Best music smartphones


There are a lot of music lovers out there. Such people wish to get the best sound from technology. They buy a home cinema with a receiver and a great sound system. And when choosing a smartphone, they pay attention to whether it has a central audio processor (DAC) and amplifier, which are responsible for sound quality.

From 2020 the concept of "musical smartphone" can be considered obsolete - there are few manufacturers who put "musical" components in phones. Most companies prefer to solve the sound issue with the support of different codecs and software technologies. Someone believes that there is a positive effect from this, but still opinion is quite subjective, and true audiophiles are still looking for audio processor in the smartphone.

With regard to the fact that in recent years manufacturers refuse DAC module in their devices, some devices will be equipped with an amplifier and a high-quality speaker. It is worth noting that they are not the only ones on the market. You can still find LG V30+, LG G7 ThinQ, Meizu 16th, HTC U12+, AGM X3, AGM A9 and other smartphones on sale that are not just considered to be musical, but are fully consistent with this title. However, due to their "age" they did not make it into our review, although they may well compete with their younger "colleagues" in terms of sound quality.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

  • Display: 6.5 inch, 2400×1080 resolution, 120Hz
  • Processor: Exynos 990/Snapdragon 865
  • Camera (primary/front): 12+12+8MP / 32MP
  • Memory (RAM/internal): 6/128 or 8/256GB
  • Battery: 4500 mAh

Price: from 39,990 rubles

Perhaps the device that will suit audiophiles best at the moment and has a nice technical equipment is undeniably the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. Unlike the newer S21 and S21 Ultra, it still has a dedicated 32 bit Cirrus Logic CS47L93 (32 bit) Hi-Fi DAC. In addition, music lovers will appreciate the stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support and will be happy with the AKG headphones that come with the device.

The only thing that might confuse the average user who suddenly decides to read the list of specifications is the cameras. On paper here everything is not so "fat", as usual befits a flagship, but in terms of shooting is not as important the number of megapixels, as the size of the matrix, software processing algorithms and not only. Simply put, the S20 FE has no problems with photo opportunities. The smartphone has high-quality optics, excellent wide-angle module, telephoto lens with 30x zoom, optical stabilization, shooting video in 4K 60fps.

The speed of this system can be the envy of 80-90% of all mobile devices running Android. Depending on the modification, the smartphone may have one of two processors: the proprietary Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865. Both chipsets are powerful enough to provide smooth operation of the device for at least a couple of years. No need to worry about battery life either: the 4500 mAh battery will not discharge quickly.


  • Excellent Super AMOLED display with 120 Hz support.
  • Presence of NFC module.
  • Still one of the most powerful processors in the world.
  • Great sound.
  • Good value for money.
  • IP68 protection.


  • No 5G support.

LG G8 ThinQ

  • Display: 6.1 inch, resolution 3120×1440
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • Camera (primary/front): 12+16MP / 8MP
  • Memory (RAM/internal): 6/128GB
  • Battery: 3500 mAh

Price: from 15,000 rubles

LG G8 ThinQ continued the company's tradition of creating smartphones with musical capabilities. As in the previous model G7, here is used a 32-bit DAC Hi-Fi Quad DAC, Boombox speaker, there is support for MQA codec. In addition, CSO technology is implemented, which is the use of OLED matrix as the speaker. Also among the interesting features of G8 - frontal 8 megapixel with TOF lens. The camera can also scan not only the face, but the palm as well.

The phone has a 6.1-inch OLED screen with QHD+ resolution. The case is IP68 and MIL-STD-810G protected. Being the flagship model is equipped with a powerful Snapdragon 855 processor and 6/128GB of memory. A 3500mAh battery with fast and wireless charging is responsible for the battery life. The main camera is a triple module 16+12+12 MP with a number of interesting features, for example, there is video shooting with Bokeh effect.

In view of its low cost, as LG is suffering bad times and is not in great demand in the mobile segment, you can snatch the G8 ThinQ now for only 14-15 thousand rubles. Given the stuffing, and in particular the excellent sound, top-of-the-line processor and underrated OLED screen, it can be called a gift at all. The display of this model is one of the best on the market even among the new flagships: HDR10, AOD, DCI-3P, the density of 563 ppi - well that's space.


  • High performance.
  • Military grade protection.
  • Quality sound.
  • Excellent display.
  • Interesting features in camera.


  • Photo quality is average.
  • The gesture control system does not work well.


Vivo X50 Pro

  • Display: 6.56 inch, 2376×1080 resolution, 90Hz
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G 5G
  • Camera (primary/front): 48+13+8+8MP / 32MP
  • Memory (RAM/internal): 8/256GB
  • Battery: 4315 mAh

Price: from 52,290 rubles

The third line in the rating of the best music smartphones remains for vivo X50 Pro. Among the main features of the model, we can highlight the display stuffed with support for a variety of technologies, a fresh processor, impressive cameras and, of course, the premium Hi-Fi DAC AK4377A, which was released in 2018.

Functional cameras vivo X50 Pro can give a head start even to some flagship smartphones. There are four lenses on the rear: a 48MP main lens, an 8MP wide-angle and macro module, a 13MP additional sensor for portrait shots, and a telephoto lens. There are three autofocus technologies (LAF+PDAF+CDAF), OIS, UIS, 60x digital zoom (10x hybrid and 5x optical), night mode and RAW.

From a device costing over 50 thousand rubles, you expect only the top-end chipset, but here we are waiting for a mid-high-level processor Snapdragon 765 from Qualcomm. Still, this is a powerful single-chip system that allows and play anything on high settings, although it falls slightly short of the bar of modern flagships.


  • Battery life.
  • Fast charging vivo FlashCharge 2.0.
  • Big AMOLED screen with HDR10+ and 90Hz refresh rate.
  • Has NFC.
  • Gaming processor.
  • Camera with multiple shooting modes.


  • Chipset could be more powerful.
  • No 5G support.

Vivo Nex 3

  • Display: 6.89 inch, 2256×1080 resolution
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • Camera (primary/front): 64+13+13MP / 16MP
  • Memory (RAM/inbuilt): 8/128, 8/256 or 12/256GB
  • Battery: 4500 mAh

Price: from 40,100 rubles

Vivo Nex 3 is a beautiful smartphone with a large curved screen. There are no physical buttons here - instead there is a Touch Sence system with a tactile response mechanism. The display is large - 6.89 inches, made by OLED technology, resolution FHD +. It covers 99.6% of the front surface area, making the NEX 3 a truly frameless device. The 16MP front camera is mounted in a retractable module, and the backlight is also located here. They didn't forget to put a finger scanner in the screen as well. The main camera is 64+13+13MP. According to reviews makes very decent pictures.

Works on the top-of-the-line chipset Snapdragon 855 Plus and has memory 8/256 GB. An evaporative chamber system is used for cooling. The autonomy is provided by a 4500 mAh battery with fast charging. The ZTE Nex 3 has a AK4377A DAC. The reviews are very warm about the music capabilities of this smartphone. It also supports NFC, 5G and Wi-Fi 6.


  • Beautiful design and quality screen.
  • Excellent photo capabilities.
  • High sound quality.
  • Long battery life.
  • Support for modern wireless interfaces.
  • Gaming performance.
  • Efficient cooling system.


  • Cannot expand memory.
  • The controls without physical buttons will take some getting used to.


ZTE Axon 10 Pro

  • Display: 647 inch, resolution 2340×1080
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • Camera (primary/front): 48+20+8MP / 20MP
  • Memory (RAM/internal): 6/128, 8/256 or 12/256GB
  • Battery: 4000 mAh

Price: from 22,900 rubles

ZTE Axon 10 Pro is a smartphone with DAC and stereo speakers, released in 2019. The model is distinguished by a good price-to-performance ratio. Among the modern phones with music capabilities, this device looks the most balanced. It has a 6.47-inch rounded AMOLED screen with FHD+ resolution, a finger scanner and a 20MP front-facing drop.

The main camera consists of three lenses - 48+20+8MP with optical zoom and artificial intelligence. The WCD 9340 audio chip and forward-facing stereo speakers are responsible for the audio. The ZTE Axon 10 Pro is powered by Snapdragon 855 and offers between 6GB and 12GB of RAM. The primary storage is 128GB or 256GB. The battery is 4000 mAh and there is support for fast and wireless charging.


  • Gaming performance.
  • Excellent photo capabilities.
  • About 1.5 days of battery life under loads.
  • IP splash proof case
  • Excellent memory set even in minimal configuration.


  • combined memory slot.
  • Lack of 3.5 connector.
  • The case is very slippery - users note that it is almost extremely dangerous to carry without a case.


Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite

  • Display: 657 inch, 2400×1080 resolution
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 5G
  • Camera (primary/front): 48+8+2+2MP / 16MP
  • Memory (RAM/internal): 6/64, 6/128 or 8/256GB
  • Battery: 4160 mAh

Price: from 24,509 rubles

A representative from Xiaomi also found its place in the rating. Unlike the vivo X50 Pro, whose cost is more than twice as high, here we get all the same processor - Snapdragon 765 and at the same time the ability to work with networks of the fifth generation. It's at moments like these that you realize how the Chinese company from Beijing knows how to surprise. There is no DAC as such, but there is a place for NXP Smart PA amplifier, as well as Hi-Res speakers. There is also support for LDAC audio codecs, AptX HD and others.

Judging by the type of sensors, the camera here is clearly not a premium, but the quality of pictures is pretty solid medium-range. The standard module has a resolution of 48 MP, and is complemented by three additional lenses: 8 MP wide-angle, 2 MP portrait and a 2-megapixel depth-of-stage sensor. The Mi 10 Lite is expected to perform at its best in daytime well-lit scenes. At night, however, the detail of the picture falls noticeably, some areas in the photo are heavily darkened.

But what makes the Mi 10 Lite a truly balanced, good-quality mid-range smartphone is its main core: a single-chip system and a fast 256GB storage. With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765, you can run all sorts of heavy apps and multi-task simultaneously. Speaking of battery life, it could have been a bit more here, but overall the device will definitely suffice for a day of use.


  • Balanced specs.
  • Fast processor.
  • NFC and 5G support.
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protective glass.
  • Bright AMOLED screen with FHD+ resolution.
  • Appearance with minimal bezel.


  • The proximity sensor sometimes does not work properly.

OPPO Reno 2

  • Display: 6.5 inch, 2400×1080 resolution
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
  • Camera (primary/front): 48+8+13+2MP / 16MP
  • Memory (RAM/internal): 8/128GB
  • Battery: 4000 mAh

Price: from 18,100 rubles

OPPO Reno 2 is another device from our selection, equipped with a separate DAC. It has a Hi-Fi chip model AK4377A and supports Dolby Atmos technology, which makes the sound more voluminous and of high quality, improving the immersion when watching a movie or listening to music. The device got a QUAD-camera where the main part is the 48 megapixel camera. Thanks to the quality sensor, the Reno 2 produces excellent pictures both during the day and at night. In its price segment, the smartphone is one of the best in terms of photo and video capabilities. There is also an 8 MP module with a 116 degree viewing angle, a 13 MP telephoto lens and a depth sensor. Of the rest, laser autofocus, EIS, OIS, 480fps slow motion, 4K 30fps, hybrid (5X) and digital (20X) zoom are present.

The Reno 2 has a mid-level 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor responsible for performance. Although it's not the latest chipset announced in 2019, its performance is enough to keep the system stable in most scenarios. You will hardly need to charge the device frequently, but the manufacturer has provided 20W fast charging for that case.


  • High photo quality.
  • Low price.
  • Scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 6.
  • AMOLED screen with high pixel density.
  • Memory capacity.
  • The presence of NFC.


  • No notification indicator.


Vivo X27 Pro

  • Display: 6.7 inch, 2460×1080 resolution
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
  • Camera (primary/front): 48+13+2MP / 32MP
  • Memory (RAM/internal): 8/256GB
  • Battery: 4000 mAh

Price: from 35,900 rubles

Vivo X27 Pro is a 2019 model with a number of interesting points. First of all, they consist of a retractable 32MP selfie camera with backlight and flash, the presence of AKM AK4377A DAC, as well as an improved cooling system.

Always, the device is a set of all the current 2019 solutions - huge AMOLED screen 6.7 inches with FHD+ resolution and built-in fingerprint, 4000 mAh battery with fast charging, gradient body surface, triple main camera - 48+13+2 Mp. Snapdragon 710 and 8GB of RAM are responsible for the performance. 256GB permanent storage, no memory card support.


  • Quality photography.
  • Excellent headphone sound.
  • Good memory reserve.
  • Improved cooling system.
  • Fast and accurate fingerprint.
  • Interesting front camera design.


  • Not the best chipset choice considering the price of the device.
  • Memory cards are not supported - but this is compensated by the large main storage capacity.


Ulefone Armor 7

  • Display: 6.3 inch, resolution 2340×1080
  • Processor: MediaTek Helio P90
  • Camera (primary/front): 48+16+8MP / 16MP
  • Memory (RAM/internal): 8/128GB
  • Battery: 5500 mAh

Price: from 20,700 rubles

Ulefone Armor 7 is the company's top smartphone with a powerful Helio P90 chipset, triple camera (48+16+8MP), Hi-Fi AW8736 sound amplifier, and IP68 and MIL-STD-810G certification. In addition to a pretty impressive processor, the phone gets 8/128GB of storage and a large 5500mAh battery with support for not only fast but also wireless charging.

The Armor 7 also has room for a heart rate scanner, a pedometer and NFC. Dactyloscope and face scanning are responsible for data security. The screen of the device is 6.3 inches with a resolution of FHD +. The 16MP front camera is mounted in a drop cutout.


  • High security.
  • Not bad camera.
  • Excellent memory set.
  • Strong battery.


  • Combined sim and memory connector.
  • No 3.5 jack.
  • Old microUSB connector.


Honor 10

  • Display: 5.84 inch, resolution 2280×1080
  • Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 970
  • Camera (primary/front): 16+24MP / 24MP
  • Memory (RAM/internal): 4/64, 4/128, 6/64 or 6/128GB
  • Battery: 3400 mAh

Price: from 13,600 rubles

The last device in the ranking is Honor 10, which went on sale back in 2018. As we said before, most new and simply current devices do not get dedicated DAC modules and amplifiers. For this reason, some models may be outdated. But if you are not confused by the lack of constant updates and a fresh OS, this smartphone will be a good buy in terms of cost and sound: there is a 24-bit Hi-Fi chip Asahi Kasei AK4376A.

As it may seem at first glance, the cameras here are weak. The main lens at 16 MP, supported by a black and white sensor and Leica optics produces decent pictures in all conditions. For a solid average level of shooting quality clearly does not pull, but as for the budget level the capabilities of the Honor 10 are at an altitude. Of the features: slow motion video at 240fps, 4K 30fps, HDR.

The Honor 10 features the proprietary HiSilicon Kirin 970 single-crystal system, which was announced in 2017. Even though the processor is over 4 years old, they put a lot of power into it at the time, so even today it can easily pull even today's demanding games and applications. But in terms of autonomy, the battery in the smartphone is rather "squishy": it will barely suffice for 24 hours of use.


  • Compact and ergonomic design.
  • Supports NFC and Dolby Atmos technologies.
  • Fit for gaming.
  • Large memory capacity.
  • Light and comfortable.
  • High resolution display.


  • Battery life.
  • Outdated operating system.


Ulefone Armor X6

  • Display: 5 inch, resolution 1280×720
  • Processor: MediaTek MT6580
  • Camera (primary/front): 8 MP / 5 MP
  • Memory (RAM / built-in): 2/16 GB
  • Battery: 4000 mAh

Price: from 6 000 rubles

And closing the rating is the ultra budget model Armor X6 from Ulefone. Not surprisingly, there is no dedicated DAC (as claimed by many Internet sources), but lovers of good sound with a severely limited budget can still pay attention to this smartphone. The device is equipped with an AW8736 amplifier. This does not guarantee the best sound comparable to devices that have DAC, support for Dolby Atmos and other technologies, but is suitable as a cheap option.

On the photo capabilities Ulefone Armor X6 no point to talk long, because the optics here is the most on a budget: the main camera at 8 MP and the front of the 5 MP. There is a dual LED flash, face recognition, autofocus. Suitable for basic tasks, when you just need to capture a certain moment in the picture.

Available high-quality sound in the headphones and protected housing have to pay not only for the camera, but also the performance. The MediaTek MT6580 processor installed inside is not able to cope with games and many modern applications. "Lags" in the system may appear, but if you do not load the device with unnecessary programs and services, it is possible to avoid it.


  • Protection according to IP69K, MIL-STD-810G.
  • Compact size.
  • Low price.
  • Durable aluminum alloy housing.


  • Low performance.
  • Bad quality cameras.


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