The latest company to offer a healthy alternative to the Apple Nano is Philips, whose 2GB GoGear 9200 almost exactly apes the weight and dimensions of the industry fave.
It’s obviously a pretty stylish device, then, while build quality seems extremely good and the brushed black aluminium finish is sure to appeal. The biggest impact on the looks front comes from the luminous blue controls that fade in on the touch-sensitive display in a similar way to the recently reviewed Maxfield Max-Ivy.
You’ll even find a touch-sensitive slider control here, but unlike the Maxfield, Philips’ effort is far more responsive and genuinely nice to use. You’ll only really need it for browsing menus; a separate volume control on the side of the player makes for easy adjustments and leaves the rest of the buttons for navigating around.
This is very straightforward, but is partly down to the fact that the GoGear 9200 is actually fairly low on features. You won’t find any of the multimedia extras we’ve seen in recent months, such as a voice recorder, FM radio or video player. MP3 playback and a photo viewer are about your lot, but these are handled fairly well.
You’ll find a range of presets as well as a custom equalizer, track ratings and playlist creation. Audio is certainly very clear, but the GoGear 9200 is relatively quiet, even at maximum volume. It seems as though Philips has imposed a decibel sound limit for health reasons, but where other players give you the option to disable this, you won’t find such luxuries here and in noisy environments it may pose a problem.
The quality of the 1.7-inch colour display is nice enough, although you’ll only really take advantage of it when using the photo viewer or uploading album art. You’ll get around 14 hours from the battery, which is about average for this type of player, and a soft carry case is supplied in the box.
The big sticking point with the GoGear 9200 is the unusually high retail price. £169 for a 2GB player is a Hell of a lot considering the competition, and although you should expect prices to drop once it’s been around for a while this is still extortionately high in the current market, particularly bearing in mind the limited feature set. This is the biggest problem with what is otherwise a nice little player that comes the closest yet to matching Apple’s dimensions.
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