Philips GoGear SA6185 (8GB) review: Philips GoGear SA6185 (8GB)

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Philips GoGear SA6185 (8GB)

(Part #: SA6185/37) Released: Apr 1, 2008
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Philips GoGear SA6185 is an uncomplicated and inexpensive portable video player with built-in speakers, Windows DRM support, FM radio, a relatively large screen, and voice recording.

The Bad The Philips GoGear SA6185 suffers from a dull design, weak built-in speakers, poor video codec support, limited storage capacity, and low screen resolution.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a cheap way to entertain the kids on a road trip to Dullsville, the Philips GoGear SA6185 should work out fine. Grown-ups, however, deserve a more substantive gadget.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0

The Philips GoGear SA6185 is an affordable, easy-to-use portable video player with a glossy, streamlined design and a modest set of features. With a retail price $159, the Philips GoGear SA6185's low price tag and larger-than-average screen are the only attributes that help this otherwise bland gadget stand out from the herd.

The Philips GoGear SA6185 bears the generic stamp of a product designed for the widest possible appeal. Its unremarkable form is neither too big, too small, too masculine, nor too feminine. A reflective, high-gloss finish covers the curved, black front of the device, leaving the remainder housed in a combination of metallic plastic and black aluminum. Measuring 3 inches by 5 inches by 0.5 inch, with a 3.5-inch standard ratio screen, the GoGear's dimensions fall somewhere between an iPod Classic and a Sony PSP.

The Philips GoGear SA6185 is controlled by a traditional four-way navigation pad located to the right of the screen with a Menu button just above it. At the center of the navigation pad is a play button that doubles as a power switch. The top right edge of the GoGear includes a slim rocker switch for adjusting volume, and the opposite edge conceals a button hold switch. A dedicated playlist button is located on the right edge of the device, offering a quick way to add music to a personal on-the-go playlist. Overall, the GoGear's tactile, plastic controls feel intuitive and familiar, although left-handed users will find them frustrating.

The Philips GoGear SA6185's onscreen interface looks like one big yawn. The main menu's light-blue background and easily understood menu icons offer the inoffensively clean and polished look of a product designed by a committee. To Philips' credit, however, the GoGear's interface is remarkably uncluttered, both aesthetically and functionally.

The Philips GoGear SA6185 includes all the features we'd expect from a portable video player, including music, video, and photo playback, as well as less common features such as an FM radio and a voice recorder. Unfortunately, the conservative execution of each one of the GoGear's features is disappointing. For instance, the video player only accepts WMV format videos with a 320x240 resolution--so be prepared to convert and sync all your existing video content using Windows Media Player or the included Philips conversion software. The GoGear's music player accepts a scant two types of audio formats: MP3 and WMA audio (including DRM-protected WMA). Philips even figured out a way to make something as mundane as the photo viewer feel stifling, requiring us to convert and sync photos through Windows Media Player instead of a simple drag-and-drop operation.

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