You have to give Philips credit for still rolling out MP3 players year after year. While most of the other big electronic manufacturers have thrown in the towel, Philips continues to pump out digital audio players for those who may not want to follow the in-crowd. Their latest installment is the GoGear Connect 3. What makes GoGear Connect 3 appealing? Well the fact that the device is not only an MP3 player but also an Android based device. That’s right, for all you Android fanboys/fangirls…if touting your Android smartphone around as a music device is too battery draining for you, or if using an iPod Touch goes against everything you stand for, than the GoGear Connect 3 could be your PMP of choice. Read on for our full review.
As an Android device, the Philips GoGear Connect 3 is somewhat watered down in comparison to those who have Android smartphones. After all, it has no built-in camera, it it’s not touting the latest smartphone specs such as dual-core processor. So in some ways, for those who are new to this OS, the GoGear Connect is an Android device with training wheels. It doesn’t have everything that those robust smartphones have but it comes pretty close to being an all encompassing player that satisfies almost all your music and other needs.
What’s In The Box:
GoGear Connect 8GB
Sound Isolation Headphones
Quick Start Guide
The Philips GoGear Connect 3 fits very nicely in the palm of your hands and it’s 3.2″ capacitive touch screen is very responsive while playing with apps or circulating though your playlists. The device runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and performance is quite good. As a matter of fact, since we began testing there have been 2 firmware upgrades already. Which means that Philips is actively making sure this device is always in tip-top shape.
Setting up the device is exactly the same as with any Android smartphone. Even though its not a phone, like with all Android devices you will have to tie your Gmail account to the GoGear Connect 3. The Philips GoGear Connect 3 also comes preloaded with several music and movie services including 7Digital, Audible, Viewster, MOG, Rhapsody and Aupeo. Along with these bundled apps are also the standard Android apps like YouTube, Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Web Browser and Google Search. Lastly, Philips has loaded in their proprietary music software Songbird.
The GoGear Connect 3 comes alive mostly when connected to Wi-Fi. The device doesn’t have 3G or any other data connectivity but Wi-Fi. The GoGear Connect 3 does have some other nice features like Bluetooth connectivity, 8GB of onboard memory and a built-in microphone which means this device will work with Skype when you connect to Wi-Fi. The GoGear Connect 3 also sports some decent speakers for the size, because sharing is caring, when it comes to listening to music or watching a quick video.
Unfortunately the mediocre resolution of the 3.2 LCD screen is less than stellar at HVGA with a 480 x 320 pixels resolution and 262K colors. Despite the less than stellar display, playing back 720p HD video isn’t half bad. Watching Lady Gaga’s – Marry The Night: The Prelude Pathétique on YouTube wasn’t a half bad experience.
That said, where the device really shines is through Songbird. I have always been found of this media player for its simplicity. Where iTunes can be frustrating at times, Songbird is easy to use with its dropping and dragging files directly on to the device without having to create playlists for everything. When you start Songbird it will first look for songs you loaded to the device, and than from there you can view playlists, artists, songs, albums, videos and genres. Everything is pretty much at your fingertips and easily accessible.
Philips also touts the fullsound feature on the GoGear Connect 3 that will bring your MP3 tunes more to life. While it’s a nice feature to have, it’s not all that prevalent. The best way to bring your songs more to life is just to listen to higher bit rate files.
As the iPod Touch is to the iPhone 4S the Philips GoGear Connect 3 is to the several dozen Android smartphones on the market. Do Android fans have their answer to the iPod Touch? Not quite, but it’s getting there. The GoGear Connect 3 does a great job of being an advanced MP3 player and a simple video player. However its less than stellar screen resolution and screen size leave much to be desired, especially in comparison to the Samsung Galaxy Player.
The reality is, for those who have an Android smartphone it would be hard to justify the purchase since your smartphone most likely has a better screen and 3G/4G to access apps without the need for Wi-Fi. But isn’t that the same case for the iPod Touch? This device could be perfect for those who aren’t quite ready to take the full Android leap, in which case the GoGear Connect 3 will certainly serve as a good primer. However, it is also doable for those who are hardcore Android OS lovers and want to finally tell Apple to suck it because they now have their own Android MP3 player with music apps! At the end of the day, the Philips GoGear Connect 3 is not nearly as slick as the iPod Touch or the competing Samsung Galaxy Player, but if they can drop the price on the GoGear Connect 3, this device has the potential to actually take a bite out of the iPod Touch’s pie. The GoGear Connect 3 currently retails for $169.99 for the 8GB version and $199 for the 16GB version.
The Good: Touch screen is responsive; solid build; feels good in the palm of your hands; sound quality is excellent; preloaded music and video apps are a plus; Songbird is a breeze to use; firmware upgrades means Philips is dedicated to making this player stay fresh and supported; comes with sound isolation headphones.
The Bad: Not out of the box Mac compatible; no camera; screen size and resolution is mediocre; freezes on occasion; should be priced a bit more competitively against the iPod Touch and Samsung Galaxy Player.