The Samsung Galaxy S8 may just be the best smartphone for audiophiles
Recently I wrote about my thoughts on the evolution from the Galaxy S7 Edge, a phone I didn’t like, to the Galaxy S8, a phone I really like. What I really wanted to go into detail with was the audio performance of this phone. Normally we don’t think about Samsung much when we’re trying to find a phone for audio/media lovers, but that might be changing.
With all the additions that Samsung has put into the S8+, you might need to consider it if you’re looking for a phone to help you jam out. There’s a lot to look at when checking out these specs, you have: Bluetooth 5.0, 32-bit DAC, along with AKG tuned earbuds and the built-in equalizer settings. I’ll be going into detail about each of these components, but altogether they may be a very compelling case for buying this phone if you love listening to music all day.
First is the “UHQ 32-bit” DAC. I went further into detail on what a DAC does to audio quality on your smartphone in another post regarding the LG V20, but the short story is that a DAC is the piece of hardware turns computer language into analog sound and usually, the higher the bitrate the better the sound quality. The Galaxy S8+ isn’t the first or only phone with a 32-bit DAC inside, but it also isn’t extremely common on smartphones today, so it’s a very welcome addition.
Pairing the included headphones with the Galaxy S8+ produces a great sound and a wide sound stage for your music. You can easily separate instruments and place them spatially around your body. These are easily the best out-of-the-box earbuds I’ve had with a smartphone so far — though I haven’t tried HTC’s U11 just yet.
Next up, we have Bluetooth 5.0. This new standard has more range, speed, and broadcasting capacity than 4.1 and below. How this will affect your music, of course, depends on the output device almost as much as the Galaxy S8+, but you should also be able to notice that you get fewer signal drops in audio and a bit of extra range. However, the big addition on the S8 is the ability to connect to, and stream to multiple output locations at once. That’s major right now and no other smartphone currently offers it. The two devices don’t have to be the same brand or type or anything, just two Bluetooth devices. Now when connecting two devices to the S8+, you may notice one device is slightly farther along of louder than the other, but then again you are connecting with 200% of devices than the S7 Edge could.
Then, the biggest surprise I had with the Galaxy S8+ comes from the AKG earbuds that were included in the box. AKG is a known manufacturer in the audio game and that showed with these buds. I’m not normally a fan of earbuds, but I can say that use these relatively a lot.
We’ve moved away from when earbuds were standard with your smartphone purchase — even though those weren’t that great anyway. LG still sometimes includes them, HTC used to include Beats earbuds with their phones and now have included some with the U11, but this practice is far from common.
The AKG earbuds actually feel good in-ear with their curved in design because they actually go deep in your ear. This also helps with some passive noise reduction. The buds are also very minimal, thanks in part to the overall style — no wings or hooks or anything. We get a 3-button remote to play/pause, fast-forward, and rewind music. The cable is also thinly braided so that it won’t easily tear during use.
Ultimately, it’s the sound quality that drew me in, these earbuds actually provide a very decent amount of bass and low-end, that I didn’t expect from a pair of buds. You can still clearly hear the mids and highs, but it really is the low end that made me really excited — probably due to the genre of music I frequently listen to. These won’t give you as fulfilling a sound as on or over ear headphones, but easily some of the greatest buds you’ll find, especially for free.
Lastly, the Galaxy S8+ has many options and settings for equalization. You’ve got preset settings depending on your age, high-quality audio upscaling, tube amp mode, and much more. The control you get over your music is quite impressive and presents a full experience when listening to music with your phone.
With everything presented, I greatly enjoyed having my Galaxy S8+ become the center of my media experience, and I’m sure anyone would as well. If you’re the type of person who uses their phone for constant media consumption, the Galaxy S8+ might be the perfect phone for you. If you want to know more about the phone in general, check out our full review.