iPhone Killers?
July 6, 2007 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Are there any cellphone MP3 players that let you set an mp3 as a ringtone? I'm thinking of replacing my cellphone and mp3 player, but I refuse to buy a combo device that won't let me set an mp3 as a ringtone, because that's insane. I also want to be able to buy an unlocked handset and use it with whatever provider I want, rather then being a slave. (Can you tell I really don't like the cellphone industry?)

So basically I have this tiny little Samsung YP MP3 player, which is great for working out, but lately I've been taking my phone with me to the gym and it's silly to have two devices. According to a sales drone at Radioshack the Samsung UpStage for example, won't play mp3s as ringtones. What phones will? Any?

I'd also like to get something that let me surf the web like a toshiba g900 or a Nokia n95 provided they can play mp3s as ringtones.
posted by delmoi to Technology (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My Sony Ericson K800i lets me have MP3's as ringtones, and set specific songs for specific numbers. I believe its available on Amazon unlocked.

Most phones worth their salt will have some sort of MP3 capabilities for ringtones.
posted by philsi at 3:13 PM on July 6, 2007


The Sony Ericsson K750i should fit the bill. It has a media player that is only really limited by the size of the memory stick you choose to add. The sound is just as good as my IPod. You can set any MP3 as a ringtone. You can also use the internet with it - I use Opera on it. I've had mine for about a year and it is really very good. One possible bonus is that it is old enough to be able to find used ones on EBay, or elsewhere, for bargain prices.
posted by jonesor at 3:16 PM on July 6, 2007


Hmm, I should have added that I'd like to stay away from sony and their memory sticks :P. Anything from other companies?
posted by delmoi at 3:20 PM on July 6, 2007


Well I'm not sure if you're just not keen on Sony Ericsson or the memory sticks perse, but my K790a uses the Micro SD card, not a memory stick. It's awesome for web browsing with Opera Mini and mp3 ringtone usage.
posted by Asherah at 3:30 PM on July 6, 2007


I have a Cingular 3125 3125 (made by HTC) that allows mp3 ringtones. It should surf the web, although I don't do that with the phone.
posted by dr. fresh at 3:34 PM on July 6, 2007


My Samsung phone (t-619) can easily be tricked into playing .aac files as ring-tones even though it formally doesn't - I just renamed the file to end in .3gp before sending it to the phone. I imagine the UpStage thing is similarly inept at restricting your use of it.
posted by nowonmai at 3:41 PM on July 6, 2007


How about an unlocked Treo? I'm positive that there's an application that'll let you use an MP3 as a ringtone, it'll surf the web, plus it'll do hundreds of other tasks with aplomb.
posted by birdsquared at 3:42 PM on July 6, 2007


Just out of interest, what is wrong with Sony? Or the memory sticks?
posted by jonesor at 3:53 PM on July 6, 2007


My LG Chocolate lets me set MP3 ringtones, but doesn't have any decent web capability, what with the screen-size.

Also, while the process of setting up the ringtones isn't hard, it does require knowing a few tricks about the directory structure of the phone, and the tricks can vary by model, IIRC.
posted by chudmonkey at 3:53 PM on July 6, 2007


The Samsung D807 is great on the ringtone front, but it only allows bluetooth stereo headset or the proprietary earbuds.
posted by Megafly at 4:09 PM on July 6, 2007


What nowonmai said, except with some different brand names and file extensions.
posted by box at 4:17 PM on July 6, 2007


Just out of interest, what is wrong with Sony? Or the memory sticks?

They've really lead the charge on DRM and assorted bullshit, both with their hardware and content. Music CDs with rootkit auto-installing DRM, ATRAC rather then MP3. I just don't want to promote that sort of thing with my disposable income.
posted by delmoi at 4:18 PM on July 6, 2007


Any Smartphone will let you use a mp3 as a ringtone (just move it to the /windows/rings folder on your device), and can also be used as a mp3 player (windows media player or any number of third party apps). I recommend the XV6700 on verizon and sprint, though its going to be replaced by a newer model in the next few weeks.
posted by softlord at 4:27 PM on July 6, 2007


The n95 lets you do what you want with mp3 and aac files, set them as ringtones, send them to others via bluetooth or email, whatever.

To be honest I think most phones not crippled by US networks will do this though.
posted by Olli at 4:38 PM on July 6, 2007


I have a cingular 8125 which does mp3 ringtones. There's also forums where you can go to town modding the heck out of it.

You can also surf the web with Opera or, if you must, IE, but surfing the web on a cell phone...god, why? I can ride a tricycle to work, but that doesn't make it a good idea.
posted by mullingitover at 4:43 PM on July 6, 2007


delmoi writes "They've really lead the charge on DRM and assorted bullshit, both with their hardware and content. Music CDs with rootkit auto-installing DRM, ATRAC rather then MP3. I just don't want to promote that sort of thing with my disposable income."

Hear hear. I'm boycotting Sony pretty much forever. They are the Dick Cheney of corporations.
posted by mullingitover at 4:45 PM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Motorolas that play music do this.
I've got a RIZR Z3 that is a good phone and clunky (because of the motorola software/menus) but entirely adequate for other purposes.
Like a lot of music phones it needs a miniUSB to 3.5mm stereo adapter dongle ($5 on ebay) to use your existing headphones; look for this when shopping for music phones, as no one will tell you about it upfront and many dealers don't even carry them.
Or you can get stereo bluetooth headphones that can control the music/phone functions with a built-in mic for headset duty - I really like mine, also by Moto.
It's no iPhone when it comes to internet, though; the screen is sharp but only 2"x2.5"; the built-in 'browser' sux, but installing Opera mini lets me read rss feeds, etc, just fine.
posted by bartleby at 4:45 PM on July 6, 2007


I've never seen a cell phone of the last 10 years that didn't allow me to set an MP3 as a ringtone. Any Nokia device that isn't free with a box-top will have it, I'm certain.

And, have you seen the new Nokia 6120/6121 Classic? Yum!
posted by cmiller at 4:51 PM on July 6, 2007


Yeah, my last two Nokias have let me make MP3s as ringtones. The older one didn't have a memory card, so I used to upload small MP3 files to the web, then point the phone's browser to them to download them and make them ring tones. My current Nokia, a 6332 or something like that, has a MicroSD card.

I figured all phones did this nowdays... Weird.
posted by Jimbob at 6:00 PM on July 6, 2007


All phones do. Except the iPhone, 'cos Apple is about to launch downloadable ringtones from the iTunes store, and they'd prefer you to pay for them rather than get them for free.
posted by blag at 6:11 PM on July 6, 2007


I have a Sprint Razr v3m. This comes with a 64mb micro SD card which can hold about one CD's worth of music, and if I wanted to I can buy a 2gig micro SD card and slide it in to hold more music, photos, video, etc.

It'll play an mp3 as a ringtone, and I can assign different songs for each contact in my address book.

I can load the media onto the phone via USB cable (needed to buy Motorola's software off ebay for $7), but using a USB/SD adapter, or by sending each ringtone to the phone individually through any number of free online tools (I use rumkin.com).

The mp3 player doesn't have the best interface; it's no iPod, and there's no equalizer or anything. You can create playlists on the phone (cumbersome) or in Windows Media Player (or maybe any other media player) and then move the playlist file to the phone.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:38 PM on July 6, 2007


They've really lead the charge on DRM and assorted bullshit, both with their hardware and content. Music CDs with rootkit auto-installing DRM, ATRAC rather then MP3. I just don't want to promote that sort of thing with my disposable income.

This will seem very odd, delmoi and mullingitover, but the Sony Ericsson Walkman phones are some of the least DRM-encumbered phones on the market.

I share your concern about Sony's music and entertainment divisions, loathe the rootkit BS, think ATRAC was just plain dumb, and I hate any device that makes me use a stupid music-loading program instead of just dumping files into directories... but I love my Sony Ericsson w610i. Sony Ericsson is a genuinely different beast than the rest of the Sony empire.

My w610i lets you set any MP3 as a ringtone.

It comes with a USB cable to make it super-easy to get MP3s on and off of it. Or you can use Bluetooth. It doesn't convert to ATRAC, it plays MP3 natively.

It has an interface which rivals the iPod's. (Not the iPhone, of course, as it doesn't have a big multi-touch display. But it's much cheaper.)

You can even -- wait for it -- send an MP3 via Bluetooth to anyone else's phone. No DRM.

As much as it's hard to believe, buying a Sony Ericsson phone is actually voting with your dollars in favor of an open platform. They give you more flexibility with your music than any other phone.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 8:12 PM on July 6, 2007


I'm typing this on my nokia e61 and i can set an mp3 as a ringtone. (This really isn't allowed on some phones??) But the mp3 player is about as bare bones as you can get. I don't use my phone to listen to tunes, but i guess it's possible.
posted by kamelhoecker at 8:13 PM on July 6, 2007


I've never seen a cell phone of the last 10 years that didn't allow me to set an MP3 as a ringtone. Any Nokia device that isn't free with a box-top will have it, I'm certain. -- cmiller

10 years? I don't think most PCs could play MP3s 10 years ago. winamp would have only been in stable release for a month. :P

Yeah, my last two Nokias have let me make MP3s as ringtones. The older one didn't have a memory card, so I used to upload small MP3 files to the web, then point the phone's browser to them to download them and make them ring tones. My current Nokia, a 6332 or something like that, has a MicroSD card.

I figured all phones did this nowdays... Weird.

Actually it wouldn't surprise me if my phone could play MP3s, but I don't have a data service, because my provider sucks ass. God I hate the mobile industry. I kind of want to write off Motorola too because I got a cheap phone from them and it was a piece of shit
posted by delmoi at 11:29 PM on July 6, 2007


Have a look at the LG enV. I have Verizon, and their marketing makes it look like the phone will only play WMV from the V-cast pay service, but I loaded mp3s on the MicroSD card and they played on the phone. Also, I've read that you can use mp3 ringtones if you email the mp3 as an attachment to your phone (like a text or picture message), but I have not yet tried this.

The only hiccup with the mp3 playback is that the firmware on the phone does not recognize long filenames, longer than 32 characters, I think. Files with longer names will not show up on the phone.
posted by achmorrison at 8:39 AM on July 8, 2007


Sprint Mogul - not only does it let you set an mp3 as a ringtone, it lets you *stream* your media over the net. I get 500 Kbps low end and 1.3 Mbps high-end speeds... fast enough for high-quality streaming video and of course for audio. Set up your home server with Slingbox (costs money) or Orb (free) and you can listen to your music library remotely. Get the $30/month SERO plan and you have unlimited data and SMS.

The Mogul can also log in and run all those m.youtube.com videos Google has kindly converted for the iphone but they are reduced bandwidth and the quality is crap. You're much better off downloading the "real" YouTube/Google Videos using the Core Media Player on the phone. If you still suffer from iPhone envy, there are any number of skins to tart it up. There's even "TouchFlo" to install on the phone, which is a finger-drag interface thingy like the iphone. It works okay, but it's less integrated with the rest of the system.

Also, any good smartphone, Mogul included, should run Opera Mini, a Java program that does the same finger drag'n'zoom thing as Safari on the iphone.
posted by meehawl at 4:03 PM on July 21, 2007


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