Phones as DAPs: LG V30 for $540 with a 24-month Verizon Installment Plan

On the “Phones as DAPs” front, the current LG flagship, the new condition with USA warranty V30 phone with all its state of the art phone audio features has a special promotion until 12/13/17 at Verizon Wireless. If you purchase it with a 24-month installment plan, you will get a $300 off discount on its current price of $840. You will pay $540 for it, divided over 24 months, making it a $22.50/month installment. You own the phone at the end of the 24 months, this is not a confused Sprint lease plan 🙂 On approved credit and all that good stuff.

Phones as DAPs: refurbished HTC One M9 for $100

As part of their Under $100 TechRabbit sale, you can get a $100 (okay, $99.99) “Phone as DAP”, the refurbished HTC One M9 in gray or silver color scheme, with 32GB storage and microSD slot AND a headphone jack. The M9 was the second to last HTC flagship with a headphone jack. It is the Sprint version with its GSM unlocked. It comes with free shipping and a 90-day warranty.

(ENDED) Friday’s Phones as DAPs: refurbished LG V10 for $135

This daily offer expired…

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[DEAD] Essential Phone w/360 Camera for $399

This Cyber Monday offer expired…

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PADs: refurbished HTC One M9 for $100

If you like to use phones as DAPs (PADs), for example, you listen to a lot of streaming services and like to use some of the Google Play music apps for your own music, we have a $100 offer for you.

One of the early pre Black Friday sales at NewEgg Flash is the refurbisehd HTC One M9 for $100 with free shipping. It is available in three different color options. The seller is “AllBuyHome”. This has both a headphone jack and a microSD slot (HTC brought it back with the M8)

The HTC M10 was the last HTC flagship to have a headphone jack. The U11 line after that removed the headphone jack. The list of smartphones without is growing but they are all cursed 🙂 The HTC U11 is not getting traction with consumers despite great reviews, the Motorola Z series is mostly ignored even though everyone’s in love with their Moto G series, Le Eco is having major financial troubles, the Pixel 2s are plagued with hardware problems 🙂

Pre-order LG G6+ with Quad DAC and QuadPlay headphones for $500 [Amazon Prime Lockscreen Ads version]

From the “Phones as DAPs” department, Amazon is now accepting pre-orders for the new condition LG G6+ 128GB smartphone with the quad-DAC and QuadPlay headphones [included in the box] for $500. This is the Prime Exclusive with Lockscreen Offers and Ads version, so keep that in mind.

The regular LG G6, which is also getting its own Lockscreen version for $400, does not have the Quad-DAC.

These are expected to ship November 9 in 2017, and they are available for purchase for Prime members only.

If you are not a Prime member, or not logged on to your Prime account, you will see a different offer – the LG G6+ will be $800 and it will encourage you to sign up for Prime. After you become a paying Prime member, you will receive a $300 Amazon Gift Card, making it a $500 phone when you factor in the $300 gift card.

Phones as DAPs: LG V20 Unlocked with Motorola Pulse BT Over-Ears for $310

On the “Phones as DAPs” front, with the LG V30 slowly rolling out, the prices of the LG V20 are rolling down. At the moment, NewEgg actual is offering the new condition unlocked LG V20, the AT&T version, model H910A, along with a FREE Motorola Pulse bluetooth 4.1 over-ear headphone (goes for $40 on its own), together for $310 with free shipping.

Of DAP interest, the V20 has the quad-DAC, microSD slot, and removeable battery.

[DEAD] Phones as DAPs: refurbished LG V10 for $145

This daily deal expired, but Woot’s offers often keep coming back in future daily deals or Woot-OFFs or Leftover deals…

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[DEAD] Phones as DAPs: LG V20 (unlocked AT&T) for $303

As of 9/30/17 recheck, the price increased to $330…

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Phones as DAPs: certified refurbished LG V10 for $180, refurb LG V20 for $290, or NEW for $390

The LG V30 was just announced, with a price expected to be somewhere between the Galaxy S8+ and the Note 8. But if you want a smartphone with some quality audio and don’t need to have the latest and greatest model, the previous generations of the LG V-series are dropping in price as follows:

+ certified refurbished LG V10 (Unlocked T-Mobile model) for $180 by marketplace seller with the order fulfilled by Amazon (Prime eligible)

+ certified refurbished LG V20 (T-Mobile) for $290

+ new condition, USA model with USA warranty LG V30 (Titan Grey) for $390

Why Use a Smartphone as a DAP

We call using smartphones as digital audio players PADs (Phones As DAPs). You can get something like a Fiio X1 [text unboxing here] for under $100, so why would you need a smartphone?

One reason is because you want to use music subscription services, and phones are better at running Android apps than the few DAPs that are running GooglePLAY Android.

Another reason is because you also want to use the smartphone as a phone, or use it for various other purposes, eg as a media remote control at home, a bedtime Wifi device (so you don’t eat up your daily driver phone’s battery or sleep with an AC charging cable next to your head), and so forth…

More on this in a future post.

What is Amazon’s Certified Refurbished?

On Amazon, “Certified Refurbished”, when indicated so on the product listing, is a program run by Amazon that offers refurbished products that include a minimum 90-day warranty, and a charger or cable (that may or may not be original). More details at the Certified Refurbished Home page.

Amazon only allows some sellers to participate in this, so in theory, you would have more leverage in case of warranty issues, because if a seller is playing games with you, you can call Amazon’s customer service and complain, and if they are caught mistreating customers, they can lose their status in the “certified refurbished” program, or even get booted off the program.

Phones as DAPs: Used HTC 10 for $160 after coupon

The HTC 10 got good marks for its audio performance, so if you are interested in using it as a DAP, and you are comfortable buying higher risk used smartphones, it is offered in B-stock USED condition for $200 by eBay seller BidAllies (98.2%, New Jersey).

Coupon PSCHOOL20 drops the price by 20% off, making it $160. The coupon expires 8/17/17 at 3am ET.

This has a microSD slot, and 4GB of RAM, and powered by the Snapdragon 820. The HTC 10 is the last major phone from HTC to have a 3.5mm headphone jack. The newer HTC flagships are without a headphone jack.

[DEAD] Tuesday: Phones as DAPs: refurbished LG V20 for $285 [or $400 NEW]

These Tuesday offers expired…

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Phones as DAPs: pre-order Nokia 6 for $180 to $230

On the “Phones as DAPs” front, the Nokia 6 is finally coming to the US market (with Google PLAY access and USA warranty), July 10 is the estimate, and Amazon is accepting pre-orders for $230 in the Standard version for $180 in the Prime Exclusive With Ads version.

GSM Arena reviewed the Chinese version a couple of months ago, and found the headphone output “impressively clean”. It takes microSD cards and runs Android 7.1, so you have flexibility there.

[DEAD] Monday (Phones as DAPs): LG V20 for $400 [unlocked, USA]

This limited time sale expired…

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Phones as DAPs: HTC 10 for $240 [Sprint]

One of the recent flagship smartphone that has been flying under the radar but it is doing quite well audio-wise is the HTC 10. If you are interested in getting this as a phone or as a phone-DAP, it is currently on sale with a special promotion at Sprint: you can either buy it outright for $240, or sign up for a 24-month $10 per month installment plan.

It has 4GB RAM, 32GB on-board, and a microSD slot that supports up to a theoretical 2TB microSD card, so plenty of space for music. The battery is embedded, so you have to use external battery packs for uninterrupted playback. It is running Android 7.

There are quite a few reviews of this with some focus on the audio performance including Android Ad Central and GSM Arena (bottom half of this page).

Phones as DAPs: LG V20 for $500 (Factory Unlocked, USA warranty)

If you want to get the LG V20 but don’t want to be hogtied to a cellular carrier and don’t want to risk buying used or seller-refurbished on eBay, there’s another option, you can get the 64GB LG V20 in new condition, in the titan color scheme, factory unlocked and with LG USA warranty for $500 at B&H Photo. It comes with a 30-day return policy as well.

This being factory unlocked and able to work on GSM and CDMA networks, it will likely fetch a price if/when you decide to sell it later on. Only a small percentage of smartphones out there are “all-carrier phones”.

Of headphone/music interest of course is the Quad DAC, 64GB on-board storage, microSD slot, 4GB RAM so you can run various music apps, nice screen for music videos (eg YouTube Music app), removable battery, Android 7, etc.

Phones as DAPs: LG V20 (LS997, Sprint Locked) for $300

On the “Phones as DAPs” front, for the more adventurous shoppers, eBay Seller “Cellular Stream” (98.2%, Lincolnshire), is offering “New – Other” condition of the Sprint-locked LG V20 smartphone, model LS997, for $300 with free shipping. Limit up to five per buyer.

Cellular-wise, you can only use it on Sprint and any of the Sprint-approved MVNOs (Ting, FreedomPOP, etC). It is LOCKED to Sprint. It comes with a 30-day warranty from the seller, no LG warranty. The LS997 is the Sprint-designated model (see Tech Walls or use your favorite search engine).

Per the listing, you get the phone, the battery, the OEM LG charger, and a USB-C cable. No original box, nothing else included. The listing promises a Clean ESN.

If you are planning to use it strictly as a Wifi-only DAP and Media Player (5.7″ screen and microSD card along with 64GB on-board storage and 4GB RAM), then the cellular part is not as important. However, this being Sprint-locked, it means (other things equal) that if you decide to sell it in the future, it will fetch less than a GSM-unlocked model would.

Also, since you are only getting a 30-day seller warranty, this increases the risk. All of these factors, along with the seller’s feedback score, contribute to this being offered for $300 instead of a lot more.

If any of the above does not make you comfortable, DO NOT BUY!

LG V20 Unlocked International Version for $440

On the “Phones as DAPs” front, the international version of the LG V20, H990DS, factory-unlocked but does not work with CDMA since that’s a US market thing, with dual SIMs, is on sale, in new condition, for $440 with free shipping by NeverMSRP on eBay in black or silver. The pink is out of stock. Limit five per buyer.

Check bands in the listing and online if you are not certain this will work with your carrier of choice. A US charging adapter will be included by the seller. Since this is imported, no LG USA warranty.

This has a headphone jack, it is USB-C powered, supports Bluetooth 4.2 with apt-X, and has the highly talked about Quad DAC. 4GB of RAM, 64GB on-board storage, microSD (up to 256GB), and removable battery bode well for music playback. The size may be a bit of a detriment if you plan to use it as a pocket DAC.

I’m finding a 6-inch phone (I don’t have this one) with a headphone cord attached to it becomes a bit of a pocket monster. On the other hand, if you like to watch music videos or concerts on the phone, the extra screen and resolution can be handy. Remember, if you are paying for Google Play All Access or YouTube RED, you can download the YouTube Music app and play YouTube music ad-free either in video or audio-only mode (saves battery, especially if you are not looking at the screen). You are not going to get audiophile-level streaming from YouTube Music, but some content cannot be found or purchased from the various music streaming services (eg, “Cassette” from “Viet Cong” reborn as “Preoccupations” ~ as seen at Coachella 2017 ~ after getting yelled at for inappropriate use of a name. The band seems to have trouble picking names in general, both of their studio albums are self-titled, and their first EP was titled “Cassette”).

LG V20 (Unlocked, US warranty) for $450 with coupon

More discounting on the quad-DAC front, the LG V20, unlocked and with US warranty, in the “Titan” color scheme, model US996, is going for $450 with free shipping at NewEgg by NewEgg actual when you enter promo code EMCSRERD5 over there. The sale ends Tuesday night or earlier if they sell out.

LG V20 Unlocked T-Mobile for $500 [Phones as DAPs]

For Prime members only, Amazon actual is offering the new condition of the LG V20, fully-unlocked for GSM carriers, but it is the T-Mobile version, in the Titan Grey color scheme. A marketplace seller has it for $500 for all, which is probably what triggered an automated price-match by Amazon actual.

On the same listing there are other colors that are international versions, so pay attention if you are traversing the various options. Likewise, all the posted reviews (as of the time of writing) are for the international versions. You have to filter reviews by color since they are all grouped together.

The LG G6 is not getting the quad-DAC in the US market, so it does not overshadow the V20 in that regard. The V20 has other music-playing benefits, removable battery, 64GB on-board storage, and microSD slot that can take cards up to 2TB (unicorns have 2TB cards!). It comes with Nougat out of the box.

Phones as DAPs: LG V20 (factory unlocked with USA warranty) for $542

From the “Phones as DAPs” department, the new condition LG V20 with USA warranty, factory unlocked, is on sale for $542 [was $564] with free shipping at Amazon by Amazon actual. Limit up to three per customer. Make sure Amazon actual is the seller, as you are guaranteed you are getting a USA warranty. The other sellers, buy only if you are 100% certain… Price updated here 3/18/17 AM…

This is no-contract, no-obligation, no installment-plan, no other restrictions. You pay $564 upfront and you can do whatever you want with it.

The V20 has the quad-DAC, which only some of the new LG G6 flagship models are getting. The US version of the G6 will get wireless charging but not the quad DAC. It runs Nougat, has 4GB RAM, 64GB on-board and takes microSD cards (up to 2TB theoretically).

Phones as DAPs: LG V10 for $290 (Carrier Unlocked, AT&T, No Contract)

The LG V-series is one of the smartphones that get good marks for their audio component. If you like to buy smartphones outright and without any contractual obligations, carrier-unlocked, in new condition, B&H Photo is offering the LG V10 (model H900) for $290 with free shipping. It comes with a 1-year warranty covered by B&H. This is a limited time offer.

It has 64GB on-board storage plus it can take microSDXC cards (theoretically up to 2TB). So plenty of space for your OGGs and WAVs and DSDs 🙂 It has a removable battery, so you can keep listening without having to recharge. If you are planning to use it with a GSM provider other than AT&T, check the bands and/or the phone forums/websites to make sure it will work with your provider(s) of choice.

[DEAD] Monday: LG V20 for $500; AT LP60 USB for $80

These daily deals expired…

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Phones as DAPs: LG V20 (International Version) for $550

From the Phones as DAP department, if you are interested in the new LG V20 but don’t want to pay the $800+ for the USA edition, and you understand the trade-offs of getting an international model, among the latest ebay daily deals, eBay seller “NeverMSRP” (99.9%, Houston) is offering new condition international versions of the LG V20 (model H990DS) for $550 with free shipping, in either silver or gray. The pink is currently sold out. Limit up to five per customer. This is unlocked, no carrier logos, no contracts, no installment plans. The compatible bands are in the listing, but check phone forums if you are not certain your carrier(s) of interest are compatible. Check audio forums and websites for discussions on the audio capabilities of the V20.

JBL Synchros E40BT Bluetooth On-Ears + Honor 6X phone + Extras for $250

It’s a PAD bundle again (PAD = phones as DAPs (DAPs = digital audio players)). And it is in pre-order state. If you prefer the new Huawei Honor 6X phone for $250, you will also receive for free the closed-back on-ear JBL Synchros E40BT bluetooth headphones, along with an ASUS 10,050 mah portable battery and a VR headset at B&H Photo. The phone is available in three colors, all three get the same three freebies. The headphones currently go for $80 on their own.

JBL Coach E40 Bluetooth On-Ears + Huawei Honor 8 Dual Camera smartphone for $300

The JBL Coach E40 bluetooth on-ear headphones appear to be NewEgg’s favorite smartphone bundle. Earlier on they were bundled with a ZTE Axon, now they are bundled with the Huawei Honor 8 Dual Camera smartphone, together for $300 with free shipping. This is an unlocked phone with 32GB storage, USA warranty. They also include a few more phone accessories for free.

JBL Coach E40 BT LE On-Ears + ZTE Axon 7 (64GB, Unlocked, NA Warranty) for $350

It’s bundle time! The closed-back on-ear JBL Coach E40 bluetooth headphones, in a Limited Edition Pink-Black color scheme is bundled for FREE with the new condition unlocked no-contract 64GB ZTE Axon 7 Android smartphone with North American warranty, for $350 with free shipping at NewEgg by NewEgg actual. Limit up to five bundles per customer… No coupons, no rebates, a welcome surprise for NewEgg :)… Upon receipt, you can split them and they can make two gifts for the price of one 🙂

Phones as DAPs: LG V20 with JBL E40BT Bluetooth On-Ears and 7″ LG tablet and Power Bank for $800

Another new deal that emerged since the previous update of the Headphone Tracker (notable changes there are marked in BOLD) is that the LG V20 freebie train is getting more wagons if you are willing to buy it unlocked and not from carriers. Its price from authorized with USA warranty dealers is $800. If you buy it from B&H Photo you will receive three freebies:

  • JBL E40BT bluetooth on-ear headphones (choice of black or white color scheme)
  • 7-inch LG tablet – the 8GB G Pad (Black)
  • 10500 mah ASUS power bank

All useful freebies in their own right, which means you can also use them as Holiday gifts 🙂

This is the North American variant of the phone (model US996), with carrier flexibility and USA warranty. 64GB of on-board storage plus a microSD slot and removable battery, along with “Quad DAC”, Nougat out of the box, and things of that nature.

(ENDED) Feed the DAPs: MicroSD and Flash Drive Sale [PADs: Sony Xperia sale] {Monday sale}

These 1-day offers have now expired…

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Coming Soon: LG V20 may include B&O Play H3 Earphones

The LG V20 is now officially announced [check our IFA 2016 post for more on that], and during the presentation, LG revealed that it may include the B&O Play H3 earphones, which go for $150 on their own (not clear whether they’ll come with the 1st or 2nd generation of the earphones).

NOTE: it is not known yet which markets and which carrier bundles will get the B&O earphones. We have to wait and see.

Free headphones with ZTE Axon 7 pre-order (two choices)

From the “Phones as DAPs” department, the new ZTE flagship smartphone, the “ZTE Axon 7” is available for pre-order for $400 (unlocked, USA warranty, no contract) at various sellers. As of the time of writing, a couple of sellers are sweetening the pie with free headphones.

At NewEgg you get the Monster N-Pulse Over-Ear DJ headphones for FREE. They have a selling price of $200 but various marketplace sellers have the white color for $100 at NewEgg, while a …car parts seller has it as low as $55 at To cut a long story short, this is not a $200 freebie, just the usual marketing value inflation gimmicks 🙂

At B&H Photo you get two freebies without the hype, a $25 B&H Photo Gift Card (to be used in future purchases, not towards this purchase), and the Samsung Level U solid-frame bluetooth earbuds.

[DEAD] Phones as DAPs: ZTE Axon PRO for $279 [PRIME]

This offer expired but this phone-as-DAP is frequently discounted, so if you missed it, chances are more offers will come for it in the future… From the “Phones as DAPs” department, the unlocked no-contract ZTE Axon PRO (the PRO part in the name is important as the non-PRO version is not as good) is on sale for $279 with free shipping at for Prime members in another “Add to Cart” promotion. The price before you add it to the shopping cart is $330.

Phones as DAPs: 64GB Unlocked ZTE Axon PRO with $75 Gift Card and Case for $330

From the ever-increasing in popularity “Phones as DAPs” department, the 64GB version of the ZTE Axon PRO smartphone (the PRO is important because there’s also a non-PRO with lesser specs), unlocked without contractual requirements, is on a special promotion at B&H Photo. You get the phone, a $75 B&H Photo Gift Card and a phone case, all together for $330 with free shipping. No coupons or rebates, just checkout and it’s all good while this promotion is running.

NOTE: the free items are shown in the main product page at B&H while the various promotions are running. IF you don’t see the free items mentioned over there, it means the promotion expired.

Phones as DAPs: 64GB Unlocked ZTE Axon PRO for $300

Some prefer to listen to music using dedicated Digital Audio Players, others prefer to use their smartphones, while other-others a combination of both. If you are interested in “Phones as DAPs”, for a limited time only, the Best Buy eBay store is offering new condition unlocked with no contract requirements 64GB ZTE Axon PRO smartphones for $300 with free shipping. They are available in three different colors.

When price checking and reading reviews, make sure you are looking at the “Axon PRO”, not the “Axon” (not PRO) model. It does not take microSD cards, so keep that in mind. But with 4GB RAM and a Snapdragon 810 processor it should be able to handle even the most demanding Android music and music streaming apps. Another benefit over dedicated DAPs is Bluetooth and NFC. NFC can be very handy if you mix and match different music sources with different headphones/outputs and you don’t like to turn bluetooth on/off all the time to prevent devices for “fighting” over a previously paired connection.

Since it’s an unlocked GSM phone with no contract requirement, you don’t have to use any of the telephone aspects to it, but in the future in case you need a phone or you are in-between phones or providers, it can serve that purpose too.

ZTE Axon PRO Android Phone for $300 (32GB) or $324 (64GB)

Some people prefer dedicated audio players, others prefer to use their smartphones as their portable audio players, some are somewhere in-between. One of the latest Android smartphones to get some audio-cred is the ZTE Axon PRO (the PRO is important, since there is also a ZTE Axon non-PRO model), and two good things happened to it in the last few days: 1) it is getting Android 6.0 and 2) its price is dropping…

… as of the time of writing, the 64GB Version is down to $324, while the 32GB Version goes for $300 in multiple colors. It has 4GB RAM which can keep up with almost all music apps. However, there’s no microSD slot, so consider that if you are deciding between 32GB and 64GB.

This is a factory-unlocked no-contract phone with a US warranty.