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HTC One M9

HTC One M9


The ReviewGist pick for the best cell phone for music lovers is the HTC One M9. The HTC One M9 comes with front facing stereo speakers for a great surround sound experience, has been tested to have one of the highest volume levels in around a hundred odd cell phones we researched, and has won acclaim from all cell phone experts vis-a-vis its speaker sound quality.

The HTC One M9 is a luxurious feeling flagship Android phone released by HTC mid of last year. Its sound performance though is hard to beat even today which rightly makes it our top choice for the best music phone:

 Brilliant sounding speakers.

 Best speakers you can find on a phone.

   There are two speakers on the front (already exceeding the norm), which deliver relatively powerful sound, a clear vocal range and no distortion.



What we looked for to find the best cell phones for playing music

1. Stereo Speakers: The trend for having stereo speakers was actually started with HTC in 2015 and we used this as a first filter criterion for our selection. Stereo speakers are critical if you want to have a surround sound experience while listening to music and the best cellphones for music should definitely sport one. We found around 30 odd cellphone released over the last two years which come with stereo speakers. (Full list of cell phones with Stereo Speakers »)

2. Loudness: The next criterion we considered was the how loud the speakers were. For this, we relied on the Speaker Loudness levels as tested by GSMArena. The good folks at GSMArena test every cell phone released by playing on each cellphone the same sound sample representative of music. The resulting audio is tested by a standardised equipment to measure the sound levels. The resulting score is measured in decibels and ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being the loudest. For our purpose, we narrowed down our list to about 10 odd cellphones by limiting to the set which had a loudness score of at least 60 dB. (All cell phones with At least 64 dB Loudness »)

3. Clarity: Finally we poured through over a few hundred reviews we collected on these 10 cell phones to find out the ones which have been top rated for their sound and music clarity. Our list of the top cellphones for music quality below have all been rated extremely positively by reviewers for their music/speaker quality.

Full list of cell phones best for playing music (At least 64 dB Loudness AND Stereo Speakers) »


Motorola Nexus 6

Motorola Nexus 6


2. Runner up pick for purists wanting an Android phone with a great music player

Our runner up choice for the best cellphone for music lover is the Motorola Nexus 6. The Nexus 6 is again the Android flagship for Motorola and comes with a clean Android build appreciated by the purists. Its speaker capabilities have been duly noted by most reviewers:

 Dual front-firing speakers have a potent punch.

 Fantastic speaker sound.

 Clear stereo speakers.



HTC Desire Eye

HTC Desire Eye


3. Budget phone with best music player

The third place in our best music phone rankings go to the HTC Desire Eye. Now the only reason the Eye has come in the third place is because it is a relatively older model, having being launched in late 2014. That being said, you might just get a great deal on Amazon at a sub-$300 price point making it the best music phone you can buy at a budget.

The HTC Desire Eye also stands out as the only one sporting built-in amplifiers along with the stereo speakers and has been widely acclaimed for its BoomSound speakers:

 The audio-reproducing capabilities of the HTC Desire EYE are top-notch – the BoomSound speakers at the front produce pretty deep and loud sounds, with no perceptible audio distortion even at maximum volume.

 I was able to cook in my kitchen and comfortably hear a podcast over the sound of my shopping.



HTC 10

HTC 10


4. HTC BoomSound Flagship with the best music player

The HTC 10 is a great music phone. It comes with HTC's Boomsound stereo speakers whose performance has been certified by one and all. The only reason HTC 10 did not make it to our recommendations for the best music phone is because its loudness levels are rated a tad bit lower than our cutoff (64 dB) at 62 dB. That being said, if you don't like your music too loud then the HTC 10 just might be the best music player phone out there.

 The overall sound quality of the HTC 10 is very impressive, with a good audio reproduction throughout the sound frequencies.

 The takeaway message here is that BoomSound is still BoomSound and the HTC 10 is one of the best sounding handsets around.

 Boomsound not great.



Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7


5. Latest cell phone which is best for playing music

The new kid on the block for our rankings for the best music phone is the Apple iPhone 7. The Apple iPhone 7 is the first iPhone which comes with a set of stereo speakers and being an 'Apple' is expected to give top-of-the-line music performance.

However, at this time the reviews are still coming in, and from what we have seen the verdict is still out there on whether it is a top candidate for the best music phone. It does score a healthy 73dB on the GSMArena loudness scores and there are some good reviews coming in on the sound clarity. However, ITPro did not find the iPhone 7 to be inferior to the HTC 10 when it comes to playing music:

 The tone is also good, offering pleasingly chunky midranges, although the bass can't compete with Android rivals like the HTC Ten and its BoomSound speakers.

 The earpiece now doubles as a speaker, so you get surprisingly decent stereo sound out of the phone itself.



Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3


6. Budget Android Phone with a great music player

The sixth position for our choice of the best cellphone for playing music is the Sony Xperia Z3. The Sony Xperia Z3 launched around 2 years back with flagship specs - though with the 20 Megapixel camera, 3 GB RAM and a great display, it is still a very good cellphone for doing whatever you might want to throw at it. The Z3 is currently retailing on Amazon at $300 a pop making it a very good budget Android phone to buy with a great music player.

The music capabilities of the Z3 are on point: it supports a 66dB loudness score, sports a stereo speaker system and has been widely recommended for its music performance.The experts at Wired though have given a thumbs down for the Z3's music performance:

 Great front facing speakers

 The twin front-firing speakers were quite powerful and rich - distortion was minimal at high volumes and subtle details actually did come through.

 Music sounds distorted and unbalanced, and things can be grating at full volume.



7. Budget Android Phablet best for playing music and movies

The 7th position for our pick of the best phone with music player is the Lenovo K4 Note. The K4 Note is phablet-sized at 5.5 inches and has been launched by Lenovo as a budget offering. The budget tag aside, the K4 note ticks off most of the feature set pretty well: great screen, usable fingerprint sensor, good performance and a dual stereo speaker setup for a great music experience.

The K4 note also has a very respectable loudness score of 66dB and has atleast one reviewer comment on its music capabilities:

 Sound output from the phone is particularly good, thanks to the dual stereo speakers in front.

The K4 note is retailing on Amazon at around $250 and is the ReviewGist pick for the best budget Android phablet for playing music and watching movies.



Comparison of the Top 5 Cell Phones For Music - 2016

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

HTC One M9
Motorola Nexus 6
HTC Desire Eye
HTC 10
Apple iPhone 7
HTC One M9
Motorola Nexus 6
HTC Desire Eye
HTC 10
Apple iPhone 7
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ReviewGist
Score
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ReviewGist
Score
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ReviewGist
Score
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ReviewGist
Score
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ReviewGist
Score
Release Date
Mar 2015
Nov 2014
Nov 2014
May 2016
Sep 2016
Loudspeaker
Yes, with stereo speakers
Yes, with stereo speakers
Yes, with stereo speakers, built-in amplifiers
Yes, dual speakers
Yes, with stereo speakers
Speaker Loudness
64.0 dB
66.0 dB
65.0 dB
62.0 dB
73.0 dB
Digital Camera Resolution
20.0 MP
13.0 MP
13.0 MP
12.0 MP
12.0 MP
Installed RAM (GB)
3.0 GB
3.0 GB
2.0 GB
4.0 GB
2.0 GB
Screen Size(Diagonal)
5.0 inch
5.96 inch
5.2 inch
5.2 inch
4.7 inch
Front Webcam Resolution
4.0 MP
2.0 MP
13.0 MP
5.0 MP
7.0 MP
Processor Type
Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57
Quad-core 2.7 GHz Krait 450
Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo, 1.6GHz  quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Quad-core
Battery Capacity
2840.0 mAh
3220.0 mAh
2400.0 mAh
3000.0 mAh
1960.0 mAh
Operating System
Android OS, v5.0.x (Lollipop)
Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)
Android OS, v4.4.4 (KitKat)
Android OS, v6.0.1 (Marshmallow), Android 6
iOS 10.0.1
Carrier
AT-T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint
AT-T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
AT-T
T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon
AT-T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon
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