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Old 01-08-2015, 01:21 PM
dubhagat dubhagat is offline
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Default Again looking for new player

Long time lurker and past two instances I ended up with Sansa Clip and Sansa Clip+ which finally gave up after 4 years, that too because of my fault. I am looking for a new player. Would have loved to use my Nexus 4 but I travel a lot and at times 12 hrs of playback from Sansa too wasn't enough. That and non expandable memory in Nexus rules out the phone option. I would also like to use it as source to my home audio. NAD D3020 Amp to Revel M12 Bookshelfs. Fiio X1 has positive reviews but I believe it's battery is similar to Sansa's. Please suggest. To summarize I am looking for a) Good clean sound, don't use EQ b) Battery life > 20 hrs c) 16 GB or greater memory d) Optional line out to connect to home audio Thanks
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Old 01-08-2015, 04:39 PM
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If you're in the market for a new smartphone then I would suggest considering that as an option. If you purchase a second battery then battery life doesn't become as much of an issue, or consider getting a larger battery for your phone. For sure it will make the phone larger, bulkier but perhaps that is more attractive an option for an all-in-one device rather ferrying two devices around.

Sound quality wise phones these days are mostly on par with dedicated DAPs, carrying a second battery around is a smaller and more compact solution than taking a second device around. Issues such as syncing music across two devices etc become obsolete, one device, one thing to be concerned with.

The clip is just incredible value, for the size and cost, once you look past this the price increases quite a bit for what you're looking for, and perhaps those funds are better put towards a smartphone that ticks all your boxes (removable battery, large storage etc).

Just a thought.
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:11 PM
dubhagat dubhagat is offline
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Thanks and I too really gave it a thought. Like even carrying a battery pack. But a new phone will cost me anywhere from $350-$500, so wasn't very keen on that option. Also most of the good phones these days come with non removable battery, so will be restricted in terms of option there too.
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Old 01-09-2015, 06:51 AM
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We have 2 phones (one LG, t'other a Samsung), and changing the battery in both of them is a nuisance, especially when I compare it to other electronics with similar batteries like cameras.

The phones that are being suggested are no-contract phones from places like Wal-Mart. If you go through the forums you will see that people are regularly buying these for under $50.

If you don't live in the USA your might have different results.

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Old 01-09-2015, 11:34 AM
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Sansa Fuze V2 if you can still find one (not to be mistaken with Sansa Fuze+).

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Sansa-.../dp/B0015L0T3G

They're VERY pricey now, possibly over priced. They have what you seek tho. Same sound quality as Sansa clips, longer battery life, Line Out, expandable memory storage.
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:34 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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One of the reasons that people have turned to smartphones is most of the decent MP3 players have been discontinued. That includes the Fuze that was discontinued around 2010. Any that you find now are going to have old batteries that much less life left in them. Their ability to output a digital signal through the dock port made them very desirable to those who wanted to use portable amps and drove the price through the roof. The high price and old batteries would both be deal breakers for me.

If I were to get a Fuze I'd go for the Fuze+. The Fuze+ was discontinued this year. It also has a well done Rockbox port. The only reason it's listed as unstable is that there hasn't been a release in forever. Rockbox ports are only promoted at the time of of a release.

My Rockboxed Fuze+ gets 40 hr+ when I've run a battery bench test on it. I don't get that in real life use but I easily double what a Clip+ gets. The only time it acts up is if I get the touch pad dirty. With a clean touchpad I fly through the menus pretty much the same as if there were tactile buttons. Being able to adjust the touchpad sensitivity helps with that.

ebay is probably the best source for a Fuze+. The last time I checked there were still some dealers that had good ratings that had manufacturer refurbs. Those are usually just new players that don't have the retail packaging or the manufacturers warranty. Protect yourself by finding a vendor with a decent return policy and you're all set.

Having said that I still recommend at least investigating a smartphone. Not all of them are good music players. I had one, a Kyocera Event, that had low volume and rolled off in the bass frequencies quite a bit. I could max the volume and get it loud enough but the sound would distort at that level. That was the only one out of eight I dealt with in the last year I found unacceptable as a dedicated music player.

Most of them wouldn't have been considered a great as a phone. Small amounts of internal memory, RAM and relatively old or slow processors made them not the best choices for that. None of that affected their ability to perform very nicely as a music player.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:53 AM
humersimpson humersimpson is offline
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I recently went the smart phone route to replace my RB'd Fuze+. With all due respect to Skip, the Fuze+ is so F*&$ed up that even Rockbox can't overcome all of its weaknesses, not to mention that even with RB, my Fuze+ was buggy. I highly recommend skipping the Fuze+ completely and the original Fuze (either V1 or V2) for similar reasons that Skip mentioned (otherwise the original Fuzes are fine MP3 players, I wish that mine had not died after only 2 years).

I went a little more expensive in my choice than quoted earlier, though. I had been looking for a replacement for my Fuze+ because of constantly having to restart it and other bug issues, and had come to the conclusion, helped by opinions here, that a pre-paid/no contract phone was the route to go, but I was not sure of the quality of sound from the inexpensive no-contract phones. Then Best Buy stepped in with a Black Friday special that I couldn't refuse and solved both problems. They had the Samsung Galaxy S3 for $80 (brand new pre-paid Sprint) and I forgot what I paid for the BF special 64 GB MicroSD card, but for a little over $100 (including purchasing an MP3 player app), I have a 64 GB MP3 player with the side benefit of a micro tablet when in wifi areas and a backup GPS. Unfortunately, I believe the price of the S3 from Sprint has gone back up to normal price, which was $200, so its no longer an inexpensive option. For comparison purposes, I paid approx. $80 for the Fuze v2 I owned and eventually bought a 16 GB MicroSD card and probably had into it what I have into my S3 w/ 64 GB uSD card, that was a few years ago. The Fuze+ that replaced my dead Fuze was free, so I only had in it whatever the 32 GB uSD card cost me.

I am happy with my choice. Going from a dedicated MP3 player to a cell phone used as an MP3 player has taken some adjustment (Both Fuzes I owned you could set them to shut off after being idle for a period of time, I have not explored that with the phone, but I doubt its possible since its meant to be manually turned off, etc.) I paid for Poweramp's Android MP3 player app and I like it and can recommend it as easy to use.
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Old 01-12-2015, 08:50 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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As I'm going to stand by my recommendation I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. My opinion is based on using a recent development build of Rockbox. If you haven't tried that you may want to. The difference in the response of the touchpad isn't night and day but it's much improved. Enough that I think most people shouldn't encounter the problems you did.

I'm also not having to reboot to resolve any problems. At one time I had problems when I tried to leave the WPS. I sometimes got audio dropouts and the keypad became unresponsive. I'm not sure when that stopped but I haven't had that happens in at least 6 months.

The one issue I do have is transferring files to the card using Rockbox USB. After about half a GB it disconnects. The only reliable solution I've found is to boot to the OF. I hold the down part of the volume rocker while plugging it in and the OF comes up in ~10 seconds. After I transfer the files and disconnect it automatically boots to Rockbox.

I have no doubts about the ability of "some" really inexpensive phones as music players. The eight phones I mentioned averaged ~$30. I always waited for sales so that doesn't represent the MSRP. If i had bought them full price the average would have been ~$65. To my ears using a variety of headphones, with the one exception I mentioned, any of them would match or surpass any dedicated DAP I've owned.

They all seemed to have zero background noise and no perceptible hiss. Someone with better hearing or different headphones may have found something wrong with the sound but I didn't.

I also did some shopping black friday. I picked up a HTC Desire 510, a LG Volt and a Nokia Lumia 635. I couldn't hear a hairs worth of difference between them. They all had very good sound quality. I kept the Volt and gave the others as gifts. The decision which to give away was based on features I preferred, not sound quality.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:17 AM
humersimpson humersimpson is offline
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Skip,

I think many of my problems were with my particular Fuze + and yes, it was giving me problems for much longer than 6 months. Anyway, I finally put 2 and 2 together over the summer, last winter, my Fuze + would "freeze up" where it would not stop playing music, but I could not get it to register my tapping the touchpad and I would have to turn it off and turn it back on and it would be OK. That did not happen every morning, but most mornings. As the weather warmed up and I started using AC in my car more, the problem became much less frequent. Then this fall as the weather turned again, it became literally every morning. Where I have my MP3 Player mount is right in front of the vent, so in the winter with hot air blowing on it, my Fuze+ would freeze up as I mentioned. During the summer months with cool air blowing on it, it would not freeze up as often, ironically even when my car became hot sitting in the sun, the Fuze+ would not be affected. That is where I found there to be consistent issues, my Fuze+ still would freeze up randomly with AC blowing on it or just in my shirt pocket while on the train, etc. My first year and a half with it, this did not seem to affect my Fuze+ because I actually liked the OF it was very stable, my only problem with it was the touchpad, which is really the only reason I RB'd it, therefore, I believe the internal issue happened after I RB'd it (RB was very stable on it, too, for a good while) and is not a manufacturer's defect and likely caused by dropping and/or leaving it in my car subjecting it to large temperature swings. Regardless, before I got the phone, I tried to update the Fuze+ to the latest development back in early December and my Fuze+ would not boot up. It kept trying to initialize the database and then it would go to a white screen of death. I had to revert back to the previous build I had in it that was relatively stable, I believe that release was from May. I have not messed with my Fuze+ since getting the phone up and running. I may use the Fuze+ hooked up to my workshop stereo.

On another note, thanks for "taking one for the team" on the pre-paid phones. I wondered about the HTC 510 and the LG Volt. The BF price on those phones were very tempting also, but after seeing that the Samsung S3 was on sale for a very good price, I figured I'd go with a known vs. an unknown. But going forward, now that I know I don't have to worry, I will just buy the best priced one. I am no audiophile so as long as these pre-paid phones sound as good as my Fuze and Fuze+ did, I am OK with that.
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Old 01-14-2015, 02:08 AM
dubhagat dubhagat is offline
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Thanks guys for sharing your experiences. It takes me back to the old days, my first phone was Sony Walkman series.

Does it make sense to get last of those models like W890 or something as will surely have lot better battery life than current smartphones. Though might not be as easy to find one today.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:18 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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When I helped someone set this up I've found that it was helpful for them to think "mini-tablet" instead of "phone". That way it was easier for them to ignore the cell radio and just deal with the audio capabilities.

The largest drain on a smartphone is the screen, wifi and cell radios. to get decent battery life I reduce the scren brightness and how much I use it. Then I put it in airplane mode to stop it from scanning for a cell signal it can't use. Unless I need to install an app or browse the 'net I turn off wifi. Once all that's done I get very good battery life when I'm playing music.

I wouldn't go looking for any of the older phones that were said to have decent audio quality. The player software is outdated and what was considered decent storage space when they came out would be laughable now. Also Sony was still under the illusion that their proprietary Memory Stick Micro would catch on.

Some, actually most, older dumb phones are terrible audio players. What's made it practical to use one as a dedicated audio is the advances in tech that have occurred in the last few years. Once people found that Apple had upped their audio game with the iPhone it took the other makers a bit to shift gears. Even now not every smartphone plays audio at a level that would make it work well as a dedicated audio player.

I made those choices BF purchases after a fair amount of research. I went to gsmarena dug up the specs and read reviews if possible. The LG Volt is a rebadged LG G2 Mini. The G2 Mini specs and review said the audio output is very good so I figured the Volt should do as well. The HTC Desire 510 was reviewed and was said to match the sound quality of the flagships of some other makers.

I couldn't locate a RMMA test for Nokia Lumia 635. It does have the same Snapdragon 400 MSM8226 that several other phones and tablets that have tested very well have. I figured they would have to find a way to screw up the sound so I took an inexpensive gamble that paid off.

I can't be certain but I suspect that humersimpson did similar research that said the S3 he bought was a very good performer in the audio department. You do have to be careful as not every smartphone carries the same chipsets even if made by the same manufacturer.

If you find a relatively modern smartphone in your budget I'd pop over to gsmarena and see if it's measured and reviewed. If you post which ones you're thinking about here someone may be able to take a look and let you know if you can expect decent audio quality.
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:55 AM
Jeven Jeven is offline
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With some modern smartphones it's possible to leave everything on - cellular, BT, NFC, have the screen brightness high, and still get 2 or 3 day battery life. The 801 (and newer) chipsets are very power efficient.
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:51 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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I'll have to take your word for it on that. I don't have a smartphone with a chipset as new as the Snapdragon 801 series. They're not that old in chronological time but as far as what's possible they'd be considered at best middle aged. Heck, they might even be thought of as senior citizens. That doesn't stop them from providing very good audio quality and decent overall performance.
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humersimpson View Post
I recently went the smart phone route to replace my RB'd Fuze+. With all due respect to Skip, the Fuze+ is so F*&$ed up that even Rockbox can't overcome all of its weaknesses, not to mention that even with RB, my Fuze+ was buggy. I highly recommend skipping the Fuze+ completely and the original Fuze (either V1 or V2) for similar reasons that Skip mentioned (otherwise the original Fuzes are fine MP3 players, I wish that mine had not died after only 2 years).

I went a little more expensive in my choice than quoted earlier, though. I had been looking for a replacement for my Fuze+ because of constantly having to restart it and other bug issues, and had come to the conclusion, helped by opinions here, that a pre-paid/no contract phone was the route to go, but I was not sure of the quality of sound from the inexpensive no-contract phones. Then Best Buy stepped in with a Black Friday special that I couldn't refuse and solved both problems. They had the Samsung Galaxy S3 for $80 (brand new pre-paid Sprint) and I forgot what I paid for the BF special 64 GB MicroSD card, but for a little over $100 (including purchasing an MP3 player app), I have a 64 GB MP3 player with the side benefit of a micro tablet when in wifi areas and a backup GPS. Unfortunately, I believe the price of the S3 from Sprint has gone back up to normal price, which was $200, so its no longer an inexpensive option. For comparison purposes, I paid approx. $80 for the Fuze v2 I owned and eventually bought a 16 GB MicroSD card and probably had into it what I have into my S3 w/ 64 GB uSD card, that was a few years ago. The Fuze+ that replaced my dead Fuze was free, so I only had in it whatever the 32 GB uSD card cost me.

I am happy with my choice. Going from a dedicated MP3 player to a cell phone used as an MP3 player has taken some adjustment (Both Fuzes I owned you could set them to shut off after being idle for a period of time, I have not explored that with the phone, but I doubt its possible since its meant to be manually turned off, etc.) I paid for Poweramp's Android MP3 player app and I like it and can recommend it as easy to use.
Rockbox behaved itself on my Fuze+ really well, coming from a Cowon i9+ touch capacitive pad my learning curve was minimal, bargain for the $30 i paid for it.

I recently bought and rooted an Xperia E1 (bought for $100), once i got the volume where it needed to be I find it to have excellent audio quality.

But it weighs 120g, Fuze+ a lot less, battery life wise I'm not sure which one would win..
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:26 AM
Enigmatic Enigmatic is offline
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Quote:
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Rockbox behaved itself on my Fuze+ really well, coming from a Cowon i9+ touch capacitive pad my learning curve was minimal, bargain for the $30 i paid for it.
I too am very happy with Rockbox on my two Fuze+s.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:54 PM
orionph05 orionph05 is offline
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Prefer a mp3 over smartphone, even with a removable battery typically a smartphone battery lasts for max 18 months before the pain starts,
the replacements are not easy to get and are not upto the mark on performance and quality as most of it is Taiwanese/Chinese.

So with a dedicated mp3 you get battery last for 4-5 years,
Have Cowon J3 for over 4 years now , this is restricted within the walls of house,
have additional Cowon I9+ for use in Car, also got clip+ so not in the ring for preferring a smartphone over a good Mp3 given the ease of UI and features to operate.
For the cost the clip+ is a best deal I got in Amazon for $36, though the Cowons are costly but worth it.
Once you use it difficult to move back to others.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:36 AM
humersimpson humersimpson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orionph05 View Post
Prefer a mp3 over smartphone, even with a removable battery typically a smartphone battery lasts for max 18 months before the pain starts,
the replacements are not easy to get and are not upto the mark on performance and quality as most of it is Taiwanese/Chinese.

So with a dedicated mp3 you get battery last for 4-5 years,
Have Cowon J3 for over 4 years now , this is restricted within the walls of house,
have additional Cowon I9+ for use in Car, also got clip+ so not in the ring for preferring a smartphone over a good Mp3 given the ease of UI and features to operate.
For the cost the clip+ is a best deal I got in Amazon for $36, though the Cowons are costly but worth it.
Once you use it difficult to move back to others.
I can only base it on our experiences. My wife keeps her phone on average about 2 years. We generally have not seen a drop off in how a battery holds its charge after 18 months. I can't really comment because my job issues me a cell phone that I have the privilege to use it for minimal personal usage. Prior to that, I only had a pre-paid cell phone that I kept in my car and only activated it for the minimal amount of minutes and for emergency purposes only.

At least in my case, I don't think that is too bad of a tradeoff of short battery life since these pre-paid phones can be had fairly cheaply. I can think of things I end up paying more than $50 every couple of years for that are less useful than an MP3 player. I will keep all my music on the Micro SD card so all I have to do is move the card from one phone to another and re-download the MP3 player app and should be good to go.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:52 AM
humersimpson humersimpson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post

I can't be certain but I suspect that humersimpson did similar research that said the S3 he bought was a very good performer in the audio department. You do have to be careful as not every smartphone carries the same chipsets even if made by the same manufacturer.

If you find a relatively modern smartphone in your budget I'd pop over to gsmarena and see if it's measured and reviewed. If you post which ones you're thinking about here someone may be able to take a look and let you know if you can expect decent audio quality.
Skip,

I did what research I could do. I am not really in tuned to figure out how to find out which chip is in which phone. I just plugged into various search engines the model of the phone I was considering and added "review" at the end and see what was pulled up. Problem is that most web sites did not really test pre-paid phones. Cnet pretty much only tests "mainstream" phones (i.e. those that you pretty much have to get a contract from a major carrier for unless you want to pay $500 to $600 or more). Its good to know about the HTC 510. If I see it on sale again for a near BF price, I might pick one up for use around the house, as I don't expect the Samsung S3 being onsale as low as it was for BF anytime soon. Had I known more about the HTC, I might have picked up 3 for the price of the Samsung.

The main reason I picked the Samsung S3 was not really due to a boatload of research. I really was taking a chance on its sound quality as I knew nothing about it. The main reason I selected it was because it was the top of the line or second top of the line (I think the Note was top of the line), mainstream Samsung phone a couple of years ago. I played with one and tried to convince my wife to get one when we bought her previous phone, but she thought it was too big and she went in another direction (her current phone is the Samsung S5 which is slightly bigger than my S3 , I guess her eyes are aging ). I know that Samsung makes good products and their Galaxy players were supposed to have good sound quality, so I took a chance when the price was right. I looked at Ebay to see what used, unlocked phones were going for, and used Samsung S3's were going for anywhere from $40 to $150. The $40 - $100 phones tended to be the rougher condition phones, some with cracked screens, not booting up, etc. So, $80 for a new S3 was just too tempting to pass up. Especially since I am still able to find S3 specific accessories, like cases and such, for it.

Edit: Forgot to ask, is gsmarena a website? I will have to do a search.
Oh and even Consumer Reports still listed the Samsung S3 pretty highly on their list of phones though still below the S4 and S5 and some newer phones by other manufacturers, although I knew I could not place too high a value on their tests because they were mainly interested in the phone aspects vs. as a dedicate MP3 player.
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:25 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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I've bolded the links in the post where I referred to gsmarena. They're the only site I know that does electronic testing that I think of as consistent. There's too many models for anyone to test them all so they usually just test the upper tier of what's new.

As the name of the site indicates they don't often test CDMA phones so I've found it helpful to identify the chipsets of the ones they do test and see if the same or similar chipset is used in a phone I'm researching. That's not a 100% guarantee they'll sound the same but it's worked for me.

They have a comparison feature that let's you do a side by side comparison like the one I did for the LG Volt and the LG G2 mini. They have different chipsets that chipsets use the same audio hardware. After reading the audio quality section of the review I figured the Volt was worth checking into. For $40 with radioshack's return policy I figured I couldn't go wrong.

They're testing also includes an opinion as to the volume level. I've found that volume levels they call less than spectacular is plenty loud for me. If they say it's really quiet or has disappointing volume levels I take that seriously.

If you check their review of the S3 you'll see they agree it has very good audio. I've had the opportunity todo some extended listening to the S3 model they reviewed and I'd no problem with having a S3 as my audio source.

The one thing you have to careful about is noticing which model they test. I've looked at samsung models on amazon that were originally meant for sale in other places. Some of those have hardware that's very different from the model reviewed at gsmarena. That doesn't necessarily mean they sound worse but as it's different there's the chance that it does.
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