The GoGear SA1100 is a 30 gram triangular prism with a backlit monochrome LCD display on one side, and an AAA-battery cover comprising the other two sides. It plugs directly into your PC, just like a USB memory stick or iPod Shuffle. The shape of the player is such that it is likely to obscure the neighbouring port, but there is a USB extension cable included to address this issue.
The LCD is small, with a resolution of 32x128 pixels, but it is also relatively easy to read.
One annoying thing about the SA1100's design is the fact that most buttons perform multiple functions, depending on how long you press them for. Also, each button is divided in two, so that pressing one on the left side does something different from pressing it on the right. This button multitasking results in the occasional erroneous key press, which can become tedious.
The inclusion of a lock key will be appreciated by hardcore exercisers and people who tend to carry their MP3 players in a backpack full of shifting contents.
The player comes with a CD which features a firmware manager, user manual and drivers for those poor souls still using Windows ME or 98. There is no software suite; files are transferred via drag-and-drop in Windows Explorer. Many will find this simple interface refreshing, but new users might be surprised by the lack of guidance.
The drag-and-drop factor makes it easy to use the player as a USB mass storage device. The SA1100 shows up as an external drive in Windows, and you simply move the required files to the drive.
For those who like the element of surprise, songs can be set to play in shuffle mode. There is also the option to repeat individual tracks or the whole list of songs. Four equaliser settings optimise the listening experience for classical, jazz, pop or rock tunes.