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Good: Improved support and tons of space
Bad: Headphone jack location
Comment: Having owned the 8Gb, SA6185 model of the GoGear I was waiting ever since Philips made the press release on 20th February this year to finally get my hands on this baby. Finally, and after a couple of delays, I have myself a brand new player, and I could not be happier. The menus respond noticeably faster than the 6185 I had before, and are quick to navigate through. Forget about silly fads like touchscreen. I mostly use mine in bed, in the dark. What use is touch screen when you aren't even looking at the player? Buttons will always be more practical, and also mean you won't end up with a player resembling the underneath of a chip pan through endless greasy paw prints slapped all over it. Something to think about before being taken in by the "OOOH touchscreen!" novelty-marketing.
My previous 6185 player failed to let me down a single time, and is still working now. The reason I bought this upgrade is partly the Fullsound and also the AAC support, which means I can now start buying Audible audiobooks for my player, which was previously un-supported by it's software. The FullSound is no gimmick. There's no shockingly awe-inspiring difference between FullSound and the normal, and consistantly highly praised sound quality, but overall it does manage to pick out the finite detail of background noise in the podcasts I listen to, more so than the normal sound setting. Despite this fact, Philips give you a large number of alternative sound settings, including one for "Spoken word" which is perfect for me.
I did purchase the previous version of the GoGear, the 5185. However I had 3 gripes about it - the lcd screen was far too weak, in that I only happened to press lightly on it accidentally one time and I caused ripples on the display. Secondly the volume control was very flimsy and cheap feeling - a let down as it's a very often used control with differing recorded volume levels of various podcasts. Finally in screensaver mode, the previous player seemed to interpret "off" as "turn the player off" - so there I was listening to my Star Wars play when suddenly Luke would be cut off in his prime. I'm very happy that Philips seem to have read my mind and addressed ALL 3 of these gripes.
Sadly however they have stubbornly kept the headphone jack on the side of the player which looks out of place compared to the 6185 version which is on the end.
Customisation is limited, unlike the Zen, for example, you can't have a background 'desktop' of your choice. But the menus are flashy enough for me not to mind that at all. You can choose the 'dark' setting, 'light' setting or "Red" for the menu displays. Quite who in their wisdom decided that red is the universally favoured colour for all mankind is perhaps worth investigating. At the moment I opt for dark, which is very stylish, and the light option resembles the display of my previous player, which makes me all nostalgic and fuzzy inside.
Every single reviewer in existance will compare anything any company producing mp3/4 players to iPods. Some of us less-than-doe eyed Apple fanboys however realise all iPods amount to are overpriced, slick looking, flawed products which are so shoddily put together they have to release replacements every few months. However true this may be, the masses unfortunately are generally swayed by a very well funded marketing machine, which will always put this Philips player at a disadvantage.
Personally I take practicality over marketing hype any day. What use is something that matches your socks, but gets superceded every 4 months.
If you want a shoddy, rushed out fashion accessory, by all means go for an iPod. If however you want something a little bit more reliable and of superior quality, that just will not let you down, a GoGear is definitely the choice for you.
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