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Philips GoGear SA3025
I'd love to own a player that’s versatile enough to allow me to use it for all my media purposes. But having a DAP or a PMP that provides the same is one thing and one that does it well is obviously a horse of a different color. Philips GoGear has a long list of media devices that cater to some of these needs and a few that take care of all. The SA3025 has all the right features, but let me tell you how well those features measure up...
The SA3025 is a small and neat-looking PMP. It has a 1.5 inch display with a 128 x 128 pixel resolution. The five way nav-pad is stylish, and a separate ‘Return’ key takes you back to previous menus. The volume keys are on one side and the Hold switch and Power slider are on the other. You’ll find the mini USB port and 3.5mm earphone socket at the bottom, on either side of the strap loop.
Features and Performance
Starting at the top, the menus are no different than what you’d find in any other GoGear PMP with similar features. It’s clear and easy to navigate – or would have been that way if it weren’t so darn slow. Like most other players (GoGear included), the EQ presets are located in the Settings menu, so while playing a track you’ll have to go all the way back to the main menu and scroll down to the Settings to make any changes. There are no manual EQ settings. Another feature I didn’t like was the lack of a folder search option. Even the video-less SA2825 offered that feature.
The SA3025 doesn’t even allow you to play tracks by creating a playlist. Better prefix your stored tracks with 01, 02, 03 etc. Your other option is to make sure your ID tags are perfect so you would at least be able to find tracks by artist or album. Otherwise all your music files will simply be stored alphabetically, and with the scroll speed being what it is, it will take ages if you’re listening to a track from A-Ha and suddenly want to hear something by Rihanna (if your tracks are stored with artist name and track).
To get the best out of the player, you’ll have to convert your JPEG images using the bundled converter. If you decide not to, it’s going to take a really long time opening the files. Since the resolution isn’t too high, your photos may not look too great. Videos will also have to be converted. Although resolution plays an integral part of this too, those who can’t afford higher-end players and like watching small clips will be happy with this. I’m not use I'd want to watch an entire movie on a 128x 128 screen.
There are two things I really liked about the SA3025. First, the FM radio. The reception was fairly good even while commuting. It has 20 presets (more than the number of channels we get) and a recording feature. When the reception is clear enough, the recording comes out pretty well. Second is the standalone voice recorder that has great range. It records in ADPC format and is quite clear.
The music quality on the whole was disappointing. The volume was way too low and the EQ presets helped only a little. Even with high bitrate recordings, the dynamic range was not consistent and the lack of thump in the bass didn’t bode well at all. The earphones are fairly comfortable, but I’d have preferred them with sponges to cushion the sound and feel a bit more secure in my ears.
I managed to squeeze a whole 11 hours and 15 minutes of total nonstop music playback. I must say it's a rare event that I’ve tested a product where the website specs tally with real-life experience. It claims a 12-hour battery life and the product comes very close, so no complaints on that front.
The GoGear range has some pretty good players on offer. Sadly, though the SA3025 does offer a lot of features, it doesn’t deliver too well on performance. The sound quality (which is the essential thing) is not up to the mark, and the lag in the interface is also an issue. The device costs no less than Rs 3299, so I’m going to be honest and say that you can give it a miss.