The Philips GoGear HDD6320 Jukebox features a simple side-scrolling interface, with all the different areas arranged on the right side of the main screen: Music, Pictures, Recordings, Settings and Now Playing. Clicking the Menu button on any screen brings up contextual commands, such as assigning presets in the radio section. We're happy to see a voice recorder, since Apple's iPod doesn't have one. Unfortunately, you won't be able to record line-in sources unless you have the optional dock. When playing music, you can select from ten preset equaliser settings, manually adjust the five-band equaliser, and turn on the SRS Wow bass enhancer. The player can handle MP3, protected WMA and WAV tracks, but will connect only with Windows XP PCs.
Photo integration is done well, with useful slide-show options and simultaneous viewing and listening. When you're viewing photos with music playing, you can control the music tracks with the top row of controls while using the scroll bar to look through photos so that you can move between tracks without leaving the photo section -- you can't do that with the iPod. Also, the HDD6320 can act as a USB host, so you can transfer photos over from a digital camera.
Loading the HDD6320 is simple, as it works seamlessly with Windows Media Player. The package includes an installation disc, but luckily there's no proprietary software to complicate things. You can load your own ripped songs with the included USB 2.0 cord or buy them from an online music service. The player supports WMP DRM 10 (sometimes known as Janus), so it works with subscription plans. We tested it with Napster 3.5 subscription content, and it loaded exactly as it should have.
The Philips GoGear HDD6320 Jukebox's sound quality is nice and bright, even with the bundled headphones. Crisp highs and a presence of bass that the iPod can't quite match were the norm for all types of music. In the past, Philips's hard drive-based MP3 players have had some processor-performance issues, such as system crashes and slow navigation between files and/or menus. The HDD6320 is a vast improvement, though some users have reported similar bugginess and overall slow performance, especially when playing back long playlists and, in some instances, subscription files. Since we didn't experience any noticeable problems ourselves, all we can assume is that there might be some bad apples in the bunch.
In our testing, we were able to load songs at an average rate of 4.9MB per second over USB 2.0, which is on a par with what we've seen from other players. The HDD6320 is rated for 15 to 17 hours of battery life; different product literature has different numbers. We measured 15.6 hours in a battery-drain test with the equaliser off, while we measured 17.5 hours in casual testing. Either battery time is good, but not exceptional. Charging the battery takes 4 hours, although you can do a 70 per cent fast charge in 1 hour. Sadly, the battery isn't user-replaceable.
Edited by James Kim
Additional editing by Nick Hide