It shouldn't be this way, but it is: the headphone jack is going away. The old, reliable 3.5mm port that has been on every electronics gadget for decades is suddenly considered out of date.
Though plenty of phones still have headphones, more and more "flagship" phones like the iPhone are starting to ditch it, forcing consumers into one of three choices: buy wireless headphones, use wired headphones that only plug into your phone's charging port (and nothing else), or live with a dongle.
But if you want to avoid making this terrible choice a little bit longer, you're in luck: plenty of phone makers are sticking by the headphone jack, and even going above and beyond to deliver better sound quality through the simple, ubiquitous analog port. Here are the best that we've used recently.
Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note 8
Samsung's premiere smartphones are some of the best that we've ever tested, featuring amazing displays, screaming fast processors, and some of the best cameras we've ever tested.
Though the top-end Samsung phones all share their own questionable design decisions—like placing the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone next to the camera—they all feature a headphone jack.
If you want a phone that can keep up with any other phone on the market and don't want to give up your headphone jack, the Samsung Galaxy line is the place to start.
No, not the new ones; the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL that were just announced this week do not feature headphone jacks. But the phones they are replacing are still exceptional devices, and they've got perfectly functional 3.5mm headphone jacks.
Beyond that the Pixels feature perfectly stock Android with absolutely zero bloatware, cameras that are still considered among the best in a smartphone, and an extremely fast fingerprint sensor. And with the new phones hitting the market now, the original Pixels should be dropping in price, to boot.
LG has always resisted following the pack when it comes to designing its flagship phones. Whether that's meant making a phone curved or simply sticking with removable batteries longer than just about anyone else, LG likes to play by its own rules.
The new LG V30 is the company's best phone to date. It looks and feels like a nicer Google Pixel, with a display that covers nearly the entire front of the phone—no unsightly iPhone X notch required—a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that is extremely fast, and a lovely 3.5mm headphone jack.
Best of all, the V30 even went so far as to include a fancy '32-bit Advanced Hi-Fi Quad DAC' (digital to analog converter) with its headphone jack. What does that mean in plain English? The LG V30 should make your headphones sound better than with other smartphones, while also providing you the ability to customize the sound to your liking.
Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
Sure, Apple may have kicked off this terrible, terrible trend of removing the headphone jack for reasons that don't make a lick of sense. But that doesn't mean the company doesn't still make a great phone. While the 6S and 6S Plus are hardly state-of-the-art, they're still faster than many other phones on the market and are the best iPhones that still have a headphone jack.
And since Apple hasn't gone out of its way to drastically alter the iPhone's design in years—you know, other than to remove the headphone jack—the 6S will hardly look out of date.
...And headphones to go with them
Of course, the entire point of having a phone with a headphone jack is that you can plug headphones into it. If you're going to go out of your way to pick a phone because it has a jack, you might as well take advantage of it.
Our favorite wired headphones for most smartphone users right now are, without question, the 1More Triple Drivers. These are, simply put, the best earbuds I've ever used under $100. They're light, durable, they come with a huge array of tips to fit any size ear, and they sound phenomenal. I use them nearly every day and I love them.
If you prefer comfier over-ear headphones, our top-rated headphones are the Audio-Technica MSR7, which can be found for just under $200 online. They're stylish, comfortable, and absolutely aced all of our sound quality tests. There's even a version with noise cancellation for roughly $70 more.
Lastly, for people who actually like wireless headphones but prefer to not be forced to use them, the Bose QuietComfort 35 are the best of both worlds. They sound fantastic, they're stylish, they offer excellent noise cancellation when you want it, and they can be used wirelessly or with a wire—it's up to you.
If only everything were so simple.