Speaker Output Test: Lumia 920 vs. Lumia 900 vs. 808 PureView

| January 7, 2013 | 55 Replies

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In my opinion the N8 was one of the last Nokia phones to have a decent speaker; but of course the awkward placement on the back of the phone didn’t help. After that the Lumia 800 has a pitiful excuse of a speaker, and the Lumia 900 although better still wasn’t up to par with the past; let alone the iPhone 4S which has a very impressive loudspeaker. The Lumia 920 changes all that and brings sound back, the speakers placed on the bottom of the phone (same placement as the 800 and 900) is actually two speakers as far as I can gather  (Actually the ports on the bottom of the 920 come from one single speaker source, separated by a “wall” into to different outputs- thanks to everyone who pointed that out), meaning that it outputs audio in stereo rather than mono; making it the only one of the three to do so. Even though the 808 records in stereo with rich recording it only out[puts from the one speaker near the camera bump in mono, however the big camera bump also provides it with larger “air space” which is essential for louder outputs.

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So check out the video below and see for yourselves:

As far as I can make out the 808 and 920 are almost tied in terms of output volume (if not then the 808 is slightly louder, but nothing significant).

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Category: Lumia, Nokia, Symbian, Video, Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hey, my name's Ali- Currently a fifth (and final) year Dental Student from Chicago; studying in Jordan. I love all sorts of gadgets almost as much as I love my cookies! Be sure to follow my Twitter handle @AliQudsi and Subcribe to my Youtube for the latest videos - no pressure. Thanks.
  • http://shaykapow.blogspot.co.uk Shayesta

    However yet these days the Lumia series audio quality is poor. Since Nokia N91 I’ve not seen a another Nokia device take N91 place!

    For flagship device the Lumia 920 has poor audio quality.

    http://shaykapow.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/why-does-audio-quality-of-nokia-lumia.html

    • Viipottaja

      Ahh, Nokia N91.. that was one crazy phone for the times!

      • http://shaykapow.blogspot.co.uk Shayesta

        That was the best music phone. Shame that all Lumia are plagued with crap audio quality.

    • Sal

      That was just loud…in terms of sound reproduction it wasn’t that impressive. Was really impressed with the 5800 speakers.

    • Lloydo

      Too right, no phone has had audio output to match the N91.

      Everyone seemed happy with the crappy chips used in Ipods etc and Nokia never bothered to invest in anything of quality thereafter.

    • bwah6996

      Having owned most Nokia audiophile phones, I must say the 5800 is the only one which beats the N91 in terms of audio quality, but just slightly. The lumia line-up however… is complete garbage compared to those mentioned above.

  • http://www.twitter.com/harangueMNB Harangue

    The 920 doesn’t have dual speakers, it has just one but with a small box surrounding it and directing the sound towards the 2 holes in the bottom.

    http://i-cdn.phonearena.com/images/articles/70080-image/Single-speaker.jpg

    That is probably also why the sound is pretty good for such a small speaker. From my tests between the 800 and 920 the 920 blows the 800 away, almost literally. Where the 800 sounds tinny and can crackle up, the 920 stays ‘pure’ right up to max volume. It can however sound a little muffled but in general I don’t see how anyone can judge the 920’s speaker as bad.

  • SLAYER

    I remember reading somewhere that the 920 had one speaker, the other grill has a mic. can anyone confirm?

    • SLAYER

      nvm, Harangue posted before me.

  • Pat

    Even if there were 2 speakers and stereo, I doubt if we would hear it as stereo with that very little separation anyway?

    • http://www.twitter.com/harangueMNB Harangue

      If there ever was a phone that did stereo it probably was the N97/N97 Mini and which one was it, the 5530 or 5800. They all had a speaker at the top and the bottom.

      Still even that distance would make it hard to really make it a good stereo sound.

      • RIPS10

        The 5800 ;)

        • http://aligonemobile.blogspot.com/ Aliqudsi

          Honestly hated that phone, had it for almost two years and was almost happy when it got lost/stolen the build quality was HORRIBLE; the stylus placement was idiotic (it got loose after only a day or two) and the stylus itself ended up scratching the screen! Witch beings me to the screen itself which was a nightmare… shudder.

          • Ruben

            Agree. But i still own mine and i can’t sell it coz i love the sound quality of it. For me, one of the best sound mobiles.

            as for the built quality, mine as had a few( a lot actually) drops and broken a few floors. Still solid as a rock.

            My N9 has fallen too, i was impressed with the gorilla screen. But it’s no match to 5800 cracking pavements. The N9 speakers are as week as L800. That’s the main thing missing for me in N9.

            • http://ameynerkar.wordpress.com Amey Nerkar

              5800 has the best output for speakers………each and every note comes out crisper than any other phone i have owned/seen/handled/heard…..

              • Ruben

                agreed!

        • http://www.twitter.com/harangueMNB Harangue

          Thanks, never had either one myself so wasn’t sure. Had the N97 instead. Which provided some pretty good sound by the way.

          • swain

            X6 had 2 speakers.

            • D Harries

              N86 was way superior to X6 for sound. I had both. Dual speakers do seem to matter on the older phones. The 808 speaker still works face down, the sound bounces off hard surfaces like the table. Test out the stereo speakers by adding a 3D sound effect to the ringtone

            • Ruben

              a friend of mine had one. 5800 is better in quality and volume. we made the test back then.

            • Ruben

              still, 5800 is better in quality and volume. a friend of mine had one and we made a comparison back then.

      • Qromodynmc

        Stereo was best on n81,Because speakers placed at left and right,Not up and down.

  • amy search

    actually, the lumia 920 just have 1 speaker.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKd8tCAH-eY

  • Qromodynmc

    I really missed My old n81,It really has great speakers,And speaker placement was great,Definelitely best. I dont know 920 but,My 603 sucks at playing music,It hurts my ears..

  • StefanP

    The N9 (I guess same as 800) has a very bad speaker (or should we say “whisperer”?), and the earpiece isn’t good either. Huge improvement on L920. Just wished I could leave the ringtone on max. volume for outdoor while leaving media playback and system sounds on a reasonable level. Thanks MS for making this impossible!

    • James

      “The N9 (I guess same as 800) has a very bad speaker (or should we say “whisperer”?), and the earpiece isn’t good either.”

      The default volumes are simply low by default, there are well doco’d twks for upping them, makes a BIG difference.
      And in terms of actual SQ output (not just via earpiece/spkr) it’s VERY good, not on the lvl of the N91 though.
      There’s a good comparo between it, N91, N8, iPhone4, & one other at TMO forums.

  • Zhi

    If I’m not mistaken, the reason for the speaker placement on the N8 is for the sound to bounce off hard surfaces? I ‘think’ my N8 sounds better when I put it at a certain angle with some small space between the surface and the speaker so that the sound can bounce off the surface (using a phone stand). Alternatively, you can just put it in a bowl…

    • http://aligonemobile.blogspot.com/ Aliqudsi

      Actually pretty sure it was the same reason as the 808s position; simply because the camera bump has the most “air space” which gives it a louder sound. could be wrong though.

      • derch

        Yeah more space is probally the main reason, but the ability to deflect off of a hard surface might be an accidental benifit, but its a great one. He should of just done the 808 faceing down, unless its a soft surface that will absorb sound.

  • Jesseri

    All lumia devices have subpar audio hw. Only way to enjoy music with Lumia devices is to use a2dp capable quality BT headset. Even cheap Nokia BT headsets have better audio quality than lumias.

  • krishna6233

    remember Nokia 6233 the s40 phn with spkrs placed at left n right??

    • sinple

      I think that phone had good speaker. but no phone has speaker that win Motorola rokr e1. its the only phone that I felt bass from the speaker http://m.gsmarena.com/motorola_rokr_e1-1273.php

      • Sonny

        have any of you actually used the nokia 3250? that phone had one of the loudest speakers ever! I literally outplayed any phone from Motorola ROKR Z6’s and RIZR Z8’s to Sony Ericsson W800,W900,W850’s

        Dont think Nokia ever used a Louder speaker in their new phones

  • http://europe.nokia.com/pureview steelicon

    “Worth noting is that the 920 apparently has only one single speaker, I’m not one to judge before trying but that doesn’t sound to promising, especially since the speaker on the 900 is absolute garbage.” – aliqudsi

    http://mynokiablog.com/2012/10/24/lumia-920-dismantled-and-scrutinized/

    • http://aligonemobile.blogspot.com/ Aliqudsi

      Wow… totaly forgot about that post.. in my defense I did a quick googling before filiming that and saw a post on Nokia discussions where it mentioned that both on the bottom were speakers (in contrast to the iphone which has one speaker and one mic. at the bottom) it seems I misunderstood that and took it to mean two separate speakers.
      http://discussions.nokia.com/t5/Nokia-Lumia/Stereo-speakers-on-the-Lumia-920/td-p/1600096

      • http://europe.nokia.com/pureview steelicon

        It’s ok Ali, we’re only human. *_*

        • http://aligonemobile.blogspot.com/ Aliqudsi

          As far as you know ;)

      • http://europe.nokia.com/pureview steelicon

        Thanks for directing me to that discussion board. I made some clarifications there so that others may not stumble. ^_^

  • Ruben

    i spoke on MNB coments on some post about it but in this post it’s the right place to discuss this: Why not a Lumia Xpress Music??

    • http://aligonemobile.blogspot.com/ Aliqudsi

      You mean a whole phone dedicated to music? well wasn’t that the downfall of Nokia? so many devices that they lost track and couldn’t market them?

      • derch

        Those devices did well, the downfall of nokia was the failure to produce a flagship worthwhile after the n95. The 96 and 97 were horrible, and symbian^3 was too far behind when it was launched to compete.

        • Werner Ruotsalainen

          Agreed. The N95 was an excellent phone. The N96 was in many respects a clear letdown (e.g., no hardware 3D acceleration, no lens protection etc.)

      • Ruben

        nokia sold a lot of 5800, at least i still see them in large numbers in the wild nowadays.

        isn’t that what made nokia different back then? and lovely? things like N-gage, mobiles with strange keyboards, twisting cameras, and musical ones?

        that was nokia to me. I like phones from nokia too now, but tell me, is it anything like the variety of the old days?

        i look at L920/820/810/900/800/610/620/etc… and what do you get? removable bateries or not and exchangeble covers or not? SD card or not?

        i know i’m being minimalist here, but you get my point.

  • http://Mynokiablog.com Papawinx

    Nokia Lumia 920 only had 1 speaker installed, but actually it has 2 speaker grill 2 speaker slots inside and 4 pc board terminal 2 for each speaker but not really sure if it is intended for stereo reproduction or it contains an audio chip capable of stereo output. If it does why the designer not installing the 2 speakers for best results. or maybe it runs out the battery pretty quickly. got N73, N82, X3 with stereo speakers N73(1),N82(2),X3(acceptable), and N95(crystal clear).

    • DesR85

      I have an X3 once and found the audio output good when it comes to listening to music, but not for calls using the loudspeaker mode. The 6700 Slide have much better audio output for both loudspeaker and music, just don’t do either with the phone lying down because the speaker grill is at the back of the phone.

  • vince

    what about the n900 speaker? id have loved to see/hear how it compares

  • Ztuka

    Important area and long forgotten by almost every single manufacturer.
    Nokia 808 is good enough though but there very plenty of damn good Nokia devices in small sizes that could deliver great audio and even with headphones with almost high fidelity experience.
    An example is Nokia X6 among other mentioned.
    I am on Belle 808 Pureview now and will stick to that beauty for the next years to come.

  • Sonny

    Nokia 3250! best loudspeaker ever

    check out gsmarena’s review of the 3250

    “It is really loud. I cannot even believe that such a tiny bar can bawl so much. I was especially impressed by the fact that I could use it as a common music player at a friend’s party. The sound is pretty good, even if bass elements are somewhat rejected; instruments do not blend, performance is clear. The same positive evaluation holds true for ringtones, while all standard Nokia sounds we have known for years, seem to have reborn.”

    That says it all!

  • Werner Ruotsalainen

    I wonder if Nokia ever produces a handset with proper(!) stereo loudspeakers. For example, the Nokia N95 with its proprietary stereo base enhancer in Music is absolutely great when listening to music. The stereo (with the base enhancement) literally fills the entire room. No other non-Nokia phone I know of could achieve the same.

  • Alfredo

    808 pureview the best f**k the rest!!!! lol ;))

  • http://dexter_jdr@yahoo.com drexter

    seen the 920 disassemble. it has the similar speakers inside the 808. so thats why they have similar audio quality. 920 just divided the speaker holes into two, to look like dual speakers

  • Raul2speed

    r u fucking kidding me??? N8 with gud Speakers??? if N8 was Gud decent wateva for u then 5800 XpressMusic would just blow you, its a small boom box. i dun think they sell 5800 xpressmusic these days… but get it on Ebay and compare it wid any phone produced till date(today is 16th march 2013) u wont find speakers on a phone better tha 5800 xpressmusic or nokia x6… i currently have 3 5800 xpressmusic, a nokia x6, nokia n8, live with walkman, xperia p, 2 htc explorer and a salora powermaxx z1 …

    • John

      He said last Nokia ph dead-shit, not the best Nokia phone, N8 came out much more recently, hence it was the last Nokia ph with decent spkrs.
      If you’re gong to necro, then at least do it with a bit more intelligence, & with far better grammar/spelling.

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