If you are looking for one of the best phones for music, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is all about audio so that you can carry high-quality music on your smartphone without needing to take any additional devices.
A smartphone emphasizing audio is less common than you might believe. But in recent years, most manufacturers have heard our cries for better audio quality, and more smartphones than ever support higher-quality audio. Therefore, a dedicated smartphone may be your best option if you desire rich and expansive sound directly from your device.
Apple and Samsung are among the most expensive smartphone brands, while LG and OnePlus offer more affordable alternatives. You may not want to sacrifice your smartphone’s camera, screen, or operating system for audio fidelity; thankfully, you won’t have to in most cases.
From the best music streaming services to lossless audio streaming, these phones can deliver the highest quality output directly to the ear canals. Yes, investing in the best music headphones will maximize your device’s performance.
This guide considers the best smartphone speakers, battery life, photography, and additional features. Here are the best mobile phones for music enthusiasts.
Our Top Picks
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10 Best Phones for Music 2022
Sony Xperia 1 III tops our list of the best phones for music. Yes, it has reached its third generation and is better than ever. Sony, being an audio specialist, aids in this regard, as this handset is designed to offer the most refined audio currently available on any smartphone device. It also has widespread support for headphones with a 3.5mm headphone port, Sony LDAC technology, Sony 360 Reality Audio, and Dolby Atmos.
The slightly dated Samsung Galaxy S20 is an excellent budget option. It may not be the most recent model, but you can save money while purchasing a flagship smartphone. This entails a prominent display, a great camera, and an audio-optimized handset with AKG earbuds.
1. Best Overall: Sony Xperia 1 III
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Sony designed and tuned the Sony Xperia 1 III as a dedicated audio device to provide some of the most expansive audio on a smartphone. The 3.5mm audio port and support for Dolby Atmos, Sony LDAC, and Sony 360 Reality Audio are also significant selling points. This means that most headphones are supported, and their quality can be pushed to its limits.
This model’s third generation features more rigid glass, a high-resolution 4K OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, and a battery with adequate capacity for long-lasting performance. In terms of the audio version, this phone now offers tighter bass and a superior dynamic range, setting it apart from all other smartphones currently available.
- Release date: August 2021
- Weight: 186g
- Dimensions: 165 x 71 x 8.2 mm
- OS: Android 11
- Screen size: 6.5-inch
- Resolution: 1644 x 3840
- CPU: Snapdragon 888 5G
- RAM: 12GB
- Storage: 256GB/512GB
- Battery: 4,500mAh
- Rear camera: 12MP+12MP+12MP+0.3MP
- Front camera: 8MP
- Capable cameras augmented by feature-rich apps
- Gorgeous 4K 120Hz screen
- Classy matte finish
- Far too expensive
- Some may find unusual form factor harder to use
- Mediocre battery life
- Terrible selfie camera
2. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
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While the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a significant upgrade in terms of battery, camera, and power, this model lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack. If you require this feature, you may wish to save money by opting for the Samsung Galaxy S20.
Samsung successfully transitioned to wireless audio by supporting high-end audio formats such as DSD 64/128 and 32-bit PCM files. This device also features Bluetooth Dual Audio, allowing you to share music with your friends by simultaneously sending it to two Bluetooth devices.
With its quad setup and 108MP primary camera, the camera is also a notable feature. This translates to a 100x zoom on this phone, making it ideal for concert stage shots, even if you’re banished to the back. In addition to a stunning display, massive battery, and lightning-fast speeds, all of that justifies the steep price.
- Release date: February 2022
- Weight: 228g
- Dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm
- OS: Android 12
- Screen size: 6.8-inch
- Resolution: 1440 x 3088
- CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1/Exynos 2200
- RAM: 8/12GB
- Storage: 128/256GB/512GB/1TB
- Battery: 5,000mAh
- Rear camera: 108MP+10MP+10MP+12MP
- Front camera: 40MP
- Improved S Pen implementation
- Impressive low-light photography
- Much snappier processor
- Hugely bright and punchy screen with adaptive refresh
- Distinctive camera design is eye-catching
- Very expensive
- No increase in battery size
- Less RAM than S21 Ultra
- No microSD card expansion
3. LG G8S ThinQ
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With its 32-bit HiFi Quad DAC and DTS:X 3D Sound System for movies, the LG G8S ThinQ stands apart from the competition regarding sound quality. This implies less distortion, less noise, and a more excellent dynamic range than the competition.
The headphone port on the LG G8S ThinQ allows you to pair it with the best over-ear headphones for the highest-quality audio experience possible while on the go.
The LG G8S ThinQ is also a top-performing smartphone, with a 6.1-inch QHD+ notch display, dual cameras, a Snapdragon 855 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, and an IP68 rating for water resistance.
Air Motion is our favorite additional feature. This allows you to control volume and more with hand gestures reminiscent of Jedi. That is pretty cool, right? Currently, the best phone for music listening is, without a doubt, the iPhone.
- Weight: 181g
- Dimensions: 155.3 x 76.6 x 8 mm
- Display: : G-OLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
- Resolution: 1080 x 2248
- OS: Android 9 Pie
- Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 13MP
- Front camera: 8MP
- Battery: 3,500mAh
- Z Camera features are impressive
- Speedy performance
- Bright 6.1-inch display
- Sounds great with headphones
- Improved battery capacity
- Headphone jack and SD card slot
- Can make big sound
- Face Unlock is slick
- Marquee features like Air Motion, Hand ID offer little day-to-day value
- May not receive timely software updates
- US model has two instead of three cameras
- Software feels dated, cumbersome and unpolished
- Camera can't keep pace with the best
4. Apple iPhone 13
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The Apple iPhone 13 is, as expected from the fruit juggernaut, a stunning phone. Apple Music users are also the best candidates for this service. This is a delight to use thanks to its buttery-smooth A15 processor and the most recent version of iOS, which provides a menu system that is easy to navigate and very quick. It also helps that everything is displayed on a jaw-dropping 6.1-inch 120Hz OLED display.
The cameras are impressive, with a triple 12MP setup on the rear that uses super sensor intelligence to offer features such as Portrait mode and an excellent Night mode that is ideal for concerts, capturing the lighting as intended.
This is not a cheap option, but with its premium build, numerous features, and excellent musical audio reproduction, regardless of the headphones used, it is well worth the price.
- Release date: September 2021
- Weight: 173g
- Dimensions: 147 x 72 x 7 mm
- OS: iOS 15
- Screen size: 6.1-inch
- Resolution: 2532 x 1170
- CPU: A15
- RAM: 6GB
- Storage: 128/256GB/512GB
- Battery: 3,227mAh
- Rear camera: 12MP+12MP+12MP
- Front camera: 12MP
- Strong battery life
- Class-leading performance
- Excellent cameras
- Increased base storage
- Minimal design changes
- Smaller notch doesn't add much
- Slower charging than rivals
- No 120Hz screen
- Selfie camera sensor unchanged
5. The best phone for music fans: Nokia 3310 Phone
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The revamped Nokia 3310 not only has a compact and pretty cool retro appearance, but it also plays music for days. The phone’s 1,200mAh battery isn’t the largest, but it packs an incredible 51 hours of continuous music playback into this glorified feature phone. Fifty. One. Hours!
Want something more compact? Want to replace your parents’ Nokia phones? Or are you looking for a backup phone that can play music while your primary phone’s battery dies? If so, the Nokia 3310 is the best music phone for you.
- Weight: 76.9g
- Dimensions: 115.6 x 51 x 12.8mm
- Display: 2.4-inch
- Resolution: 240 x 320
- Battery: 1,200mAh
- OS: Nokia Series 30+
- Camera: 2MP
- Week-long battery life
- Looks a bit like the old 3310, but thinner and lighter
- Basic apps like Twitter and Facebook work surprisingly well
- 2G only
- A terrible version of Snake
- Typing on a T9 keyboard
6. LG V60 ThinQ
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LG continues to compete for audio enthusiasts with its V60 ThinQ, which improves with time. As an increasing number of smartphones eliminate the headphone jack, this model retains headphones support while incorporating a quad-DAC for superior digital-to-analog conversion. All of this results in a significantly more accurate audio reproduction.
Built-in headphone amplification allows for much louder audio output than on most other smartphones, making it ideal for use at festivals, on trains, in the city, and in any situation where you need to drown out the outside world. In addition, you receive a massive 5,000mAh battery, a clear 6.8-inch display, and a respectable dual camera setup on the rear.
- Release date: March 2020
- Weight: 218g
- Dimensions: 169.3 x 77.6 x 8.9 mm
- OS: Android 10
- Screen size: 6.8-inch
- Resolution: 1080 x 2460
- CPU: Snapdragon 865
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB
- Battery: 5,000mAh
- Rear camera: 16MP+13MP
- Front camera: 10MP
- Large display and loud speakers are great for content consumption
- Durable body with IP68 and MIL-STD-810G compliance
- Top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 with 5G support
- Excellent battery life
- 3.5mm headphone jack with Quad DAC
- Unique Dual Screen experience
- Great still images and good-looking selfies
- Display lacks a high refresh rate or QHD resolution
- No dedicated telephoto camera
- No fast(er) charging
7. The best phone for loud volume and power: Razer Phone 2
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While the Razer Phone 2 may not be the most aesthetically pleasing smartphone, its audio capabilities compensate for its visual shortcomings. This is one of the best phones for music regarding speaker audio due to its compelling audio output.
The speakers are positioned above and below the display for front-firing stereo immersion. Instead of relying on the size of the driver, Razer has created extra acoustic space in the speaker enclosure, increasing the audio output. This indicates that the Razer Phone 2 is sufficiently loud to function as a speaker even over the noise of activities such as cooking and showering.
The Razer Phone 2 lacks a headphone port, but the included 3.5mm adapter features a 24-bit DAC for high-quality audio through any headphones.
- Weight: 220g
- Dimensions: 158.5 x 79 x 8.5mm
- OS: Android 9
- Screen size: 5.72-inch
- Resolution: 1440 x 2560
- CPU: Snapdragon 845
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 64GB
- Battery: 4,000mAh
- Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP
- Front camera: 8MP
- Very particular, industrial-looking design that easily stands out.
- IP67 rating is an appreciated upgrade over the original.
- The RGB Chroma logo looks great.
- ULTRAMOTION and 120Hz are still unique display features that make everything feel snappier.
- The screen is brighter and better in sunlight than the original Razer Phone.
- Audio output quality on headphones is great and really loud.
- Near-stock Android Oreo ROM.
- Game Booster offers convenient controls over CPU speeds, resolution and fps caps on a per-app basis.
- The hefty passive cooling system allows the phone to sustain smoother and higher average performance for longer.
- Glass back is really slippery and the phone is really not comfortable to hold horizontally for a long time.
- Bezels, bezels everywhere.
- ULTRAMOTION and 120Hz are really power-hungry and drain the battery quick.
- No 3.5mm audio jack.
- The Razer Phone 2 gets really hot, sometimes uncomfortably so during gaming.
- Few existing Android games can run at more than 60 fps.
- The Razer Phone's cameras are unimpressive in both photos and videos.
8. Apple iPhone X
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Dual loudspeakers that are loud and well-balanced make this iPhone sound incredible, but since it’s a bit older, you can get the Apple iPhone X for less. There’s one speaker on the bottom edge, and the earpiece outputs sound for better dispersal when you hold the phone in front of your face.
But there are also disadvantages. The iPhone X lacks a headphone jack, so the DAC resides in your wireless or Lightning headphones. A Lightning to 3.5mm adapter reveals a DAC chip within the diminutive device.
If your music collection is still a mass of files rather than based in the cloud, an iPhone makes it trickier to get on the phone than an Android. Spotify will still work fine, but everything is more accessible if you use iTunes/Apple Music – worth keeping in mind if you’ve never used an iPhone before.
- Weight: 174g
- Dimensions: 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm
- OS: iOS 12
- Screen size: 5.8-inch
- Screen Resolution: 1125×2436
- CPU: A11 Bionic
- RAM: 3GB **Storage:** 64GB / 256GB
- Battery: 2,716mAh
- Rear camera: 12MP+12MP (both OIS)
- Front camera: 7MP
- Fast processor
- Excellent screen
- Effective facial recognition
- First-of-its-kind augmented reality front camera
- Not available anymore
- Screen cutout (notch) may block some content
- Not the fastest modem
- Need to re-learn fundamental features
9. OnePlus 9 Pro
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This device pushes the boundaries of what OnePlus considers a flagship. This device is jam-packed with features, from the powerful quad camera and high-resolution 120Hz AMOLED display to the lightning-fast Warp Charge. The audio, however, stands out due to the Bluetooth 5.2 connection’s support for high-resolution audio.
This device supports aptX and aptX HD in addition to LDAC and AAC. This should allow you to get the most out of your high-resolution wireless headphones when using this smartphone. And if you’re using high-resolution streaming services, the 5G connectivity, super-fast Snapdragon 888 processor, and WiFi 6 connectivity will make it a seamless, fast experience.
- Release date: March 2021
- Weight: 197g
- Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7 mm
- OS: Android 11
- Screen size: 6.7-inch
- Resolution: 1440 x 3216
- CPU: Snapdragon 888
- RAM: 8/12GB
- Storage: 256GB/512GB
- Battery: 4,500mAh
- Rear camera: 48MP+50MP+8MP+2MP
- Front camera: 16MP
- Great display performance
- Relatively clean software and great UI performance
- Powerful loudspeakers
- Good performance from the main wide and ultra-wide cameras
- Excellent 4K 120fps mode
- Fast charging
- Rear camera performance still behind the competition
- Outdated front camera
- No pro video features or true HDR recording
- Hasselblad partnership mostly a marketing gimmick
- Telephoto camera lacks Nightscape and 4K video support
- Worse battery life performance than previous models
- Most games still locked to 60fps
10. Huawei P30
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One of Huawei’s most recent smartphones, it is an excellent option for audiophiles due to its included features. The P30’s speakers are equipped with Dolby Atmos sound, providing the highest speaker performance. Since this is a Huawei smartphone, you also get multiple options to vary the music performance over headphones. Additionally, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack to use your wired headphones with the P30.
The phone has a stunning 6.1-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, the HiSilicon Kirin 980 chipset, 128GB of expandable storage, and 6GB of RAM. The camera credentials of the phone are also quite impressive, mainly due to the 40MP, 16MP, and 8MP triple camera arrangement on the back. In contrast, the front has a large 32MP camera for wide-angle selfies and multiple customization options within the camera. The phone runs by default Android 9 Pie with Huawei’s EMUI 9.1 custom skin. The P30 has a 3,650 pretty decent mAh battery, but the 22.5W fast charger included with the device is impressive. This is a GSM smartphone, so it won’t work with networks like Verizon, Sprint, etc., in the U.S. Currently, the phone is available in Aurora, Black, and Breathing Crystal colors.
- Processor: Huawei HiSilicon KIRIN 980
- RAM: 6 GB
- Storage: 128 GB
- Display: 6.1 in, OLED, 1080 x 2340 pixels, 24 bit
- Camera: 3648 x 2736 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps
- Battery: 3500 mAh, Li-Polymer
- Solid battery life
- Vibrant design
- Powerful processor
- Above average camera
- Full of bloatware
- No wireless charging
- Huawei's UI not to everyone's taste
Best Phones For Music: Buying Advice
How do you choose the best phone for listening to music? When deciding which option is best for you, several important considerations must be remembered.
Wired or wireless listening?
The first major decision you must make is whether you will use wired or wireless headphones to listen to music. If you’ve already purchased a decent pair of truly wireless earbuds or perused our guide to the best budget wireless headphones, the absence of a 3.5mm headphone port on the phone probably won’t bother you.
If you’re obsessed with Bluetooth connectivity, you may want to keep an eye out for AptX support, which provides higher-quality wireless streaming to headphones that support the feature.
However, if you’re committed to that DAC and always need a wire, this will immediately limit your options. Since Apple eliminated the headphone port from its phones several generations ago, many other manufacturers have followed suit. As wireless audio becomes of higher quality, the demand for the classic 3.5mm port is rapidly declining.
If you choose to use a wired connection, phones like the Google Pixel 3a and Huawei P30 have you covered. If you are a member of Team Apple, you can purchase an Apple lightning headphone jack adapter for that iPhone port so that you can continue using your wired phone.
How about sound quality?
For the highest possible audio quality, you will likely already be familiar with lossless audio and prefer downloading files rather than streaming them. Tidal is an excellent option for mobile master-quality streaming. Regardless, you will likely want offline music, which necessitates consideration of the storage you may require, so keep this in mind when selecting a phone.
Several Android phones still feature microSD card slots, an inexpensive and convenient way to increase the number of songs you can store. However, if you own an iPhone, be prepared to pay more for each memory upgrade or cloud storage. Alternatives to the iPhone include the Moto Z4, LG G8 ThinQ, and Nokia 7.1.
If you’ve decided to go completely wireless, a 5G phone with unlimited data may be the best option. Thus, you will always have access to high-quality audio when needed without consuming storage space.
What audio formats are compatible with my phone?
There are quite a few high-end audio formats available today, so you may want to search for one that meets your requirements. This can be used for both music and movies. Know what you wish to do from Dolby Atmos to DSD and Sony LDAC based on your streaming service and headphone setup before looking for a smartphone to support them.
How much storage do I require?
You may be streaming your music, but if you can store it on the device for offline listening, it is essential to have sufficient storage space. Smartphones come in various storage capacities, with larger capacities commanding a premium price. Determine how much you typically store offline, so you have enough without exceeding your budget.
Some smartphones offer microSD storage expansion, which is a fantastic way to acquire additional storage without spending as much upfront. Remember that you will need to purchase the card itself.
What battery life does a quality music phone offer?
Battery life is always an essential factor when purchasing a new phone, mainly if you listen to a lot of music throughout the day or spend a lot of time away from your partner and listen to music on the go. You can only listen as long as your battery holds out. If you are streaming data, your device’s battery life will suffer even more. Therefore, it is advisable to seek out a device with a large battery or at least one with a fast-charging option.
How much do the best music phones cost?
Smartphone prices vary widely based on brand, features, battery life, screen quality, and storage capacity. They begin at a few hundred pounds/dollars but quickly increase.
What you spend depends on what you can afford. If you’re on Team Wired, you’ll have to choose between an iPhone with an adapter and a hefty price tag or a high-end Samsung.
If you are a proud member of Team Wireless, you have more options when selecting the best music phone. In this case, you may consider purchasing additional storage or spending more on an unlimited streaming data plan.
NO IT DOESN’T. The “audio chip” or DAC (digital to analogue converter) in your phone is what takes the digital music file and turns it into electrical pulses that flow out of your headphone jack and into the headphones (or whatever) at the other end.
A lossless audio file format is the best format for sound quality. These include FLAC, WAV, or AIFF. These types of files are considered “hi-res” because they are better or equal to CD-quality.
Simply put, when playing loud music, the details become easier to pick up. Usually, being able to hear more details and picking up different sounds means the music sounds better. After all, that is how the artist created it – all little details included.
Users can access these by going to “Settings -> Sound & Vibration -> Advanced -> Sound Quality and Effects.” Here you’ll find an Equalizer feature with several presets as well as the option to create a custom one. Additionally, some phones have a Dolby Atmos feature at their disposal that can be turned on and off.
Both WAV files and AIFF files represent the highest quality possible in the audio world – they are the files of choice for any mixing or mastering engineer looking to retain the highest quality possible. AIFF files were developed by Apple but also play on the Window’s OS.
High-resolution audio (high-definition audio or HD audio) is a term for audio files with greater than 44.1 kHz sample rate or higher than 16-bit audio bit depth. It commonly refers to 96 or 192 kHz sample rates.
Sound is caused by the simple but rapid mechanical vibrations of various elastic bodies. These when moved or struck so as to vibrate, communicate the same kind of vibrations to the auditory nerve of the ear, and are then appreciated by the mind.
What use is great music if it cannot be appreciated? Indeed, you can always listen on a laptop or player. But nothing beats listening to music on your smartphone. It’s more portable and convenient.
In the end, the best option is determined by our individual preferences. According to tests and reviews, the phones mentioned above are the best for music enthusiasts and audiophiles.
So turn up the volume and drown out the world’s noise with your old and new favorite songs. Listen and unwind.