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8 Best Phones With a 3.5

Aug 28, 2023

Julian Chokkattu

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It's been nearly seven years since Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone. Yes, you can get excellent wireless earbuds nowadays, but maybe you prefer plugging in, or you just don't want to think about charging your headphones. The joy of the 3.5-mm headphone connector is that it's one of the few truly universal standards left.

You can use pretty much any pair of corded headphones—no need to worry about whether they’re Lightning or USB-C or whether the connectivity will blip in and out. No batteries to charge, no dongles to attach, no earbuds to lose. There are times when Bluetooth is preferable, but it's nice to at least have the option. After testing dozens of smartphones, these are the best with the venerable port. Read our Best Android Phones and Best Cheap Phones guides for more.

Updated March 2023: We've added the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G.

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Times are tough. With the Pixel A-series line no longer featuring a headphone jack, it's getting harder to find a jack-of-all-trades smartphone with a 3.5-mm port that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and supports all the major US carriers. That's why Samsung's Galaxy A14 5G (9/10, WIRED Recommends) takes the top spot in this guide. This 6.6-inch Android phone has a textured back that gives it a bit more character than most cheap phones. The MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip inside has been crushing it—apps launch quickly, there are rarely any stutters, and even lightweight games like Alto's Odyssey and Dead Cells run smoothly. The 90-Hz refresh rate is a nice touch that makes every operation feel fluid, and the LCD 1080p screen is adequate. It might have three cameras on the back, but only the 50-MP main camera is really usable; it offers decent daytime photos and passable low-light images.

The battery easily lasts two full days on a single charge, and you get niceties like a MicroSD card slot, a reliable fingerprint scanner, NFC so you can tap to pay at retailers, and of course, the headphone jack. Most impressive is Samsung's commitment to software updates. The Galaxy A14 5G will get two OS upgrades and four years of security patches—hard to find on a phone so cheap. The only downside is the lack of an IP rating, so be careful around water.

I love this tiny Asus phone (7/10, WIRED Recommends). At just 5.9 inches, it's one of the most compact Android smartphones out there, yet it doesn't skimp on performance. It's powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 flagship chipset, so it's got all the horsepower to run your favorite apps and games. That's without mentioning the day and a half of battery life, the bright, 120-Hz AMOLED screen, and IP68 water resistance. It even has this fun texture on the back that makes it a pleasure to hold and use. The headphone jack is here and you'll also be happy with the loud output from the stereo speakers.

The camera system is OK—there's nothing groundbreaking here—though they do have some great video stabilization if you frequently find yourself filming while moving around. The only few downsides are the lack of wireless charging, and Asus is only promising two years of updates, which is one of the worst software update policies these days. Oh, and it won't work on Verizon, just AT&T and T-Mobile.

Motorola releases tons of phones each year, but these two are standouts for 2022. You can read more about them in my review, but here's a brief summary. Before you buy, I strongly recommend waiting for a sale, as Motorola discounts its phones often.

The Moto G Stylus 5G is powerful, has nearly two-day battery life, supports NFC for contactless payments (rare for a Motorola), and comes with 256 GB of storage, so you’re getting a ton of storage. With its 6.8-inch LCD screen, it's on the large end for a phone, but it supports a 120-Hz refresh rate, and there's a built-in stylus you can pull out to doodle or sign documents. The headphone jack is on the bottom. It’ll sadly only get one OS upgrade (up to Android 13) but three years of security updates, and it has lackluster cameras and poor water resistance (it’ll be fine in rain).

The Moto G 5G is smaller and cheaper, but it's the lesser phone. It runs almost as well as the Stylus 5G, but the camera system is worse. And there's no NFC support, so you can't pay with your phone. You do get 256 GB of internal storage and a MicroSD slot to expand space. There's no stylus either, and the LCD screen has a 90-Hz refresh rate. It still functioned perfectly well as a smartphone though, and it has a headphone jack!

The primary reason to get the Asus ROG Phone 6 is that it's a kickass device for playing mobile games and streaming games from your Xbox or PlayStation. Not only does it have the most extra specs—like the 12 GB of RAM and 165-Hz screen refresh rate—but Asus has all kinds of accessories like the ROG Kunai 3 to make gaming on a phone feel more tactile. It also has built-in software to map your game controls to physical buttons. The 6,000-mAh battery will easily last two days with average use and will power your long gaming sessions.

There are caveats. Like the Zenfone 9, this phone only works on AT&T and T-Mobile (sorry, Verizon subscribers). There's no wireless charging, Asus still only offers two years of updates, the IPX4 water resistance rating is lackluster, and the cameras are just OK. But hey, at least it has a headphone jack!

Lauren Goode


Julian Chokkattu

Brenda Stolyar

Drop your phone frequently? If you’re reading this through cracked glass, you might consider HMD Global's Nokia XR20 (7/10, WIRED Recommends). Its screen is protected by just about the strongest glass you’ll find on any Android phone, and the back is made of a tough polymer composite. I dropped it on the street three times, and it came out with only a few minor scuffs on the back. After a year of brutal use, it's still kicking just fine with a near-pristine display, save a few scratches. (This is no guarantee that the screen won't crack, just cautious optimism.) There's a spot to attach a wrist strap if you want to be extra careful and keep your phone tethered.

It runs well and lasts a full day. Better yet, it has features like wireless charging, dual SIM, a MicroSD card slot, IP68 water resistance, and NFC for making contactless payments. Being nearly two years old, it'll get one more OS upgrade (to Android 14) and a little more than two years of security updates. Oh, don't forget the headphone jack. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on Verizon, and 5G support doesn't include AT&T (though LTE works just fine).

This OnePlus phone feels like a callback to the good old days of OnePlus, when it offered tremendous quality at an astonishing price. The Nord N20 5G (7/10, WIRED Recommends) has a 60-Hz screen, sure, but it uses an AMOLED panel instead of an LCD—rare at this price. That means you get pitch-dark blacks and vivid colors that pop, though the screen can be a bit hard to read on sunny days. Naturally, you get a headphone jack, but it has many other merits. Its performance is class-leading for a sub-$300 phone, the battery lasts a full day, and there's NFC for contactless payments, not to mention a microSD card slot and 5G connectivity. It’ll only get one OS update to Android 13, but it will get three years of security updates.

The downsides? The cameras are subpar. It's available unlocked, but it won't work on Verizon, and if you’re on AT&T, don't expect 5G connectivity.

The Xperia 1 III costs way too much at MSRP, but its price has since come down. It's just about the only phone around with a 4K OLED 120-Hz screen, which makes it fantastic for watching movies (as fantastic as a tiny phone screen can be). It has great-sounding front-facing stereo speakers and a headphone jack when you want to plug it in. Its camera system isn't quite the best, but it encourages you to tweak photo and video settings so you can have more control over the results. If you’re a photo tinkerer, this is for you. You can find pretty much any feature that's available in a high-end phone here, including wireless charging.

However, 5G is limited to sub-6 5G (the slower kind), and it's only available on Verizon and T-Mobile—sorry, AT&T subscribers, you're stuck on 4G LTE. The 4,500-mAh battery isn't a standout either. It lasts just a day, sometimes less if you use it a lot. It also will only get one more year of updates.

What about the Xperia 1 IV? Yes, Sony has a new version. Unfortunately, the Xperia 1 IV (6/10, WIRED Review) costs an absurd $1,598, though it frequently dips to $1,398. The 4K OLED screen gets plenty bright, fixing one of the qualms I had with the Xperia 1 III, and the battery now easily lasts a full day too. The cameras are better and share many of the same features, so they’re consistent, but the imaging quality still isn't up to par with competitors. It doesn't help that Sony still isn't committing to more than two years of software support.

Lauren Goode


Julian Chokkattu

Brenda Stolyar

Here are some alternatives to consider if none of the phones above strike your fancy.

Moto G Stylus 2022 for $180: This Motorola phone (6/10, WIRED Review) is a perfectly fine option. The headphone jack is present, as is a 90-Hz LCD screen, two-day battery life, decent performance, and a MicroSD card slot. There's no NFC, so you can't pay with this phone, and no 5G support, plus it will only get an update to Android 12. It has a stylus if that makes a difference.

OnePlus N300 5G for $228: This phone only works on T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile, so if you're on those networks, it's a great, affordable device. It'll only get one update to Android 13 and two years of security updates, but there's 5G service, you can pay with the phone via NFC, and the 5,000-mAh battery lasts two full days. The MediaTek Dimensity 810 chipset is quite speedy too. It also has a 90-Hz screen, a microSD slot, and a headphone jack. As with many of the phones in this guide, the cameras are meh, and there's no water resistance.

Sorry iPhone owners. None of Apple's phones have a headphone jack, and that includes the iPhone SE. You’ll have to make do with a headphone dongle. The options below should work. And if you have an Android phone that lacks the jack, we have a nice pair of USB-C earbuds we like.

For iPhone: Apple Lightning to 3.5-mm Adapter for $8. If you want to be safe and stick with Apple-branded cables, this simple adapter will let you quickly plug your cans into your iPhone. I recommend buying several because they’re easy to lose.

For other phones: Google USB-C Earbuds for $30. If you have an Android phone without a headphone jack, try these USB-C earbuds from Google. They sound decent, and you can get Google Assistant to read out notifications when your phone is in your pocket. If you just want an adapter so you can use your own headphones, Apple has a USB-C to 3.5-mm adapter that should work.

Gear Team

Louryn Strampe

Medea Giordano

Julian Chokkattu

Lauren Goode

Julian Chokkattu

Simon Hill

Ryan Waniata

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1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off) The Moto G Stylus 5G The Moto G 5G What about the Xperia 1 IV? Moto G Stylus 2022 for $180: OnePlus N300 5G for $228: For iPhone: Apple Lightning to 3.5-mm Adapter for $8. For other phones: Google USB-C Earbuds for $30.