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Philips GoGear SA6025 review: Philips GoGear SA6025

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Performance
Music performance is pretty good. As is to be expected, there's no support for lossless audio, so we couldn't push it to the max. But we used 320kbps VBR MP3 to give it the best chance.

Decent headphones are crucial to give a decent degree of separation and clarity. The supplied set -- as is almost always the case -- are rubbish. Destroy them artistically on the way from the shop and buy some good ones.

When you use a decent set of cans, such as Shure's SE530s, low-end reproduction of Pendulum's explosive club favourite Slam is acceptable. The deep bass and sharp high-ends of the drums and cymbals of the Dire Straits classic Brothers In Arms is clear and more than acceptable for an £80 player.

Similarly, the broad span of mid-range sounds in Counting Crows' track American Girls is well reproduced. The quiet tambourine was well separated from the cymbals and hard-hitting strums of the competing guitar.

Video conversion is handled by an easy-to-use application that's bundled with the player. Loads of source formats are supported, including videos shot on mobile phones. Encoding is fast in the forced 320x240-pixel resolution format, and looks decent when used on the player. A 200MB 3-minute video took 5 minutes to encode on our fairly ordinary office PC and came out at 10MB.

Philips suggests the 6025 will give you 15 hours of audio playback. Our tests confirmed this as accurate. We'd liked to have seen 20 hours, but 15 is more than enough for a few days' commuting.

Thinner is the winner, but does the SA6025 rule this contest?

Conclusion
The Philips 6025 is a nice-looking little guy who won't break the bank. But its slow menu system may break your patience, and the truth is there are plenty of good MP3 players out there to choose from.

If you're after a simple player, consider Creative's Zen Stone, a bargain at little more than £25. Or if you definitely want a screen but don't mind paying a little more, consider the iRiver X20 at around £99. It may cost a few pints of beer more, but we think the difference is worth forgoing a night out.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide

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