Sunday, February 24, 2008

Philips GoGear SA3345

Big W is having a special sale on its DAPs (digital audio players) with models from iRiver, Sansa, Coby, Philips, etc. Best deal is the 4GB Philips GoGear SA3345. Originially priced at $168(?), it's now selling for $98. Don't know much about Philips' line of mp3 players, but its specs list looks pretty impressive:

  • 2.4" QVGA 35k colour screen
  • plays MP3 and WMA files
  • plays MPEG4 and WMV9 video files at 20fps
  • displays JPEG pictures
  • no special software needed, just drag and drop
  • 20 hours of music or 4 hours of video
  • .lrc lyrics support
  • ID3 tag support for artist name and album title
  • built-in microphone for audio recording in ADPCM WAV format
  • FM tuner with 20 station presets
  • firmware-upgradable
So basically, the SA3345 is a 7-in-1 device. Right out of the box, the GoGear already has a few tracks, an avi promotional video, and some photos included. Adding your own content is as simple as connecting the device to a computer via USB2.0 and transferring files to their respective folders: music, video, pictures, etc. (Charging is also via the USB port.) The GoGear is smart enough to skip filetypes it doesn't understand or can't handle. In effect, you can also use the GoGear as a 4GB USB drive. The user interface is quite intuitive to use. The main screen consists of a list of icons representing its different functions: video, music, text, recordings, pictures, folders, settings, etc. Navigation is done through a circular up-down-left-right pad with a central button as the enter key, doubling as a play/pause button. Hold it longer and it becomes an on/off button.

To play songs, you can select the artist name, the album title, the genre, or simply choose a particular song. For some reason, I can't get the album art and the lyrics to show up. And the user manual doesn't tell you how to do this either. Audio quality is quite good. Would've been nice if OGG support is included. Video playback is pretty straightforward. Just click and play. I put in a few karaoke mp4 files and they all played back smoothly. The SA3345 can also be used as an ebook reader (.txt only) with 7 lines of text per screen. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with auto-scroll and there's no way to change the font sizes. The FM tuner and picture slideshow work as advertised. I haven't had time to try the audio recording feature.

All in all, a very nifty device, and a must-buy at $98. I hope my sister's happy with the swap.

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