Five Great New Phones That Come With Headphone Jacks

Image: iStock

The headphone jack is an endangered species. Apple got rid of it when they released the iPhone 7, Google laughed at them, and then Google went and got rid of it with their second generation Pixel phones, the Pixel 2.

I’m certainly not laughing, as the headphone jack prepares for extinction. If you just want a great phone with a headphone jack, here’s what to look at.

With headphone manufacturers still, rightly, equipping their new wired units with 3.5mm jacks, you might fall in to a dongle-related hell when purchasing a new phone, just to realise that the headphone jack is kaput. Of course, wireless headphones are an option, too, but if you've already got a pair of cans that you love and you're looking for a new phone that can support them, consider the below:

Galaxy Note 8

The other major smartphone manufacturer is sticking with the headphone jack, at least for this generation of phones, with both the fantastic Note 8 and the Galaxy S8 series containing the audio port. We’ve gone with recommending the Note 8 here, because it’s absolutely stacked with power and contains the latest in smartphone tech such as a fantastic camera, extensive S Pen functionality and ‘Live Message’ but the S8 and S8+ are just as worthy of your time. All of Samsung’s “8”series sport eye-catching bezel-less designs and are at the forefront of Android devices on the market.

The one huge downside with the Note 8 is its near $1500 price tag (and its middling battery life), but if you’re looking to grab it slightly cheaper than that, we’re able to help.

OnePlus 5

Image: OnePlus

The OnePlus 5 – which looks like an iPhone but without the wallet-crumbling price tag – is a huge value buy. The internals are impressive, with 64GB storage space and 6GB RAM for the base model, and its feature set is exciting enough for those who are happy to tread outside of the Apple-Samsung sphere. It doesn’t quite have the same visual fidelity or incredible display as iPhones or Galaxys, sure, and its camera is just good, not great, but if you’re looking at a mid range price point and you need a headphone jack?

This is your phone.

LG G6

Image: LG

The G6 surprised me a bit – mainly because of the disappointment that came before it – and what the G6 does well, it does well and that’s enough. The 18:9 aspect ratio is an unusual design choice that often leaves any 16:9 content looking unusual, though its bezel-less display is beautiful to look at when all the space is being fully utilised. It comes with a more-than-capable rear dual camera but there’s not a lot else tucked away that makes this a standout smartphone. That’s okay too, because it doesn’t feel like a novelty – an upgrade for upgrade’s sake – it just exists as a smartphone (with a headphone jack), that does its job.

Like a butler that fits in your pocket.

Huawei P10 Plus

Image: Huawei

The 5.5-inch P10 Plus is a premium smartphone with a really impressive camera that offers up one of the best Android-based experiences you’ll come across. Like the OnePlus 5, it comes with a huge 6GB RAM, but with double the internal storage at 128GB. It’s another smartphone that has the ultimate goal of disrupting the Big Two (and Google) with an excellent price point for premium features. The dual-rear camera is co-branded with Leica and the amount of manipulation that you can perform in-camera-app is impressive.

Design-wise, there's a lot of bezel to (try and) love here but the phone still looks classy, rather than wrenched from the dark ages of smartphones. It is a little prone to fingerprints and you can mess up the finish if you're not careful, but there's definitely a lot to like about the P10 Plus if you're buying based on 3.5mm jacks.

We're waiting to see what Huawei do with the Mate 10, too.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Image: Sony

A rectangular jack-of-all-trades with a real early-smartphone crudity about its design, the XZ Premium is a powerhouse phone that's chief selling point is an incredible 4K HDR display. It's just a pity there isn't that much content for 4K HDR that you'll necessarily be viewing on your phone.

It also does incredible slow motion videos in 720p at 960fps, which sets it apart from the rest. Whether that appeals to you or not is a personal choice, but for everyday use, the XZ Premium has enough power under the hood and a large enough battery to be classed as a winner.

Is a headphone jack a deal breaker for you or are you ready to see it go the way of the dinosaurs? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments

    Serious question - do all phones (except for iPhones) have the headphone jack still included?

      iPhones and new Google Pixels have removed the 3.5mm headphone completely, in favour of Bluetooth earbuds.

      HTC Ultra 11 has also ditched the jack. This is not a problem of itself. The shocking absence of high-definition bluetooth codecs like LDAC or AptX on many phones including iPhone is.

      Last edited 06/10/17 7:20 pm

    I don't understand why the headphone jack needed to be removed in the first place.

    You could argue they want to make the phone thinner, but honestly smartphones with headphone jacks aren't exactly fat to begin with...the jack is only 3.5mm in diameter for pete's sake! You could argue space...but the majority of smartphones only have 2 ports anyway...usually the USB/power port at the bottom and the headphone jack at the top. Are people that concerned about space on their phones that they can't stand that small port on the top? You could argue they want to start pushing their wireless headphones, but audio quality over bluetooth is blah. You could argue waterproofing, but Samsung, Sony and LG and possibly others have already released waterproof phones with the 3.5mm audio jack.

    Instead of just including the audio jack on the phone, now they give you an adaptor to plug into the USB port that you need to plug your headphones into. Yes, I'm sure that will be convenient when you're out and about and want to listen to music, or make a hands free call. Instead of just plugging in headphones now you have a bulky, ugly dongle sticking out the bottom of the device that you can easily lose. Oh and you better not lose it cause they cost US$12 (Apple) and US$20 (Google) to replace.

    The official Apple dongle that you get in the box doesn't even let you charge your phone while using it - if you want that privilege, you need to hand over around $60 for a third party accessory. The official Google dongle that comes in the box looks almost identical and also does not allow simultaneous charging. Reportedly a (once again third party) dongle that provides that functionality is even more expensive than the Apple option.

    What exactly what wrong with the 3.5mm audio jack that manufacturers have suddenly become allergic to it? This is a standard that has been in use for decades that has absolutely nothing wrong with it. Getting rid of it for the sake of getting rid of it is just very poor design. When Apple dropped it last year, I thought "well at least Google/Android aren't doing that"...but I can't say that anymore.

    Put the 3.5mm audio jack back.

    Last edited 06/10/17 3:58 pm

      I don't understand why the headphone jack needed to be removed in the first place.Removing it can help make waterproofing easier (and therefore cheaper). The jack also takes up a not-insignificant percentage of space, and as we all (apparently) want slimmer phones with sucky battery life, that's a good reason to remove it. And once you've gone wireless, there's no going back - no more tangled cables, no routing cables under shirts to stop them getting snagged or flapping about, no more cables caught in zips, no cable-creak etc.
      I don't even know if the jack in my last few phones worked, it just served to collect pocket lint (which is another reason to do away with it I suppose).

      Last edited 06/10/17 4:13 pm

        Since the S7, Samsung have had IP68 Waterproofing and a headphone jack, in phones that are as thin and nice looking as the phones that have removed the jack.

        I don't get the space argument either, If you look at the S8 compared to the Pixel 2 and the iphone 8 it has a much bigger screen in the same sized body. You would have thought the huge bezels on the 8 and Pixel 2 could easily house a headphone jack if they wanted.

        I already addressed the waterproofing and the slimmer phones arguments in my above post so I'm not going to repeat them.

        Wireless does have advantages...well...advantage. That being no wires. But it also has disadvantages. Wireless headphones are battery powered and need to be charged. Bluetooth audio is getting better but is not up to the standard of wired audio. You need to pair the headphones to the device, which can be a real pain in the butt depending on the device.

        Use the dongle then, you might say. I already addressed that argument too. I could leave it plugged into the end of my headphones, but what happens when I want to use those headphones on another device? What happens if I need to charge my phone and listen to music at the same time?

        The 3.5mm audio jack is used pretty much everywhere, from phones to desktop and laptop computers to tablets to car stereos to airplane seats to portable entertainment/gaming/music devices to TVs and monitors to sound desks and PA systems to amplifiers and electronic instruments. Even the controllers on modern game consoles like the PS4 and Wii U have them. This is a standard that's used in countless millions of devices everywhere, and for good reason. By dropping the jack, we are losing that guaranteed compatibility for no good reason. It's not like we're getting better audio quality or something like that in return...in return all we're getting is worse audio quality and ugly dongles.

        This decision is, ultimately, just the tech companies using heavy handed tactics to force us to purchase their overpriced wireless peripherals.

      I guess it isn't just the jack - it's whatever other components/wiring inside the phone that connects the jack to the chip that decodes the signal. I'm sure on each phone it would be a tiny amount of materials and cost, but if you can get rid of it on millions of devices it all adds up.

        If they're trying to save 15c on a $1500 device, then theres something wrong with their profit margins... It also wouldn't be much they're pulling out either, depending on the phone.

        Apple combined the 3.5mm plug with the lightning plug before they got rid of it, so it was sharing a lot of those components already. Components that would still be there to service the lightning jack.

        https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPhone+6+Teardown/29213

        Go to step 21 to see the combined 3.5mm/lightning jack on the iPhone 6.

        The Pixel keeps it separate, but really its just a ~4mm square lego brick, nothing more. I think its that 4mm that's made the decision, its a limitation from a design perspective. So as others have said, it seems more a decision to put form above function.

        There just doesn't seem to be much saved by pulling it out, and even with 10's of millions sold, the saving wouldn't be relevant given the shelf price we pay as consumers.

    I look at any phone that has no headphone socket as a device that puts form above function, I class phones as functional devices so would never buy one that looks better than it performs.

    The fact that they ship these phones with a dongle means that they know wired headphones are far from extinct, so they have just chosen to design a phone based on what they want and not what consumers want.

    I don't want wireless headphones, some have exploded in people's ears, there could be extra radiation going into your head, an extra device to charge, an increased chance of losing them if they are ear bud types, also increased drain on your phone's battery (Spotify uses 1% per hour on my phone with wired headphones and 10% per hour with bluetooth speakers).

    Just because it's more advanced, doesn't mean it's better, and in my mind, wireless headphones are worse than wired.

      What keeps bugging me is the premium you still have to pay for wireless. It doesn't matter what quality you use, most brands seem to charge $100 more to go wireless to the same level of quality.

      So you pay more, to use a tech that doesn't deliver as good a quality, just because some company wants to get rid of a 4mm x 4mm jack from the top or bottom of their phone.

      If people are happy with that, fine. But I like my headphones, and don't want to go spend hundreds more just to replace what I already have, that's still working. So it means for me that I'm still buying phones with the 3.5mm jack.

        New tech always carries a premium. Google and Apple only got rid of the headphone jack when they released their own wireless earphones, it was clearly done to encourage earphone sales rather than enhance user experience.

        Same with not having an SD slot, they charge a massive premium for more internal storage and sell it by stopping you add your own.

          Fair point, but they're removing any option of transitioning. You either have the latest and greatest mobile phone and have to spend hundreds more to replace your headphones, or keep your headphones and use second tier phones.

          If they had both the 3.5mm and wireless option for a generation or two, its a different story, but they didn't. And it irks me.

            Personally I've found the Apple and Google phones to be 2nd tier anyway, I'd much rather a Samsung that is slightly worse software wise but better for me hardware wise.

    This is such a ludicrous argument, people bitch if flagship phones are released without the latest 4K OLED screens, fastest processors and tons of RAM/storage then complain when an audio port which was created in the 19th century is removed.

    I'm happy to kick the 3.5mm jack to the curb if it gets in the way of innovation. My Iphone 7 Plus came with wired headphones that plug into the Lightning port and a 3.5mm/Lightning dongle, plus Bluetooth, so all bases are covered. The dongle stays on my Sennheiser headphones 24/7, it has never fallen off and i've never lost it.

    If you have some expensive Hi-Fi equipment and analogue is the holy grail then I could understand the outrage if the latest audio components had removed it. Smartphones are practically tethered to our bodies, let's not hamstring the design because we absolutely have to listen to compressed, digital music through an analogue interface.

      "an audio port which was created in the 19th century"

      I always find this argument stupid. The wheel has been around for thousands of years, you can't drive a car without it! Should we get rid of it just because it's old?

    Sony leading the industry as per usual. Good job Sony without someone to steer and lead the pack we run the danger of falling backwards with all this focus on no headphone jack business.. I wonder if the others will follow suit fast or take their time like they did with the other great Sony first foot in the door features.

    Galaxy Note is my favorite one, and I am thinking to buy it because of amazing features which I think decreased the demand of iPhone X but my good wishes to iPhone because I am still using iPhone 7 which is an amazing phone. I hope that will build amazing phones next time.

    Filing this under "Reasons To Stick With the Pixel I Have." I'm with @dazzler; Function trumps form every time.

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