Smartphones are often hailed for their performance, camera or battery. Audio delivery, however, often takes second priority as most smartphone buyers do not prioritise on audio as a crucial aspect. For the select few, for whom quality of audio delivery is of utmost importance, we list out smartphones that treat audio delivery equally importantly as the rest of the aspects.
After years of giving you amplifiers, speakers and headphones, Marshall came up with a smartphone especially designed for audiophiles. Besides its rockstar looks, the Marshall London houses a separate Wolfson chipset for playing audio files. The dual-front speakers are really loud, and a wheel is placed instead of a volume jack for dedicated music button for one-click access. The smartphone also features a Cirrus Logic WM8281 Audio Hub that upscales the resolution of audio files and also allows users to play FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) audio files. The Marshall London is priced at € 549 (Rs. 41,827 approx.), and while you may certainly find better overall smartphones than this, none scream dedication to audio like the Marshall London.
The HTC 10 is one of the best smartphones to buy right now for audiophiles. The usual BoomSound technology gets an upgrade, and the software now allows you to profile the audio delivery based on your headphones and your hearing. On the outside, it has two speakers - the full range speaker at the top and a bottom speaker for low frequencies. This setup allows HTC to drive pristine audio quality and adds support for lossless audio. Even though loudness is slightly compromised, the level of details is great for everyone who enjoys well-balanced audio.
The LG G5 is another smartphone to have joined the Hi-Fi Audio bandwagon, and its modular build can accommodate an external audio DAC built in association with premium audio-makers Bang & Olufsen. Even without it, the LG G5 uses Qualcomm's own audio setup, including the WCD9335 audio codec and WSA8815 integrated amplifier to drive good quality audio from the phone itself. Add the B&O Hi-Fi audio module to it, and the LG G5 is one of the best audio-oriented smartphones around.
Sony Xperia X
Sony has been a pioneer in audio space, and the Xperia X is no less. Powered by Sony's Hi-Fi Audio codec along with LDAC and DSEE HX, the Xperia X can handle lossless and high resolution audio files. The integrated phone speaker of the Xperia X sounds great too, although we personally preferred the audio delivery of the Sony Xperia Z5. Nevertheless, if audio is your priority, you can barely go wrong with the Xperia X at hand.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is not equipped with the specialised audio engines as the rest of the smartphones in this list, but it still delivers very good audio performance. The audio performance is not as exceptional as an HTC 10 or a Sony Xperia X, but it still delivers stable, acceptable audio quality. The Galaxy S7 Edge powers its way into our list simply based on the overall excellence and overall ability of the smartphone to be reliable, no matter what your usage requirements are.
Apple iPhone 6s
Although Apple still does not support high-res audio quality, the sound on the iPhone 6s is full-bodied and best experienced on high-end ear/headphones. The reason why Apple does not support FLAC could be because of its own lossless format- ALAC. The iPhone 6 starts at a price of Rs. 29,599 for the 16GB variant whereas the newer iPhone 6s is priced at Rs. 45,480 for the 16GB storage variant.
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