The love of audio. It's a dangerous condition, because every minute spent obsessing over headphones or specs or conflicting opinions is a minute not spent enjoying your favorite tracks or discovering new ones. That's why a review like this, which compares the iPhone 5 with rival phones based largely on acoustic qualities, runs a high risk of time-wastage -- no one really needs a cacophony of flowery words with no concrete conclusions.
How to steer clear of the technological equivalent of a wine-tasting? By trying our damnedest to focus only on the more practical pros and cons of these top handsets, specifically from the POV of someone who listens to a lot of music on their phone. We're talking about someone who likely prefers high-bitrate recordings and who is ready to spend money on something better than the earbuds (or EarPods) that come in the box.
In addition to testing Apple's new flagship we'll also look at the iPhone 4S, which is now a ton cheaper than it was a few weeks ago, as well as the Galaxy S III (both the global and the Sprint US version) plus the HTC One X (global and AT&T), and run them all through an audiophile obstacle course that goes right from purely subjective observations through to slightly more scientific tests as well as storage, OS and battery comparisons. There'll also be some consideration of the iPhone 4, Nokia Lumia 800 and PureView 808, although it'll be more condensed.
And yes, we'll end up with an overall winner, but the research here is about more than that. Different phones may suit different people, depending on their priorities. Moreover, new handsets are just around the corner -- the Lumia 920, the Note II, the LG Optimus G and whatever other goodies the future undoubtedly holds -- and so it makes sense to have a bed of knowledge against which new entrants can be judged. Interested? Then let's get started.