It’s a good time to be an audio fan as there are various selections for the very best telephones for music in 2020. Regardless of premium smartphones largely abandoning the headphone jack, there are a number of top of the range music cellphone choices on the market relying in your music wants.
Though many people now stream our music, the underside line is that some telephones actually are higher at music playback than others. Whether or not its an iPhone or Android handset, the telephones on this listing all have totally different audio specs with benefits to every that we clarify.
Wi-fi headphones are gaining popularity and the excellent news is they’re additionally getting higher. Bluetooth audio was a lot worse than it’s now as requirements have improved. The telephones on this listing sustain with that enchancment.
However you may also be an audio purist with an outdated pair of wired triple driver headphones that you just nonetheless need to get pleasure from together with your smartphone. If that is so, solely a headphone jack will suffice, however they’re getting rarer by the day on telephones. We’ll quickly be reviewing the LG V60 ThinQ and Sony Xperia 1 II, two uncommon flagship smartphones in 2020 that also have a headphone jack.
We’ll even be reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S20 telephones to see if they will take the older S10 fashions off the highest of our listing.
Of the six telephones beneath, three have a headphone jack. The others are both extra inexpensive or have nice wi-fi audio software program, or have strong audio system. There will likely be one cellphone on this listing to go well with everybody’s music cellphone wants, so keep in mind it may not be the cellphone within the prime spot.
1. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Dolby Atmos-certified and packing a headphone jack
Launch date: March 2019 | Weight: 175g | Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm | OS: Android 9 | Display dimension: 6.Four-inch | Decision: 1440 x 3040 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820 | RAM: Eight/12GB | Storage: 128/512GB/1TB | Battery: Four,100mAh | Rear digicam: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP | Entrance digicam: 10MP + 8MP
Has a headphone jack, and one
Loud, Atmos-enhanced, good-quality audio system
Backside-loaded driver limits stereo impact
Some rivals have extra dynamic cameras and designs
Samsung took the headphone jack out of the in any other case glorious Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus, but the Galaxy S10 Plus released earlier in the year still has one.
There was no big fanfare about the audio hardware put into the phone, but the results are excellent regardless. The S10 Plus outputs wired audio at great volume and with very low harmonic distortion, which is one of the most technical ways to judge audio in this sort of situation.
A teardown of the Galaxy S10 Plus by TechInsights confirmed the cellphone (or no less than the Exynos CPU model) makes use of a Cirrus Logic CS47L93 DSP chip. This was additionally used within the Galaxy S9 collection. And we additionally get a few Cirrus CS35L40 amps.
We don’t have a lot technical data on these chipsets, however they actually do their job properly. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus may even assist ultra-high-end codecs like DSD 64/128 and 32-bit PCM. However, no, you received’t discover that on Spotify.
The cellphone additionally has Dolby Atmos audio. Within the cinema this normally means there are audio system throughout the ceiling for superior spatial audio. At house it’d imply having additional ‘top channel’ audio system. In a cellphone it includes psychoacoustic processing used to extend the sense of dimension and scale in audio.
We discover it really works higher for films than music when utilizing headphones, although, as it could actually additionally add a bit an excessive amount of weight to the mid-bass, and this may increasingly clog up the separation in a high-performing headphone. Once we evaluation headphones, we flip off all these sound-coloring extras. However belief your ears on this one and use no matter makes your tunes extra enjoyable and interesting.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus’s inside audio system are good too, with plummy-sounding decrease mids that give podcasts, decrease register vocals and bass devices a bit extra weight. In addition they profit from Dolby Atmos enhancement, and you may tweak the sound with a number of totally different Dolby modes.
Learn our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus evaluation
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2. LG V50 ThinQ 5G
Has a Quad DAC for excellent sound by headphones
Launch date: Could 2019 | Weight: 183g | Dimensions: 159.2 x 76.1 x Eight.3mm | OS: Android 9 | Display dimension: 6.Four-inch | Decision: 1440 x 3120 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: Four,000mAh | Rear digicam: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP | Entrance digicam: 8MP + 5MP
Nice headphone jack/DAC high quality
Audiophile-friendly sound customization
Inside speaker doesn’t match the very best
Not a killer exterior the audio
LG has fallen off the radar for a lot of cellphone consumers, however it deserves a spot within the coronary heart of each audio fan. Its newest high-end fashions, the LG V50 ThinQ and LG G8X ThinQ, each have the ‘Quad DAC’ it launched in 2016.
What’s the purpose? Does this by some means make the sound 4 occasions higher, or louder? Not fairly. The DAC turns the digital sign into the analog one your headphone drivers will be fed. Bluetooth headphones have a DAC, even some USB-C to three.5mm cables do.
The LG V50 ThinQ has a ‘quad’ DAC as a result of it lets the cellphone analyze the digital sign 4 occasions in parallel. These 4 interpretations are then mixed and cross-checked, to get rid of errors. This in flip will increase the signal-to-noise ratio, giving us purer sound.
It additionally has an unusually highly effective headphone amp that, when used within the Quad DAC mode, affords greater quantity output than most. That is helpful for naturally quieter headphones.
We examined the Quad DAC most lately with outdated TechRadar check lab favorites the AKG Q701, an enormous pair of studio open backs. They actually showcase the distinction between the Quad DAC and normal DAC efficiency. Audio high quality is excellent.
LG additionally does an entire bunch else with this tech, incorporating probably essentially the most splendidly geeky sound customization of any cellphone. You may alter the ‘digital filter’, which adjustments the form of the impulse response. That is like EQ that impacts the character of the sound stage fairly than the tonal make-up. Nerd out central: we adore it.
There’s regular parametric EQ too, and a DTS:X 3D Encompass mode. However we don’t suggest the latter for music.
The LG V50 ThinQ audio system will not be among the many finest right here, however in case you love sound high quality that a lot, would you need to make do with inbuilt audio system?
Learn our full LG V50 ThinQ 5G evaluation
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three. iPhone 11 Professional
A superb all-rounder with sturdy audio system
Launch date: September 2019 | Weight: 188g | Dimensions: 144 x 71.Four x Eight.1mm | OS: iOS 13 | Display dimension: 5.Eight-inch | Decision: 1125 × 2436 | CPU: Apple A13 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB | Battery: three,046mAh | Rear digicam: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP | Entrance digicam: 12MP
Nice inside audio system
Prime wi-fi headphone assist
No headphone jack
Don’t groan. The iPhone has all the time been an ideal alternative for audio, even when transferring your music recordsdata to at least one has by no means been as straightforward has it has on Android.
The iPhone 11 Professional’s glorious audio system are the primary draw right here, in addition to the bespoke wi-fi expertise you get while you purchase a pair of headphones with an Apple H1 or W1 chipset. This embody the Beats Solo Professional and Apple’s personal AirPods Professional (sure, we all know Apple owns Beats too nowadays).
The pairing expertise is cleaner, and wi-fi stability is mostly flawless.
The Apple iPhone 11 Professional’s inside audio system have stereo drivers for a extra immersive expertise and are auto-enhanced with Dolby Atmos. This helps make the sound appear a lot wider, and extra expansive.
Earlier on this article we had been a bit sniffy about utilizing Atmos for high-quality headphones, however it could actually work wonders for far more restricted cellphone audio system.
How in regards to the headphone output? Properly, there isn’t one actually. The Lightning port doesn’t have an analog audio output. It fires out the digital sign as-is, leaving the job of audio high quality to your headphones.
Even the Lightning to three.5mm cable it’s possible you’ll find yourself shopping for to make use of your outdated favourite earphones has its personal DAC chip, so select your headphones properly.
Learn our full iPhone 11 Professional evaluation
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Four. Razer Telephone 2
A cellphone with severe quantity
Launch date: October 2018 | Weight: 220g | Dimensions: 158.5 x 79 x Eight.5mm | OS: Android 9 | Display dimension: 5.72-inch | Decision: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: Four,000mAh | Rear digicam: 12MP + 12MP | Entrance digicam: 8MP
Forceful audio system
Correct stereo steadiness between drivers
No headphone jack
Could look ugly to some eyes
The Razer Telephone 2 is without doubt one of the masters of flat-out loud cellphone audio system, alongside its arch-rival the Asus ROG Telephone 2.
There’s house above and beneath the display to permit for extra room for these audio system. And each of them sit on the entrance, fairly than utilizing the widespread technique of getting one on the underside, one up entrance.
Driver dimension isn’t truly the essential bit right here, however fairly an additional chunk of cupboard house within the plastic speaker enclosure. Generally all you want is a bit recent air to let the sound breathe.
At most quantity, the Razer Telephone 2 doesn’t precisely sound super-relaxed and unstrained. However when it’s competing with the noise of your showering or frying onions, quantity issues extra.
These audio system actually undertaking.
There’s no headphone jack on the Razer Telephone 2, which loses it main factors. Nevertheless, you do get a three.5mm adapter within the field, which includes a 24-bit DAC.
Learn our full Razer Telephone 2 evaluation
Razer Telephone 2 – Satin Black
5. Google Pixel 3a
A less expensive alternative with a headphone port
Launch date: Could 2019 | Weight: 147g | Dimensions: 151.three x 70.1 x Eight.2mm | OS: Android 10 | Display dimension: 5.6-inch | Decision: 1080 x 2220 | CPU: Snapdragon 670 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: three,000mAh | Rear digicam: 12.2MP | Entrance digicam: 8MP
Strong speaker high quality
Has a headphone jack
Not the best wired audio output
In a single essential sense the Google Pixel 3a is a greater cellphone for music than the dearer Pixel Four. Why? It has a headphone jack, so you should use it with these nice older pairs the tech giants need you to bin.
Its wired output doesn’t have the sonic purity of the very best round, however this can be a comparatively inexpensive cell, so we’re not going to rule it out utterly for not having fairly as full of life audio because the LG V50 ThinQ.
The Pixel 3a’s audio system are strong too. We in contrast them on to the Pixel Four’s for this piece. The Pixel Four has barely higher bass and mid-bass heat, however they don’t seem to be in utterly totally different leagues.
We consider the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL as satisfying all-rounders. They’ve clear software program, strong design, good screens and nearly the very best cameras you’ll discover on the worth.
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6. Sony Xperia 1
Spectacular audio system with an uncommon vibration
Launch date: June 2019 | Weight: 178g | Dimensions: 167 x 72 x Eight.2mm | OS: Android 9 | Display dimension: 6.5-inch | Decision: 1644 x 3840 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: three,330mAh | Rear digicam: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP | Entrance digicam: 8MP
Stereo speaker array
Uncommon Dynamic Vibration function
Rumble function is a gimmick
Lopsided speaker output
What else ought to we embody? As we get additional away from the front-runners, there are various different telephones we may have put on this place. Huawei, Honor and Oppo have all put some respectable audio system into their mid-range telephones, a lot of that are laborious to pay money for in some nations. And let’s not even get into the Huawei/Honor US problem.
The Sony Xperia 1 is one secure place to land. This top-end Sony cellphone doesn’t have a headphone jack, which upset many followers. Nevertheless, it does have stereo audio system and an uncommon function known as dynamic vibration.
This acts a bit just like the rumble operate in a recreation controller, making the cellphone vibrate in time with the beat. It’s, you guessed it, a little bit of a gimmick.
The audio system are strong, although. There’s one on the entrance and one on the underside, for a stereo impact when the cellphone is in entrance of your face. Nevertheless, in contrast to the very best stereo pairs, the entrance speaker is usually there for treble info. All mid and bass sound is supplied by the underside driver.
Learn our full Sony Xperia 1 evaluation