smartphone

Best phones with headphone jack

Back in 2016, Apple made a decision that would shake the mobile industry as a whole. The Californian company released its first member of the iPhone series without the iconic headphone jack. Manufacturers followed soon after with mediocre devices that in their not-have package missed the earphone jack as well. Even when the Jack-less iPhone 7 was in the swirl of rumors, Lenovo went ahead to release the very first phone to not have the headphone jack.

It is no secret that many phone brands, especially the new ones coming from China attempt to produce look-a-like iPhone devices. They even copied iPhone’s screen notch although it is ugly and doesn’t add any value to the phone. Phones that in a list of missing things included the 3.5mm stereo jack flooded the market.

Apple’s decision to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack was due to the company’s belief that the future is wireless audio and to add more waterproofness to the iPhone. However, this stand is not shared by every mobile phone producer. Some believed that the earphone connector made phones thicker than they should be or that it doesn’t go well with the edge-to-edge touchscreen displays. However, these are not true. The iPhone 7 is not thinner than the iPhone 6, and during that time, all-touchscreen display phones were not really a thing.

Regardless. What is worth noting is that the transition from mobile phones with the headphone to those without it has not been as smooth as intended. Wireless audio is not as good as the cable audio and those Bluetooth earbuds, regardless of how good-looking they are, they come with batteries of their own and require to be charged too. The alternative to Bluetooth and analog audio to replace the jack plug experience became the new USB-C audio. USB-C things and problems with them are the reason why the jack plug might have found its self a stronghold at Samsung and few other phone producers that either remain resilient to not let the 3.5mm headphone jack go or release versions of their phones having it.

Practical problems when the phone has no earphone jack

There are technical and practical issues that came up with the phones that lack the traditional 3.5mm earphone jack. The current alternatives to it are the Bluetooth headphones and earbuds that stream music from your phone wirelessly via Bluetooth and USB-C earbuds.

Wireless earphones cost more than standard wired units, and they require to be charged regularly to function. As USB-C phones have only one port, you cannot listen to music on your earbuds while your phone is being charged. It is a choice that makes USB-C audio impractical for use on mobile phones. While you can have this problem partially fixed with the iPhone Lightning Dock, the experience on having an Android without the 3.5mm audio jack is far more frustrating.

Manufacturers that made jack-less Android phones like Huawei, do include a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack adapter but it has only one output. Forbidding listening to music and charging at the same time and giving space to a user-hostile environment far more unforgiving than the one iPhone users face.

The best option for anyone that wants to charge and listen to music at the same time on their Android phone that has no headphone jack is the 2 in 1 USB-C cable made by Sony. There are other similar adapters on Amazon, but the ratings aren’t that good. Some users report them not being compatible with every Android.

USB-C is not universal and this why your USB-C adapter probably doesn’t work

Despite being universal is in the name of the USB Type-C, you can’t plug in anything USB-C into your phone. You actually can, but it won’t work. The thing is, sound content on any mobile phone is in a digital form, and a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is required to decode the sound stored as digital signals into analog audio. The DAC then sends the converted audio to an amplifier, which, in turn, sends music to your headphones.

Many of the USB-C dongles don’t actually have a built-in DAC in them and rely on the phone’s DAC to make the conversion from digital audio to analog for the headphones to be able to play them. A phone that does not have the jack plug will almost always connect with Type-C dongles that have a DAC on them but may not work with those without it. There are also many phones with USB-C and the headphone jack, such phones will do work with digital USB-C dongles but will not connect to analog dongles. Although phones do have a DAC of their own, manufacturers are not obliged to convert digital audio to USB-C, and they often choose not to do it.

Dongles don’t seem to fix all the problems surrounding USB-C audio even when they do work perfectly fine. That’s probably why Samsung isn’t giving up on the old headphone jack yet. If you don’t want to have a full box of cables to listen to music on your phone and charge it, here are the best phones that have the old headphone jack.

Samsung Galaxy S9 / Galaxy S9+

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Despite being upgraded with the Galaxy S10 in a few days, Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ remain to be two of the most thoroughgoing Android smartphones. It comes in a compact 5.8-inch version and a large 6.2-inch Plus model that has more memory and two cameras on the back that enhance its photography performance.

Both models of the Galaxy S9 boast enthralling AMOLED screens featuring HDR 10, the quad-HD resolution that skyrockets the pixel density at up to 570 pixels per inch. The best phones sporting curved edge screens they have no annoying notch. There is a built-in 3D touch that serves as a Home button function.

The performance on the S9 is outstanding. Snapdragon 845 chipset that powers the Samsung flagship of 2018 has 4GB of RAM on the standard S9 and 6GB on the S9+. The Android 9.0 Marshmallow with One UI making its debut cover the user experience and compatibility to the latest Android apps and games. Storage versions for both devices include 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB with each of them supporting expandable memory of up to 512GB via microSD.

With the Galaxy S9, you get one of the best single-camera 12MP sensors while if you are opting for the larger S9+, there is a second 12MP telephoto sensor that captures even better photos. There is a bunch of sensors coming with the Samsung phones that help make your life easier. A rear-mounted fingerprint that reportedly won’t be succeeded by the Galaxy S10. There are a heart rate and the SpO2 sensors which measure the level of oxygen in the blood. Samsung equips you with health-related sensors you may expect to find on a fitness smartwear, not on a smartphone.

Regarding audio, Samsung has been resilient to drop the headphone jack with its flagship phones continuing it along the USB 3.1 and USB-C. You can listen to music with every earbuds type with the Samsung phone without having to purchase expensive accessories. Standard, Bluetooth, and USB-C headsets will all work perfectly fine, just plug them in or connect to them and you’re good to go.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands on

Galaxy Note9, one of the finest mobile phones at this time, in its extensive list of feature supports includes the 3.5mm jack plug. The Samsung beast sports a 6.4-inch Quad HD AMOLED Infinity display that has no notch, curves on both edges, and enables to you the gates to a new whole touchscreen world via the Stylus Pen.

Two 12MP sensors on the back that although seemingly the same on paper to the units found on the Galaxy S9+ are actually capable of outperforming it by capturing brighter pictures and clearer high-resolution videos. No smartphone becomes an excellent photography phone without a high-quality selfie sensor. The 8MP selfie camera on the Note9 is one of the few to record 4K videos.

Note 9 also is amongst the most powerful handsets out there. Its Snapdragon 845 processor is backed by 6GB and 8GB of RAM with 128GB and 512GB of models. Both of which support memory expansion and run Android 9.0 Pie with One UI skin built on top of it.

There are slots for two SIM cards and various ways to securely access the phablet including Iris scanner and the rear fingerprint. A 4,000 mAh battery that supports fast charging and wireless charging and the same health-related sensors found on the Galaxy S9 and S9+.

Just like with almost every Samsung phone, you don’t have to worry whether the headphones will be compatible with your phone. With the Galaxy Note9 has the 3.5mm jack plug for standard wired earphones and can connect to wireless and USB-C headsets as well.

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Asus Rog Phone

Asus ROG Phone Gaming Android smartphone

Good news for hardcore gamers. The most powerful mobile phone to play games with, Asus Rog Phone, does come with the 3.5mm jack. The marvel of a gaming phone Asus made brings a futuristic design inspired by the ROG series of gaming devices unseen in smartphones before. The 6-inch OLED FHD screen of it has a refresh rate of 90Hz, features HDR, and a wide color gamut to provide blur-free visuals when experiencing the world of video games.

To enable long-lasting gameplay, the Snapdragon 845 chipset powering the handset that has 8GB of RAM and versions with either 128GB or 512GB, Asus equipped the Rog phone with an internal vapor chamber cooler, and if that doesn’t get the CPU cooled fast, you can attach the clip-on AeroActive cooler. A cooling fan whose parameters you can control via a dedicated application. The upgrade to Android 9.0 version of the OS lets this handset compatible with every app and game. The ROG Gaming X UI that’s built over the operating system makes it stand out as a phone that’s specifically dedicated to playing games.

There’s a relatively large battery of 4,000 mAh to keep the Rog phone going throughout the day. For those that can’t get enough of playtime, the TwinView pedestal adds another 6,000 mAh of power to it. Some other accessories that enhance the gaming experience on this phone are the Gamevice gamepad to play games using mechanical buttons like on any gamepad and the WiGig Dock, a WiFi-based dock that enables videogame streaming or other content on a TV.

Having the jack highlights the Rog phone. Its closest competitor, the Razer Phone 2 does not have one for instance.

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Huawei Mate 20 / Mate 20 X

Huawei Mate 20 hands on review

Huawei Mate 20-series of premium handsets are amongst the best phones from China money can buy. There are various models of the Mate 20 for you to pick up. The Mate 20 and Mate 20 X are the two top-end versions of it to sport a teardrop screen and come equipping the 3.5mm jack.

The Mate 20 X is a massive smartphone. It comes with a huge dewdrop FHD OLED screen where the position of selfie camera creates a tiny oval notch that looks like a water drop. Mate 20 X with the triple Leica-lens sensors on the back that include a 40MP, 20MP, and 8MP sensor each featuring PDAF and up to five-time optical zoom makes a perfect smartphone for photography. The same camera setup can be stumbled upon the Mate 20 Pro. The Mate 20 has a rather lighter performance where its trio of cameras are 12MP, 16MP, and 8MP. The selfie camera for them both is the same 24MP unit. Although both of these handsets snap stunning images, the sensors on the Mate 20 X perform better.

Although smaller of the two, the standard Mate 20 is larger than the Mate 20 Pro. Its FHD LCD display of 6.53-inches is amongst the largest on a mobile phone.

Both these two phones run the HiSilicon Kirin 980 chipset that does wonders with its AI and have it backed by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of extendable internal memory. There’s Android 9.0 Pie version of the OS with EMUI 9 skin built on top of it. They both get powered with batteries whose respective capacities are of 4,000 mAh and 5,000 mAh, support fast charging, and have rear-mounted fingerprint readers.

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HTC U12+

HTC U12 Plus hands on

HTC’s flagship from mid-2018 remains to be an excellent device that has top-notch performance, excellent cameras, side buttons that improve gaming experience, and that proudly sports the 3.5mm jack.

The 6-inch LCD screen on the HTC U12 Plus is amongst the brightest units on a mobile phone. It rocks the QHD+ resolution that sends the pixel density up to 537 pixels per inch. Dual camera setups of a 12MP and 16MP on the back and two 8MP sensors at the front make this phone a perfect choice of a camera phone. With the cameras on the back, it can record 4K and slow-mo HD clips at 240 frames per second and with its front units selfies are bright, and videos are taken at full HD resolution.

The housed Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor backed by 6GB of RAM and Android 9 exhibits its powerful performance. There are variants with 64GB and 128GB of free space of this particular device. Internal storage is expandable by up to 512GB for every model.

HTC equipped its flagship with pressure-sensitive side buttons that are useful during gameplay and a fingerprint reader placed on the back glass. A 3,500 mAh battery that allows fast charging is expected to keep it on for an entire day, and there is a headphone jack to listen to music via wired headphones.

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LG V40 ThinQ / G7 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ hands on review

LG is another major mobile phone maker that refuses to let the jack go. LG has two high-end devices belonging to the ThinQ line of smart products that are worthy of the top dollar. The G7 ThinQ and the V40 ThinQ smartphone with five cameras.

The G7 ThinQ boasts a 6.1-inch QHD LCD screen whose pixel density stands at 564 pixels per each square inch with the V40 ThinQ having an OLED display of the same resolution but larger, measuring 6.4-inches diagonally. Both phones have a notch at the top-center where the cameras and the infrared sensors stay put and are protected by the 5th generation of Corning Gorilla Glass.

There are two 16MP cameras on the G7 ThinQ with two 12MP sensors and another 16MP unit being placed on the V40 ThinQ. The 8MP sensor of the G7 gets improved on the V40 ThinQ and is helped by another 5MP ultrawide sensor to take brighter selfies and better video chat. Both flagships can record 4K videos with their rear cameras and Full HD clips with the front-mounted units.

They also run the same Snapdragon 845 chipset made by Qualcomm. The V40 has 6GB of RAM with models having 64GB and 128GB of internal storage capacity. G7 has 4GB and 6GB of RAM with storage versions having 64GB and 128GB memory. Expandable memory is supported for both phones, and they are both set to receive Android Pie OS update.

The LG V40 and G7 also have fingerprint sensors located on the back, run on 3,300 mAh and 3,000 mAh batteries that are enabled for fast charging and to be charged wirelessly, and have an IP68 certification for resisting to dust and water.

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Vivo Nex Dual Display

Vivo Nex Dual display smartphone hands on review

Vivo has updated its flagship-level Nex phone with a new Vivo Nex that offers two screens at your disposal. It isn’t the first phone to have two screens, ZTE tried something similar with the Axon M, and Meizu’s Pro 7 has a second screen on the side of its back. But none of them was comparable to the beast of a smartphone Vivo made with the redesigned Nex.

For starters. Vivo Nex boasts a 6.39-inch screen that is FullVision and has no notch in it and equips a second display on the back that is of 5.49-inches. Both screens are OLED panels featuring full HD resolution and are touch-enabled. The second screen is not there just to make this phone have two displays. It has been custom-designed to have functions of its own. For instance, when you receive a message or notification while watching videos or playing games, you can turn around the phone to view the notification or respond to messages on the back screen. Regarding games, Vivo enhances the gaming experience on the new Nex phone that has two screens by allowing the screen on the rear to turn into a touch-enabled gamepad.

The new Vivo Nex packs quite a punch with its Snapdragon 845 SoC that’s backed by a whopping of 10GB of RAM. Need a smartphone with a lot of RAM? Vivo has just that. The phone has 128GB of non-expandable memory and runs Android 9 with FunTouch 4.5 skin on top.

The new Nex phone does not need cameras on both sides. Selfie and video chat is provided via the primary triple cameras on the back, and they are quite impressive. The 12MP Sony sensor on the back with a large pixel size of 1.44µm, a 4-axis OIS and PDAF has a 2MP depth-measuring sensor and a third time-of-flight (ToF) 3D camera that captures realistic photography and eases the function of facial recognition for unlocking the device. One thing this phone will be doing better than its competitors are selfies and the quality of video chat.

There’s a non-removable battery with a capacity of 3,500 mAh and quick charge to keep the phone going. It also has a fingerprint reader embedded under the display, supports two SIM cards, and brings hope to the continuation of the 3.5mm jack plug by featuring it.

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ZTE Nubia Red Magic / Red Magic Mars

Nubia Red Magic gaming phone hands on review

ZTE’s subsidiary Nubia offers an alternative phone for games that rocks a futuristic design showcasing that it is made specifically for hardcore gamers but that costs less than average mid-tier phones. There are two versions of this phone, the Nubia Red Magic and Red Magic Mars edition, they look and are identical to each other with the exception of cameras where each phone has different sensors, with the Mars edition having the better unit and the same model having 10GB of RAM.

Both Nubia gaming phones feature 6.0-inch FHD LCD screens that are touchscreen-enabled from edge to edge and have no notch in them and have it protected by the durable Dinorex T2X-1 glass, and run the Snapdragon 835 and Snapdragon 845 chipsets. The models of the Red Magic run Snapdragon 835 and have 6GB and 8GB of RAM with 64GB and 128GB of respective memory. Only the Nubia Red Magic Mars has a 10GB of RAM with 256GB of storage model and has every variant of it housing the Snapdragon 845. Expandable memory is not supported for any of the variants of the phone. The standard Nubia Red Magic comes with Android 8.1 out of the box with the Red Magic Mars equipping Android 9. A custom gaming UX named Nubia Red Magic UI makes both these phones stand out.

A 24MP camera is placed on the back of the Red Magic with a 16MP sensor coming with the Red Magic Mars that has it in the very same spot. Beneath the primary cameras that can record videos at 4K resolution stands a fingerprint reader with a customizable RGB light strip being placed under the camera. An 8MP sensor at the front takes over video chat and selfie-related tasks.

Both Nubia gaming flagship mobiles run on batteries having capacities of 3,800 mAh and that are wireless-charging ready. They also support two SIM cards, house a 3.5mm jack socket, and are excellent devices for the price. Use AFFRMM20 coupon to get a $20 off the price.

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Nokia 8.1

Nokia 8.1 hands on review

Nokia downgraded its flagship handset by dropping the plans to equip the latest processor Qualcomm packed up for top-tier mobiles and opted in for a cheaper alternative, an Android One phone that operates the latest version of the OS but runs a mid-tier chip, the Snapdragon 710.

If you want to have Nokia’s top dog that is expected to take over the world with its six cameras waiting for a few more days until the MWC 2019 event where the Nokia 9 PureView is expected to be introduced will be worthwhile. But, it won’t have the headphone jack and your best options to a Nokia phone with a headphone jack will be either the Nokia 8 or the Android One Nokia 8.1.

It is no secret. Nokia 8 of late 2017 is better than the Nokia 8.1 of 2018. It has excellent cameras, particularly the 13MP sensor at the front that can snap 2160p videos and it also is one of the best mobile phones with a Home button out there. Nokia 8.1 brings in the edge-to-edge touchscreen functionality that grants it a notch on top of the large 6.18-inch LCD panel. It sports a Zeiss-made dual-camera setup that includes a 12MP and a 13MP sensor for recording 4K videos and a 20MP sensor at the front for selfie-snapping.

The standard edition of the Nokia 8.1 has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of free space that can be extended via a microSD card. However, there is a premium edition of it with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory if empty storage is never sufficient to you. A 3,500 mAh battery should keep it going for quite some time considering that Android One is lighter than standard Android OS. The fingerprint mounted on the back will allow speedy and secure access to the phone.

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Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Xiaomi Pocophone F1

One of the most awesome mobile phones with a headphone jack is Xiaomi’s high-performing affordable smartphone, Pocophone F1. This phone that sells for a little budget and rocks the same processor top-tier mobiles have, the Snapdragon 845, has excellent cameras, the latest version of the Android operating system, face recognition, and excellent battery life.

Xiaomi’s low-cost flagship killer spotlights a 6.18-inch FHD screen with a notch and has its display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. A duo of a 12MP and a 5MP camera on its back capture impressive imagery. Poco F1 packs a 20MP camera with HDR at the front for selfie addicts.

Despite selling for a relatively low budget, Poco F1 phone rocks the best mobile processor at this time, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 powerhouse and it has it backed by 6GB of RAM and 8GB of RAM. The storage versions of this device come with 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB for the 8GB of RAM model. The phone is upgraded to Android 9 and has the Poco edition of the MIUI 10.2 skin built over it.

Poco F1 has almost everything you need in a premium smartphone. It features a fingerprint reader and face recognition for instant unlock, and has a large battery having a capacity of 4,000 mAh to keep it powered through the day.

In case you want a phone that has the headphone jack, but you find the Poco phone to be too expensive for you, take a look at the Android Go phones priced at $100 or less. They also have the 3.5mm audio jack.

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Bledi Memishaj

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