Philips Ariaz 16GB review

The Ariaz doesn't feel very robust, but it's great value - £75 is a bargain for a 16GB portable audio player.

18 Mar 2010
Philips Ariaz 16GB
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
75
inc VAT

Specifications

We've been impressed by previous Philips MP3 players, so we had high hopes for the Ariaz. It looks like a smaller version of our favourite MP3 player, the Muse (see Editor's Choice below) but it costs £50 less – making it the cheapest 16GB portable audio and video player we've seen.

The Ariaz has the same logical controls and menu structure as the Muse. It's very easy to adjust the equaliser or play modes while a song is playing or to add the track to a new playlist. The buttons are a little small, so it may not be ideal for those with very big fingers. Unsurprisingly at this price, it's missing the Muse's built-in background noise cancellation. The build quality isn't as sturdy as the best MP3 players we've seen either – the plastic casing creaks under pressure.

Unlike previous Philips players, the Ariaz lacks support for H264 and DivX videos, but it can play WMV files, including downloaded BBC iPlayer videos. The battery lasted just under four hours when playing videos, which is reasonably long. However, the low-resolution, grainy 2in screen is at best suited to TV fare, rather than epic movies.

Using the included earphones, music sounded harsh with weak bass and a lack of detail and warmth. This was especially noticeable in jazz and rock tracks. There was also some distortion at the high end in pop and rock tracks at high volumes. Thankfully, audio quality improved greatly using a superior, third party set of earphones. Music still didn't sound quite as warm and rich as we'd like, but it's still highly enjoyable. The battery lasted just over 28 hours when playing audio which isn't the longest we've ever seen but is still respectably lengthy.

We wish the Ariaz felt more robust and it's not ideal for playing video, but it's a very good value portable audio player - £75 for a 16GB model is a bargain. If you can live with its limitations, it's a great buy.

Details

Price £75
Rating *****
Headphone Rating **
Award Budget Buy

Hardware

Capacity 16.00GB
Formatted capacity 14.80GB
Interface USB2
Storage medium flash memory
Battery and charge options Lithium Polymer, USB
Size 84x10x45mm
Weight 44g

Features

Device has screen? Yes
Viewable size 2 in
Native resolution 176x220
Memory card support none
FM Radio yes
Audio record options microphone, radio
Video record options none
Supplied with headphones, USB cable

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 28h 4m
Tested battery life (Video playback) 3h 56m
500MB transfer time 3m 3s
Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback Yes
Audio AAC playback No
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback No
Audio WAV playback No
Audio Audible playback Yes
Image BMP support Yes
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support No
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback No
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback No
Video WMV playback Yes
Video MPEG-1 playback No
Video MPEG-2 playback No
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback No
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support No
Video H.264 support No
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support No
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support No
Download compatibility WMA-DRM subscription and download

Buying Information

Price per MB 0.5p
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.amazon.co.uk
Details www.consumer.philips.com

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