capsule review

Philips GoGear HDD6330

At a Glance
  • Philips HDD6330/17 30GB MP3 Player (30GB Internal Hard Drive)

    TechHive Rating

    Style and features are the Philips GoGear HDD6330's main strengths, but ease of use and audio quality could be improved.

Philips Electronics' GoGear 6630 portable media player is possibly more gorgeous than an iPod. The 30GB hard-disk player has an attractive black-and-silver finish and a sharp, big LCD for viewing photos and album art. At $280 (as of 7/21/06), it's priced slightly cheaper than Apple's 30GB iPod and offers plenty of features. But the praise stops hard when it comes to convenience, as its navigation system can tire the most fit of fingers.

The GoGear weighs 5.3 ounces and is about the size of, but slightly thicker than, an iPod. It plays WAV, WMA, and MP3 files and is compatible with major online music services. It shows photos (but not video) beautifully on its crisp 2-inch 220-by-176-pixel LCD. The FM radio has 20 presets, and the device supports voice-, FM radio-, and line-in recording. Bundled hardware includes a soft case and a proprietary Y-shaped USB charging cable and power adapter.

While the GoGear's features are impressive, accessing them is not always easy. The heavy, silver on/off slider requires a bit of finger pressure, and the device was slow to start up. The nearly 2-inch-wide scroll area is ample, but using it takes practice. You move your finger vertically to scroll and tap your finger to choose options and commands. For synching music, the GoGear includes--and is fully compatible with--Windows Media Player 10, which you can use to sync tracks from a PC to the device. Be forewarned, though, that the GoGear is not yet 100 percent compatible with the current beta version of Windows Media Player 11; using the beta software, I was unable to sync tracks, and had to manually copy them to the player.

In my informal tests, audio files sounded crisp on the comfortable earbuds included with the player. In our lab tests, the GoGear earned an overall Good audio quality rating, but it also had the highest level of total harmonic distortion when compared to competitors we tested in July 2006, and a significantly higher-than-average level of cross talk (which measures how distinct the left and right channels are). Vendor-specified battery life is a respectable 15 hours.

Overall, style and features are the Philips GoGear's main strengths, but ease of use is not.

Narasu Rebbapragada

This story, "Philips GoGear HDD6330" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Style and features are the Philips GoGear HDD6330's main strengths, but ease of use and audio quality could be improved.

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