In our tests we found the Mar­shall Lon­don phone the best for over­all au­dio qual­ity, fol­lowed by the Sam­sung Galaxy S6 in se­cond place and the Ap­ple iPhone 6s in third. The Mar­shall Lon­don phone also topped our speaker qual­ity tests, while the Galaxy S6 came out on top for in­ter­nal au­dio qual­ity.

Speaker qual­ity

We were im­pressed by most of the phones we tested, with a good over­all sound re­pro­duc­tion in most cases. We only felt the OnePlus 2 had trou­ble re­pro­duc­ing an ac­cu­rate, re­al­is­tic sound.

It came to no sur­prise that the four phones with dual front­fac­ing speak­ers all sounded bet­ter than the sin­gle fir­ing-de­signed speak­ers. This made the Google Nexus 6P, HTC One M9, Mar­shall Lon­don and Sony Xpe­ria Z5 stand out from pack. De­spite them all hav­ing dif­fer­ent sound sig­na­tures and qual­i­ties, it was a much bet­ter lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with the speak­ers fac­ing us, rather than the speak­ers be­ing con­cealed at the back or at the bot­tom of the phone.

Over­all, we felt the Mar­shall Lon­don had the best blend of low, mid and high fre­quen­cies to pro­vide an im­pres­sive and yet pow­er­ful sound. If ex­ter­nal speaker sound is im­por­tant to you, then it should be the phone that’s top of your to-buy list.

In­ter­nal au­dio qual­ity

The phone with the best in­ter­nal au­dio qual­ity is the Galaxy S6, due to its Wolf­son Mi­cro­elec­tron­ics WM1840 au­dio codec. The phone pro­duced fan­tas­tic qual­ity au­dio, with a very min­i­mal amount of dis­tor­tion and a good over­all fre­quency re­pro­duc­tion through the lows, mids and highs. It should be noted that the Sam­sung has a slightly warmer tone over phones such as the iPhone 6s. How­ever, due to its fan­tas­tic bass ex­ten­sion and its tonal­ity, the Galaxy S6 is able to pro­duce some of the best sound from a phone.

Most peo­ple will use their phones with­out an ex­ter­nal head­phone am­pli­fier of any sort, which also bodes well with the Galaxy S6, as it was able to eas­ily drive our ear­phones and most of our head­phones to a rea­son­able level. In com­par­i­son, some phones, such as the Google Nexus 6P strug­gled to drive low im­ped­ance ear­phones, let alone slightly harder-to-drive head­phones that had higher im­ped­ance. This is why the Sam­sung Galaxy S6 is our rec­om­men­da­tion for its fan­tas­tic in­ter­nal au­dio ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

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