There are a lot of aspects involved in reviewing a smartphone. Many we can show you. Things like camera samples, synthetic benchmarks, and pictures of the phone next to other phones. Some we have to just tell you about. How a device “feels”, if it’s responsive or laggy.
Reviewing audio gets a little dicey. It’s hard to discuss call quality for instance as that has as much to do with network conditions on any given day as it has anything to do with the phone’s hardware. There are some controls we can exert however, and this slideshow will start off a series. We’ll regularly revisit this as new phones are released in the future.
We can often take audio quality for granted, but it plays an important part in how we interact with many apps and services. Get ready to listen. Our first Smartphone Speaker Showdown features eight different handsets: Galaxy Note 2, Pantech Discover, LG Optimus G Pro, Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 1020, Galaxy S4 Active, HTC One, and HTC One Mini.
Near as we could manage, all devices were recorded in similar conditions with the same audio files to make it easier for you to hear the (sometimes not so) subtle differences and nuances in audio tech on board our mobiles. Now unfortunately, we can’t make a slideshow of Youtube videos here on Examiner, so I’ve taken the time to link out to specific videos on each picture, taking you directly to audio samples of each participant.
Pantech Discover: The “Low End” entry
Pantech makes some very interesting devices at the low and mid range. While not quite as polished as a premier handset, the Discover (a $50 on contract phone) was packed full of neat tricks. Not the least of which were stereo speakers, beating the HTC One to the punch by months…
Listen to samples of the Pantech Discover.
Galaxy Note II: Last Gen’s King
The Galaxy Note II took the crown as being the premier mobile data experience which could still (somewhat) fit into a pants pocket. We’re including it here to see if mobile audio tech has evolved.
Listen to samples of the Galaxy Note 2.
Nokia Lumia 920: The First Windows Phone 8 Flagship
As with the Galaxy Note II, we’re including the Lumia 920 as a legacy entry. Still one of the best Windows Phones you can use, we’ll have a newer Microsoft handset later in the list.
Listen to samples of the Nokia Lumia 920.
LG Optimus G Pro: The Phablet Competitor
LG has joined the phablet wars, and their Optimus G Pro is a formidable opponent. Does its speaker compare to the Galaxy Note II?
Listen to samples of the LG Optimus G Pro.
HTC One: Boomsound
Maybe the current king of smartphone audio. HTC cracked the code on how to include speakers which point in the right direction, namely at your face. Include a little Beats Audio special seasoning, and you end up with a multimedia powerhouse.
Listen to Samples of the HTC One.
Nokia Lumia 1020: Windows Phone crown jewel
How do you improve upon the Lumia 920? Well you put in a MONSTER camera, and you make the speaker bigger. Does that give the 1020 an edge against our other list participants? Let’s listen!
Listen to samples of the Nokia Lumia 1020.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: The waterproof warrior
Often the media experience on rugged phones suffers. Waterproofing a phone means sealing up all those nooks and crannies which also allow air to escape when the speaker is blasting. Has Samsung’s ruggedization process hamstrung the GS4-A?
Listen to samples of the Galaxy S4 Active.
HTC One Mini: Smaller size, big beats
Good things come in small packages. HTC has shrunk everything we loved from the One to make the One Mini. How do those smaller speakers compare to the its big brother?
Listen to samples of the HTC One Mini.
Smartphone Speaker Round Up – August 2013
A round robin of eight (mostly) current phones to delight the ears. We’re already looking forward to getting our hands on the LG G2, the Galaxy Note 3, the Moto X, the next Nexus, and Apple’s iPhone update for our next speaker test so stay tuned!