Best 2017 Smartphones for the Audiophile in You

LG V20 close up

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Gone are the days when you needed to bring a big-ass boombox or a bulky Sony Walkman just to enjoy music. Now, almost any track can be listened to with just a few taps.

 

While all smartphones today can play music, they are not really equal in terms of sound output quality. For audiophiles, sound quality is a deciding factor for their purchase. Below are some of 2017‘s best smartphones for music lovers.

 

LG V20 / LG G6

 

One of the most under-appreciated smartphones from 2016 but still great in 2017 is the LG V20. The bigger brother of the LG V10 has a better DAC (Digital to Analog Converter). In fact, the V20 is packed with a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC which is one of the bests in today’s smartphones. The LG G6 is claimed to have an “upgraded” Quad DAC but the difference could be miniscule enough to warrant an upgrade.

 

Another bonus is its sound recording capabilities. The LG V20 can record and output 24-bit/192kHz sounds in FLAC. Most smartphones today can only record and output in WAV and MP3 files which are considered inferior to FLAC.

 

Price: Starts at PHP 29,000  / PHP 34,000

 

HTC 10

 

The HTC 10 is another great choice for music lovers. It also has a better DAC than other common smartphones.

 

For geeky stats, the HTC 10 can deliver 24-bit/192kHz audio through its stand-alone DAC and also drives more power using a headphone amp. It also boasts BoomSound tech for the speakers but we all know plugging a headphone or earphone is still preferred.

 


Price: Starts at PHP 23,000

 

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

 

ZTE’s phones are somehow obscure to the rest of the world, but they do make great low to mid-end smartphones. The ZTE Axon 7 Mini proves this by being an affordable audiophile-friendly smartphone.

 

What’s special with the ZTE Axon 7 Mini is it uses the AKM 4961 DAC and AKM 4490 ADC into one unified part. Just like the other smartphones, the sound experience is best with a good earphone or headphone.

 

Price: Starts at PHP 21,000

 

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

 

What makes the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium different is that it boasts its support for Hi-Res Audio. The other smartphones in this list also support the tech but it is just a glorified marketing term.

 

The Xperia Z5 Premium may not be the best choice for audiophiles that want the best of the best. However, it does have other specs like the 4K screen which may make it worth it for other aspects.

 

Price: Starts at PHP 19,000

 

A Word of Advice

 

Having these smartphones on the list does not necessarily mean that your earphone will magically improve. It takes two to tango and that also applies with sound quality.

 

If you do have a good smartphone with a decent DAC but your earphone sucks, it’s not gonna end well. That’s usually the case. You could be better off finding an expensive headset or earphone if you’re not really an audiophile.

 

It also boils down to preference as majority of mainstream users would not really be able to hear the difference. If you are one of the lucky few, then you might consider a good smartphone and a better headset. If cash is not a problem, go right ahead we’re happy for you!

 

Enjoy listening to your favorite tracks!

 

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