When it comes to judging smartphones by their cameras, DxOMark seems to be the go-to company. Over the years they have tested camera features and performance of several devices and has helped many people decide based on this as well as the display size and quality of smartphones. However, users’ needs have been evolving over the years and audio quality has become an important part of the decision-making process. And so now they’re introducing a new testing benchmark called DxOMark Audio.
This new testing process aims “to provide comprehensive, neutral, and reliable test data” when it comes to the audio recording quality as well as the sound output of smartphones. They have come up with a set of protocols on how actual people use their phones in recording and listening to media while at the same time setting up a benchmarking methodology that “measures results in a reliable and repeatable way.”
If you want a detailed explanation of how they did the testing, check out the source link. But if TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read), they basically tested the playback of smartphones against five criteria and then the recordings against the same five and added how well it sounded amidst the background noise. The five criteria are: timbre, dynamics, spatial, volume, and artefacts. The perceptual tests are based on their sound experts and years of experience but it doesn’t make it any less scientific.
For this first round of testing, they included 7 devices and this is how they ranked:
Huawei Mate 20 X (75)
Apple iPhone XS Max (74)
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (71)
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (66)
Samsung Galaxy S10+ (65)
Honor 20 Pro (53)
Sony Xperia 1 (45)
What set the Mate 20 X slightly apart is that it has stereo mics so it beat the competitors in both the Playback and Recording category. They said they’ll be adding to this list soon so expect the rankings to maybe be shaken up the more devices they add to the rankings. And of course, now we can look forward to more DxOMark reports if audio quality of the smartphone is something you will be taking into consideration.