By December 24, 2008

Philips GoGear MP3 player review

Philips have released a new MP3 player into the market, the Philips GoGear, but is it bold enough take the crown from Apple?

Philips GoGear MP3 player

The Philips GoGear




Philips market the GoGear MP3 player as ‘the very best in audio and video playback’ – it certainly packs a useful punch with an array of features which include 8GB internal memory, a 2.8” QVGA LCD colour display, a SuperScroll™ function which claims ‘to find what you want quickly and simply’, MP3, WMA and AAC compatibility as well as an in-built FM radio, WMV video playback, a built-in microphone and high definition headphones which are designed to minimise noise and direct the sound directly from the speaker to your ear drums!



What’s in the box?

  • Philips GoGear audio video player
  • In-ear headphones (3.5mm)
  • Rubber textured pouch
  • Software CDs (1 for audio player & 1 for video player)
  • User Manual
  • Warranty etc

Philips GoGear Specification:

  • Memory size: 8GB
  • Memory type: Integrated
  • Screen size: 2.8” QVGA
  • Screen resolution: 320 x 240 pixels
  • Weight: 95g
  • Radio: With RDS
  • Audio/Video formats: AAC , MP3 , WMA , AVI , WMV , MOV
  • PC Interface: USB 2.0
  • Battery type: Lithium Ion
  • Height: 10.6cm
  • Width: 5.8cm
  • Depth: 1cm




The GoGear SA5385 is a fairly conventional looking MP3 player. The player feels very sturdy in the palm and not at all cheap.

On the front of the SA5385 you’ll find all the basic controls. There’s a 5 way navigation control with play/pause button in the centre. Above and below this are the options and back buttons. These controls take up quite a large amount of space for my liking below the 2’8″ display.

Philips GoGear MP3 player_main

GoGear front view


The bottom of the device is home to the headphone socket which is a standard 3.5mm jack socket so you’ll be able to use your favourite headphones. The proprietary sync/charge connector, hold/lock button and reset button are also located here. It’s a simple reset button that you’ll need either a pin or a sharp pencil to press.

Philips GoGear MP3 player_bottom

GoGear bottom view


On the right of the unit there is a lanyard holder for those who prefer to hang their devices around their necks.

Philips GoGear MP3 player_end

GoGear end view

On the top of the device you’ll see an up/down rocker for volume control

Philips GoGear MP3 player_top

GoGear top view




  • Strong sturdy design – capable of taking a few knocks
  • Easy to navigate menus
  • Impressive screen resolution in video playback
  • Headphones; excellent sound quality
  • Very easy file transfer – drag and drop
  • Quick processing speed – very little lag/delay (300MB transferred in less than 1 min!)


  • Poor battery life
  • Shame it has been designed in landscape – makes one-handed operation difficult
  • Pouch not the best thought out design/quality




The GoGear SA5285 takes the form of all standard MP3 players on the market today. It sits quite comfortably in the palm of your hand with all of the important buttons laid out so that you can reach them easily with your thumb. Although I would point out that the device is definitely designed for right handed use and cannot easily be used with just one hand. This is partly due to the fact that the controls seem to be positioned to close to the edge and also due to the weight itself. Not a huge downside but it just means the basic controls, including the volume control is on the wrong side for left handed customers. The directional pad and buttons to the right of the screen are small and somewhat fiddly.

All the basic necessities are to found in the box. The device is plug and play compatible as I found, making transfer of music and videos very quick and easy. The transfer/upload process was something I was impressed with, having previously owned a Zen vision:M, the GoGear was light years quicker!

Once the device is up and running everything is laid out in an easily accessible format. The main screen has 8 icons that you can easily work through with the 5 point navigation control (4 way arrow selection and a central select/power/play/pause button). The icons include music, videos, pictures, radio, recordings, folders, settings and last played. There was nothing innovative about the way the device/menus work which left me quite disappointed at it was the ‘same old menus’ in a ‘new device’.

The GoGear comes with a set of ‘in-ear’ headphones, which are impressive and are capable of delivering quite a punch, albeit to your eardrums! They come with 3 various sized cushions, either one should be suitable for your respective ear holes.

Philips has included a 2.8″ QVGA display on the device making it great for playing videos. The display is clear, bright, sharp and evenly lit.

Having watched the sample ‘how-to’ videos supplied on the device I have to say that video play back is impressive, there are no signs of motion blur or lag. The player will automatically bookmark your place in a video file for you when you pause, so you can return to the same position after going off to change some settings, or even listen to some music. This works with multiple video files, too; handy if you make a habit of watching your movies in chunks. It’s slightly disappointing that forward and backwards scanning is limited to 4x speeds. In my opinion the video playback surpasses that of the iPod family which I have always found somewhat pixelated, maybe it’s just me… however, one thing I was unimpressed by is the font that is used to label menus/folders, not very clear.

With 8GB of storage space at your disposal you’ll be able to get a whole host of music tracks and video on the device!

All in all the device is nicely designed and put together, with a glossy black front, thin silver trim around the edge and a brushed aluminium-effect black plastic rear panel. Claimed battery life runs to an impressive 30 hours for music and six hours for video, I found this too be very different on the player I had, might have been a dud battery. Music file format compatibility is good, with support for not only MP3 and WMA, but also AAC and Audible files. A positive point is also that GoGear is capable of playing radio on the device straight out of the box with RDS and 20 presets, plus the facility to record either radio or voice via an external microphone.



Despite its numerous capabilities the GoGear SA5285, doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. It is well priced at just under £100 for an 8GB player with such a large screen and great headphones, it is better than most deals available. But when all aspects of the device are weighed against others on the market, I feel you would be hard pressed to be parting with your cash for the GoGear.


Review by: Noman

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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