Philips GoGear SA1335 (1GB) review: Philips GoGear SA1335 (1GB)

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The Good Sleek look. Plugs directly into USB port. Easy drag-and-drop file transfer.

The Bad Slow scrolling. Rattles when shaken. Display invisible in sunlight.

The Bottom Line The SA1335 is a straightforward, good-looking player, but major delays in navigation mean you may spend more time scrolling through folders than rocking out.

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6.5 Overall

The SA1335 is about the size of your average cigarette lighter at 80.5mm by 31.5mm by 15mm and 40 grams. The player is held horizontally, with a 128 x 64 pixel display taking up residence next to a square button with a round central selection key similar to a mobile phone's navigation key. The top and bottom part of the square adjust volume and scroll through files, while the left and right portions navigate through tracks. The circular button controls play/pause and also acts as a selector for menu options.

Three small buttons -- Record, A-B Repeat and Menu -- adorn the adjacent face, but it's an odd choice for the menu key to be placed here in button Siberia, given how frequently it is used.

The electric blue display seems to float on the player's mirrored surface -- an elegant look, but, as with most OLEDs, impossible to make out in sunlight. Overall, the construction is sturdy, and the SA1335 looks sleek. As an added bonus, it's not prone to the scratches that can accumulate on other MP3 players with mirrored faces (first-generation Nano, anyone?), although it does attract the odd fingerprint.

The player has a retractable USB plug that allows it to slot directly into your computer without a cable (although an extension cord is supplied just in case). It's convenient to not have to cart a cable around for recharging, and a feature we liked in Sony's similar-calibre NW-E005.

One thing that concerned us about the SA1335's design was that it rattled when we shook it. This seems to be due to the main buttons being loosely set, as when we held them down, the rattling stopped. The movement isn't a major issue, but it is a little disconcerting.

The SA1335 harbours a pretty standard list of extras, such as an FM tuner, recording for voice and radio, and a custom EQ. The screen is way too small for inclusions like photo viewing or video playback -- although that didn't hold back mobiBLU's ludicrously spec'd Cube2. Basically, the focus is on music, with the radio and voice features being nifty extras.

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