This is a fantastic little mp3 player if you are looking for something that is best for listening to music and pod casts on the go. The headphones that come with the device aren't that good quality because they only produce sound out of one ear phone.
It comes in a small plastic box with a clear cover over the screen and the manual and software for Windows (for the mp3 player. It is very easy to set up and use . This isn't a touchscreen and it is controlled by the small directional arrows and enter buttons to the right of the screen.
It also allows you to watch videos and read some books (I think) that you have saved in the memory, but the screen is a bit on the small side for anything other than music.I would recccomend this to anyone who is looking for a value for money mp3 player but without the price tag of an Apple or other similar brand
Note: Most of this review is also on Amazon.
The Philips GoGear Ariaz 4GB is a very portable MP3 player providing a great range of features including music, video, radio, pictures, recordings and text reader. A tad bigger than the first generation iPod Nano the Ariaz has a 2" screen providing a very clear picture perfect for viewing videos and photos.
Installation of the software is quick and easy and important this is done before connecting it. It comes supplied with a 4" USB cable so I recommend keeping it on a flat surface as the USB could easily become damaged with the weight of the Ariaz. Charging it only takes 3 hours first time round which when just listening to the radio provided me with around 10 hours play time however this is reduced when watching videos to around 6 hours. With 4GB there is a good amount of space holding up to 900 songs, 1600 pictures or 8 hours of video.
On connecting it is quick and easy to transfer files by dragging and dropping into the relevant folders. Music can be ripped from CDs easily through Windows Media Player 11 and also synced with it to help transfer easily. The Media Converter changes video files to .smv files to be viewed on the Ariaz. I love downloading and watching videos from BBC iPlayer - they make it easy to do by reducing the file size for portable devices yet keeping a high quality picture. The software also makes it possible to download videos from YouTube and MySpace.
Compared to the GoGear Opus 8GB, the Ariaz, although pretty much just a smaller version, has its flaws. Although the buttons take up the whole area to the right of the screen which makes them easier to press, because they are not flush with the screen they can be accidently pressed which if listening to the radio can take you to another station, another video or another song. I've also ended up pressing them accidently when I've tried to change the volume. Compared to the rest of the player the buttons feel quite cheap. There is a lock on it which will help stop pressing buttons if needed.
Unlike the Opus, the Ariaz also comes with a Text reader. By just pasting text into Notepad and saving as a txt file you can view them on the Ariaz. The file name is shown at the top, the text and then it shows you the percentage of how far you are through the file. The only real disadvantage is the text is white against the black background which makes my eyes go funny. The format isn't perfect as any spaces could be at the beginning of the line rather than missed so is not all aligned to the left. It does show paragraphs though. By pressing the down button it's easy to scroll through the text although just make sure don't press the back button but you can resume reading the file from where you left it which really helps on longer files.
The menu files are well laid out with the option to customise in Dark, Red (looks far more pink to me) or Light and screensaver of a clock, album art or song title. With pictures it's possible to turn them round to view in landscape rather than portrait and just turn the player round so it's a slightly bigger picture. The quality really depends on the original photo. I've found with group photos, the small screen is just too small to make everyone out.
Music is easily accessed by All songs, artists, albums, playlists or audiobooks with the ability to shuffle them or play in order. I love with these Philip GoGear MP4 players that it gives the option to delete individual files straight from the player rather than having to connect it each time. It's best to keep song titles quite short as although it will scroll to see the full title it's really slow so if you've got the album name first, you need to wait a while to see what the track is.
The sound is very clear and the supplied earphones are amazing compared to the ones supplied with iPods as they actually stay in your ears and cut out background noise. The microphone too picks up sound clearly when recording but it is better if you don't need to hold the player at the same time as it can pick up noises from that. I mainly use the Ariaz to listen to the radio and with 20 radio presets is easy to find my favourite stations. Recording from the radio is also easy and doesn't pick up any noise other than the radio.
I did ask Philips if they had AC adapters for either the Ariaz or Opus but unfortunately they don't which means always having to charge through my computer which is fine most of the time but not very favourable if going on a trip which is one reason I prefer my iPod.
Comparing this to my iPod, well there really isn't much comparison. Apple is far superior in quality but this Philips is far cheaper with a few extras missing from my iPod. I'd say picture quality is better on my iPod but it doesn't have the ability to watch videos (I know later versions do have this but I'm still on the 1st Gen Nano). Ariaz has far better earphones, includes a radio, video player and the text reader so I'm not going to dismiss it altogether.
Overall I feel it deserves 3 stars. I do prefer the Opus with its larger screen and friendlier buttons but the Opus is missing the Text reader. This one still is user friendly, provides great quality sound and clear pictures but just doesn't live up to the quality of an iPod. At under £50 though it's very affordable (and has come down a lot since I got it a few years ago). If you have the money, go for an iPod.