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Since I cannot really find any recent topics about it when I searched, I thought maybe someone here can answer this question. Will a dedicated music player like this one deliver better audio quality than a decent (flagship) smartphone for someone that only listens to MP3 files?
My experience is that MP3s do sound better. But, that may be my imagination. I have not done any A/B comparison.
MP3 is a lossy file type which means that the original track has been compressed and during the decompression process (listening to the track) certain frequencies and parts of the data are lossed. This will always lead to worse sound quality to the trained ear and also becomes more obvious with the gear being used (quality of headphones and audio source). So, in short for MP3s you will not have a noticeable difference in sound quality compared to a smartphone. For lossless files (FLAC, WAV, ALAC) you should expect a better sound quality with this device as apposed to a smartphone, unless your phone is able to play lossless files that is.