Want a phone with a headphone jack? Nubia Music Phone has two, plus a huge speaker

Nubia Music Phone on gray background with musical note animations
(Image credit: ZTE)

I'm no gambler, but if you'd asked me to predict what we'd see at MWC 2024, my top picks would have been the (oddly Eve from Wall-E esque) Nothing Phone 2a, a bendable concept phone you can wear like a wrist cuff and transparent laptop screens – after all, Samsung's first ever transparent micro-LED display was unveiled at the start of the year.

What I wouldn't have bet on was ZTE releasing a colorful, vinyl-styled smartphone with not one but two analog 3.5mm headphone jacks and a huge DTS:X-certified speaker on its rear panel, thus becoming a solid rival to my current pick for the best phone for sound, the Sony Xperia 1 V.

But here we are. ZTE says that thanks to its vinyl-styled, rear-mounted speaker (not too dissimilar to the speaker seen on the Nokia 130, one of two 'dumb' Nokia feature phones launched last year, albeit a more powerful proposition), the Nubia Music smartphone promises 600% higher volume than your average smartphone. If true, bringing one of the best Bluetooth speakers along to add music to your next barbecue, beach or camping trip may soon become wholly unnecessary. 

And let's talk about those two 3.5 mm headphone jacks! While Sony's aforementioned Xperia lineup is one of the last handsets to keep supporting the humble headphone jack, I've not seen two of them on a piece of portable audio kit since the Sony Walkman of my childhood. Not even FiiO's new CP13 tape player has two jacks, and thats' an actual Walkman wannabe… 

3.5mm jacks and Ambilight? This is the retro phone of my dreams

ZTE Nubia Music Phone front and back, on purple background

Just look at that light-strip around the deck for visuals…  (Image credit: ZTE)

Nubia also includes a special music companion app that helps you control the special RGB strip on the edge of the screen to match the music – yes, ZTE thinks Ambilight is the future and I'm here for it, despite Philips dropping a key Ambilight feature I loved last year, even as Panasonic added integrated LED lighting to its in-flight entertainment system

As reported by NotebookCheck, the Nubia Music phone totes "a powerful amplifier and an AI algorithm" to achieve its much higher volume output than conventional phones. Elsewhere it reportedly sports a 90Hz HD display, a 50-megapixel dual camera, a 5,000mAh battery, plus up to 8GB of RAM.

Solid details are otherwise thin on the ground (the phone has an unspecified Unisoc processor, the DAC chip is unknown and pricing and availability hasn't yet been made official by ZTE), but based on those specs, it'll likely arrive as a mid-range offering. And I will be ready. 

ZTE Nubia Music phone held by a woman, listening to it with yellow wired headphones

I think this phone would make me happy too (Image credit: ZTE)

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Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.