Best phones for music 2024: Discover the best-sounding smartphones

If you want one of the best phones for music then you've landed in the right spot. This guide is all about audio so you can keep the highest quality music on you, without needing to carry any device other than your trusty smartphone.

An audio focused smartphone isn't as common as you might think. But in recent years most manufacturers have heard our cry for better quality audio and now you'll find more smartphones that support higher quality audio than ever before. So if you want rich and spacious sound right from your device then a dedicated smartphone could be your best move.

Smartphones range widely in price from budget to premium, with brands like Apple and Samsung at the top-end while the likes of LG and OnePlus bring more affordable options. You may not want to sacrifice your smartphone's camera, screen or OS quality for audio specificity and thankfully in most cases you won't have to.

From the best music streaming services to lossless audio streaming, you'll find these phones can get you the highest quality output right into your ear canals. Yup, it's worth investing in the best headphones for music to get the most out of your device.

Some features considered in this guide include the best smartphone speakers, battery life, photography and more. Here are the very best phones for music lovers.

Quick list

Best for hi-res audio

Best phones for music: Sony Xperia 1 V

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony Xperia 1 V

The best smartphone for those looking for hi-res audio delivery

Specifications

Screen size: 6.5 inches
Screen type: OLED
Screen resolution: 1644 x 3840 (643ppi)
OS: Android
Storage: 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Wired and wireless audio
+
Superb 4K OLED screen
+
Design and build upgrades 

Reasons to avoid

-
Large in the hand

The Sony Xperia 1 V has taken an already impressive smartphone lineage and improved upon it. That means this audio-focused handset that's aimed specifically at AV enthusiasts now has a new design for a large screen in a more compact form that offers a superb 6.5-inch 120Hz 4K HDR OLED panel. Crucially, for audiophiles, this phone supports hi-res audio including codec and smarts for Dolby Atmos, AptxHD, LDAC and Aptx Adaptive. 

Everything is played out of front-firing stereo speakers - or you can play via the Bluetooth 5.3 LE connection over wireless headphones. But, crucially, you can also use wired headphones using the all too rare 3.5mm headphone port. Software enhancement wise, this offers more audio clarity over its predecessors, with a wide soundstage, excellent handling of dynamics and an overall rich presentation.

You also have a speedy powerful phone with a massive 5000mAh battery that can last for days on a full charge, which is perfect for those long festival weekends. And when you do need a boost, it'll be back up to full, fast – 50% in 30 minutes, fast. You also have an impressive 48MP sensor toting camera setup with Sony's Xmoor T for Mobile enhancing low-light and action photography - an ideal option for gigs.

This isn't a cheap handset but it is Sony's flagship smartphone showing off all its latest tech – something other manufacturers often take from Sony eventually. So if you want the best and can afford it, the Sony Xperia 1 V is where its at.

Best speakers

Best phones for music: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

For listening or snapping images at a gig, this Samsung is hard to beat

Specifications

Screen size: 6.8-inch
Screen type: Dynamic AMOLED
Screen resolution: 1440 x 3088 pixels (500 ppi)
Operating system: Android
Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Battery: 5,000mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Superb speaker performance
+
Dolby Atmos support
+
Stunning display and cameras

Reasons to avoid

-
Minimal AV updates over last S22

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is a superb smartphone for audio, visuals, camera and battery performance. While the audio and visuals are brilliant, the enhancements aren't massive over last year's S22, so that's worth keeping in mind when you budget for this expensive handset. 

What you do get here is one of the best speaker performances from any phone – better than some rivals headphone performances. To be clear, headphones are best here but that speaker setup does a great job of offering actual physical separation for a well organised audio performance. When it comes to watching movies, for example, you can hear the audio realistically matches the character's position on screen. Dolby Atmos support plays a big part in this impressive audio performance. Using high quality audio, this offers superb spatial audio reproduction.

The screen is stunning with that 120Hz 1440p AMOLED which makes everything eye-popping, especially the photos from that mind blowing quad camera with a top 100x zoom – ideal for gigs. Plus there's a super fast charging 5,000mAh battery that should get you through days of use on a charge.

Best iPhone

Best phones for music: Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

There are many iPhones but this is the one to go for awesome audio

Specifications

Screen size: 6.7 inches
Screen type: 120Hz 6.1-inch AMOLED
Screen resolution: 1290 x 2796 pixels
Operating system: iOS
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1T
Battery: 3,274mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Dynamic, natural sound
+
Superb audio via headphones
+
Lovely design, camera & screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey

Apple rarely shouts about audio yet they made a jump forward with the previous generation and now the iPhone 15 Pro Max has come out punching with superb audio performance. Headphones offer a realistic interpretation of the audio input bringing out the best as intended by production but without overly manipulating anything. This results in smooth yet dynamic audio across a wide soundstage with impeccable timings. Over speakers the performance is also impressive with a loud peak performance but also a retention of warmth and balance. 

Everything else is also fantastic with a large and clear 120Hz 6.1-inch AMOLED display, massive all-day 3,274mAh battery and a stunning triple camera with 5x optical zoom and intelligent 4K video capture. Plus you get that iOS system which offers some of the best apps out there which take advantage of all that hardware smarts to give you whatever you need – be it recording capture and editing output or enjoying playback in a quality format.

Best budget iPhone

Best phones for music: Apple iPhone 13

(Image credit: Apple)

4. Apple iPhone 13

Another great option for Apple fans on a budget

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1 inches
Screen type: Super Retina XDR OLED
Screen resolution: 2532×1170 pixels
Operating system: iOS
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512 GB
Battery: 3,227mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Great sounding audio
+
Easy interface
+
Great OLED screen

Reasons to avoid

-
No charger included

The Apple iPhone 13 is a stunning phone, as you'd expect from the fruit giant. It's also the best option for anyone that's already into Apple Music. This comes with a buttery smooth A15 processor and latest iOS for a simple to use and very fast menu system that makes this a joy. The fact it's all displayed on that eye-popping 6.1-inch 120Hz OLED display does help too.

The cameras are impressive with a triple 12MP setup on the rear that uses super sensor smarts to offer features like Portrait mode but also excellent Night mode that's perfect for gigs, capturing the lighting as it's meant to be.

This isn't a cheap option but with that premium build, lots of features and a great musical audio sound that's recreated no matter the headphones you use – this is worth the extra.

Best budget all-rounder

Best phones for music: Nokia 3310

(Image credit: Nokia)

5. Nokia 3310

The best phone for music fans on a tight budget

Specifications

Screen size: 2.4-inch
Screen type: LCD
Screen resolution: 240 x 320
OS: Nokia Series 30+
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 1,200mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing value
+
Up to 51 hours battery

Reasons to avoid

-
Camera is basic 
-
Only 2.5G connectivity

Not only does it have a compact and pretty cool retro look, but the refreshed Nokia 3310 keeps your tunes blasting for days. The phone’s 1,200mAh battery isn't the biggest, sure, but wrapped within this glorified feature phone it offers an unbelievable 51 hours of continuous music playback. Fifty. One. Hours!

Want something smaller? Want to upgrade your parents' old Nokias? Or just after a spare phone that can keep the tunes coming as your main phone’s battery circles the drain? Then the Nokia 3310 is the best phone for music option for you.

Best with audio port

Best phones for music: Sony Xperia 10 IV

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony Xperia 10 IV

The best Sony smartphone for those rocking wired headphones

Specifications

Screen size: 6-inch
Screen type: OLED
Screen resolution: 1080p
Operating system: Android
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 5000mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Superb headphone audio
+
Rich OLED display
+
3.5mm headphone port

Reasons to avoid

-
Speakers aren't great

When it comes to audio the Sony Xperia 10 IV offers superb performance across the all-too-rare 3.5mm audio port for wired headphones. While the mono speaker is pretty poor, the headphone performance is strong with clear and detailed vocals, top timings and a spacious arrangement. 

The audio pairs well with the visuals too thanks to a 21:9 HDR 1080P OLED display. It's not as good as the latest model in our top spot, but there's still plenty to enjoy about the Sony Xperia 10 IV.

You also have a massive 5000mAh battery meaning you should be able to use this for days at a time before needing a charge up via the USB-C port.

Best for video

Best phones for music: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Samsung)

7. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

A beautiful-looking phone that also caters for clear 8K video capture

Specifications

Screen size: 6.2-7.6-inches
Screen type: OLED
Screen resolution: 2316 x 904p
Operating system: Android
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,400mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Huge fold-out display
+
8K video recording
+
Zoom-in mic

Reasons to avoid

-
Fold mark visible

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 has come on across the generations to offer all the best features from flagship smartphones, only with the special ability to fold out. As such this offers a phone-shaped 6.2-inch display which can be folded out into a tablet style 7.6-inch OLED screen. 

Being Samsung, you can also expect super speeds, long battery life, powerful multi lens camera setup and super fast charging. When it comes to audio this handset offers stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos tech. Use headphones and you can enjoy ultra high quality in UHQ 32-bit and DSD64/128 support plus OCM up to 32 bits. Usefully it features dual audio Bluetooth so two people can connect their headphones to listen at the same time- and video can be captured in stunning 8K.

Best for gaming

Best phones for music: Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

(Image credit: Asus)

8. Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

The perfect smartphone for gaming on the go

Specifications

Screen size: 6.7-inches
Screen type: AMOLED
Screen resolution: 1080 x 2448 pixels
Operating system: Android
Storage: 512GB
Battery: 6,000mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent display
+
Long-life big battery
+
Super fast and powerful

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor software
-
Not totally water resistant

For gaming audio there isn't much better than the Asus Rog Phone 7 Ultimate which is built for speed. It packs in a massive 16GB of RAM and super speedy Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor meaning everything on that 165Hz 6.7-inch HDR10+ AMOLED display is stunning and buttery smooth. This is thicker than many phones but that's thanks to a massive 6,000mAh battery that will have you gaming all day or running this for days on end with normal use.

This has a classic 3.5mm headphone jack for the ultimate in wired audio output. Plus there are stereo front-firing speakers that even have a subwoofer built-in, so you get an immersive audio experience without headphones. Connect over Bluetooth and this supports aptX Lossless for low-latency high-fidelity audio. Plus you have Dirac Virtuo meaning you get spatial sound in your headphones experience, ideal for gaming and music alike.

Buying advice

Best phones for music: Smartphone tethered to Philips Fidelio X3

(Image credit: Philips)

Wired or wireless listening?

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

The first big choice you have to make is about how you're going to listen to your music: wired headphones or wireless? If you've already invested in a decent pair of true wireless earbuds, or you've shopped our best budget wireless headphones guide, the lack of a 3.5mm headphone port on a phone likely won't phase you. 

If you’re all about Bluetooth connectivity, you may want to look out for AptX support which offers higher quality streaming wirelessly to those headphones that support the feature.

But if you're committed to that DAC and always need a wire, that's going to immediately narrow your choices down. Since Apple ditched the headphone port several phone generations ago, plenty of other manufacturers have chosen to follow suit. A few still remain, but as wireless audio becomes higher quality, the demand for that classic 3.5mm port is dropping fast.

What about audio quality?

For the best possible audio quality you'll already be aware of lossless audio and probably tend to download files for listening rather than going for streaming. Tidal is a great option for master quality streaming on the go. Either way you'll likely want offline music so that means thinking about the storage you might need, so bear that in mind when selecting a handset.

Several Android phones still offer microSD ports – and this is an affordable and handy way of expanding how many songs you'll be able to hold. However, for an iPhone, be prepared to pay more for every memory jump you make, or an extra outlay for cloud storage.

If you've made the decision to go totally wireless, a 5G phone with unlimited data could be the perfect choice. That way, you'll always have high-quality audio at your fingertips when you need it – without using up storage space.

What audio formats can I listen to on my phone?

There are quite a few high-end audio formats floating around out there these days, so you may want to look out for one that suits your needs. This can be for music as well as movie watching. From Dolby Atmos to DSD and Sony LDAC, know what you want based on your streaming service and headphones setup before you start to look for the smartphone to back them up.

How much storage space do I need?

You may be streaming your music but with options to store on the device for offline listening it's worth making sure you have enough space. Smartphones come in varying storage sizes where you'll find you pay a premium for the larger amounts. So work out how much you typically store offline so you can have enough without breaking the bank.

Some smartphones also offer microSD storage expansion which is a great way to get more storage without spending quite so much up front. Just keep in mind you will need to buy the card itself.

What battery life does a good phone for music offer?

Battery life is always an important consideration when taking the plunge for a new phone – especially if you find yourself listening to a lot of music throughout the day, or you spend a lot of time away from him and listen to music on the go. You can only keep listening for as long as your battery lasts. If you're streaming over data that battery life is going to take even more of a pounding. So it's worth looking out either for a device with a large battery or at least with a fast charging option to get you fuller faster.

How much do the best phones for music cost?

The price of smartphones varies wildly, depending on the brand, the features, the battery life, screen quality, and the amount of storage space. They are priced from a few hundred pounds/dollars but rise quickly.

What you spend largely comes down to what you can manage. If you're Team Wired then you'll need to go for either an iPhone with adapter and spend a chunk of cash, or opt for a top end Samsung.

If you're a proud member of Team Wireless, you have a greater range of options when it comes to choosing the best phone for music. In this case however you may need to think about more storage or splashing out more on an unlimited streaming data plan.