DxOMark will now evaluate speaker and microphone quality on smartphones

The DxOMark Audio score will indicate how a smartphone performs in audio recording and speaker playback.


Independent benchmarking site DxOMark has announced a new audio benchmark that will evaluate the quality of a phone’s speaker system and microphones. The generated score will try to quantify the audio experience on smartphones, just like it does for camera performance.

DxOMark will now evaluate speaker and microphone quality on smartphones

DxOMark Audio will test a smartphone's recording and playback quality. Image: DxOMark.

DxOMark says that it had recruited experienced sound engineers to form a dedicated audio team that built the site’s audio testing protocol. It has also established an audio lab that includes an anechoic box and a listening room to test audio recording and speaker playback. An anechoic room or chamber will absorb most of the sound waves, essentially turning the room extremely quiet. To test the speaker quality, microphones are placed across the room to test the sound pressure levels and output distortion levels from the device placed inside the box.

DxOMark's anechoic box and listening room. Image: DxOMark.

DxOMark's anechoic box and listening room. Image: DxOMark.

The listening room tests the device by placing it in the room and playing audio via an array of speakers around it. It plays audio samples recorded by the team from the real world such as a busy street. Other use-cases include selfie video where a user is holding the device in the portrait orientation while two subjects are speaking in front of it with some ambient noise. Another is live concerts to test whether the device is capable of recording good quality audio.

In its initial batch of testing, DxOMark has evaluated seven devices including the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS Max, Honor 20 Pro, Huawei Mate 20 X, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy S10+, and the Sony Xperia 1. The final score is for overall audio quality evaluation and the scores are further divided to denote playback and recording quality. Out of the seven devices, the Huawei Mate 20 X came out as the winner. Here are the scores obtained from DxOMark’s audio benchmark.

  • Huawei Mate 20 X - 75
  • Apple iPhone XS Max - 74
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max - 71
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ - 66
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+ - 65
  • Honor 20 Pro - 53
  • Sony Xperia 1 - 45
DxOMark's playback and recording quality scores. Image: DxOMark.

DxOMark's playback and recording quality scores. Image: DxOMark.

DxOMark tests the device’s audio experience based on several parameters including timbre, spatial, dynamics, volume, artifacts, and background. The site will be relying on both subjective (perceptual) and objective measurements for the evaluation. Just like its camera scores, the audio scores will increase as audio technology and performance improves over time.

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