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Best smartphones for music lovers | June 2018

11 June 2018 26

In the first half of the year so far we have seen tons of new smartphones were unveiled by different manufacturers around the globe. Every manufacturer tries to bring something special so that their smartphone can attract customers, it could be a camera, price tag, top-notch hardware and sound quality as well.

It’s all dependent on buyers usage, sometimes user smartphone main usage is to stream music and videos. For sure, it is fascinating for buyers as they have tons of options while purchasing a new smartphone, they don’t have to compromise on any aspect of the handset. In past year or so we have seen smartphone manufacturers are not just focusing on design but they are paying special attention to other key aspects as well and smartphone sound quality is one of them.

The company’s paid special attention to the audio capability of smartphones. This year smartphone brings the new level of audio experience. We have to admit everyone is fond of music and loves to play music on their smartphones. In a year or so good sound players and Hi-Fi sound, chipsets make smartphones a treat for music lovers.

Although all smartphones have the speaker but not all of them are capable of providing best sound experience. The device perfect hardware combination with software level boost is necessary to turn music lovers head. So if you are a music lover and planning to grab a smartphone which can provide best sound experience, we enlist top smartphones available in the market with the best sound capabilities. After going through this post, it will certainly help you out while making a decision regarding smartphone with better audio capabilities

OnePlus 6

The OnePlus 6 was announced in May this year with an immediate release. The device is widely claimed as iPhone for Android fans as it brings somewhat similar design to the iPhone X. It features metal chassis with glass covering the rear side. The company not only brought up gradational changes in hardware but they also paid special attention to audio capabilities of OnePlus 6.

In terms of hardware specification, the OnePlus 6 is packed with a 6.28-inch Full HD+ display. The Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 SoC is powering the device with 6/8GB RAM and built-in internal storage is 64/128GB. and 256GB The memory isn't expandable using external MicroSD card. The dual rear snapper is the 16MP+20MP modules. Up front, the selfie-centric camera is the 16MP module. A 3,300mAh battery cell lightning the handset.

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung announced their much-awaited flagships Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus at the MWC 2018. After a long delay, Samsung finally brought stereo speakers set up for the Galaxy S9 series, what makes this setup special is being specially tuned by AKG. One thing which surely is on everyone's mind is whether the Galaxy S9 is better than its predecessors which features single bottom firing speakers. The AKG tuned Galaxy S9 speakers are not marginally louder than Galaxy S8 single speaker but they bring better sound experience with more balanced sound and pretty good bass level. The spike level of Galaxy S9 is significantly better than the Galaxy S8.

In terms of specs, the Galaxy S9 is featuring a 5.8-inches display with QuadHD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. The Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845/ Exynos 9810 SoC is powering the device with 4GB RAM and 64GB expandable storage. The rear snapper remains 12MP with a variable aperture between f/1.5 to f/2.4 depending on the light condition. A 3,000mAH battery cell is on board to keep its lights on. As OS the device is pre-installed with Android Oreo with Grace UI layer over it.

HTC U12 Plus

According to HTC, the U12+ front-facing speakers are now 50% louder than the predecessor. The company not only enhances the audio range but also tuned it further. Like its predecessor, the device lacks the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack instead rely on the USB-C port for charging and connectivity. Surprisingly the device isn't shipped with the USB adapter. However, the package includes USB-C headphones with Active noise cancellation feature.

The headphones sound is adjustable, you can calibrate it according to your preference. The louder you set the less smoothing audio experience is.

The HTC U12 Plus is featuring a 6.0-inches display with Quad HD screen resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels. The Qualcomm's latest Octa-core Snapdragon 845 SoC is powering the device with 6GB RAM and built-in internal storage is 128GB which is further expandable using MicroSD card. The rear primary snapper is 12MP with the F/1.75 aperture with dual LED flashlight whereas the secondary sensor is 16MP with f/2.6 aperture. Up front the selfie-centric camera snapper is 8MP. A 3,500mAh battery cell will keep its lights on.

As OS the device is running on Android Oreo 8.0 straight out of the box alongside Sense Companion AI as native AI assistant. Its fingerprint scanner is placed on the rear side below the camera sensor in middle.

Razer Phone

Undoubtedly so far the audio experience on the HTC flagships are rated as the best in the market but the Razer's first smartphone is certainly bringing the best audio setup we have seen so far in 2017. Although HTC recently claimed their latest U11+ is bringing 30% better audio setup than U11 still it doesn't match the class what Razer Phone is offering.

As being a gaming-centric smartphone the Razer Phone is bringing the best visual and audio experience. The Razer Phone is adorned with dual stereo speakers, both the speakers are placed on the top and bottom edge to provide the smooth audio experience. The performance of Razer Phone audio outclasses HTC's Boomsound speakers. The device is featuring a dedicated 24bit DAC to auto-tune the audio experience. Unfortunately it lacks the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack which for sure won't be liked by most but still, most of the companies are ditching it.

The Razer Phone is featuring a 5.7-inches Quad HD display. The Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 835 SoC is powering the device with 8GB of RAM. The device built-in internal storage is 64GB. The dual rear primary snappers are 12MP while the front-facing module is 8MP. A 4,000mAH battery cell is on board to keep its lights on. As OS, the device is running on Android Nougat 7.1.1.

LG G7 ThinQ

This year LG didn't announce the G-series flagship at the MWC stage instead the company delayed the release of G7 ThinQ. The G7 ThinQ is the first G-lineup smartphone with ThinQ branding. The company already confirmed the ThinQ branding brings AI support. The device features aluminum chassis with glass covering the rear side. The dual rear cameras are aligned vertically in the center.

Apart from 64-bit Dac chip, the device has bottom firing speakers. According to LG, the G7 ThinQ uses the internal as a resonance chamber to provide top-notch audio experience.

In terms of hardware specification, the G7 ThinQ is featuring a 6.1-inch Quad HD display with Quad HD+ screen resolution. The device screen-to-body ratio is 18:9. The Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 SoC is powering the device with 4GB RAM and built-in internal storage is 64GB. The memory can be further expanded using external MicroSD card. The dual rear snapper is 16MP+16MP. On the front side, the wide-angle camera is a selfie-centric 8MP module. A 3000mAh battery cell lightning the handset.

LG V30:

The LG’s second flagship of the year V30's audio capabilities is pretty amazing thanks to 32-bit Quad DAC. Not just that, LG is also offering B&O headphones in the package. The ESS latest DAC ES9218P is on board for the V30, which not only reduces the noise but it also enhanced the amp performance. To provide equally good sound experience while listening through headphones, the company provides special headphones which provide audio output of 2Vrms.

The V20 is packed with ES9218 DAC. The new DAC quad designing makes it superior as compared to older models.

According to LG, the V30 new DAC provides 50% enhancement in performance during noise. To further reduce noise, LG placed a metal shield over the DAC chip. Clearly, the company paid special attention to make sure LG V30 owners can enjoy the best sound experience. By default, the V30 supports 32-bit music, however, usually, there are not many music files available in the market with such enormous size.The users can easily play files from top quality music streaming services like Tidal and Qobuz.

It’s important to mention that quad DAC performance is only via 3.55mm headphone and the music output via USB Type-C will be entirely dependent on external headphones DAC performance. The B&O also joins hand with LG for the V30 audio features. The LG V30 has enough features to stand out of the competition when considering smartphones with best music experience.

The V30 is the phablet device with the 6-inch display of quad HD+ OLED screen resolution. The Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 Soc is powering the handset with 4GB RAM and internal memory is 64GB. The dual rear cameras, the primary camera snapper is 16MP whereas the secondary sensor is wide-angle 13MP sensor while the front facing camera is 5MP. A 3,300mAh battery cell is on board to keep the device lights on

ZTE Axon 7s:

ZTE recently unveiled the Axon 7 successor as Axon 7s. Like the predecessor, the new device key selling feature is its audio capabilities. The Axon 7s is featuring dual Hi-Fi chips for providing better sound. The front facing speakers are adorning the device with Dolby’s ATMOS. No doubt, the final product is quite amazing in audio capabilities.

The first Chip on Axon 7s for audio is AKM AK4961 DAC and according to AKM, their chip provides the best audio experience even for 32-bit audio, whereas the secondary chip is also from AKM and it is AK4490 DAC. Both the Chips are powerful enough to provide the premium experience for listening audio. We can claim that the DAC chips used by ZTE for Axon are the best available in its price range smartphone.

Alongside all this, the company also place dual front facing speakers with ATMOS surround sound tech, which for sure is a big up gradation from ZTE. It’s not just an addition of a speaker but the company also worked pretty good to bring overall premium sound experience.

ZTE’s hard work is paying off as Axon 7s is offering a pleasurable clean and loud audio output. To further attract buyers, the Axon 7 is pretty less expensive as compared to its high-end competitors. All these aspects made Axon 7s one of the best choices to grab if you are looking for an affordable smartphone with best audio experience.

The Axon 7s is packed with the 5.5-inch display with a screen resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. The device display is protected with corning Gorilla 4. The Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 Soc is powering the handset with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal memory. On the rear side, the primary camera is the dual module of 20MP+ 12MP while the front facing camera is 8MP. A 3,400mAh battery cell is keeping the device lights on.

Apple iPhone 8 and 8 Plus:

The Cupertino giant Apple stepped up their game this year with the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. So far Apple is criticized for not bringing best audio experience but that’s not the case for this year flagship iPhones. According to the company, the iPhone 8 sound volume and quality is nearly 25% better than the iPhone 7.

Another addition with the new iPhone 8 is its revamped stereo sound system. To ensure that device has best sound experience, Apple introduced stereo speakers on top and bottom of the handset which not only enhances sound quality but also makes it is clearer. Apple also brings dedicated Airpods which can be connected wirelessly or earpods are also available which needs the lightning connector to connect with new iPhone.

Once again, Apple joins hand with Cirrus logic for a dedicated Audio chips. The 338S00248 is the DAC on board, however, there are two more chips act as an amplifier which is used for speakers on top and bottom side.

In terms of hardware specs, the 4.7-inch display screen resolution is 750 x 1334 pixels. The Apple’s special A11 Bionic Soc is powering the handset with 2GB RAM and built-in memory for the base variant is 64GB, however, it can’t be expanded via external MicroSD card. On the rear side, the camera module is 12MP while the front-facing camera is of 7MP. A 1820mAh battery keeps the device running.

Huawei Mate 10

Best things do come in small packages but you know, not always, there lies a strict exception in such categories. Considering you're a music lover and don't want to settle for less then Huawei's one of the latest flagships - Mate 10 is the smartphone for you.

Coming with a dual stereo speaker setup with a single speaker found on the bottom and a secondary speaker built into the earpiece above the display, Huawei Mate 10 provides you premium audio experience, of course, we aren't calling it the no expensive device. These speakers produce louder and clear sound even when kept at the lower sound levels. You hardly need to raise the volume above the 60% or so.

Huawei Mate 10 can't give a tough competition to the audio-centric smartphones like LG V30 and ZTE Axon 7s but it's not less either. It can provide you an ample sound experience. If you're looking for a new flagship which not only offers the best audio experience but also the top-notch hardware then you should consider Mate 10 or keep it in the list of select smartphones.

In terms of specs, the Mate 10 is featuring a 5.9-inches display with Quad HD screen resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. The device has ultra-thin bezels around the corner. The good thing is it retains the physical home button which has the fingerprint scanner embedded in it.

Like most of the Huawei's flagship, the Mate 10 comes with the dual rear cameras. The primary sensor is the 20MP monochrome lens with the 12MP RGB sensor. The front-facing selfie camera is 8MP. A 4,000mAh battery cell is on board to keep its lights on. As OS the device is pre-installed with Android Oreo with EMUI 8 layer over it.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Sony took the wraps of their latest flagship Xperia XZ Premium at the recently held MWC 2017 event. The audio quality of the device is one of the highlights or USPs of the device next to the 4K HDR display and the camera. It's equipped wth front stereo speakers. Xperia XZ Premium supports the LDAC technology, which prevents loss of quality when the XZ Premium is connected to wireless loudspeakers or headphones.

Furthermore, another technology DSEE, developed by the company itself, provides better sound when playing MP3s. The High-res audio is also supported by the device, hence you get an overall best audio experience from this flagship.

Sony Xperia XZs

Sony Xperia XZs was unveiled at the same time when its premium sibling saw the light of the launch. It's also an audio-centric smartphone, however, this isn't the only asset that makes the smartphone outstanding.

It produces stereo audio outputs for its smartphones. The device also offers support for high-definition files and also DSEE HX technology, which we learned in the XZ Premium smartphone. This technology developed by the company itself provides improved playback for MP3 files.

A few lines on some older devices HTC One M9 and an affordable Lenovo A7000 grabbed much attention for their audio experiences. One M9, in fact, garnered so many appreciations due to its best speakers' virtue. The device has front-facing stereo speakers which feature BoomSound. Thanks to the latter, the audio experience is loud, clear, and crisp.

Onkyo Granbeat

Those who are aware of the amplifier and headphones for sure they know the name of Onkyo as well. However, the company now entered into the smartphone business and announced first music centric smartphone Granbeat with all their audio expertise. The best thing about the device is it can play almost all kind of music files including AAC, DSD, MP3, DSD, AIFF, FLAC, IFF, WAV, ALAC, and Ogg-Vorbis.

According to the company, the device is meant to hear the singer's breath and musicians in a delicate way. The device features built-in DAC and its audio circuit is designed to reduce external noise. Another plus point of the device is its e-Onkyo service support which means you can download hi-res audio files directly. Thanks to its expandable 128GB native storage the device can store hi-res music files up to 3200.

In terms of hardware, the device is featuring a 5-inches display with Full HD screen resolution. As OS the device is pre-installed with Android Marshmallow. The Octa-core Snapdragon 650 chipset is powering it with 3GB RAM. Unfortunately, the device is currently available for Japanese customers only. It is still in the dark whether it will be released for other regions or not.

Final Words:

In the end, it is important to mention that these device are not in order so the device appearing first doesn’t mean it will have best sound experience but instead all of them have number of sound experience aspects which made them stand out of competition that’s why we enlisted them as the best device unveiled this year which has best audio capabilities.

Do share your thoughts regarding the best smartphone with audio capabilities in the comments section below and which device would you prefer to purchase amongst aforementioned devices or if you think we missed any smartphone with the best sound experience, you can share it below.

(last update 14 August 2018 @ 09:53)

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