Hailing in a plastic body with a highly glossed mirror surface, the Philips SA4325 MP3 player might probably remind one of the LG Shine mobile phone. And because of this, you can immediately tell that fingerprints and smudges on this beauty are unavoidable. Switched on, one feature that we consider to be a feast to the eyes would no doubt be the cool fluorescent glow effect that appears as an animated LED display, an SA4325 exclusive feature.
Its main menu screen however, sports only a monochrome OLED display. It can handle about four lines of text, but in a device this small, it can become a strain to the eyes, especially when matched up with the player's reflective nature. On a lighter note though, the navigation controls on the player are very intuitive. The simple four-way button controls are a no-brainer, making the manual a truly optional read.
Another design factor that we love about the SA4325 is that Philips built it like a USB flash drive. Unlike most MP3 players that require a separate connection dock or cable, the SA4325 is its own retractable USB dongle (complete with hidden flap), making it so much more convenient to transfer documents, music and files directly onto a PC.
File format support on the SA4325 is pretty run-of-the-mill. You get standard playback capabilities for MP3, WAV, WMA and ADPCM, which is probably sufficient for the majority of the market, but more formats wouldn't hurt. Luckily, the SA4325 has other functions as well. It has a built-in mic for voice recording, and as an answer to the laments regarding some of their previous GoGear players, the SA4325 now features an integrated FM tuner with 20 preset station settings.
In our usage tests, we found the ear buds that came packaged with the player to be too tinny, so we suggest that bringing your own headgear if you want to get some good experiences from the SA4325. Using a pair of Crossroads MylarOne X3i earphones, the SA4325 was able to pump out excellent audio quality with rich details. FM reception was also clear with almost no interference experienced, but if you still feel that you need to exert control over your music, the SA4325 has a custom equalizer that you can mess around with.
Battery performance is a strong point for the player, and while the unit is rated to last up to 15 hours on a single charge, we managed to squeeze out almost a whole day of usage before the low battery warning signal came on.
With an improvement to the battery life, the Philips GoGear SA4325 is a decent, if somewhat lackluster-featured MP3 player. However, its main draw isn't in features or playback capability, but its design, which does hit the spot right on. Also, the convenience and practicality of its USB flash drive cum MP3 player functionality should carry it well in today's highly and competitive market.