Today was enlightening for me. It started off with my favorite set of headphones being unexpectedly crushed by own foot. Not only did my foot hurt after this encounter, but more importantly my only pair of headphones were absolutely done for. This wasn’t one of those lucky breaks where I popped off a bauble and I just had to stick it back in. It was time to go out and purchase a new pair of headphones.

The pair of headphones I had weren’t expensive; they were the free kind that comes with your iProduct (you know, the kind that essentially ruined ears before EarPods). I once had several pairs of these lying around but this was the last remaining pair. I told myself that after this pair broke I would invest in a decent pair of headphones. Too many times have I bought the $0.99 buds that slipped out of my ears any time a hair blew in the wind, or the $10 ones that melted when left in a sunny patch in the car, but not this time; this time the plan was to go big or go home.

I like to do thorough research on products before making an expensive purchase – it only makes sense. If you’re going to spend an arm, a leg, and your first born child on something you might as well make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand. I looked at Beats, I looked at Bose, and then I thought you know what? Sound quality isn’t really worth that much money. Some of these headphones cost as much (or more) than some of these smartphones that we talk about every day. Talk about crazy. Who would pay that much for sound? And why on earth does HTC keep implementing Beats Audio with their phones? What’s so great about it? Sound is sound, am I right?

Am I ever wrong.

I decided to pick up a rather cheaply priced headset – one of those gigantic 80’s type headphones that suddenly came back into fashion, you know the kind. It’s an iHome brand, so I figured it’s probably not going to be fantastic. It’s going to be basic and maybe have some extra bass or something along those lines.

No. Totally wrong. This less than $20 headset which I immediately discarded as junk but would get me through the day actually turned out to be magnificent. I can’t bring myself to take them off. The sound is just so clear. The Backstreet Boys have never sounded better (say what you will, fan for life!)

And during the first few moments of listening to music I realized I had never heard sound so clearly, and if I think this is clear sound I can only imagine what the more expensive headphones could do plus integrating it with Beats Audio. There is a very real reason why HTC is marketing the brand, but it’s sad because people (even myself) don’t realize how important sound is until you experience it – and I probably haven’t even experienced sound to the fullest. Sound isn’t something you can physically show a person. They can’t see it, and they can read about it but it’s all about the experience. HTC is incorporating a very important element in their devices and most people overlook it because when we think phones we think apps, speed, and pixel density; things we can see. We don’t automatically think about sound quality of the device. At least, I never had; and never once in my retail career had I had anybody ask me what the sound quality was like on a phone.

These headphones actually make my phone sound good. In my opinion iPhones never had the best sound quality, especially in regards to speakers – and maybe speakers on the actual device aren’t that clear year. The best speakers I’ve heard on a device come from my Kindle Fire, and even that is mostly just a volume perspective and not necessarily referencing clarity.  But aside from speakers, iPhones certainly didn’t win any awards in regards to sound quality either despite the fact that they got their iPopularity from selling iPods – a premium device with mediocre sound output. I’ve been so concerned with looks that I didn’t look at the most important aspect of devices like mp3 players and even phones. The sound has never been as clear as the sound I’m hearing right now with my $20 headphones.

Our phones need this; for music, for voice calls, for videos, for everything. This clarity is amazing. I’m in a sound stupor because for some reason this makes me very happy. I can hear so many things that I could not hear before. Different instruments, different beats. Even the voice clarity is amazing. I bet phone calls would sound ten times better if this was a headset.

This puts a couple of things in perspective for me. I never really considered sound quality a “main feature” of a phone – not one that was important to me - but after listening to how much a simple pair of headphones changed the entire experience I think that sound quality is actually a very important aspect. It enriches the entire multimedia experience on my phone. I would have never thought that simply switching headphones would actually be this enlightening (I probably would have known this already if I wasn’t so cheap, but it is what it is).

Readers, how do you feel about the sound experience on your phone? Has sound clarity ever been of importance to you, or do you not consider it an important feature? Let me know your thoughts!

Image via Beats by Dre

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54 Reactions to this post

"Do you consider good sound quality an important feature to have in a smartphone?"

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Paul Alexandru Samsung is very well known for having shitty audio quality( at least every single high end phone including the s3) this comes from y testing+ alot of headphones aren't even compatible with the tiny gay headphone jack, then i go, connect any headphones i want to my iphone and there i go! And i'm not a dumbass, EVERY SINGLE SONG I HAVE IS IN SONY WAV UNCOMPRESSED FORMAT.You're still wrong.
Matt Circonciso Paul is funny because he's so off on that statement. Samsung as well as many other brands support 5.1 surround, as well as the ability to play FLAC and WAV files. Just go back to your iPhone and listen to your 256kbps mp3s
Matt Circonciso Yes, but Beats Audio =/= good quality
Roberto Burgos Hell yes! Sound quality is the most important. My nexus 4 paired with my Sennheiser HDs sound amazing. Great sound stage and they don't produce a muddy sound like Beats
Moiz Ahmed Yea I think thatvif ur going to spend 200+ dollars u might as well get ur moneys worth
Louis Bank Apple earpods are probably the nicest free earphones ever.
Jamie Crane Htcs one pisses all over all other phones it's the bomb
Javier Sanchez Ojeda Yes very important I use my phone at the gym to hear music
Robert Futty Idk what HTC phones have good sound quality but damn the HTC touch diamond the touch pro 2 the mytouch 4g the sensation. I had all of them and I can remember trying volume hack after volume hack. I now own an sgs3 and this fker is loud. I do however like HTC's one how the speakers are in the front. Kinda makes sense just hope to see others do that if they haven't
Paul Alexandru Marcus is funny because every single iPhone since the 4 had better sound quality than any Nokia,Samsung,LG etc etc phone, HTC is the only company that does better because they care, lol
Nikola Karovic Most important since my first phone.
Jamie Crane Yes definitely I have htc one and boom sound and headphones sound is excellent I love my music and never miss a call text ect
Marlon Milligan Very important...Boom sound !!
Carl Dale BEATS AUDIO on sensation xe make sup for lack of CPU!!!!!!!!!
Chan Yi Tian Thomas No. People who actually cares about sound quality would not use the phones speaker for music. They would get a nice headphone.
Marcus Cadwell No. That's why I have an iPhone lol i had an htc rezound and "beats", despite people saying its a gimmick, sounded great. It was a notable difference. I like what they're doing with the htc one putting the speakers in front. Seems like such an obvious thing to have the speakers facing you but nobody really does it. That needs to change
Giovanni Vito Capone Yes, try Noozxoide Eizo, it's free on the Play Store
Andrés Murillo Portugal I'd like to see partnership of a phone company with a serious audio company like senheiser, bose or fiio.
Adam Spaulding As long as I can hear I'm fine.
Aly Youssef when i get home, i like to unplug the headphones and listen through the phone's speakers, so definitely a yes
Kenneth Maneeley Yes good sound and good call quality!
Ernesto Moreno No. It's main function is to make calls.
Sean Watson I disagree. I have it on my hp laptop and it kicks the crap out of any audio quality i have ever heard on a laptop before, and WAY better than my dell... I prefer my bose ear buds with them over the ibeats though
Sean Watson yes without question. one of the main reasons I am loyal to htc over any other carrier
Vincent Del Pizzo Nah not really. But in my car I do, I always get the better stereo option (:
Jacob A Vernell If marketed right. Could ezly b a game changer in the industry
Yuone David oh yes! its like heaven on earth...
Mark Belkowski Sorta but if your rooted there are tons of audio mods out there.
Philip Nicholas Yes!!!!!!! Of Course
Eric Magana If HTC actually used beats
TuCan Dan I've never listened through BEATS headphones, but I think the BEATS Equalization on the phones are garbage.
Cal-Gene Johnson Only in my headphones
TuCan Dan Like BOSE?
William Plotner Then you should buy good headphones....
TuCan Dan Yes. That's one positive thing I've always admired about the iPhone. Although HTC dominates it with the ONE. BEATS audio is crap though!!!
Imran Haque The 20 minutes on the way to work, last hour of work, and 20 minutes back home, are spent listening to music off my phone, so this is a definite YES!
Brent Legendre No. Good signal yes
Barry McMullen Oh my yes. And the ability to play FLAC files.
Erick Vargas Ocampo htc and beats ... perfect ..
John Resch Yes, that's why I chose HTC..
Dale Junior No. Buy good headphones and music will sound great. I have a note 2 with wireless beatd by dre.. sounds good enough for me.
Ian Baylon I don't care as long as I'm using earphones and the sound isn't distorted.
Brandon Le >Beats
Aquila Jagger Yes as music is a part of my life
Jose Angel Santiago Yes especially the speaker phone
John Mercado nope thats why theres headphones aint nobody got time for yo music
Codi Carroll LOL, no.

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