Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"Ringo Pro": Review, part 1

Introduction
When your Treo comes out-of-the-box, it's not able to use mp3-files as ringtone. You only can use the built-in polyphonic ones. The only way to make music or other sounds a ringtone, is to record them via the Treo's microphone. But the quality of this sound is not very great. If you want your Treo to play "real" music, you need 3rd party software, such as "mRing", "LightWav", "mp3Ringer", "PhoneTechnician", "TreoGuard" or "Ringo Pro".

I had a look at "Ringo Pro for Treo 600 & Treo 650 4.4" by Electric Pocket (Price: 29,95 USD)

Installation
The *.zip file contains the "Ringo-installer.prc". After the transfer via HotSync the software extracts and installs itself on the Treo. While the installer.prc has a size of 918KB, the installed program only uses about 400KB of RAM.

First look and overview
The program offers three different views: "Ringo Ringtones", "Ringo Friends" and "Ringo Groups". You can switch from one view to the other by tapping the corresponding symbol at the lower right corner of the screen.

  • On the "Ringo Ringtones" screen you can choose the default sounds for incomming calls and text messages. And you can pick a picture to be showed when somebody calls you.

  • For important persons you can use "Ringo Friends" to assign each "friend" an individual ringtone and/or picture.


  • The "Ringo Groups"-screen offers the same functions for the different categories of your contact database.


The "Ringo Ringtones" screen
There are 4 different ways to choose a ringtone or a SMS tone:
  1. You can select a MP3 tune from any directory of your storage card. Ringo comes along with 5 tunes which are stored at the /audio directory. Before you definitely pick a MP3 tune you can listen to it by tapping the "Play" button.
  2. The second possibility is to browse the Ringo ringtone store. After choosing this option the web browser is started and connects to the ringtone-website on electricpocket.com. I did not download any file from the website just because using a GPRS-connection is too expensive for that.
  3. Of course you can also use the built-in polyphonic ringtones. Additional MIDI tones can be imported over the menue Tones>Import Tones
  4. Last but not least you can create your own unique ringtone when you tap the button "New". You can choose from different drums, melodies and instruments to mix the ringtone you like most. This is really great fun. I spent hours with trying all the different sounds. There's only one thing I don't like about the "Ringtone Mixer": When I choose a drum pattern and a lead pattern they are played simultaniously until the lead pattern is repeated. Then the lead pattern sets in too early and the rhythm of the drum and the rhythm of the lead voice don't fit together any more. This means it sounds quite horrible. You can avoid this problem when you only use the drum or the lead voice.
As you can see, you have a lot of options to select the ringtone you like. At the next step you can decide if you want a picture to be shown at an incomming call or not. You can use the pictures taken with the Treo's camera or the ones that are on your storage card (in the directory /DCIM).

The "Ringo Friends" screen
This is the screen for important callers. A "friend" is added by tapping the "New" button. You can pick a person from your address book or create a new entry. For each "friend" you can choose an individual ringtone, SMS tone and picture. And you can select the "don't disturb" option which means that the Treo won't ring when this person is calling.




The "Ringo Groups" screen
On this screen the categories from your address book are listed. For each category you can again pick a ringtone, SMS tone and picture. And of course select the "Do not disturb" option.

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