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The best phones for music lovers

Discover the best phones with great audio in mind

 

Last updated 06th September 2018

  • Huawei Mate 20 Lite
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
  • iPhone X
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Huawei P20 Pro
 

If music quality is important to you, then there are few different factors to consider when choosing your next phone. How good are the speakers? Does it have a good DAC (the gizmo that converts digital files into something you can hear)? Does it have a headphone socket – and if not, does this matter? 

We’ve taken a look at some of the top models with these questions in mind so you can choose the best phone for your music needs.
 

FAQ's

Hi-resolution audio (also known as hi-res, high definition or HD audio) doesn’t have an official definition – but it’s generally accepted to mean any audio file stored at higher quality than CD. 
 
Some experts argue that CD quality is plenty high enough for human hearing – but hi-res files certainly represent a big step up from standard MP3s or Spotify streaming at 320kbps. To put it into perspective, a CD has a data rate of 1411kbps (over four times that of an MP3 at 320kbps) while a hi-res music file has a data rate of 9216kbps – over 28 times faster (or more detailed) than the highest quality MP3.
 
This does however mean that hi-res files (including WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC and more) will take up much more space in your phone’s memory. So if you’re thinking of going down the hi-res audio route, you’ll want to choose a phone with plenty of memory. Plus of course, you’ll want to pair it with a decent set of headphones
Currently most music streaming services don’t offer hi-res or high-definition audio – so the best way to listen to top-quality music on your phone is to download and save hi-res music files and listen to them through your phone’s music player. (Note that TIDAL does offer high-res streaming, but only for the desktop application). The most popular hi-res formats are WAV and FLAC for Android, and ALAC and AIFF for iPhone.