Best smartphones with a 3.5mm headphone jack you can buy in 2019
Back in 2016, Apple released the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with the devices shocking the world due to the absence of a feature we didn’t even consider to be a feature: the 3.5mm headphone jack. While Apple wasn’t quite the first to make such a bold move; that honor goes to the now-defunct LeEco, there’s little to no doubt that Apple’s decision led to the slow, gradual demise of the headphone jack on smartphones.
To date, bar LG, all other companies have released at least one flagship that missed the headphone jack. And that includes Samsung, as the company finally ditched the jack on the Galaxy Note 10 phones, much to the chagrin of enthusiasts.
Sadly, the lack of a headphone is quickly becoming a premium feature—as ironic as that may sound. Lovers of the jack now have their work cut out for them in search of excellent devices that still keep the 3.5mm jack, so why not make their lives easier by creating a list of the best devices on the market that still have headphone jacks?
This list is limited to devices released within the past year and will emphasize factors like premium-ness, value for money, and just how well the entire device stacks up.
1. Xiaomi Mi 9T/9T Pro
At the end of last year, Xiaomi introduced a new sub-brand—Redmi. Redmi entered the game with the Redmi 7-series phones but needed to provide something a bit more impressive, hence the launch of the Redmi K20 and K20 Pro. Xiaomi rebranded the two phones for the global market as the Mi 9T and 9T Pro and both phones are the first entry on our list.
The Mi 9T, in particular, offers ridiculous value for money. It can be had for US$300 via certain channels. That’s a no-brainer for the package it offers: a triple rear camera setup, an AMOLED display, a pop-up selfie camera, a big 4000 mAh battery, an efficient, powerful Snapdragon 730, and, of course, a 3.5mm headphone jack.
In fact, we consider the Mi 9T to be the best value for money smartphone in the world right now. Bar none.
It’s not quite a flagship but it comes eerily close. Sure, it could do with stereo speakers and an IP rating, but there’s not much else to complain about. Good luck getting a better device for the money, anyway.
2. Samsung Galaxy S10+
The Note 10 joined the dark side and that leaves us with the next best thing, the S10+. The S10+ is a candidate for being the best phone on the market and Samsung’s depreciation means potential buyers can actually snag a brand new unit for US$700 or thereabouts.
A Snapdragon 855, a very capable triple rear camera setup, IP68, stereo speakers, and a big 4100 mAh battery. Things are much better than they used to be on the software side, too. One UI is a feature-packed, efficient treat, and Samsung has also provided the devices with steady updates that improve the user experience. The DAC on the 3.5mm jack itself is also excellent.
Perhaps our biggest qualm with the S10+ is the lack of a competitive fast-charging technology to get that big battery up to speed quickly. That aside, the Samsung Galaxy is the best phone you can get with a headphone jack right now. No doubts.
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3. LG G8
It was a toss-up between the V40 and the G8. On one hand, the V40 has the extra rear sensor—a telephoto shooter. On the other, the G8 is just a more refined package. Like the S10+, it’s powered by a Snapdragon 855. For the first time, LG used an OLED display on a G-series phone, and we’re thankful for it. LCD panels—LG’s especially—have their advantages, but a well-made OLED is just hard to look past.
The G8’s cameras are excellent, too. Perhaps not quite on par with the Galaxy S10+’s but still a tad better than some of the other options on this list—and LG has the most thorough manual mode in the world right now. Battery sees a boost to a 3500 mAh unit from the 3000 mAh one on the G7. That, coupled with LG’s battery-efficient software, ensures that the G8 trades blows with the S10+ in terms of battery performance.
It’s at the more...covert things that the G8 shines, though. Class-leading haptic feedback, video recording and, perhaps, the best mics in the Android market. Oh, and the DAC on the headphone jack itself is the best you can get on any smartphone. LG’s 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC makes an appearance on the G8, and it’s a step ahead of anything else out there.
We just wish LG would fix its lousy update habits, though. They make a brilliant device much less attractive.
4. Asus ROG Phone 2
The Asus ROG Phone 2 makes a compelling case for being the most impressive device in the world right now. It sports a 120 Hz AMOLED display, a dual-camera setup, a 6000 mAh battery with 30 W charging, a quad-mic setup, dual vibration motors, front-facing stereo speakers, a Snapdragon 855+, 12 GB of RAM, and up to 1 TB of storage, and—of course—a 3.5mm headphone jack. In fact, reading the ROG Phone 2’s specification sheet is almost exhausting.
All of that hardware carries a heavy price tag: the ROG Phone 2 costs a massive US$899 in the US. Is it worth it? Has to be. After all, the Google Pixel 4 costs just US$100 less, and is laughably disadvantaged in the hardware department when compared to the ROG Phone 2.
Sure, Asus hasn’t been the best with ROG series updates; the phone’s cameras are capable but still quite a bit worse than those on an S10 or P30; the display itself isn’t as good as what you’d get on a Samsung or even LG flagship; and the phone itself looks like it was designed by a 14-year-old after a Fortnite session.
And yet, it’s almost impossible to not recommend the ROG Phone 2. It makes up for its deficiencies by cramming in ridiculous hardware into a beast of a chassis, and we can appreciate it for what it is: Asus doing a madness.
5. Huawei P30
While the P30 Pro is the truly exceptional device—especially for its zoom and low-light capabilities—it lacks a headphone jack, so it’s no good. Its cheaper, smaller sibling, the P30, has a jack, though. As previously mentioned, the absence of a headphone jack is starting to look like a premium feature.
The P30 sports a 6.1-inch OLED display. It’s a display made by Samsung, which is all you need to know about its quality. Under the hood is a Kirin 980, Huawei’s Snapdragon 855 alternative.
While the P30 isn’t as good a camera phone as the P30 Pro, it’s still pretty darn capable, as it features the same RYYB 40 MP sensor found on its more expensive sibling. There’s no OIS on that sensor, sadly, though, and the telephoto lens is limited to 3x optical zoom as opposed to the Pro model’s 5x zoom. In spite of those few tidbits, it’s still a better shooter than most flagship devices on the market—and it’s circa-US$550 price tag earns it a place on this list.
The P30 has the second smallest battery on this list, its 3650 mAh unit narrowly edging out the LG G8’s 3500 mAh battery, and it also charges slower than the P30 Pro, as it only supports 22.5 W fast-charge. It’s not a full flagship and is more similar to something like the OnePlus 7 than the Galaxy S10+, but it’s a great device nonetheless. Plus it does have a headphone jack...