Should I buy a KRZR?

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Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:03 am UTC

I was looking at one today, it sure seems good, but I was wondering if anyone here has any rants/reviews/etc on it. What I really want is a music player that also happens to be a phone, for under $100 (this one is $30 with contract), with expandable memory (i.e. MicroSD) and Bluetooth. I rarely use my current phone, but I listen to music all the damn time, and my existing system (homebrew player on DS Lite) annoys the fuck out of me. The DS volume control is absolutely terrible and I'm sick of buying corded headphones and having the cord break within weeks.

I had a chance to play with it a bit in the store, and one thing I couldn't figure out was how you assign an MP3 file as a ringtone for a contact. You can do this, right? I got mixed responses from Google; some say you just copy to the internal memory and select it, others say you can't at all, a couple people mentioned having to tamper with some system files. I'd be pretty annoyed if a music player phone couldn't do this.

So, does anyone have one of these, and are they happy with it?

I'm also curious about my current phone. It's a cheap, basic phone on a Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go plan, so basically the only way it's connected to me at all is by the phone number. (I don't even use a credit card to pay it; I just buy the time cards in stores. :P) It still has several minutes left on it. I was hoping when I get a new phone (probably through Telus, possibly Bell or Rogers) I could transfer the numbers, so my new phone has my old number and my old phone has a new number. Then I could sell it off or give it as a gift, and I wouldn't have to go around telling everyone I know my new number or carry two phones for a while in case someone calls the old one.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby wing » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:06 am UTC

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:I had a chance to play with it a bit in the store, and one thing I couldn't figure out was how you assign an MP3 file as a ringtone for a contact. You can do this, right?


The phone, in Motorola config, most certainly can do that. Problem is that nobody stateside sells any phones in factory configuration. How is your carrier going to sell you ringtones if you can just use any old song!?

Also, they still sell that phone? It's old as dirt even by American standards!
Last edited by wing on Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:20 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:09 am UTC

I'm in Canada if it makes any difference. What advantages would a newer phone have? The only major upgrade I can see would be a better camera, and I already have a 6MP camera, so that's not of much interest to me.

The idea of buying ringtones doesn't sit well with me because A) the hell if I'm paying for that and B) they're not going to have what I want. I take it there are ways to work around such imposed restrictions without too much hassle?
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby wing » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:22 am UTC

If you couldn't figure out how to set the MP3 ringtone on the carrier demo handset, chances are you can't do it with that carrier's software configuration. You'd have to tinker with it.

A solution to your problem with headphones: Buy a gamer headset. Yes, you'll look odd with a boom mic hanging in your face, but a good choice there will solve your cord longevity problem.

I'm now on my second pair of these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6826104215

The first pair survived almost FIVE YEARS of daily carry and use. I used them for EVERYTHING. They finally died as a result of my losing one of the fabric ear covers.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby Yuffie » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:51 am UTC

Motorola's interface is horrible.

/rant

It's got really nice build quality, but the features are just OK. You can get them for free in many places here in the US.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby cwoodin » Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:03 am UTC

A quick check on google shows that the latest version of Bitpim (bitpim.org) should support the KRZR. From my own personal experience, that's your best bet, since carriers (here in the States, anyway) cripple their phones so they can see you shit you should be able to put on for free.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby InstinctSage » Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:33 am UTC

I used to use my old RAZR as a music player and the Motorollas are the best budget music/phone combo around by far. The worst thing about it is the song I was playing would ditch out if I got a text message or even left the music player screen, which meant I couldn't really do anything with the phone while I was listening to music. Not a huge deal though when you just want it to play music.

I'm not sure what the battery life on the KRZR is, but the RAZR wasn't terrific. I'd get maybe 2 hours worth of music play before I'd need to recharge, and the low battery beep would also be annoying as it would play over the music. Still, for short trips or something to play while your jogging or whatever, it's all good.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:19 am UTC

Well, I got it. I almost got a Telus 5-favourites plan for $25/month, until I discovered that doesn't include voice mail, caller ID, service fees, blah blah blah, that would have pushed it to $50. :roll: The salesperson then pointed out that I could get the exact same thing from Virgin Mobile without the service fee, which made it $5 less and let me keep my existing number.
I was indeed able to copy images and songs to the internal memory and use them as wallpapers, photos, and ringtones. The music player works nicely, and there are touch-buttons on the outside for pause/back/next (only activated by conductive surfaces such as metal or fingers).
The only real complaint I have is the interface. It's ugly. There are 3 built-in skins (I assume I can make my own, but I'd need some sort of software), which look decent enough, but the problems are the non-skinnable aspects. On the home screen, below the row of icons at the top, is the custom banner text (only 12 characters) and date. These have precisely one option: left-justify or horizontal centre. You can't get rid of them (even setting the banner text to empty just leaves a blank line), change their colour or size, move them, etc, and they're big and white. Really ruins most wallpapers.
You can choose an image to use as the wallpaper, but it does a lousy job of resizing them to fit - very low-quality compression, and not even cropped correctly in some cases. You also can't choose a separate image for the small screen on the outside; it just scales down the wallpaper. Boo.
You can assign functions to the left, down, and right (for some reason not up) arrows on the home screen, and you can choose to have icons displayed for these functions. Unfortunately, the icons are drawn on a solid black square, which is ugly as sin.
The menu is odd too: some menus let you use the number keys to choose an option, and others don't.
Finally, the outer screen wastes battery power by prominently displaying the Virgin Mobile logo while the phone is open, instead of being off like it should be. Fail.

Most of these are not very big problems though, because functionality is the important part and it's got that. Each contact can have multiple phone numbers and email addresses, with a ring tone, photo, and speed dial button for each. Opening your call history or contact list, entering camera mode, switching ringer settings, and entering the Bluetooth menu are all done with a single keypress on the home screen. Photos are simple: press button, point, press button again. It's only 1.3MP, so photo quality isn't great, but if you just need to quickly snap a picture, it's very convenient.

I also notice it's got Java... I wonder if that means I can code stuff for it? :P
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby InstinctSage » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:03 am UTC

How long does the battery hold out?
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:20 am UTC

Can't say, but I played MP3s through the speaker for about an hour and it didn't drop at all. (Just has that 3-bar display though.)
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:20 am UTC

So, anyone know why it won't play music through a Bluetooth headset? It plays all the menu blips and voice prompts, but MP3s still come through the speaker. :?
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby DesperatMezures » Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:05 am UTC

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:Finally, the outer screen wastes battery power by prominently displaying the Virgin Mobile logo while the phone is open, instead of being off like it should be. Fail.


Actually, that's not a bug, it's a feature. The way clamshellphones work with two screens are that they have a single backlight sandwiched in between the two LCD screens. When the phone is open, the screen on the outside and the screen on the inside are both illuminated by the backlight, and it is impossible to turn off one without turning the other off.

In fact, the next time you close your phone, pry it open a tad, so you can see the inside screen, but the phone doesn't notice that it's open. You should notice the whole screen is set to white.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby ACU-LP » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:24 am UTC

one; double post

two, I have the motorola v9, a brilliant phone in my thoughts; the two screens the outside with three touch buttons, etc. I'm loving it.
Though you already have it, for future readers, I say yes.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:28 pm UTC

DesperatMezures wrote:
'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:Finally, the outer screen wastes battery power by prominently displaying the Virgin Mobile logo while the phone is open, instead of being off like it should be. Fail.


Actually, that's not a bug, it's a feature. The way clamshellphones work with two screens are that they have a single backlight sandwiched in between the two LCD screens. When the phone is open, the screen on the outside and the screen on the inside are both illuminated by the backlight, and it is impossible to turn off one without turning the other off.

In fact, the next time you close your phone, pry it open a tad, so you can see the inside screen, but the phone doesn't notice that it's open. You should notice the whole screen is set to white.
Ah, makes sense. Could still turn off the LCD itself though. Might squeeze out a couple more minutes. :P

If I can't get it working with my headphones though, it's not much use. :( (Should have said headphones earlier, not headset, there's a difference.) They're MotoROKR S9, so I can't imagine them being incompatible.

The Internets are telling me there's supposed to be an option for this, but it's been removed. Is there some sort of hack, or do I need to chew out the salespeople who repeatedly said it was supported? :x
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby Silvyr » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:49 pm UTC

I have a KRZR and I'm very happy with it ^.^

That phone can take one hell of a beating before anything will happen to it. It's been dropped. Thrown. Submerged. Sat on. Bitten. And nothing even scratched it until someone had accidently jumped on it [long story; my phone STILL lives though :D it just has a spiderwebbed crack on the outside screen which no longer works, but seriously, for someone JUMPING on it, I think I got off kinda lucky].

All in all. I love it. It's the longest lasting phone I personally have ever owned [I go through a lot of phones too...]. If you do get it, you need to buy an SD chip right away though. I've been using the same chip for two or three years and it's still not full, so they last a while too.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:13 am UTC

I do have a 2GB SD card already.

Anyway, I researched further and apparently the issue is there are two models. The KRZR K1 supports stereo headphones, while the K1m does not. :roll: I guess they probably got mixed up and picked up a K1m instead of a K1 when I decided Virgin > Telus. Fortunately I believe Virgin's contract gives you a grace period to cancel within a few days of purchase or something along those lines, and they said I'd be able to return it and pick out another (or even return it and buy one somewhere else) without any major hassle. Something to do tomorrow. I'll see if I can find a K1 instead, because other than that major flaw, I was satisfied with it. Seems like the trend is toward phones with a big screen and a small keypad that slides out from the bottom, which I don't really like because the screen is unprotected. :-/

(If only iPhones weren't so expensive... being able to write my own apps would kick ass.)
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby Yuffie » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:22 am UTC

Silvyr wrote:I have a KRZR and I'm very happy with it ^.^

That phone can take one hell of a beating before anything will happen to it. It's been dropped. Thrown. Submerged. Sat on. Bitten. And nothing even scratched it until someone had accidently jumped on it [long story; my phone STILL lives though :D it just has a spiderwebbed crack on the outside screen which no longer works, but seriously, for someone JUMPING on it, I think I got off kinda lucky].

All in all. I love it. It's the longest lasting phone I personally have ever owned [I go through a lot of phones too...]. If you do get it, you need to buy an SD chip right away though. I've been using the same chip for two or three years and it's still not full, so they last a while too.


Impressive...[offtopic] compared to Samsung, which has had two of their phones break on me. One had its screen break while in my pocket, and one spontaneously failed.

On the other hand, all the Sony phones I've had have been very nice, reasonably durable, and I like the interface.


I assume you mean Micro SD? You can pick up a 1GB one for a few dollars these days. It all depends if you're listening to music on your phone.
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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby Random832 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:55 am UTC

wing wrote:
'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:I had a chance to play with it a bit in the store, and one thing I couldn't figure out was how you assign an MP3 file as a ringtone for a contact. You can do this, right?


The phone, in Motorola config, most certainly can do that. Problem is that nobody stateside sells any phones in factory configuration. How is your carrier going to sell you ringtones if you can just use any old song!?


I've never had a KRZR, but both SLVR and RAZR from Cingular/ATT allow you to assign MP3s loaded from the computer as ringtones.

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Re: Should I buy a KRZR?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:51 am UTC

So, having not found a KRZR K1 in stores anywhere, I had to settle for a Samsung m510. It's not nearly as nice, but it does the job.

The good:
  • Camera, stereo Bluetooth, clamshell, MicroSD up to 2GB, scheduler, alarm clock, all that nice stuff.
  • Big number buttons for easy dialing.
  • Contact list holds 500 entries, each having multiple numbers/emails, a photo, even a video.
  • Highly customizable menu and interface. Several different displays to choose from for both screens on the main menu, such as a speed dial list, calendar, schedule, digital or analog clock, etc.
  • Battery life seems very good; I had it out all day, playing music for about 3 hours, opening it frequently to change songs because I haven't set up a playlist yet, and it's still at 3 bars (out of 3).

The bad:
  • It's UGLY! :( All round and dark blue with funny-shaped buttons. The graphics are nice (though I see no skin support), but the hardware is severely lacking in the looks department.
  • The firmware seems terribly buggy. For example, if I start the music player using the phone's buttons, it won't use the headphones. It shows them as disconnected, and telling it to connect closes the menu. But if I start it using the Play button on the headphones, it works fine. There are also some great status messages such as "Connection is failed" and "wallpaper".
  • The rest of the buttons are so damn tiny, I keep hitting several at once.
  • Only plays MP3, and only views JPEG. These are fairly standard restrictions, but come on people, OGG and PNG are open formats; it costs nothing to implement them.
  • It's easy to insert the SD card upside-down, and very difficult to get it out again.
  • Proprietary charger plug, which means no charging from a USB port, and a fun time trying to replace the charger.

The just plain weird:
  • The music player, unlike on many other devices (including the KRZR), lets you browse the directory structure to find your music. Yet for some reason, all your music has to be in /MEDIA. You can have as complex a directory tree within /MEDIA as you want, but you can't back up to the root directory. WTF?
  • You can assign videos as ringtones - but not MP3s. If you want a musical ringtone, you have to make a video out of it. (Now I need to figure out how to make a .3g2 video on Linux...)
  • It certainly looks as if the JPEG file you select as your wallpaper is decompressed and recompressed. I saved mine at 100% quality (I don't want lossy compression on this tiny image dammit), but I still see artifacts. (Unless even 100% JPEG quality is not lossless?)

I'd love to have a go at the firmware source code. <_< Anyway, this is a decent phone if you're more concerned about functionality than beauty. It's a bit quirky, but can generally be convinced to do what you want.

[edit] Wow, looking through the manual, this thing has a ton of features. White balance for the camera, emergency contacts that can be called without having to unlock the phone (as in lock to prevent other people using it, not lock to a specific carrier), assign videos as background images, etc. Also, I discovered that sure enough, you can trick it into using MP3 files as ringtones - just give them the .3g2 extension and drop them in the DCIM directory where all the camera's videos would go, and give them a name matching the pattern it uses. It'll show up as an X for a thumbnail and "no title" for a name, but you can assign it as a ringtone, and it'll play. (At least, it'll play when I select it on the contacts list and hit play. I haven't activated it yet, so I can't call to be sure. :P)
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