Philips GoGear SA6000 review: Philips GoGear SA6000

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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Philips GoGear SA6000 offers a user-friendly design, an ample screen, and dedicated volume controls. It includes desirable features such as an FM tuner and photo and video support. The player is compatible with subscription services, and it has a lot of bass.

The Bad The control pad on the GoGear SA6000 feels cheaply built, and there's no album-art support. The unit is large for a flash player, and some music comes across flat while some bass-heavy tracks are slightly distorted.

The Bottom Line The Philips GoGear SA6545 is a feature-filled MP3 player that will suit those looking for good video playback over a compact form factor.

6.7 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0

Philips offers a plentiful array of MP3 players, with several that look plenty compelling. However, it's taken us most of the year to get our hands on a review unit, and we're not quite sure why since the model the company finally decided to send is quite good. The GoGear SA6045, which belongs to the SA6000 series, is a feature-packed player with a nice screen and a user-friendly interface. It has its quirks, but it's still a decent option for those looking for an easy-to-use MP3 player with video playback.

As MP3 players go, the GoGear 6045 is neither cheap nor terribly compact, but it's not expensive and huge, either. The 4GB player goes for about $140 (by contrast, the 4GB Creative Zen V Plus is $110) and measures 3.6x2.1x0.5 inches. The relatively large size has at least one benefit: it allows for an ample 2.2-inch screen. To the right of the screen, you get a five-way control pad, which consists of four directional buttons surrounding a central play/pause/power key. The buttons have a bit of a cheap feel to them in that they wiggle around in the base, but overall, the player has a nice, weighty feel. Above the control pad, you'll find a menu button, and on the top edge, there's a dedicated volume rocker--we always like that.

There are a few more physical characteristics of note. The bottom side of the GoGear 6045 houses a 3.5mm headphone jack, a standard mini USB port, a reset hole, and a hold switch. The right spine features a built-in mic for voice recordings and a rather useful playlist button, which adds the currently playing track to an on-the-go playlist. The player also supports playlists transferred from WMA jukeboxes such as Rhapsody and Windows Media Player (WMP). You can play back MP3 and WMA files (including subscription tracks), and these are handily arranged in the Creative interface structure for easy navigation.

In addition to digital music playback, the GoGear SA6045 offers an FM radio with an autoscan function and 10 preset slots. The player also supports JPEG photos and slide shows, which you can view while listening to music. Sadly, though, there is no album art display on the device, which we think is a waste of the lovely screen. You do get support for WMV videos, which can be automatically converted through Windows Media Player. Despite some noticeable pixilation, photos and videos look quite good when played back on the device. Unfortunately, the placement of the headphone jack makes it pretty much impossible to prop the player up for viewing, but for short clips (when you don't mind holding it up), it works out nicely.

Taking everything into account, the GoGear SA6045 is a decent performer overall, though we wouldn't call the sound quality excellent. Most songs--especially selections from Duran Duran and Kanye West--sounded very good in testing, with a nice, tight bass kick and rich, warm mids. The high end came across clearly as well. However, some Tears for Fears tracks sounded a bit flat while a few bass-heavy Ludacris songs suffered from low-end distortion. Considering both good and bad experiences came from the same two genres--new wave and dance rap--it's impossible to narrow down the best genres. Suffice it to say, it was more good than bad. The rated battery life of 16 hours for audio and 4 hours for video is also passable.

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