform as the recent releases so should stay current for quite some time.
I certainly can’t answer ALL of your questions, but what I can say is that it is a fabulously musical device.
I am sitting here listening to it now and thoroughly enjoying the experience. I bought mine just a few months ago.
I also have an NDX2 on my other system and suffer no issues with the lack of controls on one and not the other as I have never needed to use the panel controls of the NDX2 either.
The Naim APP has never let me down and provides all the input and functionality I have ever needed.
I would buy with confidence
I agree with @QuickSticks. I have recently (last month) purchased an ND5XS2, which I am using in a bedroom system with an SN3. The lack of remote is irrelevant. I also own an ND555, which does have a remote, but the remote is pretty useless as everything is controlled through an iPad or iPhone. The same is true of the facia controls and the screen - they’re pretty much redundant on the ND555 (I have the screen set to OFF), so they’re not missed either.
When I first got the ND5XS2 I plugged it in the main system in place of the ND555 just to see how it worked on Ethernet. OK, it lacked a bit of the refinement of its bigger brother, but it really didn’t disgrace itself at all.
As a final point, I’m using it over WiFi in the bedroom as there’s no wired Ethernet upstairs. This too is fine. For the money I think the ND5XS2 represents a real bargain.
Yes. I compared sound quality of a Bluesound Node (2i?) to ND5XS2 and the difference was that the former wrecked the Naim sound for me, whereas the latter (especially into nDAC) was a great step up from my 272.
The SQ per £ is so good in part because the ND5XS2 has no screen and remote.
I have my TV plugged in via optical. It would be handy to switch inputs on the ND5XS2 between streaming and optical without going through the app (which is slower/fiddlier). This is about the only reason I’d want a remote.
The Naim app works ok (I use it on iPhone), but it’s quirky and commonly used UX elements (such as volume) aren’t always visible. For some reason the Shuffle play icon is almost impossible to distinguish on from off. Search is a bit unreliable. It’s too easy to mix up search and filter results. I could go on. It’s not the worst I’ve used but could be a lot better.
I’ve got one, I’ve never really thought about the lack of remote as I use Roon through my Mac or phone. I also use the Naim app to control it, and Apple Airplay for podcasts etc. I’ve never had any problems with it at all.
One of reasons I bought it rather than an integrated amp/streamer is that it’s one single function item to replace if technology does surpass it. My SN3 will still be fine.
Most people don’t rate mags such as What Hifi nowadays as they tend to be a bit one dimensional, or ad driven.
However, the ND5XS2 is still the What Hifi best premium music streamer for 2023, even with all the new competition.
The streaming board in the ND5XS2 is used in New Classic boxes, so longevity of software support should be no concern.
As for question 2, we have the NDX2 primarily because SWMBO wanted a remote. I tend to be using Tidal Connect, so I wouldn’t care if the remote wasn’t there, as I’m using the iPad anyway and volume control is a couple of presses away.
This is where exactly I am. I have a SN3 which I bought precisely because it’s maximum analogue, which if my Dad’s 1980’s Luxman is anything to go by, could be an amp for life. The digital smarts will no doubt come and go. I first got back in to HiFi after the Sonos S1/S2 debacle made me question the longevity of anything “smart”.
It’s great! I have the TV on optical, CD transport on coax and stream via ethernet. I rarely use Bluetooth and USB. Selecting source via the iPhone app is no issue and the Nac202 remote handles the volume. I already commented that theAudiolab CDT6000 sounds better than the CD5Si.