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Philips GoGear Opus review: Philips GoGear Opus

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The Good Support for iPlayer downloads; good sound quality; can record from built-in FM tuner.

The Bad Below-average screen; boring design.

The Bottom Line Despite some appealing features, like support for the BBC's iPlayer and FM radio recording, the Philips GoGear Opus is let down by a sluggish menu system and disappointing screen. It hasn't got what it takes to hold its own against more stylish rivals

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7.5 Overall

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It's pretty clear that Philips has the Apple iPod nano in its sights with the GoGear Opus. Both players offer video and music playback, come in 8GB and 16GB versions, and are small enough to comfortably fit in a shirt pocket. Philips, however, has packed a couple of useful extras into the Opus, including the ability to record music from the built-in FM tuner. The Opus is also slightly cheaper than the nano, with the 8GB model priced around £100, and the 16GB version costing about £135.

Functional design
The Opus is basically a slightly re-engineered version of last year's SA5285. Design-wise, it's pretty difficult to tell them apart. Both have the same glossy black and silver colour scheme, the same 71mm (2.8-inch) screen, and a similar d-pad control mechanism. Unfortunately, the side-mounted headphone jack also remains. It has a tendency to snag when you're moving the player in and out of your pocket -- a top-mounted jack would have been a much better idea. The design is fairly functional, but isn't as slick or desirable as that of the nano.

Sluggish menus
Surprisingly, the player is rather slow to start up, but, once it kicks into gear, its menu system is relatively easy to navigate. Fast navigation is difficult, however, because of the constant clicking of the d-pad that's required. Compared to the speedy touch controls on other players, like the nano, it's a frustratingly slow system.

Also, the menu system itself isn't as zippy as we'd have liked. For example, the sluggishness with which it loads the tiny thumbnails in the album-art mode is so annoying that you're unlikely to make much use of this feature.

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