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The Best Phones for Music: 11 Top Picks

a phone with earphones plugged into it

There’s no shortage of articles rating the best smartphones based on factors such as screen size and camera setup. But for music lovers, what also matters is speaker quality, headphone jack availability, battery life, and storage capacity. In this article, we break down the best phones for music and audio based on these factors and more. 

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Our Criteria

When you’re in the market for a new phone that doubles as a high-quality music player, certain buzzwords should be music to your ears. Whether you’re an Apple lover, an Android enthusiast, or somewhere in between, here are the criteria we used to arrive at our list of the best phones for audiophiles:

  • High-End Storage Capacity: With apps like Spotify and Amazon Music, your phone needs ample storage for hi-res playback of your favorite tunes. Among flagship phones, we looked for generous built-in storage or options for expandable memory.
  • Headphone Jack and Connectivity Options: For audiophiles who prefer the nuances of wired headphones, a phone with a traditional headphone jack is vital. Additionally, we considered the Bluetooth codec support for high-quality wireless earbuds and AirPods connectivity. Note that many of the most popular modern smartphones don’t come with headphone jacks in which case you’ll need wireless earbuds or headphones that can connect to your phone via Bluetooth.
  • Strong Battery Life: Look for a phone to keep the music playing all day. Phones with long battery life and efficient processors like the Snapdragon or Apple Bionic ensure your playlists keep rolling without interruption.
  • Advanced Processors and Crisp Displays: A powerful processor like the Snapdragon or Apple Bionic is key for smooth audio playback and efficient operation of music apps. An OLED or AMOLED display enhances the visual experience, especially for apps like Spotify and YouTube.
  • Support for High-Quality Formats and Codecs: For the ultimate audio experience, ensure your new phone supports various formats like LDAC, aptX, and lossless codecs. Whether you’re streaming from Spotify or listening to downloaded hi-fi tracks, this feature is crucial.
  • Brand-Specific Features: Every brand should strive to bring their own unique features to the table. We considered the specific audio enhancements and specs offered by each, like the Xperia 1’s Hi-Res audio or the Pro Max models in the iPhone series.
  • Best Phone for Recording Audio: Having strong audio systems on your phone offers up a lot of possibilities. With a good microphone, you can record crisp voice lines and distinct instrumental tracks without hooking everything up to a computer.
  • Best Phone for Musicians: With the right phone, musicians can use their phone as their primary device for setting up and reviewing recordings.

Top 11 Picks for Best Phones for Music

1. iPhone 15 Pro Max

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is fantastic for audiophiles seeking a great listening experience. It boasts a state-of-the-art sound system that’s music to the ears. 

The phone’s design is not just visually stunning but also enhances the audio experience. While it doesn’t feature an audio jack, it does include advanced audio features, including Spatial Audio and lossless playback. One reviewer notes the phone does an amazing job balancing the dynamic components of music, praising its clarity and fluidity in sound as well as its ability to organize the many layers of instrumentation. 

Its powerful processor ensures smooth playback, while the high-resolution screen makes every visual accompanying your tunes delightful, offering up to 75 hours of audio or 23 hours of video playback. 

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2. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra also deserves a place among the best phones for music and audio. Sure, it’s a bit expensive, but it offers tons of value for its price, like a 6.8-inch dynamic AMOLED screen with 1440 x 3120 resolution. 

It’s available in four colors and comes with the Android 14 OS, a favorite for its user-friendliness and intuitive operation. This operating system works very well with popular music-playing apps like Spotify, and the 5000mAh battery can handle up to 99 hours of audio or 26 hours of video playback.

A clever addition to Samsung devices is Sound Assistant, an app that allows for complete personalization of your audio experience across platforms. The comprehensive audio control app features a fine-tunable equalizer with various presets, the ability to adjust the volume levels on any paired devices, individualized volume settings for specific apps, and scheduled sound settings for specific times providing the most enhanced audio experience on Samsung devices yet. 

The chipset is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, the latest from Qualcomm, the 12 GB of RAM ensures that the phone can handle any music playback app or other operation you have in mind, and you can choose from 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage space with your purchase. The 120 Hz display is ideal for playing back media alongside stellar audio.

The next-generation cameras are also excellent, but there’s a lot to like in terms of audio. Music is dynamic, expressive, and extremely high quality. Dolby Atmos is also supported on this device, providing an ultra-immersive experience from both the stereo speakers and headphones.

This latest version greatly improves upon the S22 Ultra’s immersive sound experience to deliver deeper bass and mid frequencies, supremely upgrading both your music quality and experience.

Of course, this advanced phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, so you’ll need to either stick with wireless playback devices or use a USB-C adapter with a 3.5 mm socket. Even with that downside, this could be a phenomenal choice for fans of both music and movies who need a smartphone that can play both very well.

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3. Google Pixel 8 Pro

The Pixel 8 Pro offers a great experience for music lovers. Its smart features are complemented by a sound system providing clarity and richness, making it feel like you’re at a live concert. The Pixel 8 Pro’s processor ensures a lag-free experience, while its screen displays vibrant visuals. 

The AI-powered Android phone works to improve its battery life and optimize performance, making it a good choice for those looking to stream music all day, every day. This includes an adaptive battery feature, which considers what apps you use the most and limits background activity from those less frequented, as well as the extreme battery saver function, which restricts your phone’s functionality to only the essentials, extending your play time for as long as possible. 

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4. iPhone 15 Pro

The iPhone 15 Pro model offers a middle ground for the iPhone 15 series. While the screen size and battery for the Pro is smaller (3274mAh) than the Pro Max (4422mAh), the camera system, display technology, and general performance are more advanced than the base iPhone 15. 

The iPhone 15 Pro’s A17 Pro Bionic processor ensures a seamless audio-visual experience by offering a ProMotion display with an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz that pairs with AAC, MP3, FLAC, Apple Lossless, and a variety of Dolby audio formats. 

Furthermore, its advanced audio features include Spatial Audio which uses built-in sensors and software to create an immersive 3D sound stage, making every song sound live. It’s important to note that this feature is available with all iPhone models and not exclusive to the Pro.

While you’ll need to use a USB-C adaptor for any wired headphones, the audio quality is stellar even with wireless earbuds, particularly the newest AirPods Max, which pair together to provide a cinematic experience through the brand’s trademark Spatial Audio feature.

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5. iPhone 15

The iPhone 15 delivers consistent audio performance and can handle any musical genre with no issue.

This was the first product following Apple’s decision to abandon the lightning connector in favor of the USB-C connector. So if you prefer wired headphones, then you’ll need to use some that are compatible with USB-C. Additionally, you’ll need to make sure your headphones are equipped with a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) or purchase one separately to ensure a richer and more detailed audio experience. 

Apart from that, the phone also features Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio playback, which you can listen to for up to 80 hours (or enjoy a whole 20 hours of video playback if you’re more of a YouTube music video fan). 

Its user-friendly interface and Apple’s signature sound quality ensure an enjoyable listening experience for every song in your playlist. 

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6. Samsung Galaxy S24+

The Samsung Galaxy S24+ is equipped with a long-lasting battery and superior sound quality. This phone ensures that your playlists keep playing without interruption, lasting more than a day under average use. 

It runs on the latest Android version and is equipped with the lightning-fast Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. The Galaxy S24+ comes with a brighter screen and better camera system than its predecessors and combines powerful audio hardware with a sleek design, making it a good companion for long listening sessions. 

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7. Samsung Galaxy S24

The base model for the Galaxy S24 also deserves a place on this list as this compact smartphone offers a powerful performance with a range of advanced features, including Galaxy AI (a feature shared amongst the S24 series). Powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, this device provides a smooth and efficient experience for users. 

The 6.2-inch AMOLED display features a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels and a 120Hz refresh rate allowing for an extremely immersive viewing experience. It comes equipped with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 512GB of storage along with a 4000mAh battery that provides ample time between charges. 

The S24 supports a wide variety of audio and visual playing formats ensuring that you’ll have access to all of the digital music and videos files out there. Ultimately, the S24 is a worthwhile upgrade from the S23 series, but offers a more economical option than the more expensive Plus and Ultra options. 

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8. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold5 has a top-notch sound system that delivers an auditory experience as impressive as its visual flexibility. The Galaxy Z Fold5 is a great device for those who appreciate both music and cutting-edge technology, delivering remarkable sound from such a sleek device. While one reviewer notes the speakers may not be as loud as what other devices can offer, they do note that audio remains impressively undistorted at max volume. 

Moreover, the foldable screen provides a versatile canvas for your multimedia needs. Not to mention, you can opt for a grand 1 Terabyte of storage, which, paired with the fact it’s capable of 73 hours of audio or 21 hours of video playback, means there’s no need to fret about not having the battery or storage for music. For the music lover who embraces the new and unconventional, the Galaxy Z Fold5 hits all the right notes.

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9. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 offers a clear and deep auditory experience with the inclusion of Advanced Pulse Code Modulation (APTX) and Low Delay Audio Codec (LDAC) to provide crystal clear, high-quality wireless audio via Bluetooth, making every track a delight to listen to. 

Its compact design doesn’t hamper its powerful sound capabilities, making it a favorite for those who appreciate both aesthetics and acoustics. This does, however, come at the expense of a headphone jack, meaning fans of wired earbuds will need a dongle to enjoy all this phone has to offer.

The phone’s processor and display work together to provide a seamless experience, ensuring that both your visuals and audio are of the highest quality. Additionally, the phone provides up to 57 hours of audio or 20 hours of video playback time. 

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10. iPhone 14 Pro Max

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is a stellar phone for music and audio fans. It has a 6.7-inch OLED screen with 2796 x 1290 P resolution. It’s one of the best smartphones for music connectivity and high-end quality.

More importantly, the iPhone 14 Pro Max provides absolutely top-tier sound. Featuring two loudspeakers, Dolby Atmos technology, and Spatial Audio playback, the device delivers high-quality audio whether played out loud for all to hear or kept to yourself in your headphones. The addition of Dolby Atmos truly elevates the sound experience, though Apple is not the only brand whose phones support this surround-sound program. Their two speakers, located on the top and bottom edge of the screen, deliver crisp-clear and bright sound and are capable of spatial audio, impressively localizing sound all around you. 

Unfortunately, this phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, so you’ll need to use wireless earphones or a Lightning adapter. This is the first iPhone with a major audio upgrade that provides deep bass, mid, and treble sounds.

You’ll also appreciate the up to 1 TB of storage space you can purchase with this phone, enabling you to store all of your favorite music and audiobooks with these. The battery life is good for 95 hours of audio playback: Perfect for podcast fans or those who love listening to audiobooks while working and driving. 

Consider this if you need a very high-powered, versatile phone that does it all and provides good music and audio playback.

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11. Apple iPhone 13

Maybe you want a powerful Apple device without breaking the bank. In that case, the iPhone 13 could be just the ticket, offering a 6.1-inch OLED screen with 2532 x 1170 P resolution. This phone comes with a set of 12-megapixel wide and ultra-wide cameras to complement its audio performance.

The battery life is phenomenal for the price, as you’ll get 75 hours of audio playback or 19 hours of video playback. 

While it’s a few generations old now, there’s still a lot to like in terms of musical sound, thanks to the A15 Bionic chip. For example, this chip supports a wide range of audio codecs, including AAC, AIFF, CAF, MP3, MP4, and WAV. Also, the 16-core Neural Engine allows for a fast processing of audio data that provides a smooth and responsive audio playback. On top of all that, it’s a fairly fast-charging device too.

Like other iPhone devices, you’ll need to stick with wireless earbuds or headphones to enjoy your audio experiences. 

There’s no charger in the box, so while this is already an expensive choice, you’ll need to spend even more to recharge your device. However, this could still be a good choice for Apple fans who want a mobile phone that can do it all.

The Bottom Line

Any of the above smartphones might be just what you’re looking for in terms of a media playback device. But if you’re still stuck reading through phone specs or comparing prices, Navi’s free, unbiased Phone Deal Finder can help.

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