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Best smartphones for music lovers | September 2018

22 September 2018 28

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

Asus ROG Phone

Asus recently announced a special gaming-centric smartphone ROG Phone. The device is not only specially optimized to handle HIFI games but also it can be rated amongst the loudest smartphone in the market. The audio setup of ROG Phone is powerful enough to provide you with amazing audio experience in a medium room. The audio output is quite loud but unfortunately, it lacks top-notch bass. So you can refer to it as a gaming phone with amazing audio but not a perfect option to listen to loud music.  

In terms of specs, the Asus ROG is featuring a 6.0-inches display with Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. The display refresh rate is 90Hz and also it supports 108% DCI-P3 gamut. Under the hood, a specially optimized Snapdragon 845 SoC is on board to keep it running. The Adreno 630 takes care of graphics. The Octa-core chipset is accompanied with 8GB RAM. The dual rear cameras are 12MP+8MP. Up front the selfie camera is 8MP. The device native storage is 512GB which isn't further expandable. Last but not the least a 4,000mAH battery cell is on board to keep its lights. 

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.

8.6 Hardware
7 Price Quality

OnePlus 6

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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 Xs and iPhone Xs Max

Apple recently wrapped off the cover from the much-awaited flagships iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. As expected the company didn't bring significant design changes instead of the main focus this year is on the internal hardware upgrades.  Apart from regular hardware upgrades, the company improved the stereo audio capabilities of both the devices. 

The stereo audio setup on the latest iPhones is quite loud and clearer. Apple utilizes EVS voice encoding system to ensure the users get top-notch audio during calls.  Unfortunately this year Apple didn't unveil the second gen of Airpods, So you will have to rely on the last year Airpods. 

In terms of hardware specs, the iPhone Xs features a 5.8-inches display whereas the iPhone Xs Max has a gigantic 6.5-inches display panel. The company's latest A12 Bionic SoC is powering the device with 3GB RAM.  The device is available in three memory variants including 64GB, 128GB, 256GB. Its native storage isn't further expandable via MicroSD. The dual rear cameras are 12MP sensor whereas the selfie snapper is 7MP depth-sensing camera. As OS the device is pre-installed with iOS 12 straight out of the box.

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 XZ3

Like always, this year once again Sony took the IFA stage to announce a new flagship smartphone. The latest smartphone is Xperia XZ3 which is announced as the successor model of the Xperia XZ2 which was announced back at the MWC 2018. Despite the fact Sony adopted 2:1 display but still the company brings dual front-facing speakers on the top and bottom bezel.

The  Xperia XZ3 is the Sony's first smartphone with S-Force Surround speakers and also the first with the OLED display panel. So far all the reviews regarding the Xperia XZ3 are quite positive and it certainly emerges as one of the best audio-centric smartphones from Sony.

The Xperia XZ3 sports a 6.0-inches display with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels. It's an OLED display with dual curve edges. The company introduces Bravia OLED TV tech and X-Reality engine which makes it one of its kind display from Sony. The Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 SoC is powering the device with 4GB RAM and built-in native storage is 64GB. It supports memory expansion up to 512GB using MicroSD.

The rear side has single Motion Eye rear camera of 19MP with f/2.0 aperture. The camera supports 4K HDR recording as well as super slow-motion videos capturing at 960 frames per second. Up front, the wide-angle selfie snapper is 13MP with f/1.9 aperture. 

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 20 October 2018 @ 15:53)



Join our community » Best smartphones for music lovers | September 2018
  • i was looking for the output of the audio jack but none is shown in the review. who the fuck is this noob?

      • Really..?? REALLY? You talk about hi-fi audio and you discribe the phone speakers capabilities?? Who know what hi-fi mean know very well that "hi-fi" come out only from large speakers or good quality headphones...so you have to discribe the hardware and software and what is the rezult of that like frequency bass trable 24bit 192khz etc...that will be a audio quality review not the "speakers sound good in a medium roomm"..%uD83D%uDE48

          • I really do not understand the author...is he just copying from other phone reviews ? The page address is 2016 music lovers bit topic header is music lover June 2018. I do not think music lovers would spend much for a phone with phone speaker ? none of the above phone could beat a cheap phone linked to the Bose Soundlink mini (for example). What we would be interested is the DAC or AMPs in the phone for use with potable amps and highend IEMs like Klipsch x20i or sennheiser IEMs etc.

              • https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gfDU--V5mq8

                  • Video I put together a YouTube video last year comparing my Lenovo Vibe X3 Lite sound (dual stereo front facing speakers with Dolby Atmos) to my LG G3 tablet (side mounted speaker). I did not have Dolby Atmos activated on the phone just for hardware comparison.

                      • I guess, OP6 is more of a camera phone than a music phone.

                        • Whoever wrote this needs to set aside a little more time so he's not writing copy on the way to work. At least, that's how it reads. Please try harder, dear author.

                            • Im surprised to see that the Onkyo Grandbeat is not even on the list while HTC, Apple, Huawei, etc made the list. Grandbeat should be at the top of the list right now, and oneplus shouldn't even be on the list at all.

                                • HTC, IPhone, Huawei among the best musical smartphones??? Are you kidding?
                                  It's a pure marketing!
                                  Smartphones, which even do not have a decent DAC + headphone amplifier.
                                  Where are VIVO models, which are the best sounding smartphones?
                                  Guys, you should look better and not confuse the internet community...

                                    • I'd like to remind all G6 fans that the USA version of the G6 does NOT have the hifi dacs in it. Only a couple of Asian models have it.

                                      • I had the v20 that I thought sounded great, and it did. But my buddy bought an axon7 and when I tried it, I couldn't believe the way it blew away my v20. So the v20 went on ebay, got almost what I paid for it, bought the A7, saved a bundle and couldn't be happier. If you're an audiophile, the ZTE axon 7 is the only way to go.

                                          • I would instead go for the V20. Yes, it doesn't have the B&O module. But LG was smart enough to take care to see to it that there are necessary changes in the hardware level to match the absence of B&O module.

                                            • I think LG has worked enough on the G6 to make it as better as possible apart from coming back to regular designing, like the metal unibody design. Not bad. And it's easily "Music to our ears".

                                              • As far as the Apple devices are concerned, I'm very happy with these two devices. For audio and video output, the iPhone 7/Plus are one of the best things to happen to Apple of late. No doubt, they stand out for me.

                                                • For me, it has only to be the LG G5. The primary reason, in my opinion, is the hardware that is needed for such a kind of audio output. And the G5 does have it.

                                                    • Yeah, you can easily say that. But the thing is the there's LG G5's sibling - the G20. Now, my reason for that is that the new DAC makes it possible to have more improvements.

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