What is aptX HD and what are the benefits?

If you are particular about audio quality of music or sound over Bluetooth, you ought to pay attention to AptX HD, a premium Bluetooth audio codec designed to deliver high definition sound quality. Wired audio headsets have been around for a while, but the whole world is going wireless, and gradually, headsets are going that way too. Apple has already eliminated the 3.5mm audio jack and many other phone companies are following suit.

By default, Bluetooth headsets do not have the same audio quality that wired headsets have, hence the need for the development of audio codecs that enhance the listening experience over wireless headsets. AptX HD arrived on the scene, delivering audio quality that’s a cut above standard Bluetooth audio. In this comprehensive guide, I will be taking you on a journey exploring what it is, how it works, and how to determine if your phone is equipped with this technology.

What is aptX hD?

What is aptX HD?

AptX HD is a high-definition audio codec, an offspring of the standard aptX, renowned for its superior sound quality in the world of Bluetooth audio. It is designed to deliver audio in a format that comes remarkably close to the original studio recording. It delivers superior sound quality compared to standard Bluetooth audio codecs. It can handle high-definition audio files with more detail and nuance.

How Does aptX HD Work?

At the core of aptX HD is a complex set of algorithms that leverage the power of Bluetooth connectivity to transmit audio at a much higher bit rate than the standard SBC (Subband Coding) codec. In simpler terms, it sends more data per second over the airwaves, which means more detailed and clearer sound. This codec operates at a 576 kbps bit rate, effectively allowing it to transmit 24-bit, 48kHz audio.

One of its outstanding features is its ability to operate at a fixed bitrate of 576 kbps, which means it maintains a consistent data rate, even when there is fluctuating signal quality. As such, it is able to maintain an uninterrupted audio experience.

AptX HD is backward-compatible with standard aptX, but not all Bluetooth devices support it. Both the transmitting and receiving devices need to support the codec for it to work at its highest quality. It is at this point that I must add that there is an ever-growing range of aptX codecs that increasingly improve on Bluetooth audio quality. The earliest was aptX, followed by aptX HD, then aptX Adaptive, etc.

Are there any Samsung AptX HD phones?

As at the time of this article, I d not know of any Samsung phones that support aptX HD. Not even Samsung S23 series, the 2023 flagship line-up. The current crop of Samsung smartphones support only the standard aptX.

What smartphones support AptX HD?

Many Android smartphones and some other devices support AptX HD. Some well-known smartphone brands that have included support for this high definition Bluetooth codec in their devices include:

  1. Nokia
  2. Sony
  3. OnePlus
  4. Xiaomi
  5. HTC
  6. Asus
  7. ZTE

The Nokia G60, reviewed here, supports both HD and Adaptive versions of aptX. The issue is that you and I need to be able to determine whether a phone supports it or not even before buying it; right? Let’s look into that below.

How to Determine if Your Phone Has aptX HD

Now, the most pertinent question: how do you know if your smartphone is graced with the capabilities of aptX HD? The answer lies in a few simple steps:

  1. Check Manufacturer’s Specs: Start by visiting the official website of your smartphone’s manufacturer. Most brands proudly display the audio codecs supported by their devices, so look for any mention of the codec.
  2. Check in Bluetooth Settings: Navigate to your smartphone’s Bluetooth settings. In the paired device’s details, you might find information about the audio codecs it supports. If you see “aptX HD” listed, you’re in luck.
  3. Third-Party Apps: There are third-party apps available for both Android and iOS that can help you ascertain the audio codecs supported by your device. Simply install one of these apps, and it will provide a detailed rundown of your phone’s audio capabilities. I personally use Bluetooth Codec Changer, available on the Google Play Store (click here to download it). You can give it a try if you own an Android smartphone. There are plenty of options in the store, though, so hunt around, should you not like it.
  4. Consult Your User Manual: Your smartphone’s user manual can be a treasure trove of information. Flip through the pages or access a digital version to see if it mentions the codec. This is a slim chance, though, as phone manuals are no longer as detailed as they used to be.

Read more about aptX Adaptive and aptX Adaptive phones.

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