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Best phone for music? S4 or Note 3 or HTC One or Z1?

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by nimano45, Oct 9, 2013.
  1. nimano45
    I want to buy a new phone, and since music is obviously very important to me, I want to know your opinion on which phone is the best for music-listening. I am considering the Samsung S4 and Note 3, the Sony Xperia Z1 and the HTC One. I am currently listening to rap and EDM music with my Klipsch S4 earphones and on my iPad mini with bass boost EQ and i am very happy with the sound quality and with the sound itself, so anything like that or "better" would be ideal for me. And no, I will NOT consider buying an iPhone. So any thoughts/comments and/or suggestions? All replies are appreciated. 
  2. Gilly87
    I work for T-Mobile and if you are in the US, I'm guessing that you use our service :p
    The best top-tier phone for music is probably the Nexus 4, but Samsung phones typically have decent audio quality too (except the S2); I always discourage people from buying Samsung, though, because their build quality is garbage (we see soooooo many defective units come back, easily 2-3x the ratio compared to Sony, HTC, and LG) and they use cheap materials and human-rights-un-friendly labor from Foxconn, just like Apple.
     I can say from direct experience that the Nexus 4 can nearly match midrange audiophile DAPs like the Cowon J3 and FiiO X3 when rooted and with Franco Kernel flashed.
  3. bcarr112281

    Very Interesting, Gilly87 -

    So you like LG better than Samsung? Doesn't LG have its own share of human rights failings? Also, consider that Samsung probably sells at least three times the number of handsets as their nearest competitor--couldn't it be a factor in the high failure rate you encounter? :confused_face(1):

    Many thanks,
  4. nimano45
    Thanks for the tips and no, I don't live in the US.
  5. Gilly87
    Every enormous corporation has its pitfalls, but not all use Foxconn, a plant in China that has been known to employ children, and is under constant criticism for its poor working conditions and forced illegal, sometimes unpaid, overtime. LG's main factory, owned by manufacturer Lite-On, has had its own share of workers' rights issues, but they have been mostly bureaucratic since wage laws began being enforced more vigorously in 2008, whereas Foxconn, the plant where Apple, Samsung, Nokia, and Motorola products are manufactured (among others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn#Major_customers) has been continually cited as having extremely poor working conditions; there was even a riot and mass suicide-threat protest last year over working conditions (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9006988/Mass-suicide-protest-at-Apple-manufacturer-Foxconn-factory.html).
    .If Samsung and Apple were using slightly better conditions, I would be giving LG hell. Bad is bad, but worse is worse.
    As for the higher number of defective handsets, I can tell you that, despite selling around 2-3x more Samsung products compared to other Android manufacturers, I would say closer to 90% of the phones I report as defective are from Samsung. LG had a lot of problems with the G2X, but the Nexus 4 and their lower end phones, like the L9 and, more recently, the F3 and F6, have been great; I have yet to see a return of a Nexus 4, except one lady who felt that it was too big for her hands (she was around 5'0"), and another who switched to an iPhone because she used a Mac at home and couldn't figure out how to connect the N4.
    bcarr112281 likes this.
  6. bcarr112281

    My sincere thanks for your input, Gilly87. I'm in the market for a new phone, and your comments will definitely factor into my purchasing decision.

    Please consider these sources as well:

    - Guide to Greener Electronics, 18th Edition - Greenpeace

    - SourceWatch's detailed profiles of both Samsung and LG, among many others

    You might also be interested in Ellis Jones' The Better World Shopping Guide - 4th Edition, a pocket guide that rates companies, businesses, and brands according to various ethical considerations. (The book is updated; its website is not.) The guide is flawed, but it's still extremely useful.

    Best regards,
  7. Gilly87
    Very interesting stuff there. It seems like the differences between most of those companies are fairly negligible, but it's good to know that some of them are making progress.
    Personally I am more interested in human rights issues than matters of sustainability, but obviously this is important, too. I will give Apple a few extra points for bringing Mac manufacturing stateside once more; they seem to be improving on the human rights issues since the death of slavedriver Steve.
  8. bcarr112281
    Much of the information in SourceWatch's profiles pertains to human rights. Also, The Better World Shopping Guide factors in human rights and social justice as two of the criteria for its ratings.

    I appreciate that companies such as Apple and Motorola-Google now conduct some of their manufacturing operations in the U.S., yet I suspect it's little more than a PR stunt. It's probably a reflection of the fact that such outsourcing is less cost-effective now than even a few years ago.


    P.S. I have an extra copy of The Better World Shopping Guide that I could mail you. if you're interested, send me a private message.
  9. Baroninkjet
    I had Nexus 4 and LG G2 and returned both due to sound quality. G2 is good, but not as good as  Samsung w/Wolfson or iPhone are better to my ears. There are lots of other factors, headphones among them, so others may differ.
    Int'l GS3 and Note 2 have better music reps than this year's models.
  10. Gilly87
    Nexus 4 should be about equal with Franco kernel and appropriate use of analog/digital gain control. Its better than the Wolfson phones I've had (G2X and Infuse, both with Voodoo); extension at extremes isn't as good, and the soundstage isnt quite as wide, but its a more dynamic sound for sure and just as detailed with less grain and hiss (I suspect a lower output impedance).

    I have read mixed reviews about theN4 though and I suspect different regions may be getting different DACs because some have called it "very bright" while mine is on the smooth side and a bit warm if anything.
  11. ibminh
    What about sound quality through bluetooth in car? I have spend a lot of money into my car stereo system. Just wondering
  12. Baroninkjet
    Go for Samsung or HTC w/aptX if your car has aptX, otherwise, use a wire.
  13. Gilly87
    Yeah aptx is a must if you want to get good sound out of bluetooth. I'd go with HTC personally.
  14. bcarr112281
    Keep in mind that Google is apparently about to replace the Nexus 4 with the Nexus 5. There are also rumors that the company will release a cheaper LTE-equipped Nexus 4 along with the 5.
  15. Gilly87
    Nice, I hope the new N4 uses the same chipset (and therefore same DAC). If so I'll be stocking up; definitely don't need it to be any bigger, and its plenty fast!

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