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Review: Better High-Definition Audio From Your Smartphone

The DragonFly portable USB DACs and the Aumeo customizable headphone amplifier take HD audio to the next level

5 min read
Review: Better High-Definition Audio From Your Smartphone
Photo: Randi Klett

The modern smartphone may be a self-contained technological marvel, but that hasn't stopped engineers from coming up with a vast assortment of gadgets that plug into it. There are gizmos to augment your phone's camera, monitor your physiology, accept credit card payments, or even listen to software-defined radio. But the best of these (in my admittedly biased view) are the add-ons that improve the phone's music-playback capabilities. You can now get fantastic audio out of your phone—and you do not have to pay a lot to do it.

If you're an audiophile, you're probably aware of these offerings. But the dizzying array of products, promises, and prices may have left you puzzled. I'm here to help.

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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