But the most egregious sin committed here is the screen. Cramped at 3.2 inches, this 480x320-pixel-resolution LCD has a viewing angle so bad, it practically winks at you. Of course, to even see the screen at all you'll need to crank the GoGear Connect 3 to its maximum brightness, which is paltry compared with what you'll find on the Galaxy Player 4.
On the upside, the GoGear Connect 3 plays nice with a surprising range of audio and video formats. There's support for MP3, AAC, WMA, and Ogg Vorbis, for music, and for video there's support for MP4, AVI, H.264, FLV, and Xvid. Philips also includes an above-average pair of sound-isolating earphones and some baked-in sound enhancement tools to squeeze the most from your music.
Another clue that Philips really sweated the sound experience of the GoGear Connect 3 is that the excellent Songbird app is used as the default music player. Little extras such as the options to post song recommendations to Facebook, scrobble to Last.fm, or pull down Flickr slideshows of artist photos make the Songbird app a blast to use.
Other bundled apps include Mog, Rhapsody, 7digital, Audible, and a radio app for tuning in the integrated FM receiver. Of course, as a Google-sanctioned Android device, it also treats users to Google Mobile apps, such as Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Google Talk, and the Android Market.
I enjoyed the audio quality of the GoGear Connect 3. Unfortunately, that's about the only favorable thing I can say of its performance.
In spite of its liberal video format compatibility, the video experience is completely marred by ugly viewing angles.
Battery life is also poor. Because the screen is fairly dim by default, users will surely crank the GoGear Connect 3 to full brightness for most tasks. During informal testing, with the device at full brightness the battery seemed to drain like a leaky bucket. We'll update this review with results from CNET Labs once testing is complete.
For gamers, the single-core 800MHz processor used in the GoGear Connect 3 is able to keep up with basic fare, such as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. Boot up a session of Riptide GP, though, and the performance buckles to the point of being unplayable. Also, be aware that the screen's multitouch is limited to two fingers--not that a 3.2-inch screen allows for much gestural complexity.
As I said up front, if you can find a way to pick this up for $99, there's a lot of fun to be squeezed from it. The sound quality is surprisingly good, and you can load it up with enough basic games and puzzles to keep a child entertained for hours.
At $179, though, the GoGear Connect 3 delivers more grief than gratification. If you need a $199 pocket media player, the iPod Touch reigns supreme. For the best value, grab a .