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Philips GoGear SA3125
Media players these days, come in all shapes and sizes with features coming out the wazoo. Although we could say that players like the Zunes or iPods of this world are at the top, let's be realistic, not everyone can afford those can they? So what’s out there for the guys who have comparatively much smaller budgets? Who’d also like to watch a few videos and listen to music while scrolling through images of fond memories? Philips has just launched their GoGear series of media players that look like they just might live up to that very sentiment. That’s provided they can prove themselves worthy of being in the same class as the Wespros, or Sony’s or iRiver’s that are already out there—with a similar price tag that is.
The SA3125 is a slim player and it’s really light, weighing in at just 0.048Kgs. I’m not going to say that it’s the slimmest or lightest but with dimensions like 79.6 x 42 x 11.9 mm, it’s right up there with a few others.
It’s not a high-end player so I’m sure the 1.8-inch QQVGA 65K LCD display that sports a 160 x 128 pixel resolution is perfect for all your visual needs. I’ve always preferred the 5 way navigation pad a real boon when it comes to maneuvering through the menus and files so this one suites me just fine. With the play pause key in the center it doubles up as the power switch. There are two dedicated keys on either side of the navigation pad—the menu key that allows you to move back through the menus and the playlist key that allows you to save a file you’re playing in to a playlist.
On one side you’ll find the volume keys and on the other is the hold or key-guard switch. The problem with this switch is, it’s a little sensitive and it could easily slide off the lock setting if it’s in your pocket. Then again it could be a problem with just this particular piece (I hope so). At the bottom is the 3.5mm earphone socket so you can hook this baby up to an amp or speakers directly. There’s also the reset button right beside the strap loop and the mini USB port.
The black and silver finish gives it a quite a stylish feel and it’s mere size and weight makes it extremely convenient to haul around in your pocket.
The SA3125 is equipped with all forms of media playback. But the darn player takes a good 6-7 seconds to start up and you need to keep the power key pressed for almost 5 seconds plus for the device to shut down. The integrated FM radio allows you to save 10 presets, there’s a voice recorder for voice memos, a video player that plays SMV playback but you are going to have to use the converter software that Philips provides with the package to convert videos. Now don’t expect great picture quality, but I’ll simply say it’s not bad at all either.
You can also view your JPEGS on the player but again you will of course, need to convert your hi-res images down to an acceptable resolution to optimize it for viewing on the player. You can also simply drag and drop your images in to the ‘Photo’ folder but I have to warn you, if they aren’t converted you’re going to have some really odd looking images with some pretty distorted looking faces (it is good for a laugh though).
And of course the main feature is the music player but it has no features that make it any more attractive than the SA1355 . The SA1355, that doesn’t even have a color display and is half the size, actually has a few features that are lacking in this player. Quite relevant features too, like a manual EQ setting so you can adjust the levels to your preference. It does have 6 presets though. There’s also an absence of an FM recorder and a loop function. But on the plus side, the firmware is upgradeable.
Without the aid of manually being able to adjust the music levels to my liking I’m sadly disappointed in the quality of the playback. Not really so much but let me explain. Without the use of the EQ the quality is great except for the fact that the earphones are still not up to par in this model either. Output being too low as is, the manual EQ would have been perfect to adjust it slightly. The presets seem to work in the opposite way however. They dip the output and dull the sound so much so that it’s really quite annoying. So my suggestion—Don’t use 'em!
The inbuilt microphone has good range and the reproduction is not bad either. The radio doesn’t seem to pick up all the stations if allowed to auto preset. It’ll find two and that’s it. You’ll have to manually find the others. But reception is good even while traveling. Rather odd, but as long as it works right?
Video playback is great from the expected resolution. Converting files may take a little time but the outcome is great for a player like this. And the software allows you to directly update the files to the player. Transferring data is also extremely quick using USB 2.0.
So what to we have here then? Well, at a price of around Rs. 5000 for the SA3125 which is a 2Gb model you have a great little PMP that has a few minor issues, but on the whole it’s quite good. And there’s also the SA3115 which is equipped with the same features that has 1GB of space and is priced at approximately Rs. 4000. The bottom line is these players are great if you don’t have a budget too high. You may not get all the features you want and you will need to buy another pair of earphones, but you won’t regret it.