The GoGear SA5245BT is one of Philips' best-executed MP3 players in the past year, offering an attractive design along with advanced features such as Bluetooth wireless audio and Rhapsody subscription music DNA. There's nothing revolutionary about the GoGear SA5245BT, but at $130 (4GB) and $169 (8GB), Philips strikes a nice balance of price and features.
At first glance, the GoGear SA5245BT looks just like the rest of Philips' GoGear lineup--thick, glossy, and a bit generic. The GoGear SA5245BT's 2.8-inch screen is larger than the 2.2-inch display found on the similar-looking GoGear SA6045 and offers a maximum resolution of 320x240. A functional but uninspired four-direction navigation pad takes up the right side of the GoGear SA5245BT and makes it a poor choice for lefties. The GoGear SA5245BT's 2.3-inch x 0.4-inch x 4.2-inch dimensions closely match the size of the iPod Classic, while its screen and button layout could be mistaken for a Creative Zen.
The GoGear SA5245BT's distinguishing design feature is its uncharacteristically cool graphic interface, which finally tosses out the baby-blue color scheme found on many of Philips MP3 players. The GoGear SA5245BT's main menu uses a vertical list of categories including music, video, pictures, radio, recordings, and settings. Taking a page from Apple's iPod menu design, the GoGear SA5245BT's music, video, and photo listings include thumbnail graphics of album artwork, movie stills, and images, respectively. The GoGear SA5245BT's music playback screen employs full-screen album artwork for files that have been embedded with covers through Windows Media Player or Rhapsody jukebox software.
The standout features on the GoGear SA5245BT are its support for Rhapsody subscription music channels and its wireless Bluetooth audio integration. The GoGear SA5245BT isn't the first or least expensive MP3 player to pull off this unique one-two punch, but it makes an attractive option for those of you looking for a more handsome MP3 player than the Insignia Pilot, and less expensive than the Haier Ibiza Rhapsody.
The GoGear SA5245BT includes music playback support for MP3, WMA, and AAC files, however, users who really want to get the most from the device should give the Rhapsody-to-Go subscription music service a whirl. Rhapsody users will benefit from the GoGear SA5245BT's Rhapsody Channel main menu option, which offers a rotating selection of new music. A free 30-day Rhapsody-to-Go trial subscription is included with the purchase of the GoGear SA5245BT.
As a video player, the GoGear SA5245BT does an adequate job. Convenient features such as adjustable brightness, multispeed scanning, and auto-resume, make the GoGear SA5245BT's video player a breeze to use. The GoGear SA5245BT only supports the WMV video format, however, so if you habitually watch videos on-the-go, expect to spend some time converting files in Windows Media Player or the included Philips video software.