May 13th, 2010

Philips GoGear Aria 16GB Mini-Review

So I picked up the Philips GoGear Aria 16GB MP3 player from Costco with a $10 discount. After 3 months of using it, here are some quick thoughts.

So I picked up the Philips GoGear Aria 16GB MP3 player from Costco with a $10 discount. After 3 months of using it, here are some quick thoughts.


  • Capacities: 8GB or 16GB
  • Screen: 2" 176 x 220px color LCD
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.6 x 6.4 inches
  • Weight: 10.1 ounces
  • Supported Audio: MP3, WMA, AA (Audible, for audiobooks)
  • Battery Life: 30 hours audio, 6 hours video
  • Transfer Modes: MTP / MSC
  • Connection Type: Mini USB B
  • User Interface: Tactile
  • Sound enhancements: FullSound, Equalizer
  • Other Features: FM Radio, sleep timer, personalization options, on-the-go playlists, text reader, video


The box is simple plastic packaging with the player, headphones, a short mini-USB cable and the mini software CD.


The design of the player is really small and nice. The plastic construction with a gloss coat makes this one of those players where your fingerprints will show. The thing fits well in any any pocket because of its small size and rounded edges. The buttons are easy to reach with your fingers and they are easy to press. From other reviews that I've read, many people say it takes getting used to, but not for me. When it comes to controls, I'm not picky.


There are 7 menus in total. Music, Video, Photo, Radio, Folder View, Text Reader and settings.



For the price, the sound quality is excellent. It comes with Philips' FullSound sound enhancement technology which really works well. It comes with preset EQ (hip hop, Jazz, Rock etc) plus a custom 5 band EQ which you can tweak yourself. Volume is really good too. The thing can get pretty loud if you crank the volume all the way up without losing much audio quality, at least for my standards. I am no audiophile but I would compare this to Sony's excellent sound quality. Probably not the best, but its up there. It makes my sister's iPod sound like a cheap toy.


Viewing photos and video on this this is a gimmick. The screen size and resolution is so low that you will rarely use these two features. Only photo formats that are supported are .jpg and .bmp. There is a simple slideshow option but you will never use it because carrying photos on this thing useless. Video is also a joke. With the limited number of colors, watching videos on this thing is also useless. To even watch videos, you must convert your video to


I must admit, this is the least used feature on my MP3 player. I feel good knowing that I have this feature because it may come in handy one day. However, when I did try it on the day I got the MP3 player, I was disappointed that the mic wasn't that strong. You had to put your mouth really close the mic for it to pickup anything. Without some kind of artificial mic gain boost, the mic is really not that useful unless you are speaking right into it. You wont be able to pickup a speaker at a conference from sitting from the back row with this thing.


The FM radio actually works well. The reception is decent if it is not buried under too much stuff. It allows you to save up to eight of your favourite radio stations. Otherwise, there is nothing special to note about FM radio.

The text reader is very handy. I tend to listen to audiobooks and when I am scrolling to pickout which one I want to listen next, the text file with all the book info comes in handy. One drawback is that the screen is really small meaning you will be scrolling constantly. The text reader is best used to view relatively small text files with information, not larger books and notes which I read using my PSP.


Simply put, folderview lets you view the files on the MP3 player with the hierarchical view. This is how I navigate which files to play since I usually it to play audiobooks. I hate the standard music view because it mixes up all the multipart files and disorders them. Folderview is a godsend.


Settings has alot of stuff that you can tweak including an awesome feature which will automatically turn off your MP3 player after a certain amount of time. I personally find this useful because I go to bed listening to a recorded radio show or audiobook and I often doze off into sleep without turining the thing off. I just set the auto shut off timer and I can rest assured that the next day I can pickup where I left off without losing my place.


Great MP3 player for those who don't have money to spend on a fully featured PMP.


  • Small form factor. It will fit anywhere
  • Comes with good headphones, though you may need to stick them a bit deeper into your ear canal
  • Good sound quality, especially for the price
  • decent price. I picked mine up for $70 with $10 off
  • folderview, auto shut-off is awesome
  • Support for third party services like rhapsody and Audible
  • No proprietary bullshit. Only mini USB with MSC/MTP mode. Great for drag-and-drop folks like me.
  • textreader and FM radio are useful
  • comes up to 16gb storage space which is a requirement for me
  • Good battery life, easily lasts the stated 30 - 33 hours


  • Not MP3 audiobook friendly. Unless you are using audible, there is no bookmarking feature to save where you left off on audiobooks saved in .MP3 format.
  • Pictures and videos are a joke. Don't plan on using this as a PMP. Good for audio only.
  • slow fast forward/rewind seek time. If you have a 30 minute MP3 file, it will take forever for you to scroll to, say, the 20min mark. This will probably be the most annoying part of the MP3 -player. I hope they release a update to speed it up

in a nutshell


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