Did you know which was the first phone with built-in stereo speakers?

Did you know which was the first phone with built-in stereo speakers?
It has been a while since we last posted anything with a blast from the past flavor to it. You know, a post like the one where we introduced you to the world's first smartphone, our article on the first "smartwatches" ever made, or our post about the first phone with a color display. We're doing something about it, obviously – in the paragraphs below, we'll take a trip back in time in search of the first phone rocking stereo speakers. Care to join us?

Our first stop is the year 2013, when the HTC One got announced. At the time, it was surely the best-sounding smartphone one could get as a pair of speakers graced its front. Dedicated amplifiers and Beats Audio enhancements aided it in delivering "deep and rich sound", as we stated in our review of the handset. Since the One's debut, stereo speakers have gradually turned into a staple feature for HTC as over a dozen of phones in the company's portfolio have them, including high-ends like the One (M9) and mid-range models, such as the Desire 826

But while HTC made it cool to have stereo speakers on a phone, it wasn't the first company to put a pair of speakers on a handset. In 2011, for example, or two years prior to the One's release, we had the Nokia X7 blasting stereo tunes. The Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, released later that same year, also rocked a pair of decent speakers. Yet neither of these two was the first phone to deliver the feature. To find the first phone with stereo speakers, we have to travel back in time even further. To about 2005, to be more precise.

2005 was the year when the LG VX-9800 launched on Verizon. Also known as The V, LG's handset was a clam-shell phone that opened to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, a large (for its time) secondary display, and a set of stereo speakers. While the phone was marketed as one made for texting, throwing some MP3s on its miniSD card turned it into a pretty decent pocket-sized entertainment device. But this wasn't the first phone with stereo speakers either.

On February 18, 2005, which was more than half a year prior to The V's launch, Japanese carrier KDDI/Okinawa Cellular released PENCK – a flip phone designed by Saito Makoto and manufactured by Hitachi. As you can probably guess, the stereo speakers were one of the phone's key selling points, along with its premium build quality, large, 2.2-inch display, and 1.3MP camera. While storing music on the phone's 2.8MB of built-in memory was next to impossible, the miniSD card slot allowed extra megs to be added to expand the PENCK's capacity. And to access the internet, The phone used a CDMA 1x radio, which was considered blazingly-fast for its time. Overall, not bad for a phone made over 10 years ago, don't you agree? 

So there you have it – one of the first phones with stereo speakers was a flip phone launched over 10 years ago in Japan. Or at least this was the oldest stereo phone we managed to dig out of the archives. Its existence goes to show that some great ideas, such as the awesome front speakers on many modern phones, are just old concepts for which the right time to go mainstream has arrived. And it is a great time to be alive, we might add.

UPDATE: Well, this didn't take long. As reader mike2959 points out, the LG VX-8000, which rocked a pair of speakers on its flip cover, was launched on Verizon in January of 2005. This ranks it among the first phone with stereo speakers ever made.

UPDATE #2: Another undeservedly forgotten phone was named by a fellow reader. Wishmaster reminded us of the awesome Motorola 398, which, back in the old days, impressed us with its loud, powerful stereo speakers. It wasn't alone in its category, however. Along with the 398, Motorola also announced the Motorola E680, which also produced stereo sound. Both were unveiled on March 8, 2004. Can anyone remember of an even older phone with stereo speakers?  

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21 Comments

1. danielxxi

Posts: 183; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

You forgot about Sony ericsson W550i, that was awesome speaker

8. waddup121 unregistered

Such swag

17. Odiin

Posts: 373; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

SE W550i n its speaker! Ah,,,

2. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

LG VX-8000. .I think was before this LG.

4. AstronautJones

Posts: 305; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

Yes, according to a previous Phonearena story, the Vx-8000 was released on Verizon in January of 2005.

5. AstronautJones

Posts: 305; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

Same general timeframe and same manufacturer. I guess the point is the first stereo speakers on a phone came via LG. Unless someone else knows of an earlier model?

3. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

My friend has the One M7, till this day I still get surprised by the quality of the speakers and mic on that thing. Much better than my 1+, which I thought was already decent

6. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

the Sony Xperia Play was a phone I wanted to buy, but it was too ahead of its time and the specs aren't future proof I bet they wouldn' be able to run today's 3D intensive games with ease.. I hope Sony would release a sequel

9. romeo1

Posts: 816; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

I had the play and I really loved it. I was waiting for a successor but too bad they didn't make one. The controls where really well thought without sacrificing design imo. But now with the option to use a ps3/4 controller I'd probably wouldn't buy one.

7. pegasso

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

they should give Nokia 6233, N73, and/or N95 an honorable mention

10. Wishmaster

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 20, 2015

You forgot about motorola e398!!! It was released in 2004 and had one of the best stereo speakers with great bass! You didn't do your homework :P

11. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

I still remember in the past HTC fans brags that HTC M7 was the first phone with stereo speakers. But it seems now they can't do that anymore.

12. soldier820

Posts: 115; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

good memories

13. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

That X7 was an awesome phone for music enjoyment. The fixed focus camera was a huge disappointment though.

14. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Are these really Stereo or simply Dual-Mono sounding speakers? That was one of the first things I checked when I got my Z3C, that it was able to play both channels independently... Having stereo is a good plus for music and movies, but I actually came to appreciated when playing Modern Combat 5 for online multiplayer because you can actually hear when people are shooting at you from your right or left and act accordingly...

15. alexvoda

Posts: 39; Member since: Jan 11, 2013

The Motorola ROKR E1 may also be worth adding to the list. This is the first phone compatible with iTunes. It was an iPhone before the iPhone.

19. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

And those speakers are amazing, my sister found her old Rokr E1 last year we popped up a micro SD in there and blasted some tunes, the HTC M8 sounds tinny and low volume next to that thing, the speakers are so strong it vibrates the surface of what it is and makes the phone move if it's on glass

16. LessThanDoug

Posts: 54; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Legendary N95.

21. user996

Posts: 221; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

and 5700 xpress music

18. anirudhshirsat97

Posts: 408; Member since: May 24, 2011

you guys forgot the Nokia N73 Music express.

20. user996

Posts: 221; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

actually it has one

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