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Trade in our phones or carry a separate FM Radio?

  • 8 January 2021
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Finally my wife and I both made the jump into buying our first brand new smartphones (before we always had used ones). In 2019 we got a Pixel 3a XL for the wife and then in 2020 I got a Pixel 4a. The plan was to take care of these for at least 3 years and then change them out for something else after they’re worn out or something else becomes a must-have.

But we’ve come to the realization that there’s one feature that these phones don’t have and now we see as important… FM Radio. The valley where we live is fed by a single data cable that feeds all internet, all cellular towers and even all home phones across all service providers, not just T-Mobile. And during the past year this data line has been cut twice rendering our town out of communication for several days. Depending on where you’re at in the valley, it’s 60 to 100 miles over treacherous mountain passes (especially in the winter) to the next place where there’s a connection.

When that has happened the only way to get any information of what’s going on is by radio since all local radio stations broadcast up-to-date information from the local authorities on the matter. As a result, when this happened I found myself rummaging through the drawer where I have some old electronics to see if I could find any old device that has an FM radio to carry around and ended up finding an old tape player that uses AA batteries. I also distinctly remember our old Lumias and non-smart phones always had an FM radio app.

So, maybe we’ll just use the Pixels like they are for now and keep the tape player handy for an emergency. But I still keep thinking it would be more convenient to just have phones that have a built in FM radio and carry around pair of ear buds, which is what we do anyway. At times I even think it might be better to just get an old Lumia or other old phone with an FM radio app and pay off and sell the new ones.

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Best answer by syaoran 21 January 2021, 12:27

I would suggest the LG V60, if that fits with what you need.  The last LG I had was a V30, but FM worked perfectly fine on it.  The V series from LG have always focused on audio and video.  If LG had stuck with the same styling as the V30, I would have picked up a V60.  Hopefully someone with a V60 can chime in to confirm if FM works on it.  A call to LG Support or a visit to LG’s forum might also net you some good info as to if the V60 has what is needed to pick up FM.  

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Why not just buy a fm radio, they are dirt cheap. I just bought a lg boom for 100 bucks. You could buy a even cheaper one.  Amazon had one for 20 dollars. Why would you want a old garbage phone that is slow, has security leaks, will never be updated, no oled, for a 20 dollar radio. 

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Why not just buy a fm radio, they are dirt cheap. I just bought a lg boom for 100 bucks. You could buy a even cheaper one.  Amazon had one for 20 dollars. Why would you want a old garbage phone that is slow, has security leaks, will never be updated, no oled, for a 20 dollar radio. 

Because I don’t want to carry around two devices that could be one. I already have enough stuff in my pockets as it is. Wallet, phone, keys, and now a radio… That’s more pocket bulge and another device to keep track of.

What will almost certainly happen is that I’d end up going through all the trouble of carrying this device around for in case of emergency and the day I forget to grab it or I lose it or I just get plane sick of carrying it around will be the day I need it.

Sure, having a smartphone with all it’s nice modern features is, well, nice. But the main reason for having a phone IMO is for safety. I want to be able to call someone if I have a flat tire, if my kid gets injured and needs an ambulance, or to find out what the weather’s like or the road conditions or how’s the pandemic going or if there’s a terrorist attack going on or if the forest is on fire or if the dam broke or if I was supposed to buy apples or bananas or both. And having an FM radio is a safety feature. Any list of common items to have for emergencies will always include a radio.

Imagine if they took away the flashlight ability on smartphones. Would you then carry around a flash light just in case you might need it?

So  yes, I may carry around an FM radio for now since we got our Pixels not that long ago. But it’s kind of a pain.

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Most phones are capable of receiving FM broadcasts.  It is usually the OEM’s that don’t provide the app or software to receive them.  The only OEM I am aware of that purposely blocks devices from making use of the FM signal they receive, are Apple devices.  In the Play Store, there are FM Radio apps that don’t use data to stream you local radio.  Perhaps give one of them a try to see if they get you what you want.  

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Why not just buy a fm radio, they are dirt cheap. I just bought a lg boom for 100 bucks. You could buy a even cheaper one.  Amazon had one for 20 dollars. Why would you want a old garbage phone that is slow, has security leaks, will never be updated, no oled, for a 20 dollar radio. 

Because I don’t want to carry around two devices that could be one. I already have enough stuff in my pockets as it is. Wallet, phone, keys, and now a radio… That’s more pocket bulge and another device to keep track of.

What will almost certainly happen is that I’d end up going through all the trouble of carrying this device around for in case of emergency and the day I forget to grab it or I lose it or I just get plane sick of carrying it around will be the day I need it.

Sure, having a smartphone with all it’s nice modern features is, well, nice. But the main reason for having a phone IMO is for safety. I want to be able to call someone if I have a flat tire, if my kid gets injured and needs an ambulance, or to find out what the weather’s like or the road conditions or how’s the pandemic going or if there’s a terrorist attack going on or if the forest is on fire or if the dam broke or if I was supposed to buy apples or bananas or both. And having an FM radio is a safety feature. Any list of common items to have for emergencies will always include a radio.

Imagine if they took away the flashlight ability on smartphones. Would you then carry around a flash light just in case you might need it?

So  yes, I may carry around an FM radio for now since we got our Pixels not that long ago. But it’s kind of a pain.

They do take away the flash light on some cheaper phones. If you are traveling doesnt your car already have a radio? It sounds like you are saying you are away from your house, and your car for long periods of time. Most new phones wont even work with a radio because of no head phone jack. 

 

I honestly cant find a phone with fm support even the librem 5 a open source phone, with linux and removeable parts doesnt have one. I cant even find some one who made a usb c fm radio adapter.  

 

If you are that worried though fm radio isnt very helpful in emerngy anything. You want to get a satilite modem for your car, and house. No ones gonna give you helpful information over fm. In your emergency senerios the person running the station would most likely flee.

You also cant communicate with it, you would be better off with a police scanner, and a antenna on your car, that would pick up all local chatter for miles, and give you a better idea of what is going on around you. They also make ones handheld, amd can be switched. 

 

I feel your pain though, i hate it when some one takes away a feature on something just because not every one and thier grandmother uses it. Its like the stupid front camera on a phone i dont want it, but since every one loves thier stupid selfies and camera calls i gotta have it. It just is in the way of the screen, and yep thats the oppisite, but if the front camera came unpopular, they would remove it. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.slashgear.com/does-my-phone-have-fm-radio-inside-09471304/amp/

 

Thats the list of phones that can use fm radio, and they are all old. Which if you arent using your phone for like high end gaming, none of that matters at all. The Lg 5 is a nice phone. You can get that for 50 bucks. The note 3 is a nice one 2. 50 bucks for that one 2. Might want to stock up on a few since its clear fm radio is gone out of new phones. 

 

 

 

 

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Most phones are capable of receiving FM broadcasts.  It is usually the OEM’s that don’t provide the app or software to receive them.  The only OEM I am aware of that purposely blocks devices from making use of the FM signal they receive, are Apple devices.  In the Play Store, there are FM Radio apps that don’t use data to stream you local radio.  Perhaps give one of them a try to see if they get you what you want.  

Man most phones dont even have head phone jacks, which makes them not fm capable. No modern phone has fm radio. All samsung phone from s10 to ultra 21 dont. The last tablet with a headphone jack was the s6 tablet. The new one plus dont have radios, liberm 5 no radio, google phones no radio as he says he has one, so most phones are not capable of fm recieving. The accurate statement is no modern phone has fm radio. 

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Most phones are capable of receiving FM broadcasts.  It is usually the OEM’s that don’t provide the app or software to receive them.  The only OEM I am aware of that purposely blocks devices from making use of the FM signal they receive, are Apple devices.  In the Play Store, there are FM Radio apps that don’t use data to stream you local radio.  Perhaps give one of them a try to see if they get you what you want.  

Man most phones dont even have head phone jacks, which makes them not fm capable. No modern phone has fm radio. All samsung phone from s10 to ultra 21 dont. The last tablet with a headphone jack was the s6 tablet. The new one plus dont have radios, liberm 5 no radio, google phones no radio as he says he has one, so most phones are not capable of fm recieving. The accurate statement is no modern phone has fm radio. 

I didn’t necessarily mean flagships.  I wouldn’t consider the Pixel line of phones to be flagships by comparison to some of the devices offered by Samsung and other manufacturers.  I haven’t bothered counting and comparing.  However, the LG V60 ThinQ does for starters.  Samsung and OnePlus tend to leave headphone jacks on their more value centric offerings, like the A51’s and A71’s.  LG’s K92 and Velvet also have a headphone jack.  These are just what I can think of off the top of my head but I am sure there are plenty more and every phone I mentioned, is a modern device.  

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True, i guess my defintion of modern doesnt equal yours. If it doesnt have a 120hz oled, 1440 plus resoultion, snap dragon 865 plus, and 6gbs of ram it isnt modern to me. I mean minus the lg one all those other phones your talking about would be beat by older phones. My razer phone 2 with a 120hz led screen would beat all those phones minus the lg. So i dont call low end phones with gsrbage cpus worse than snap dragon 835 which is 4 years old a modern phone. 

 

The snapdragon 845 in the s9, note 9, and others would demolish all those low end phones. So one modern phone the lg 60 has a fm radio.

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Since most phones have this capability built-in to the hardware, I find it petty of the carriers to block the capability on the phones they sell.

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@syaoran Ya, I tried those FM apps. Apparently Google has FM completely disabled on their Pixel phones including the 3a XL and 4a. Or at least on the 4a, the phone I use. It looks like some Samsung, Motorola, Nokia and others still have the FM capability with the right app.

@itdefbechill Do you use your phone for gaming? I don’t game on my phone and also don’t see the point in having such specs on a phone for me personally. To me that’s like having a Ferrari that can do 180mph (or whatever Ferrari’s do) when all I need is a daily driver to get me to and from work over 25-35mph streets.

Speaking of cars, I don’t spend much time in my car. My line of work requires lots of walking. No time to run all the way back out to the car and listen to the radio. At times I also bike to work and haven’t quite gotten around to fitting an alternator onto my bike to run an FM car radio. :sweat_smile:

I also NEED a headphone jack, not just for FM capability, but because I don’t trust myself with a pair of earbuds that cost over $10. The last time I got a pair of earbuds that were over $50 I lost them after just a week of use (actually I think someone stole them but can’t prove it) and I went without buying another pair for 3 months. I have enough time keeping my phone, wallet and keys safe and undamaged. Adding more fragile electronics to my list of responsibilities just isn’t practical for me.

If you are that worried though fm radio isnt very helpful in emerngy anything. You want to get a satilite modem for your car, and house. No ones gonna give you helpful information over fm. In your emergency senerios the person running the station would most likely flee.

You also cant communicate with it, you would be better off with a police scanner, and a antenna on your car, that would pick up all local chatter for miles, and give you a better idea of what is going on around you. They also make ones handheld, amd can be switched. 

I beg your pardon, but when the valley did lose all other communication for several days the radio towers were broadcasting what was going on, what was being done about it, and what people could do to help. In one instance there was a terrible snow storm with downed trees and power lines and lots of car accidents. The radio had broadcast where these things were happening and the areas where people needed to stay away from and were it was safe to be. I only found this information out (and kind of late) from a couple people who did have FM radios on hand. Also note that one of the messages was to stay OUT of our parked cars since lots of cars were being crushed by falling trees. Going out to the car to listen to the radio or police scanner  would have been the very risk the authorities were wanting people not to do.

Also, even if there were a major disaster that made all the radio broadcasters flee I’m sure they’d either leave an emergency message playing or there’d be silence. Not being able to tune into a single station would be a good signal that something very wrong is happening. Again, an FM radio is a common emergency kit item recommended by experts. I’ve never seen an emergency kit list that recommends not taking an FM radio, nor one that recommends having a satellite phone or police scanner.

Although I have thought about getting a satellite phone. But then again who would I call if all the normal lines are down? I guess I could call someone in another county or state to google it for me. But that's a lot of extra money for something I’m sure they'd be broadcasting on the FM radio towers anyway.

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I would suggest the LG V60, if that fits with what you need.  The last LG I had was a V30, but FM worked perfectly fine on it.  The V series from LG have always focused on audio and video.  If LG had stuck with the same styling as the V30, I would have picked up a V60.  Hopefully someone with a V60 can chime in to confirm if FM works on it.  A call to LG Support or a visit to LG’s forum might also net you some good info as to if the V60 has what is needed to pick up FM.  

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@mr_l84 and the other good folks- thanks for asking those questions and others for providing some decent answers.  for some strange reason, the telcos and a lot of people do not seem like they are living in the real world.  we could use some sensible devices which would provide basic features designed for just some of the situations you described so well…...there are a lot of things which could be better designed, but the big companies seem more like Dilbert cartoons...

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I would suggest the LG V60, if that fits with what you need.  The last LG I had was a V30, but FM worked perfectly fine on it.  The V series from LG have always focused on audio and video.  If LG had stuck with the same styling as the V30, I would have picked up a V60.  Hopefully someone with a V60 can chime in to confirm if FM works on it.  A call to LG Support or a visit to LG’s forum might also net you some good info as to if the V60 has what is needed to pick up FM.  

 

the LG V60 has the FM radio app set up in there..personally havent used it but took a quick look and its in there.

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I would suggest the LG V60, if that fits with what you need.  The last LG I had was a V30, but FM worked perfectly fine on it.  The V series from LG have always focused on audio and video.  If LG had stuck with the same styling as the V30, I would have picked up a V60.  Hopefully someone with a V60 can chime in to confirm if FM works on it.  A call to LG Support or a visit to LG’s forum might also net you some good info as to if the V60 has what is needed to pick up FM.  

 

the V60 has the FM radio app in there..i have yet to mess with it though. might be able to scrounge up a headset here at work to try it out if needed.

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The Samsung S8 actually has an FM radio. But there are Issues. First, there is this app, NextRadio, that, on a radio-enabled phone, could let one tune the radio, select favorites, and so on. Problem: the developers couldn't make money on it, so the streaming and an ability to search for a radio station by name or type evaporated. It's abandonware these days, but one can still get it on the Play Store.

Second: FM is real, live radio, with a wavelength in 3 meter range. There's a reason that even cheapie FM radios come With a whip or, like in the S8 case, use the headphone cables as an antenna. A modern cell phone like an iPhone with no audio jack, well, it's not going to cut it.

Contrary to popular rumor, many current phones don't have the FM chip. That rumor about chips being generally disabled got started when particular carriers, with Verizon as the poster child for this behavior, would disable the FM chip in their firmware loads so they could force their customers to use more streaming data, before the advent of common unlimited plans. Thing is, T-Mobile was, and probably still is, one of the good guys in this regard, and has always generally enabled the FM chip if a phone has one.

Valid, I surmise my defintion of present day doesnt equivalent yours. In the event that it doesnt have a 120hz oled, 1440 or more resoultion, snap winged serpent 865 or more, and 6gbs of smash it isnt present day to me. I mean short the lg one every one of those different telephones your discussing would be beat by more seasoned telephones. My razer telephone 2 with a 120hz drove screen would beat each one of those telephones less the lg. So I dont call low end telephones with gsrbage computer processors more awful than snap mythical beast 835 which is 4 years of age a cutting edge telephone. 

The snapdragon 845 in the s9, note 9, and others would crush each one of those low end telephones. So one current telephone the lg 60 has a fm radio.

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