A recent post on a blog I follow informed me that there was a great deal happening on an entry-level, budget Windows Phone – the Lumia 435. I could pick one up for $30. That made me pause for a moment.
A brand new smartphone, capable of running Windows 10 Mobile, with expandable memory that can take an SD card up to 128GB. What if I bought it, never put a cellular SIM in it, maxed out the memory and just used it as an MP3 player? Huh? What’s stopping me?
Let’s look at some current MP3 players. They are really dwindling in numbers, because, well, smartphones do everything now. 16GB Sony Walkman – $80. 8GB Sandisk Clip – $35. 160GB iPod – $399. 32GB Zune HD – $275. This phone – $30. 128GB MicroSD card – $50. And I don’t even need the 128GB card now. I have a 32GB card from my old phone. Consider this a done deal.
So now I have another Windows phone. It’s going to be my new MP3 player. And better than other MP3 players, it will do Internet and Bluetooth audio, and games, and whatever else I want (except phone calls).
I began setting it up by installing the 32GB SD card I had around and upgrading the phone to Windows 10. Boy, what a drawn-out process that upgrade was. When I was done upgrading, I then uninstalled every app except for the ones I needed – primarily Groove Music.
Ok. Now, how do I get my music on there? I keep the music on my computer in WMA Lossless. That format works with Zune. But you can’t sync to anything other than a Zune device using the Zune software. And although I can copy the files right to the phone, I don’t want to use my lossless files since they’re around 25MB per song. I was dreading the idea of manually transcoding my entire library just to copy it and delete it. Surely there has to be some software that would automate that.
Enter the old stalwart, Windows Media Player. This software will not die, nor should it ever die. Windows Media Player can sync files to another device that is nothing more than a memory card. And in the process of doing so, it can transcode the files to a different bit rate – Exactly what I need.
Then you choose what you want to put on your device, and drag it to the Sync pane. Then Windows Media Player just does its thing.
So, with my test using the 32GB card, I got about 40-odd percent of my music on there. There’s some stuff I can take off because it’s not really mobile audio stuff. I also discovered that Windows Media Player encodes to WMA format, so I probably don’t need a high bitrate of 192k. 192k in MP3 is moderate quality, 192k in WMA is very high quality. Bringing that down a notch to 160k should reduce the space usage. And I see I also need to get cracking on cleaning up my album art.
But! Once that’s all done, I will have a pretty sweet MP3 player, that isn’t a phone, but really is a phone, just not being used as a phone.