First Look: Philips GoGear Vibe
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First Look: Philips GoGear Vibe

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The Philips GoGear Vibe isn't the best budget MP3 player we've seen, but its enviable color screen, photo viewer, and video playback make it one of the most well-rounded in the $50 category.

[ Background music ] >> Donald Bell: Hey I'm Donald Bell Senior Editor for Digital Editor for digital audio, MP3 and today we're taking a first look at the Philips Go Gear Vibe. This is the flash memory MP3 player with either 4 or 8 gigs of memory, price of $49 and $59. For the money you're getting music and video play back, a photo viewer, voice recorder and an FM radio. The music player supports MP3, WMA and subscription music but doesn't play formats like AAC, Flack or Wave. Photos are limited to JPEG and BMP but it's not like you're gonna load this thing up with high res tiff files. We do like the nice little 1.5 inch color screen here though which also shows album art and can be used to play videos too. You'll have to work a little to convert videos to the required SMD video format but if you're dead set on it Philips includes some software to get it done. Sound quality is good although the included ear buds are predictably lame. You get a number of EQ presets along with a 5-band custom EQ to tweak things to your liking. Battery life is rated at 25 hours of audio and 4 hours of video which is impressive compared to something in the same price range like the Sanza Sanza clip which is rated at 14 hours of audio playback and doesn't have the Vibes video and photo capabilities. It's not all good though. I found myself cursing more than a few times of the Vibes navigation pad which had this nice inviting indentation in the middle. Like most MP3 players on the market you'd think that pressing this button looking thing in the middle would work as a select key but no, the Vibe only uses the pads 4 directions plus an option button on the side. If you press the middle you'll wind up pressing all 4 directions at once and it's like someone's playing a practical joke on you. We also thought it was a little odd that you need to press up and down on the pad to skip tracks. Still I'm sure you'd get used to the controls after awhile and for $50 it's a small complaint compared to all the features you're getting. That said you get what you pay for and there's a surprising amount of options in this price range now. [ Background music ] >> Donald Bell: For cnet.com I'm Donald Bell and that was a first look at the Philips Go Gear Vibe.

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