Best smartphone for audio?

A Review On: Meizu MX 4-core

Meizu MX 4-core

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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Battery Life
Design
User Interface
Value
project86
Posted · 702 Views · 3 Comments

Pros: Excellent sound straight from the headphone jack, slick OS, digital output

Cons: Just the usual issues with paying full price for an unlocked phone rather than a carrier subsidized mainstream phone.

For those interested in using their phone as their main audio source, the Meizu MX 4-core is my top recommendation. It ticks all the boxes for a quality phone - responsive interface, nice screen, camera that is actually useful, good amount of memory, etc. But there are plenty of nice phones out there. What sets this one apart is the audio quality - it's really good!

 

Straight from the headphone jack, this thing sounds superb. It's clean, clear, and has a black background. It has a good amount of volume too, able to comfortably drive plenty of full sized headphones from Ultrasone, Grado, Audio Technica, etc. The low output impedance (~3 ohms) means it works well with most IEMs too.

 

Also worth noting is the SPDIF output capabilities. Using an adapter (that Meizu is still finalizing) the MX 4-core can be used as a transport connecting to an external DAC. I successfully played standard and hi-res material, and the MX feeds it bit-perfect to the DAC. Very useful. 

 

See HERE for my complete in-depth review. Bottom line - this is a very competent phone, and also an excellent portable audio device. 

3 Comments:

It sure would be nice to have a microSD slot. Granted, you can get a 64gig model, but particularly with flac and hi-res files, I could see wanting more (particularly if this were one's main music rig).
Since they do make such a point out of the audio, it might hit the right notes to pull a Samsung and put out a non-phone version, where they swap out the sim for a card slot, and tweak the software with a few goodies (I'm thinking of rockboxy stuff like balance, crossfeed, etc, rather than proprietary stuff like BBE that they would have to pay for). At the right price, that might plausibly take some market share away from the expensive boutique players. Not everyone is after a status symbol.
Oh well, I can dream.
I believe this phone has a Wolfson DAC in it. Probably the reason for the great sound. :)
I'll agree with Snowgoose that I would love it if every portable device had a microSD slot. That would be great. BUT I can totally see why companies would choose not to include it. Meizu would sort of be shooting themselves in the foot if the 32GB model could be easily increased to 64GB (or higher) with a MicroSD. Who would pay extra for their 64GB model? So I see it as a somewhat necessary evil.
Yokken - follow the link I posted to my full review. It explains the Wolfson chipset as being one of the factors which results in good sound. Wolfson has become a buzzword, but using one of their chips is no guarantee of good results. Meizu had to get every aspect just right in order to achieve what they did.