Apple signaled the death of the 3.5mm headphone jack after the company removed it from the iPhone 7. Although a handful of companies eliminated it before the Cupertino giant, many other brands swayed away from the audio jack after.
This year, several phones like the Essential Phone, the Moto Z2 Force, the HTC U11, the Xiaomi Mi 6, don’t have the 3.5mm jack.
Sure, you could just use Bluetooth earphones. They more convenient than dangling a wire from the phone to your head. But Bluetooth earphones are still relatively expensive than a decent wired pair. Plus, that’s one more electronic device you have to charge every couple of days.
And then there are folks who’ve invested good money in high-quality wired headphones, who now have no choice but to use a 3.5mm adapter.
But not every company’s sold on the no-3.5mm-jack idea… yet. Some companies still offer it to all of their customers. Others chose to knock it off only from a couple of models in their portfolio. Let’s take a look at five solid phones that still have the 3.5mm jack.
1. LG V30
You know that phrase, “it’s got everything and the kitchen sink”? The LG V30 perfectly embodies that statement. Building on the critical success of the LG G6, the V30 seems poised for success. While the G6 got knocked for not using the fastest silicon, the V30 fixed that with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
There are 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage to go with that, and the V30 also has a microSD card slot for further expansion. The phone sports a whopping 6.0-inch display in a not-too-unwieldy body, thanks to its edge-to-edge nature. Like Apple, LG too is making the jump to OLED displays this year, but the higher 2880 x 1440 pixel resolution will make the V30’s screen very crisp. The display is also Dolby Vision and HDR10 compliant, which should result in richer video playback if you’re watching compatible content.
Talking about audio, along with that 3.5mm headphone jack, the LG V30 also includes a premium-grade DAC (digital-to-analog converter). This improves the output of the audio played back from wired headphones connected to it. The V series has been all about LG’s quest to make phones with the best multimedia performance. Hence, there are also Bang and Olufsen earphones bundled in the V30’s package.
In terms of cameras, the V30 has a similar dual camera setup to the G6: with one lens that has a standard field of view, and a super-wide-angle secondary lens. The primary lens boasts of a wide f/1.6 aperture. The phone has several video recording features, including a cinematic zoom effect on a subject. The LG V30 is said to begin selling in “early fall” of 2017 for an expected price of $749.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the South Korean company’s attempt to keep the Note line alive and kicking, after its fall from grace last year. The Note 8 takes all the good things about the Galaxy S8 / S8+ that launched early this year and adds a few more. To quickly cite the differences in hardware between the two, the presence of the S-Pen stylus is the biggest differentiator.
With the S-Pen, you can now let you take notes of up to 100 pages by simply grabbing the stylus and jotting them down (a feature called Screen Off Memos). The other new feature lets you create fancy hand-drawn messages that can be exported as traditional GIFs. There are several other things you can do with the stylus including performing quick translations, screen magnification, etc.
The other big difference from the Galaxy S8 is a dual camera setup, a first for Samsung. Much like the iPhone 7 Plus, there is one standard lens and a secondary telephoto lens that enables 2x lossless zoom. Interestingly, both camera lenses feature Optical Image Stabilisation, which means your photos won’t turn up much worse when zoomed. Also, the Note 8 also has the popular Portrait Mode, where you can tweak the intensity of the blurred background even after taking the shot. You can also switch between a zoomed and un-zoomed version of a photo as the phone stores one image from each lens.
Last but not the least, the Note 8 comes bundled with premium earphones tuned by AKG and has adaptive sound setting that tunes the sound to your optimal hearing capacity.
3. OnePlus 5
The OnePlus 5 looks a lot like the iPhone 7 Plus but offers better value for money. It’s packed with top-tier specs like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, 6GB or even 8GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, dual camera lenses at the back, proprietary Dash Charging, etc. but costs only $479.
Those high-end specs mean the phone is outstandingly fast. The OnePlus 5 runs OxygenOS, and its appearance largely resembles stock Android on Pixel phones but has some interesting feature add-ons. For instance, a reader mode turns the screen black-and-white, mimicking an e-paper display like the Kindle. You can also protect apps behind a fingerprint scan or pin code.
Dash Charging adds power to the OnePlus 5 very quickly and does so without heating the phone up. Also, it will charge at the same rate even if you’re actively using the phone.
So, is there practically no difference between the OnePlus 5 and it’s more expensive competitors? Of course there is: the OnePlus 5 isn’t water- and dust-resistant like the LG V30 or Galaxy Note 8 above. The camera performance, although is very good by itself, falls a bit short when compared to the quality of the uber-premium phones. And last, the display bears a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, which is fairly crisp for a 5.5-inch display, but not exactly 500-something-PPI-crisp like some others.
4. Moto Z2 Play
Motorola added finesse to last year’s Moto Z Play that had won several hearts for its sensational battery life with this year’s Z2 Play. Trading off some that battery size for a thinner design, the Moto Z2 Play still delivers a reasonable uptime, all thanks to the Snapdragon 626 chip, a modest 1080p OLED display, and a 3000mAh battery. And thanks to the slimming, it’s not as chunky to hold as its predecessor.
Motorola phones mean you get the usual goodies — for example, the Moto Display feature, which lets users check notifications without unlocking the phone (it also works by simply waving your hand over the phone). You can also ask the phone to display weather, calendar entries, or any app. All without having to say the “OK Google” hot word first.
The Moto Z2 Play is also compatible with Moto Mods: magnetically latching accessories that add a battery, louder speakers, 360-degree cameras, or simply textured back plates to the back of the phone. These modular accessories have to be purchased separately; starting at $19 and going all the way up to $299. Nevertheless, the 3.5mm headphone jack is part of the Moto Z2 Play, no extra purchase required.
The Google Pixel isn’t exactly a new phone. In fact, its successor should be unveiled by October this year. But we still figured it’s worth mentioning for three reasons:
- As of writing this, the Pixel and Pixel XL are the only phones on sale today that are updated to Android 8.0 Oreo. And around this time next year, they will be one of the first devices to be updated with Android 9.0.
- After the Pixel 2 launches next month, expect the price of this phone to drop.
- Speaking of a drop, all the rumors are pointing to the Google Pixel 2 dropping the dear ol’ headphone jack this year.
The Google Pixel offers a fluid software experience, fantastic camera performance, and unlimited upload of your photos and videos in full resolution on Google Photos. The Pixel XL also delivers a satisfyingly long battery life. Finally, this might be the first and last Pixel phone to bear that 3.5mm jack.
Which of these phones would you opt for? Or do you not care about the 3.5mm jack as much anymore? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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