The best music smartphones of 2020: top ranking

In this review, we consider smartphones with good sound in the headphones, but we warn you right away: everything is strictly individual, if one person liked the sound, this does not mean that another will like it. Why are we writing this? And to ensure that you listen to the sound on the smartphone before buying it, and not after – in order to avoid disappointment. This rating is based entirely on user and expert reviews. To agree with him or not, it’s up to you.

P.S. A lot of interesting things – in the comments under the article.

LG G7 ThinQ 64GB

For sound in the LG G7 ThinQ meets the DAC (digital-to-analog converter) Saber ES9218PC from ESS Technology, which is not the first time used in LG smartphones. There is a DTS surround sound effect: X 3D Surround Sound for 7.1 channel sound.

To increase the sound, the resonance effect is applied, that is, the vibrations of the device’s body will be transmitted to the place where it lies, for example, a wooden table. In this case, the sound from the speaker does not even surprise – it is amazing! But, of course, you should not expect such an effect in your pocket.

There is a built-in radio.

  • Screen diagonal: 6.1 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 3120 × 1440
  • Weight: 163g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Memory capacity: 64 GB
  • RAM capacity: 4 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3000 mAh
  • Rear camera: dual 16/16 MP
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

ZTE Axon 10 Pro

We mainly know budget smartphones ZTE, but the company also has flagship models. For example, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro with the top Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 6 GB of RAM.

Of course, we are more interested in the musical component. ZTE Axon 10 Pro has stereo speakers that are good both in sound quality and volume level. As regards the dedicated audio chip, the company has not forgotten about it either – it uses the WCD9430 with support for Hi-Fi audio and DTS: X Ultra settings.

The minus is the same, relevant for fresh smartphones – there is no 3.5 mm headphone output.

  • Screen diagonal: 6.47 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2340 × 1080
  • Weight: 178g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • Memory capacity: 128 GB
  • RAM capacity: 6 GB
  • Battery capacity: 4000 mAh
  • Rear camera: triple 48/20/8 MP
  • Front camera: 20 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

AGM X3 8 / 128GB

AGM X3 is an amazing smartphone: a rugged device with a shockproof case, IP68 degree protection and MIL-STD-810G, support for fast and wireless charging, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and an acceptable weight.

But we are more interested in the musical component, which in this case is extremely interesting. So, two speakers located at the bottom of the smartphone were developed jointly with JBL, the sound of them is subjectively good.

To process the sound, the Texas Instruments SmartPA TAS2557 chip is used, which has proven itself well. But there is a nuance – there is no 3.5 mm jack, so the manufacturer added a USB Type-C adapter for headphones to the package.

  • Screen diagonal: 5.99 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2160 × 1080
  • Weight: 216g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Memory capacity: 128 GB
  • RAM capacity: 8 GB
  • Battery capacity: 4100 mAh
  • Rear camera: dual 12/24 MP
  • Front camera: 20 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

Meizu 15 Lite 4 / 32GB

You can say the budget solution from Meizu, although in fact the smartphone is good, including the characteristics. For example, a high-quality 5.46-inch display is used, a fairly powerful platform based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor and 4 GB of RAM, face unlock is supported, etc..

By the sound. Meizu almost always relies on sound and 15 Lite was no exception. For headphones, the Cirrus Logic CS47L33 audio chip is used, and for speakers, the Cirrus Logic CS35L35 amplifier is used. Of course, the sound is not like the same Meizu flagship, but among competitors for the same money 15 Lite there is hardly a competitor.

  • Screen diagonal: 5.46 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 × 1080
  • Weight: 145g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 626
  • Memory capacity: 32 GB
  • RAM capacity: 4 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3000 mAh
  • Rear camera: 12 MP
  • Front camera: 20 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

LG V40 ThinQ 6 / 128GB

Another smartphone from LG.

Go to the musical part. The so-called Boombox speaker is used, an analog of what we see in the G7 model – it is designed to resonate to the surface when the smartphone is lying, and give out more low frequencies.

A 32-bit digital-to-analog Hi-Fi Quad converter, first developed in conjunction with Meridian, is used. In some tests, they indicate that even without additional settings, of which there are plenty of them, the device in the headphones sounds very cool.

Headphones are included, but not from the B&O brand. However, in tests the sound quality is rated as very good or even higher.

  • Screen diagonal: 6.4 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 3120 × 1440
  • Weight: 169g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Memory capacity: 128 GB
  • RAM capacity: 6 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3300 mAh
  • Rear camera: triple 12/16/12 MP
  • Front camera: dual 8/5 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 12 / 256GB

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ falls into our review with a big stretch – for example, there is no dedicated DAC here, but users are still happy with the sound from the headphones, though most likely wireless – the 3.5 mm headphone jack has sunk into oblivion.

However, in this particular case, the device is interesting to us with sound not from the headphones, but from the speakers – several publications have already noted that the Galaxy Note 10+ sounds better than any of the smartphones on the market, and can replace a portable speaker!

The most interesting thing is that the Galaxy Note 10+ received stereo speakers, but at the same time, the upper, conversational, on the case is almost impossible to notice.

  • Screen diagonal: 6.8 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 3040 × 1440
  • Weight: 196g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 9825
  • Memory capacity: 256 GB
  • RAM capacity: 12 GB
  • Battery capacity: 4300 mAh
  • Rear camera: four 12/16/12 MP modules + 3D depth camera
  • Front camera: 10 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

HTC U12 Plus 128GB

The new HTC U12 Plus is unlikely to claim the title of the music smartphone itself, moreover, it does not even have a 3.5 mm headphone jack, but the manufacturer put a branded headset in the kit, which automatically “adjusts” to the user. Judging by the reviews, this works, and works well.

Also, the U12 Plus is not only very loud speakers, but also because this sound is clean and very juicy. They even say that a smartphone can easily replace a portable speaker..

  • Screen diagonal: 6 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2880 × 1440
  • Weight: 188g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Memory capacity: 128 GB
  • RAM capacity: 6 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3500 mAh
  • Rear camera: dual 12/16 MP
  • Front camera: dual 8/8 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

LG V30+

An alternative flagship from LG, besides not the last generation. But the smartphone decently fell in price, and the music is very interesting to us..

The digital-to-analog converter ESS Saber ES9218P is used here. When connecting the headphones, you can select the mode: either Qualcomm, or Hi-Fi Quad DAC. And it seems like nothing new, if not for one thing but – the headset of the famous Bang & Olufsen company is included. Users say that the smartphone sounds chic, but the headset is not so good. On the other hand, there is nothing surprising – one should rejoice at least that the headset is generally included, especially of such a renowned company.

The speaker sounds good, but you should not expect anything unusual.

  • Screen diagonal: 6 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2880 × 1440
  • Weight: 158g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Memory capacity: 128 GB
  • RAM capacity: 4 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3300 mAh
  • Rear camera: dual 16/13 MP
  • Front camera: 5 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

Meizu 16th 6 / 64GB

The flagship from Meizu, which received a fingerprint scanner built into the display. This is not a novelty, but such a solution is still rare..

About the sound. The following is claimed: Qualcomm Aqstic DAC (WCD9341), SmarPA Cirrus Logic CS35L41 amplifier and aptX / LDAC codecs. Of course, there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack. There is a custom sound enhancement system Meizu Square Sound with manual settings. The device sounds very worthy.

Two speakers are used – front and bottom, which create stereo sound..

  • Screen diagonal: 6 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2160 × 1080
  • Weight: 152g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Memory capacity: 64 GB
  • RAM capacity: 6 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3010 mAh
  • Rear camera: dual 12/20 MP
  • Front camera: 20 MP
  • Memory card support: no

Meizu Pro 7 Plus 64GB

Maybe not the latest smartphone from Meizu, but still relevant. And it can surprise by the presence of a second display on the back of the case: it can be used not only to display notifications, but also to create a selfie on the main camera.

It uses a 32-bit Cirrus Logic CS43130 DAC with a built-in headphone amplifier. Sound, they say, is at a very high level and is able to outshine most competitors. Despite the lack of stereo speakers, the sound from the speaker is very good.

  • Screen diagonal: 5.7 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2560 × 1440
  • Weight: 170g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: MediaTek Helio X30
  • Memory capacity: 64 GB
  • RAM capacity: 6 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3500 mAh
  • Rear camera: dual 12/12 MP
  • Front camera: 16 MP
  • Memory card support: no

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 128GB

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will not be able to surprise you with the presence of some kind of cool DAC and is unlikely to suit audiophiles, but even for a music lover it sounds more than worthy. Note that the kit includes the AKG headset, which, according to reviews, plays very, very decent.

Galaxy Note 9 can be used instead of a speaker – two speakers with Dolby Atmos support give powerful and surround stereo sound.

As for the other characteristics, without false modesty we will answer that this is one of the best smartphones on the planet.

  • Screen diagonal: 6.4 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2960 × 1440
  • Weight: 201g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Exynos 9810
  • Memory capacity: 128 GB
  • RAM capacity: 6 GB
  • Battery capacity: 4000 mAh
  • Rear camera: dual 12/12 MP
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

Meizu 15 4 / 64GB

Another new Meizu that received the Cirrus Logic CS35L35 DAC. Accordingly, the sound in the headphones is good, although it is far from the flagship Meizu 16th. Hexagon 680 audio chip is also announced.

Meizu 15 has two stereo speakers – one on the bottom, the other on the top. Clients have no complaints about sound quality.

  • Screen diagonal: 5.46 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 × 1080
  • Weight: 152g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
  • Memory capacity: 64 GB
  • RAM capacity: 4 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3000 mAh
  • Rear camera: dual 12/20 MP
  • Front camera: 20 MP
  • Memory card support: no

LG G6 32GB

LG’s flagship, albeit not a new one. It uses a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 5.7-inch widescreen display, a wide-angle camera, etc. But the price has dropped very seriously.

The manufacturer added a 32-bit dual-channel DAC Saber ESS ES9218, providing good sound quality in the headphones.

The external speaker does not stand out, although the sound is loud and clear.

  • Screen diagonal: 5.7 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2880 × 1440
  • Weight: 163g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • Memory capacity: 32 GB
  • RAM capacity: 4 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3300 mAh
  • Rear camera: dual 13/13 MP
  • Front camera: 5 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

Meizu Pro 6 32Gb

The device is from Meizu. The Pro 6 received high-quality sound: the Cirrus Logic CS43L36 dual-channel DAC was installed, the NXP Smart PA Gen 3 power amplifier was responsible for the sound from the speaker. Although, according to some reviews, the previous Pro 5 model sounded a little better. In any case, most reviews are extremely positive..

The rest is a powerful smartphone with a 5.2-inch screen. Installed processor – MediaTek Helio X25 (MT6797T), 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal memory, a fingerprint scanner, a decent camera with 21 MP, metal body, etc..

And now the most interesting – Meizu Pro 6 was released in 2016, but when these lines were written, it could still be found on sale new! However, it cannot be ruled out that we are talking about restored devices under the guise of new ones. be careful.

  • Screen diagonal: 5.2 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 × 1080
  • Weight: 160g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: MediaTek Helio X25 (MT6797T)
  • Memory capacity: 32 GB
  • RAM capacity: 4 GB
  • Battery capacity: 2560 mAh
  • Rear camera: 21.16 MP
  • Front camera: 5 MP
  • Memory card support: no

Lenovo Vibe X3

A smartphone that cannot be found for sale, but can be searched on bulletin boards. It is him who is very fond of music lovers. For what?

Probably for the following: ESS ES9018K2M DAC, Wolfson WM8281 audio chip and TI OPA1612 amplifier. Allegedly, the Vibe X3 sounds simply gorgeous – and we readily believe.

Stereo speakers support Dolby Atmos technology and, under assurances, are able to replace the wireless speaker.

  • Screen diagonal: 5.5 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 × 1080
  • Weight: 175g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
  • Memory capacity: 32 GB
  • RAM capacity: 3 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3500 mAh
  • Rear camera: 21 MP
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

Highscreen boost 3

On the bulletin board, you can search for Highscreen Boost 3, which at the time of writing is not in progress. In fact, the main feature of this smartphone is different: the kit has an additional removable 6000 mAh battery, which can be installed instead of the default 3000 mAh.

The DAC ESS9018K2M and the ADA4897-2 amplifier are responsible for the sound. Judging by the reviews, this is one of the coolest-sounding smartphones on the market, which experts agree.

  • Screen diagonal: 5 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 × 1080
  • Weight: 140g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: MediaTek MT6753
  • Memory capacity: 16 GB
  • RAM capacity: 2 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3000/6000 mAh
  • Rear camera: 13 MP
  • Front camera: 5 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes

ZTE Nubia Z11

Another “old man” is the rather powerful flagship from ZTE with 6 GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. The Nubia Z11 sound system produces Hi-Fi + sound quality, for which the AKM AK4376 + Smart PA audio chip and Dolby Atmos Surround Sound system are responsible. Reviews are generally positive. A quick look at bulletin boards suggests that the arrangement is not so difficult to find in the secondary market (you can forget about the primary).

Note that there is only one speaker, so you have to do without stereo sound.

  • Screen diagonal: 5.5 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 × 1080
  • Weight: 162g
  • SIM Card Quantity: 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • Memory capacity: 64 GB
  • RAM capacity: 4 GB
  • Battery capacity: 3000 mAh
  • Rear camera: 16 MP
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Support for memory cards: yes