LG's V20 will sound great... with wired headphones

LG wants its next handset to be known as an audiophile's dream.

Some portions of the technology industry would like you to think that smartphones without headphone jacks are the future. LG feels differently, and has teamed up with high-end audio firm ESS to bake in a 32-bit HiFi Quad Digital-To-Analog converter into the forthcoming V20. Unlike standard DACs, this model is promised to cut ambient noise in half and make your tunes sound as if you're listening on some high-end separates. The bit that's worth noting, however, is that this new-fangled audio prowess will only work if you're rocking a set of cabled headphones.

If you're unfamiliar, a DAC takes the music that's been stored digitally and (wait for it) converts it into analog audio for piping into your ears. That's reasonably easy for a smartphone because there's some space and power to install a hardware DAC in the body for use with headphones. But Bluetooth audio gear has to process the digital signal locally, which means it has to carry its own DAC. That means that it's got to be smaller, cheaper and less power-hungry than its smartphone counterpart. By making a big deal out of the V20's wired audio capabilities, LG's drawing a very public line in the sand against firms like Motorola and what Apple is presumed to be doing next month.