Samsung's latest phones support a huge audio upgrade, but where are the compatible headphones?

Samsung's Galaxy S24 smartphone lineup debuts with the latest system on a chip from Qualcomm, offering one half of the puzzle to achieving wireless lossless audio.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Display
June Wan/ZDNET

During this year's Samsung Unpacked event, the Korean tech giant announced the latest Galaxy S-series smartphones, the S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra. Most of the buzz surrounds the new phones' impressive suite of AI-powered features, like real-time translation, improved night photography, and on-device transcription.

Also: Every Samsung product announced at Unpacked 2024

The S24 smartphones also debut with the latest mobile system-on-a-chip (SoC) from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which powers most of the generative AI features embedded into the S24 smartphones. 

The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset in the S24 lineup means they're the first smartphones in the US that support Qualcomm's latest audio technologies, the S7 and S7 Pro audio platforms. Qualcomm says these audio platforms bring more intelligent and powerful features than previous Qualcomm audio chips.

Notably, the S7 and S7 Pro platforms equip wireless earbuds with Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing true wireless earbuds and wireless headphones to achieve lossless audio playback. 

Also: The best headphones: Expert tested and reviewed

As exciting as that sounds, we're missing an essential piece of the puzzle: There are no earbuds on the market with the S7 and S7 Pro audio platforms.

Plus, we don't know when compatible earbuds will hit the scene, and headphones advance at a slower pace than smartphones. 

For example, many headphone makers released headphones in 2023 that were still equipped with Bluetooth 5.1 (we're technically on Bluetooth 5.4, but it was just released to manufacturers last spring).

You can find Snapdragon audio chips in popular headphones like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra. Released in October 2023, Bose's latest headphones and earbuds use Snapdragon Sound tech that was released in 2022. 

Qualcomm announced the S7 and S7 Pro audio platforms a short three weeks after Bose announced new headphones with the "latest" audio tech, meaning it could be another six to ten months before we see the S7 platforms integrated into headphones and earbuds.

Also: Expecting lossless audio from your new earbuds? It's not happening and here's why

Allow me to land one final blow: You must upgrade to the latest flagship Android phones that have the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC and upgrade to earbuds that support the S7 and S7 Pro platforms. It'll be pricey, but if finally acquiring wireless lossless audio would fulfill the audio nerd in you, it'll be worth it.

So, if Samsung's new chips excited any audiophiles out there waiting for earbuds with the Snapdragon S7 and S7 Pro platforms, you'll need to exercise some patience. 

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