Almost everyone seems to have some kind of mp3 or music player these days, whether it’s an iPod, a Sony Walkman, or increasingly a mobile phone that doubles up as a music player. The majority of new mobile phones have a music player built-in, but not all music phones were created equal…
Is a music phone right for me?
So you’re thinking that your new mobile phone could replace your battered old MP3 player? Or maybe you just want a few tracks on your phone so that you can listen to music on the commute, with your iPod on call for longer journeys.
The Pros and Cons of music phones
- Saves space - Using a mobile phone as your main music player means you only have to carry one device around – great for saving pocket space, particularly in the summer when you’re not carrying a coat or bag.
- Built in speakers - Most music phones allow you to play music out loud, great for sharing music with your friends.
- Never miss your calls - You’ll never miss a call again as your music phone will automatically stop playing music when a call comes through rather than have 3 missed calls after every journey.
- Listen to radio too - Many music phones also integrate an FM Radio unlike the most MP3 players.
- Stereo Bluetooth - One feature you won’t find on your iPod is stereo Bluetooth (often called A2DP Bluetooth by the manufacturers). Many mobile phones now include this clever feature. It allows you to play your music wirelesslythrough compatible stereo bluetooth headphones, speakers or even car stereos.
- Battery life - Playing music can drain the battery of your mobile phone quite quickly, which could leave you unable to make or receive calls by the end of the day. Not ideal for those who live their lives via their mobile phone.
- Memory - Only a few mobile phones (the more expensive ones) come with enough memory to store more than a handful of tracks, so you may need to buy a memory card.
- Usability - because a music phone is trying to perform a multitude of functions you will have to sacrifice a degree of usability – the buttons and software will struggle to match the experience you get on a dedicated player like an iPod (Unless you buy an iPhone!).
5 Tips for choosing the Best Music Phone
So, if you’re thinking about buying a new music phone what should you look for when making your decision? The features you need will vary depending on how much and when you want to listen to music. Here are a few tips to help you along.
Tip 1 – Big battery life
Make sure you pick a music phone that has a very good battery life. A minimum of 400 hours standby time is crucial, although 500 hours is recommended.
Tip 2 – More memory, more music
As with standalone MP3 players, you need a minimum of 1GB memory if you want to use your mobile phone as a music player without needing to upload new music every day. 1GB will store roughly 250 to 300 tracks – equivalent to 20 to 30 albums – 4GB stores 1000 tracks and 8GB up to 2000 tracks, although this memory may also be used to store photos you take with your phone.
Make sure the music phone you choose features either internal memory that’s sufficient for your needs or has an expandable memory slot and a big memory card in the box. You may have to shell out extra cash for a big memory card and the current upper limit is 2, 4 or 8GB depending on the type of memory card the phone accepts.
Tip 3 – Headphones included?
There’s no point having a music player if you can’t hear your tunes! Make sure you pick a music phone with headphones included - most of the better music phones come with them in box. Most mobile phone brands use their own unique connectors on the phone, which prevents you from being able to plug in your own headphones. They also charge the earth for their own brand accessories.
Look out for music phones that sport a 3.5mm headphone connector (many Nokia’s do). Failing that, many manufacturers, such as SonyEricsson, have a 3.5mm connector built into the headphone accessories, so you can plug your headphones into the bit that contains the hands-free kit’s microphone.
Tip 4 – Stereo Bluetooth
As mentioned above a great feature that is still relatively unknown is stereo Bluetooth. Make sure your music phone includes stereo Bluetooth or A2DP Bluetooth if you want to have fun wirelessly sharing music when with friends or in our bedroom or car.
Tip 5 – Dedicated buttons and great music software
Look out for the manufacturer’s specially brandad music phones, such as SonyEricsson’s Walkman or Nokia’s XpressMusic ranges. They normally have dedicated buttons for accessing the music player functions so you can quickly and easily play and pause your music, or quickly skip a track.
The SonyEricsson Walkman software is one of the best examples of an easy to use music player with a dedicated Walkman button. Many other phones have dedicated music player buttons too.
For certain phones You can even download software for your PC that lets you share music with your mobile phone via iTunes.Tips for choosing the best music phone,