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Philips GoGear Muse SA2MUS16S/02 review

Kat Orphanides
17 Nov 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
129
inc VAT

The new version of the GoGear Muse is a decent enough player, but its touchscreen is pointless

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The latest version of Philips' GoGear Muse is a touchscreen MP3 player with a 3.2in 320x480 display. It has 16GB of storage, excellent audio format support and the ability to play 720p HD video and output it via a mini-HDMI port. There's also an FM radio, an SDHC card slot for extra storage, a built-in microphone, text file reader and a handful of other features. The interface is clear and easy to use.

Comparisons with the iPod Touch are inevitable for any touchscreen media player. The Muse is about £100 cheaper than Apple's device, as well as having significantly better audio format support. However, the Touch has become more than just a music and video player, thanks to a wealth of high-quality apps ranging from games to business tools.

Philips SA2MUS16AS

The Muse has a few things going for it. Audio format support includes the efficiently compressed OGG files and lossless FLAC files (although even 16GB of space won't hold many of the latter). Its sound quality is excellent – we could find nothing to fault even when listening to lossless audio files on the highest-quality headphones we could lay hands on. The player's own headphones are excellent and battery life for audio playback was a respectable 35 hours.

Unfortunately, video is problematic. Most of our video files were completely incompatible and the supplied Philips-branded copy of the Songbird media manager can't do video conversation. The Muse can handle WMV, MP4, AVI and RMVB video formats at resolutions of up to 720p and a frame rate of 25fps. This is enough information to allow you to get usable results from third-party converters, but it took a bit of trial and error for us to create files that would play.

Philips SA2MUS16AS Right

Even when we were finally able to watch video, the Muse's display is disappointingly grainy, far too reflective and has a limited range of viewing angles that made dark tones seem too black from almost any position. A handful of well-designed features try but fail to compensate for these failings: it can handle video as well as audio playlists, which is handy if you want to string several short clips or music videos together, and the HDMI output makes it easy to share your photo collection or your movies and music with friends. You’ll have to buy your own mini-HDMI to HDMI lead, though.

Philips-SA2MUS16AS-Left

The GoGear Muse SA2MUS16S/02 seems to have been created to fill a niche that doesn't exist. There's little point in having a touchscreen device that only ever displays one single screen and will never let you install apps. Audio quality is good and the HDMI output is a nice idea, but the screen is poor and there aren't enough features to justify the player's price. If you really want a touchscreen media player, the iPod Touch is still your best bet, despite its steep cost.

Details

Price£129
Rating***
Headphone Rating****

Hardware

Capacity16.00GB
InterfaceUSB
Storage mediumflash memory
Battery and charge optionsLi-ion, USB
Size58x113x10mmmm
Weight100g

Features

Device has screen?Yes
Viewable size3.2 in
Native resolution320x480
Memory card supportMicroSDHC
FM Radioyes
Audio record optionsmicrophone, radio
Video record optionsnone
Supplied withheadphones, USB adapter

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback)3h 11m
Tested battery life (Video playback)35h 25m
500MB transfer time1m 45s
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackYes
Audio AAC playbackYes
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackYes
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackYes
Image BMP supportYes
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportNo
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackYes
Video WMV playbackYes
Video MPEG-1 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 VOB playbackNo
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD supportNo
Video H.264 supportYes
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio supportYes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportYes
Download compatibilityBBC iPlayer

Buying Information

Price per MB0.8p
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk
Detailswww.philips.co.uk

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