When buying one, you usually make sure that it can handle web browsing, take good pictures and that is capable of loading lots of apps. You don’t always pay attention to its music playback quality, despite the fact that a lot of people spend more time listening to music on their phones than on calling. Phone manufacturers, of late, have started to take this aspect more seriously, and are putting greater effort into improving audio quality. Here’s our list of smartphones that deliver great in-ear sound quality as well as excellent loudspeaker output. For best results, buy a pair of third-party headphones. They don’t have to be too expensive, but remember that they are a worthwhile investment.

HTC One M9+

One of the things HTC’s One series is renowned for is its front-facing BoomSound speakers, and the One M9+ is no exception. The dual front-facing speakers are good enough for sound output while playing games and watching videos, something that not a lot of devices can boast about. Its in-ear sound quality is clean, quite loud and, while you’re better off purchasing a separate set of headphones, the bundled headset does a fine job. Rs 40,000


Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung’s high-end Android devices usually come with dedicated Wolfson circuits to handle all the audio processing. The popular Galaxy Note 4 has a Wolfson WM5110E DAC, which does a really good job of producing more natural and clean sound from the device. Plus, it’s one of the few phones out there with not two but three microphones, for better surround sound recording while recording videos. Rs. 37,000


ViVo X5 Max

You might not have heard about Vivo, but this Chinese handset manufacturer has quite a phone up its sleeves, especially when it comes to audio. The X5 Max has a dedicated Yamaha YSS-205X coupled with a SABRE ES9601 DAC. What this means is less distortion during music playback and cleaner and louder output of your soundtracks. It really stands out with respect to its audio capabilities and is a worthy contender for those looking for top notch audio quality from their smartphone. Rs 32,500


Sony Xperia Z3

Sony is known for its audio products, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a Sony phone in this list. The Xperia Z3 handles most audio formats really well, and has 192/44 Khz processing to handle FLAC files better. The in-box headsets produce loud sound with a lot of bass, which many users may like. In fact, Sony’s default headsets are often among the best earphones among all smartphones out there. Price Rs. 30,000


Xiaomi Mi4

The Mi4 doesn’t necessarily have a lot under the hood for handling audio, but what it does have is great audio quality for under Rs 15,000. Mind you, the phone doesn’t come with a pair of earphones in the box, but using a basic pair shows it can handle audio well, and even the bottom-facing speakers aren’t bad for casual listening. Rs 14,900 (16 GB)


Nokia Lumia 1520

The Lumia 1520 is a great “phablet” for those concerned about their audio needs. The phone boasts three mics across the body for better sound recording and surround sound playback in videos. On the other hand, its loudspeaker is also pretty clear and can handle most music genres quite well, without distortion. In-ear sound quality is probably the best among any Windows Phone device out there, thanks to Nokia’s in-house work.
Rs. 30,000