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Nokia Lumia 800 vs Sansa Clip+ vs Nokia E5

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By Alfi91, Member on 28th April 2012, 04:10 PM
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So I've been looking all over the internets for good audio quality comparisons between all sorts of different phones and media players (just for the fun of it). I wanted to buy a nice pair of affordable headphones and to see which mp3 would let me get the best sound quality and user experience out of them. After a lot of research (approximately 5 days) I ended up getting the Koss PortaPros for a discounted price off amazon (and yes they are genuine). The sound quality is a real upgrade over most headphones I'v used for a period longer than a couple of days (Iv used Bose IE8, the pathetic Dr Dres, Senheisser HD280s, and the Grados S60s) .

But one thing kept bugging me. Everytime I have looked around for reviews on the Nokia 800's sound quality through headphones, all I'v heard is either complaints, even after the 12070 update, or people saying that the sound quality is mediocre at best. I do not consider myself an audiophile or an expert, but i tried my hand at this in any case.

I took out my Sansa Clip+, the Nokia E5 (that I had been using as my mp3 player even though I used the Desire S as my daily driver before the Lumia because of the ease of searching music and sound quality) and compared it with the Lumia with the Koss PortaPros, JVC Marshmellows and the Creative EP630s.

Now I listen to most of everything I can get my hands onto. There was a whole lot of Lana Del Rey, Drake and YMCMB, Guns N Roses, Coldplay, Ellie Goulding, Gotye and of course Nujabes. All my music is 320kbps .mp3. I'm not an expert or anything so please feel free to correct me where ever you think I'v made a mistake or said something wrong. Everything I heard was on the default equalisers with no effects on.

The Nokia E5.
Now according to GSMarena, the E5 has the cleanest output they've heard in a long time and audio quality is generally great. Putting on the JVCs and the EP630s, the E5 actually sounds pretty good. Its clean, its got that clean unmuddled thump and the mids are as good as those cheap headphones can deliver. The problem occurs when you put on the Koss. The sound widens up but it feels like its lacking somewhere. You can hear the vocals clearly but its cold and dull. As though theres a part of the song missing.

Sansa Clip+
Technically I should be using this as my main mp3 player if I really care about sound quality. The sound through these in every category, be it Bass heavy or adult alternative was better than the E5. They were louder, wider and i could here each and every instrument separately, they were bassier and the clarity was top notch. But going through a list of 800 songs on that tiny screen gives you a right headache. For what its worth, this is a winner right here.

Nokia Lumia 800
Now technically this should have the worst sound quality out of the lot. Its been dissed publicly, and the first post you get when you google its sound quality is a post on the Nokia forums talking about its disastrous sound quality through low impedance headphones before the 12070 update, and some even after it. Now listening through the JVCs and the EP630s it is clear as day. The Nokia Lumia 800 was never targeted to be used as a dedicated mp3 by anyone who cares about sound quality. The sound was just bassless and muffled. Not as bad as my Nokia C2, but quite bad. I felt disappointed until I listened to the same songs using the Koss PortaPros. I couldnt believe how good things sounded. Ellie Goulding's Home, Drake's Miss Me, Nujabes' Song of Four Seasons and Foster The People's Helena Beat. All of them sounded The Best I'd ever heard them. Now I dont know how. Or why. They sounded rounded, warm and nothing over the top but still really good. Listening to the same songs again on the Sansa Clip+ should have removed the placebo effect, but it was clear. The Sansa had better stereo separation and a wider sound, but the Lumia sounded better (to me) with more detail in the lows, very very good unmuddled bass (the sansa was bassier but it felt almost overpowering with the Koss), and clear vocals with it. The sansa Clip was alot louder on the highest volume setting but if you dont want to blow your ears ff, the Lumia does a commendable job. Plus the interface on Zune is miles better than anything that tiny screen can offer.

Now if I had my iTouch which I recently sold I wouldve loved to compare it with the Lumia as well, but the Sansa Clip+ sounds better than the iTouch so thats not a big problem. I would love to hear people who have Sony walkmans or Cowon's media players to make comparisons though.

Have you guys ever compared the sound on different media players or different headsets? Noone ever discusses the Lumia series as a media player. This might help. Please feel free to correct me and add your own experiences.
28th April 2012, 07:19 PM |#2  
mrhaxx1's Avatar
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Nice review.

Before I got my Lumia 800, I had a Samsung Nexus S, and I can clearly tell that the Lumia 800 is the inferior media player. The main reason is not even the sound quality, but the fact that there's no equalizer settings on the Lumia 800. That, and it doesn't support FLAC. There's no such thing as Voodoo Sound either.

The sound quality itself is not bad at all on Lumia 800, but it's WAAAAAY worse than the Nexus S. Obviously because the Nexus S had a God-tier Wolfson DAC.
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