Philips GoGear SA1100
- Folder skip, Good sound quality, Easy to use, Plug and Play.
- AAA battery powered.
The 512MB GoGear looks, functions and performs like a generic USB Flash memory MP3 player and at this price that is all you should expect.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
The Philips GoGear SA1100 is a very basic MP3 player with 512MB of built-in Flash memory and a USB 2.0 interface. It is compact, lightweight and would suit people on a budget who just want to play music without the frills.
The design is sparse and simple - a triangular cylinder has a USB connection at one end and a 3.5mm headphone jack at the other. One side has a small screen with a multifunction play/stop/on/off button and track skip buttons. The top edge of the screen houses the remaining controls in the form of menu, record and volume buttons.
The package comes with an installation CD which has device drivers, a manual and a firmware upgrade manager. However, simply plugging it into a Windows XP PC was enough for it to be found without the need for drivers. Once connected, files can be dragged and dropped onto the device as you would any flash memory key. We were impressed that the player was able to recognise folders, especially since many of these types of MP3 players only allow playback from the parent directory. In fact, the GoGear can not only skip tracks but also skip folders too by holding down the skip button. Unfortunately, it's not smart enough to read folders within folders, but we can forgive this as it's not that big of an issue.
There are only two modes for this device - playback and record. Playback supports MP3, WMA and WAV files but not copy protected WMA. There are a handful of options for playing such as repeat and shuffle and there is even a basic graphic equaliser with four presets. The record function does a reasonable job, though not fantastic. The microphone picks up voice fairly well and while the record quality is far from brilliant, it is satisfactory.
Playback quality is quite good and the earbdud headphones that come with the unit sound better than we expected. There is a little loss of definition in the bass tones but this is common with earbuds. In fact, these are notorious for being low grade, but we were pleased that this isn't the case with the GoGear - a refreshing exception.
There were only two issues we had with the GoGear. The first was that it ran on a single AAA battery. This would last only four or five hours before it needed to be replaced making the running costs rather high. We have seen cheaper and lower quality MP3 players on the market that had lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and were puzzled as to why Philips chose conventional batteries to power this unit. The other problem, while minor, warrants a mention - skipping tracks was often sluggish, taking between 1-2 seconds to move to the next song. Again, we've seen (and heard!) other MP3 players perform better.
There isn't much else to be said about the GoGear. It looks, functions and performs like a generic USB Flash memory MP3 player, but comes with better than average headphones.
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