Samsung Galaxy S9 stereo speakers compared vs Galaxy S8, iPhone X

Samsung Galaxy S9 stereo speakers compared vs Galaxy S8, iPhone X
The Samsung Galaxy S9 finally comes with its own pair of stereo speakers, and they come with a bang — a reassuring “Tuned by AKG” sits right there in the specs, making us feel like they will be something truly special.

So, you may be sitting there, thinking — does the Galaxy S9 sound better than the Galaxy S8? How does it sound compared to the iPhone X's stereo speakers? Better or worse? Sammy's new flagship is still on pre-order and not many have had the chance to test it out in person yet. But fear not, we've got your back!

So, first let's answer the question — are the AKG-tuned stereo speakers of the Galaxy S9 louder and better-sounding than the Galaxy S8?

Here's a quick audio sample, which we recorded in our studio and our thoughts and real-life impressions follow below:

So, we wouldn't say that the Galaxy S9 sounds louder, not really. It does, however, sound fuller, more balanced, with a more pronounced bass and meatier low mids. The Galaxy S8 has an upper-midrange spike, which makes it sound unpleasant and tinny in comparison.

There's also an issue with how many instruments you can get sounding off on the S8's single speaker. As soon as a lead instrument with a slightly higher volume kicks in, everything else “ducks” and gets muffled. This is often an issue on smaller speakers and the S9 does have it to some degree, but it does a better job at making all instruments sound off in a more balanced manner.

In short — yes, the Galaxy S9's speakers are definitely better-sounding than the single tweeter on the Galaxy S8.

On to the meaty part — how do the Galaxy S9's speakers perform vs the iPhone X? Well, here's a quick sample and our thoughts to follow:

Both of these phones' speakers have things about them that we like and dislike. To start off, both phones have a pretty solid bass, which can be amplified when you rest the device on a wooden table. Nice. The Galaxy S9 tends to sound a lot meatier, with a hump in the lower mids and a roll-off in the highs. The iPhone X takes a whole different approach — scoop the mids and dial up the highs to get that “clear” tone.

As you can imagine, how much the tone you get from either of those phones will satisfy you largely depends on the genre you intend to listen to. Now, the Galaxy S9 does have a software EQ built into its settings, which is definitely a plus, but it's not extremely useful. Pro tip: if you intend to meddle with it, we suggest only using it to dial down certain frequencies. We found that if you use it to boost even a single band, the whole sound balance gets thrown off.

The iPhone X does suffer from an issue we've observed ever since the iPhone 7 came out — the earpiece, which works as one of the stereo speakers — will very easily distort. It's not about volume either, certain frequencies just cause it to buzz like it's torn. Needless to say, the rockers out there will not enjoy listening to guitar riffs on this.

But let's be honest — nobody who takes their music seriously will actually blast it on a smartphone... not just yet. These phones sound great if you just want to play something while washing the dishes or while your Bluetooth speaker's battery is charging, but they are certainly not going to wow you with jaw-dropping sounds.

Here are all the tracks for you to listen to:



1. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

Rankings: 1. Galaxy S9 2. Iphone X 3. Galaxy S8 The sound is more full on the S9, it doesn't sound as tinny as the Iphone X does, the S9 seems to be able to produce a larger range of the frequency spectrum, especially in the lower range. However, it's still not capable of producing real bass which isn't surprising, as the speakers are tiny in smartphones.

2. fyah_king unregistered

I still like my Razer phone better.:)

3. toukale

Posts: 646; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

My Rankings: 1. iPhone X 2. Galaxy S9 3. Galaxy S8 Now that settles it.

7. gniewko97

Posts: 8; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

lol nope

10. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

Disagree. I prefer the fuller sound on the S9, as compared to the more tinny sound on the Iphone X. As Phonearena says themselves, the Iphone X completely scoops out the mid-range, while the Galaxy S9 maintains it. What is your reason for ranking the phones as you did? Merely saying "Now that settles it." isn't really an argument.

6. Macready

Posts: 1824; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

The X sounds tinny, clearly lacking in the 300-500 khz range.

11. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

Agreed. It's definitely lacking mid-range overall.

8. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Xperia XZ2 is the best in stereo speaker

13. Loubielou

Posts: 603; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

No way am i going to buy a expensive phone with stereo speakers,an will the Speakers by AKG last long because there headphones do not

18. Geb1522

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 23, 2015

Listened to these phones myself in person, i really do enjoy the improvement samsung made over the s8 in terms of their speakers. Its hard to say if iphone x or s9 is really better for everyone...people like their music/audio different. The phone is kind of a package deal, good speakers is just one check on a host of other needs/wants.

20. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Please, compare to good speakers now.. Not iphone

28. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Exactly. And why the S8 which just causes animals to run and hide. I'll wait to see if they compare the S9 to U11....or Sony

42. eelpout

Posts: 34; Member since: Oct 13, 2016

yeah, surprised one of Sony's offerings wasn't here too.

26. devorama

Posts: 19; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

This would have been a better test if one of the speakers on the S9 was facing forward and not into the table.

29. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Only 7 days more! #jumpshipped #Samsung #GalaxyS9Plus #AChangeOfHeart

30. darkkjedii

Posts: 31307; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Official speed test

32. iushnt

Posts: 3122; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

S9 is a beast

31. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

S9 sounds better than others.But not as good as I have waited it to be

35. zak-a92

Posts: 3; Member since: Apr 07, 2015

I wonder if the Dolby Atmos setting was switched on from the Notification panel on the S9. Having used the S9 for the last few weeks I can say that the speaker gets much louder once this option is applied.

41. paul.k

Posts: 296; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

It was off and the phones were set at 1 step below max volume. We weren’t looking for loudness, as that usually overloads the tiny tweeters, but a more balanced sound

37. JimmieCrakCorn

Posts: 143; Member since: Nov 20, 2017

Just as I thought, S9 is superior to iPhart X. Now go cry in your pansy safe space iTurds!

40. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

They both sound ok, but I will still take my Jaybirds all day long. So for me I don't give a crap if a phone has stereo speakers.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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