Well ... I use my players on the go, so ambient noise reduced "the listening" experience. ... important if you use on the go.
I think the Quality delivered by the Galaxy S5 (or any good Phone) with the E18 is great.
Wonderful, clear, great definition.
The AK100 II also delivers a great, great sound. Very open, great detail, great spacious sound.
That said, my goal was to split the functionality and have 2 compact dedicated devices.
I found that at work and on-the-go the (phone based) stack, however good or great any phone-based stack might be is not handy for me. So for me it was more about user friendliness and portability.
Getting to what device to use, the AK100 II is great but also expensive.
For most users I would recommend a good quality stand-alone player (be it an X3, X5 or others).
I chose the AK100 II because (in no particular order);
1. Here in Belgium NO devices are on stock to test, so you purchase blind
2. The AK100 II looks freaking awesome, and the finish is like a great Swiss watch
3. I saw then AK100 II was new and used the same basic components as the AK240
4. User interface is great, easy to use (custom android OS; NO Google Store or other apps possible!!)
5. I had the budget
For somebody with a reasonable high budget I think I would recommend something like the X5 with its dual Micro-SD capacity and good quality.
To close ... I'm still over the moon on the E18 and it's fantastic sound quality, be it with the S5, iPOD (as AMP), iPad (DAC + AMP with camera connect kit) or on my PC's (as DAC + Headphone AMP).
The E18 delivers very good and even pushes my BeyerDynamic DT880 250 Ohm to high volume (and great sound).
I hope this can help,
Edited by CasperBxl - 7/23/14 at 10:02am