Monday I decided it was time to get a new portable MP3 player. My choice, after looking at several in a local store, was the Philips GoGear Vibe 4Gb. My older Sony D-NF340 Personal CD Player
was a great device that lasted for many years but the lack of a configurable equalizer and only 700Mb of capacity had me wanting more. Would the MP3 player meet my expectations? Read on to find out!
After getting back to the office, I quickly plugged in my headphones and uploaded The Fame by Lady Gaga
. I was impressed by the sound quality which was not weak like some cheaper MP3 players I had in the past. Even better, the cover of the Lady Gaga CD was displayed on the little screen. I really thought this looked like a mini iPod or an iPea! Product Packaging
The GoGear Vibe comes in a 7" tall x 4.75" wide x 1" deep, thick, clear plastic container. Luckily, Philips integrated punch outs into the back of the wrapping that you can easily use a pair of scissors to cut open. Once you open the container, a plethora of manuals, advertisements and attachments will come pouring out. The items that I kept were the supplied Philips In-Ear headphones, barely 5" USB cable and an installation CD. From an experienced computer user perspective, everything else was fluff except for the Warranty Registration card which I also threw away. The MP3 player itself is very small just 2.5" x 1.75". As far as weight, my Binary Led Binary Watch Blue
weighs much more than this product! However, Vide is tough because of the thick, protective black plastic the surrounds the entire device like some sort of techno armor. Controls And Features
On the front of the device you find a 1.5" color display with an Apple iPod style paddle interface that consists of a back, up, down and play/pause button. On the left side of the device, you will find a sliding lock and power button along with a recessed reset button. On the right side is an options and volume control button. The options button is by far the best feature of this product. In the options menu, you set the play mode, sound settings, add to playlist, remove from playlist or just delete the current file. Available play modes are shuffle and repeat one or all. The sound settings feature an equalizer that has several presets along with a 5 channel custom and a volume limit feature. Uploading And Transferring Music Files
One of my rules in computing is to never install third party utilities unless I absolutely have to. The Philips GoGear Vibe does not require you to install any of their software to use this product. You can simply plug it into Windows XP Professional SP2 or Windows Vista and the drive will be recognized as a new FAT32 partition of preformatted size 3.66Gb. Unlike the Apple iPod or Apple iPhone, you are not limited to using just one computer to transfer music files to the Philips GoGear Vibe. You can also upload any file that you wish to this device. I have filled the drive with some of my unfinished hardware reviews as a backup for them.
To compare how long it actually takes to transfer MP3 files to this device, I used two computers and timed the length of the file transfer for 133 MP3 files of total size 714Mb: ASUS 1005HA Netbook
: 3 minutes 2 seconds Dell Precision T3400
: 3 minutes 27 seconds
I felt those benchmarks were important because they show that across two computers you do not get very high speed transfers with this MP3 player. For comparison, a Kingston 16Gb Micro SDHC card
can do this same file transfer in 2 minutes 2 seconds on the ASUS 1005HA netbook. Playing Music Files
You can play the following music formats: MP3 and WMA. You can use a variety of options to find your songs from Folder View in the main menu to the music mode which sorts your songs by Artists, Albums, Playlists and Audiobooks.
The playback of the GoGear Vibe is very good. You will enjoy adding songs to your favorites lists all day. If you have any JPG files included with your Album of music, the player will display the cover of the CD during playback. Video Playback
I was not particularly impressed with videos on a 1.5" screen. Philips included a sample animation entitled Vagalumes that did nothing to change my mind about watching video on a tiny screen. Your eyes are going to strain themselves after just a few minutes of enduring this torture. A software package is included on the CD-ROM that allows you to create your own video content. Image Viewing
You can upload pictures to this product as well. They are very small and distorted on the screen though. Yet you still can see them. I was surprised to find that the Vibe found my GreenDay concert photos that are in the MP3 folder. A screensaver mode exists that will randomly flip through your photos as well. FM Radio
First, the headphones and their cable act as your antenna for the radio in this product. If you have a short headphone cable or do not fully extend the cable then you are not going to get good reception. My Beats By Dr. Dre heaphones
were able to pull in several stations inside the server room at work which truly impressed me. The Philips player automatically creates a preset list for you but you can edit these at anytime using the options button. The audio quality was much better than the built in tuner on my Sony D-NF340 Personal CD Player. I hope to use this at football games next year! Voice Recording
The voice recorder will use all available space to record audio using the microphone on the bottom of the GoGear Vibe. The recordings are saved in MP3 format and the device features a library feature for finding older files. The audio quality is actually quite decent and if you point the bottom of this device at a teacher, you will have a good way of capturing class notes. Battery Life
Your 4Gb MP3 player is going to charge via the supplied USB cable. Expect about an hour on average to recharge this product. Running continuously, in screensaver mode, my player was able to run for approximately 7 hours on the first charge. Features And Offers With Your Philips GoGear Vibe
Product: GoGear Vibe
Model Number: SA1VBE04K/17
Screen Size: 1.5"
File Capacity: 4Gb (Preformatted 3.66Gb FAT 32) Extras
30 Days of Rhapsody To Go if you create an account.
Free audiobook from Audible.com when you try AudibleListener Gold free for 30 Days. Summary
After using this device for a few days, I am truly impressed with the interface and onboard charging capabilities. I can transfer any files I wish which immediately makes the device multi-functional for me. The 4Gb GoGear Vibe is rugged enough to be carried around in your pocket and survive crashes on the floor. To round out the functionality, they even included an FM player that actually works well!
I purchased my Philips GoGear Vibe at Wal-Mart for $40 last week. You are going to be hard pressed to beat the current price online. For those who want more, you should know that a 16Gb version of the GoGear Vibe is available according to the Philips website but I could not find it anywhere online.
In all I give the Philips GoGear Vibe 4Gb MP3 player two thumbs up.