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Need MP3 player. Should I just get a phone?

  1. Feb 24, 2015 #1
    I don't have a smart phone. What I have is just a standard phone that you can talk and text with, so it has no option of playing music in my car; which also means I have no experience with modern cell phones. I had a Microsoft Zune, but the battery is giving me trouble, and I'm not going through the headache of attempting and inevitably failing to replace it, so I just want to get another MP3 player so I can listen to music in my car.
    I was searching for advice on which one to get, and a few people were saying to get a used phone instead and not activate it.
    Is that a good idea? I just need a couple of gigabytes of space, and cell phones have batteries that can be replaced. It seems like cell phones are usurping not only MP3 players, but cameras as well. Surely MP3 players do a better job of playing MP3's than phones, since that's their only job, right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2015 #2
    MP3 players are pretty much dead unless you need 100GB+ storage. Andriod and iOS phones are great as music devices. Get one and don't look back. btw if you don't want the phone capability, look for a used iTouch. https://www.apple.com/ipod-touch/
  4. Feb 25, 2015 #3


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    In newer cars, one can connect using Bluetooth, and smartphones often have Bluetooth capability. I have an unlocked Android phone (Google Nexus 4) and I use it to play music in the car. It took a little bit of learning. I had to let it connect with the car using Bluetooth, and then I had to tell the car the source of the music, as well as run a music-playing app on the smartphone. But, it works pretty well.

    Besides, with a smartphone, you'll also get a camera, and it turns out to be quite useful always to have a camera with you. I use my smartphone for snapping photos of book covers (if I might want to read a book later), writing notes to myself, checking the time, playing music, recording music, taking photographs, playing games, and reading books on Kindle--and this is just the things I can think of now. It also serves as a flashlight, a mirror, a sound meter, a GPS, a map device, etc.

    Because I'm low-income, I use T-Mobile's pay-as-you-go voice/text plan and don't pay for a data plan. I just use wifi at home or out in stores (many restaurants or stores or malls or train stations offer free wifi these days) if I want to get onto the internet with the phone.

    It is well worth the effort to get and learn to use a smartphone, with or without actual voice calling. As Greg said, get one and never look back.
  5. Feb 25, 2015 #4
    Thanks for the responses guys. So I can get a smart phone, like an Android or whatever, and use all of that stuff, including Wifi, without paying a monthly fee? My friends pay like 70-100$ a month and I'm paying practically nothing, and I just think about all that money they're wasting on something they really don't need.
    So you recommend an Android? I know there are deals where you can get a phone for practically free by signing a contract to pay for service for some specified time period; so how much should I be paying for one that's at least relatively new (without a cracked screen) without having to sign any contract. Basically just buying the device for what it is? And do you recommend any places specifically that might sell relatively new ones for a good price? I'm pretty ignorant about smart phones. I'm the guy who gets handed a smart phone to make a call or look at a picture, and I'll accidentally hit something and have to hand it back for them to fix it.
  6. Feb 25, 2015 #5


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    I use T-Mobile just for voice and text. I buy "by the minute". So I pay $1.00 per minute of time. I spend only about $200 a year for my voice and text service. No data plan. As far as I know, T-Mobile is the only carrier that currently lets you use a smartphone without buying data for, as you say, a minimum of around $60 or $70 a month and sometimes lots more. This is a legacy plan; I don't know if you can get it anymore. However, T-Mobile has very good prices as compared with AT&T and Verizon, and their coverage is very good in major cities and along major roadways. It is not so good in rural areas. So check a coverage map before committing.

    This works for me because I don't carry on long conversations on my cell phone. I mainly use it to coordinate with people.

    I bought the Nexus 4 directly from Google. Used ones are readily available on eBay for, I think, about $150 (changes a lot). It is not as good as Nexus 5 (or the current Nexus 6) only because it lacks the radio capacity needed to use Verizon's service. But it is a fabulous, great Android phone with many sensors, a good camera, and a fantastic screen. It plays and records music just fine. An unlcoked Nexus 4 can be bought used on eBay if you can get a plan from T-Mobile or another carrier that can use that phone (check with the carrier).

    A smartphone that you buy yourself needs to be in a state called "unlocked", which just means you will be able to use it with any carrier for voice calling. Likewise, you can get older versions of iPhone if you prefer to go with Apple. Good luck!
  7. Feb 26, 2015 #6
    I use prepaid credit myself. I do not use mobile internet myself so it lasts 2-3 months every time I recharge (I get a month of free texting every time I recharge)
    So if you make sure the mobile internet connection is disabled (not wifi which is free) you will pay the same as you do now.
  8. Feb 27, 2015 #7
    So unless you "unlock" the phone, it will only allow you to use certain carriers? That's strange. It's your phone, so why is it "locked" in the first place? Most of the listings on Ebay have, in parentheses, a carrier, such as (AT&T), in the title. That means the phone can only be used with that carrier, unless it's unlocked? What determines which carrier you're stuck with (unless you unlock it)?

    Ok, so Android is an operating system for the phone? You recommend I buy a phone with that?

    I'm looking on Ebay and they have decent prices. I'm assuming a lot of people have nice phones that they're getting rid of because they're upgrading.
    I'm seeing a lot of iPhones and Galaxies, with a few Nexus, but by far, the most are iPhones. It seems like I can get a decent one for 100$ or so; used but in pretty good condition. Does it matter which one I get? Won't they all pretty much have the same capabilities?

    And if I need an application, do I have to pay for them? Or can I go to a place that has Wifi and download it from some website, like I do with programs I need for my computer?

    Thanks for the help.
  9. Feb 27, 2015 #8


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    The locking of a phone is done by the carrier. They do it to phones which the carrier sells you, because you are buying that phone a little at a time, and they won't "unlock" it (for use by other carriers) until a couple years or so go by, at which point, you've essentially bought the phone by paying a little extra every month. When you buy an unlocked phone, you have to pay all that out front (so, don't go and lose the phone!). But having an unlocked phone gives you the freedom to change carriers, assuming other carriers can use that phone.

    Many apps are free, or have limited versions that are free. You can establish an account (say at Google) by giving them a credit card; that will let you buy apps (usually for a buck or two, sometimes a little more) that are not free--but only if you want to.

    If you get an iPhone, getting a used one is a good way to save money, and yes, it matters which version. But I can't help you with that because I'm only familiar with Android phones. IF you go with Android, the Nexus phones from Google are very good. People adore their iPhones too; so you can't go wrong either way. They all have pretty much the same capabilities, but the user interface works a little differently.

    If you're getting your very first smartphone, it will take you a while to become familiar with its many capabilities. But you don't have to learn everything at once. Just learn how to make and receive calls, keep a list of contacts, and text. Then learn to use the camera. After that, most everything is gravy.
  10. Feb 28, 2015 #9


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    You can download them via wifi. Some are free and some aren't. You'll find most of what you want/need can be gotten for free.
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