PROS / A onetime fee buys you a year-long membership to download ringtones and wallpapers. The service is compatible on all the major carriers as well some smaller and regional services.
CONS / The website is difficult to navigate and in desperate need of a redesign. Furthermore, the service does not allow you to preview ringtones of popular songs.
VERDICT / Despite its name, FreeRingers.net is not free. Many of the tones that bear the names of popular songs are merely sound-alike files that barely resemble their namesakes.
FreeRingers.net is an interesting entry on our top-ten lineup of the best ringtone download services. The name implies that you can get the latest ringtones for cell phones free of charge. That is not the case. The largest button on their home page says "Order Free Unlimited Downloads." The link then takes you to a page that asks you to enter a payment method. It's hard to imagine anything more blatantly contradictory than sales practices such as these.
Furthermore, such misleading copy on the site gives us pause as to whether any of their claims are true. For example, after the one-time payment 12 months of service, they state, "We will NEVER bill you again." Initially we had a hard time trusting this claim. However, a careful reading of their terms of service assures us that this statement is true.
The home page of FreeRingers.net displays two lists of their most popular downloads. Every tone has a preview button. However, more than half of the featured tones actually have no preview whatsoever. This makes us wonder why they bothered to put a preview link to these tones at all and furthers our suspicions about the service's scruples.
Looks are important. The design of FreeRingers.net reminds us of a website that belongs to the internet of the late 1990s. Its navigation is not intuitive, and it is difficult to find any helpful information about the service. A cluttered site sends a message that the owners simply don't care about appearances. If they don't care about something as fundamental as website design, how can they be trusted to care about issues such as security or privacy?
As for the ringers themselves, the tones are sorted into two categories: polyphonic ringtones and real music ringtones. The former class of tones has file names of popular songs and themes, such as Tommy Tutone's hit song "867-5309." However, the file attached to this name is merely a MIDI riff that only faintly resembles the song. The real music ringtones claim to be actual CD-quality songs of their named tracks. However, you won't be able to verify the quality before you purchase because these real music ringtones are the files for which there are no previews.
It is difficult for us to trust a company that has the word "Free" in its name, which then immediately asks you for payment. They do offer one of the most comprehensive compatibility lists of any of the services we review. FreeRingers.net makes many claims; we simply don't know which ones are true. This fact alone precludes us from giving this service a strong endorsement.