Would you buy a dedicated portable music player? Something like the iPod or (going back even further) a Walkman? Before you laugh and move on, consider this: smartphone manufacturers are starting to do away with headphone jacks.
Yes, you can use Bluetooth headphones to circumvent this issue, but if you love your headphones that have a physical jack, you might be out of luck with an updated smartphone. This is the main reason why some companies have started to manufacture dedicated music devices again - and there are a few to choose from.
Some Portable Music Player Options
There are actually quite a few of these to choose from.
Neil Young’s Pono Player: this one came out a few years ago, and I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, the reviews for the Pono Player weren’t that fabulous. Then again, most of those reviews refer to the preferability of a smartphone. Now that some smartphones no longer have headphone jacks, though, maybe the Pono Player is worth looking at. The Pono Player retails for $400.
Sony also unveiled a $4,000 Walkman recently (it’s gold-plated, so I guess that accounts for the price). The Walkman that Sony put out was really just to remind us of older Walkman days, but it’s a good choice if you can spend that kind of coin.
The Astell and Kern Kann is another portable music player that has recently hit the market. The price tag on this one is kind of high too at $999, but it has gotten some pretty great reviews (including this one from The Verge).
Smartphones Without Jacks
Of course, you can purchase some wireless headphones if you want to use a phone that doesn’t have a jack. But if you happen to like your current headphones that do have a jack, you’ll want to stay away from these smartphones.
Apple 7S and 7SPlus: Apple has done away with the smartphone jack, and it doesn’t look like the jack is coming back any time soon. The downside here is that Apple is also making the 5 series phones obsolete. So if you do upgrade, you won’t have a headphone jack.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Series: Yep, Samsung has done away with its smartphone jacks too. If you go for any of the S8 Samsung smartphones on the market, you’ll have to get a wireless pair of headphones.
HTC 11: HTC didn’t include a headphone jack with its HTC 11. I’m not sure how many people have this phone, but if you are considering the HTC 11 you’ll have to do without a plug-in headphone set.
Lenovo Moto Z2: Lenovo has followed the rest of the pack where the headphone jack is concerned. The Moto Z2 comes without a jack, but it does come with plenty of other appealing features.
Keeping Your Jack
You don’t have to choose between a smartphone with a headphone jack and one without. You can just opt for a portable music player (granted, the price of these has gone up for some reason). If you do want headphones without a cord, there are also some wireless options to select from.