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Philips GoGear Vibe 4GB Review

philipsgogear

philipsgogearPhilips launched the GoGear Vibe not too long ago and although it’s not meant to be a direct iPod competitor by any means, it does do the job of being an affordable MP3 player and a serious alternative to the Shuffle.

In the Box:
The packaging is actually pretty smart as it offers a perforated area on the packaging to simply take the device out of it without cutting your hands or breaking a pair of scissors. The GoGear Vibe comes with a USB adapter, matching black ear buds, a booklet, and software for easy installation.

UPDATE 09/26/2010: Check out our full review of the new Philips GoGear Vibe for 2010.

Design:
The GoGear Vibe’s black glossy design itself is slick and easy on the eye.  Its body is small with curved edges so the ease of portability is there, but unfortunately the quality of the operational buttons are a bit stiff. You can also hear a bit of clicking noise when you press on the buttons. However for this price point, I guess you can’t complain too much since it is a MP3/Video player after all. Overall, the GoGear Vibe is a very portable device, fitting into the palm of my hand, it is great for running or using at the gym. I used it every morning for 1 hour in the gym and it lasted 7 days without having to recharge. The battery life is rated at 25 hours for audio and 4 hours for video.

Setup:

As soon as I plugged in the device it automatically was picked up in Windows Media player. This was great since I do use Windows Media Player already. I was able to make a playlist simply by clicking and dragging. The GoGear Vibe automatically took all the artists in my library and separated them by artist and then followed by album on the device.

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Interface:
Like I said earlier, you can drop and drag songs to the device in seconds. The GoGear Vibe has your typical menu features where you can control the sound quality via equalizer settings, and of course see titles of the songs that are currently playing. The GoGear Vibe fits as much track information and album art as it can on its 1.5 inch size screen without looking too crowded. Overall, its interface is clean and simple. Playback options are shuffle mode or standard playback. There is no scroll wheel or snazzy touch features, but the crosspad if you will, is very easy to use. The ‘Play’’ button and a ‘Back’ button are simple to understand and operate. There is also a detailed guide  included which tells you how to upload, create playlists etc… should you get lost along the way. But for most people, including those that aren’t too tech savvy – the GoGear Vibe will be a cinch to operate.

Audio Quality:
The audio experience coming from the included earbuds doesn’t do the device justice even though they fit into my ear canal just fine. But when I switched them out, and listened to the GoGear Vibe with my own pair of headphones I was definitely impressed. The music didn’t sound tinny and the GoGear actually does a good job pumping tunes.

Additional Features:

Additionally, the GoGear Vibe comes with a built-in FM radio. And aside from support for MP3 and WMA files, it also supports DRM files and it can work with Rhapsody. Other relatively standard but welcome features include voice recording, and photo viewing.

Video Playback:
Video playback on the GoGear Vibe is more of a bonus novelty than a serious feature. The video clips that play back on the GoGear are low in resolution and quality, so video playback is best suited for the occasional quick clip but not for serious viewing. Obviously if you are looking for a dedicated video device, you wouldn’t go with the Philips GoGear Vibe.

Conclusion:
The GoGear is a great little player for those on a budget. It has got great audio quality – almost as good as my iPod when I switched up the headphones, so for the price alone and its good sound quality it is worth it. It also offers a decent amount of storage for the price. Overall, the Philips GoGear definitely offers more value for the money than the iPod shuffle. The Philips GoGear 4Gb MP3 retails for $49.99.

The Good: Priced well for a 4GB MP3 player that also supports video files. Great starter MP3 player or player for the gym

The Bad: Navigation buttons are stiff to operate. Video playback is low quality.

UPDATE 09/26/2010: Check out our full review of the new Philips GoGear Vibe for 2010.

Update 11/21/2011: Check out our Philips GoGear Connect 3 review