Best of Android Mid-2020: Audio

Best of Android Mid-2020: Audio

First up in our Best of Android Mid-2020 sequence is the perfect smartphones for audio. While this is perhaps our most-popular Best of Android sequence article in years previous, we’ve reached some extent the place efficiency issues a lot lower than options, as even the most affordable telephones in the marketplace are usually able to offering you with nice audio.

What makes a telephone good at audio?

In our testing, we solely got here throughout a handful of telephones from 2017 by way of 2020 that even had extraordinarily slightly-audible errors of their audio output. Consequently, we’ve reached some extent the place options matter greater than efficiency (on this class, anyway). Just because it was two years in the past, audio high quality on telephones is basically the place it must be to make you content.

Because of this, it doesn’t actually make a lot sense to crown a telephone because the “greatest” for audio primarily based on nothing however testing. Sure, you need to use a chainsaw to chop butter — however typically the appropriate instrument for the job is one thing that’s truly made for the job. In that mild, we used our check suite to first disqualify telephones that had audible errors, then picked fashions with actually helpful options to spotlight. This 12 months, we threw out any telephones with:

  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) over 0.1% (zero telephones posted greater than 0.01% THD)
  • Dynamic vary beneath 96.3dB
  • Frequency response that deviates previous +/- 0.5dB.

These standards solely disqualified three telephones from 2020. That doesn’t assist us to slender the sphere a lot, so subsequent we checked out options that will both make your life simpler when listening to music, or technical capabilities that will give one telephone an edge over the others.

A photo of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT on a man's head.

What options make a telephone higher at audio than others?

After speaking with the SoundGuys crew, we got here up with an inventory of things to contemplate when selecting a smartphone for audio. The greatest telephone for audio can have an excellent mixture of the next:

  • Front-facing audio system, versus downward-firing audio system
  • Bluetooth codecs needs to be exhaustive (a minimum of aptX HD or LDAC)
  • A chip that permits for dual-device transmission
  • A bodily headphone jack
  • A system-level equalizer
  • High-bitrate assist
  • Dolby Atmos or different 3D-audio processing
  • An enhanced microphone array
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Obviously, not many telephones can have every little thing on this checklist, so a few of our highlighted telephones received’t be excellent right here. Out of the telephones launched within the first half of 2020, there are few standouts on options. However, the perfect telephone for options isn’t obtainable but, and as such hasn’t been included on this spherical of Best of Android (sorry, Sony followers).

The LG V60 is the perfect telephone for audio in 2020

To the shock of just about no smartphone fan… ever, the LG V60 ThinQ is the perfect telephone for audio launched in 2020 up to now. Not solely does it examine off each field on the audiophile’s wishlist, nevertheless it performs in addition to a smartphone must with the intention to be thought of a standout in its area. While the digital audio participant (DAP) market has slowly been gaining in recognition because the headphone jack disappears from the smartphone, in case you have an LG V60 ThinQ: you don’t want one in all these units.

LG V60 camera macro 1
BoA Mid2020 Audio

It looks as if we hold repeating ourselves yearly, however LG’s dedication to audio is a kind of constants that persist. Despite even Samsung’s abandonment of the headphone jack, LG continues to throw a variety of assets and {hardware} behind their telephones’ audio efficiency. That’s in all probability why most Android followers merely assume that the most recent LG telephone would be the greatest smartphone for audio — as a result of it’s been true for the final a number of years in a row.

The 32-bit Quad DAC utilized by the LG V60 is superb, even whether it is ridiculous overkill. The inner amplifier additionally means that you can use extra power-hungry high-performance headphones (as much as 2.0Vrms output) with out having to fret about frequent points launched by crappy smartphone sign chains. There are so many spectacular capabilities afforded by the LG V60 ThinQ that this text can’t do it justice — so I’ll let Joe Hindy do it for me.

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A plot showing the total harmonic distortion (%) of several 2020 phones.

As far as different options go, actually the one factor lacking on the V60 ThinQ is the front-facing speaker design. It’s a bummer, nevertheless it’s straightforward to determine that almost all patrons of the LG V60 ThinQ aren’t going to be listening to music by way of the audio system fairly often. Additionally, our viewers locations the next premium on the headphone jack, so we felt comfy in giving the V60 ThinQ a move right here, even when it isn’t the platonic superb of smartphone audio. It doesn’t need to be excellent to be the perfect, in spite of everything.

Other telephones which are nice at audio

The LG V60 ThinQ is a tricky act to observe in relation to the perfect smartphones at audio, so the remaining handsets signify the “better of what’s left.” That’s to not say that they’re in any method unhealthy, merely that they don’t provide as a lot because the V60 ThinQ.

If you need to get monetary savings, seize the Poco F2 Pro

Poco F2 Pro Headphones connected
BoA Mid2020 Audio

For a less expensive telephone, the Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro has a variety of good going for it: particularly, the truth that it has a headphone jack, a Qualcomm chip that helps the perfect tech obtainable to assist true wi-fi earphones, and a 24-bit/196kHz DAC unit that’s able to decoding FLAC recordsdata. While it doesn’t have front-facing audio system, headphone aficionados will recognize the Poco F2 Pro for its affordability, aptX HD/LDAC assist, and surprisingly respectable audio high quality coming from the headphone jack.

Pay consideration to options

While it is a small cross-section of options included, the next is a desk of the actually large ones. Of course, not all lacking options can be a dealbreaker for everybody. If you might have headphones that solely use aptX HD for instance, it’s not an enormous deal if LDAC isn’t obtainable. Similarly, in case you don’t take heed to music over your telephone’s audio system, it’s in all probability not that large of a deal in case your telephone doesn’t have front-facing drivers.

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speakersLDACaptX HDEqualizerHigh bit-rate assist
Huawei P40 Pro🗸🗸🗸
Huawei P40 Pro Plus🗸🗸🗸
LG V60 ThinQ🗸🗸🗸🗸
LG Velvet🗸🗸🗸🗸
Motorola Edge Plus🗸
OnePlus 8🗸🗸🗸
OnePlus 8 Pro🗸🗸🗸
Oppo Find X2 Pro🗸🗸🗸
Oppo Reno 3 Pro🗸🗸
Poco F2 Pro🗸🗸🗸
Poco X2🗸🗸🗸
Realme 6 Pro🗸🗸🗸
Realme X2🗸🗸🗸
Realme X3 Superzoom🗸🗸🗸
Redmi Note 9 Pro🗸🗸🗸
Samsung Galaxy A51🗸🗸🗸
Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite🗸🗸🗸
Samsung Galaxy S20🗸🗸🗸
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus🗸🗸🗸
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra🗸🗸🗸
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip🗸🗸🗸
Sony Xperia 1 II🗸🗸🗸🗸🗸
TCL 10 Pro🗸🗸🗸
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro🗸🗸
ZTE Axon 11 5G🗸🗸🗸🗸

Looking at this desk, it’d be straightforward to conclude that the telephone with the perfect options for audio can be the Sony Xperia 1 II, however because it isn’t obtainable but, it doesn’t meet our standards for “greatest telephones of H1 2020.” But it underscores the purpose that what’s greatest can change shortly. If you’re a content material creator or somebody that completely wants probably the most decked-out telephone for audio attainable, chances are you’ll need to look forward to the Sony Xperia 1 II. If you simply need to take heed to music, nevertheless, there’s by no means been a greater time to get a smartphone.

That’s it for the Audio installment of Best of Android Mid-2020. Come again tomorrow for the Display awards and examine our announcement submit to get the massive image.


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