First of all, I've had this trusty mp3 player for about 6 and a half years now and it is still going strong. I have had no reason to search for a replacement or upgrade as it performs its function admirably.
Not that I'm a man of vanity but the look is important to me in an mp3 player. Just because no one can hear what type of music you're listening too doesn't mean that you're safe from public scrutiny. That's not to say I go around shoving the thing in people's faces so they can admire and respect me, but I do like that the product fits in with today's gadget driven world and doesn't stick out like a bad toupee.
This gadget is quite small and unobtrusive and is a sleek shiny black colour which makes it look expensive and modern. There are obviously newer models on the market and in the days of iPhones and iPads it's difficult to imagine anything else from over 6 years ago still looking at home today. Further adding to the style of the device are the blue lights that appear on the scroll button when in use. A trail of blue is left behind as you drag your finger across the surface to scroll through song lists. This makes using the device more fun and entertaining than it would otherwise be.
Ease of use:
It is very easy to upload songs onto the device. I use Windows media player's 'sync device' function but you can also drag and drop songs using your computer. The device connects to your computer with the same lead that you use to charge it with - it is a sort of 2 headed hydra with a mains plug at one end and the USB connection and the mp3 connection head at the other. It does mean that you only need one cable but it is a rather clunky and awkward cable as a result. I often get it tangled up and it does take up some room in my drawer where I keep it (but less than two cables would I suppose). Besides this, it is far from a chore to connect and transfer songs or sort the existing songs on the device using your computer.
Navigating the device is easy and fun using the scroll bar. Unlike the circular scroll function on the iPod which I personally have some difficulty with when using my friends' iPods, the Philips uses a vertical up/down scroll bar where you scroll up and down instead of clockwise and anticlockwise. I much prefer this and think it more intuitive and easier to use. This scroll button operates as a touch button so you don't actually press or click anything. You simply drag your finger across the 'pad'. Surrounding the central scroll button are forward and backward buttons which are also touch sensitive. And on the centre of the scroll button itself is a play/pause button which you touch once to use. This doesn't actually press when using the scroll feature like you may imagine. Overall the touch sensitive buttons are a good idea and when you turn the clicking noise off (set on as a default) you can scroll through your songs silently and with accompanying blue lights as you press/scroll.
The device is very responsive when using these front touch sensitive buttons providing you keep the surface clean and out of the rain (it is slightly waterproof but the presence of rain seems to get in the way of the touch responsiveness).
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the side buttons on the device. These buttons which take you to the menu, allow you to add a song to a playlist, control the volume and turn the player on/off are a bit less responsive and the device can take around a second or so to actually respond to your request. These buttons are click buttons and not touch sensitive.
That aside, you can easily find which songs you want through the album, playlist, artist, genre, all tracks lists using the front buttons and rarely need the side buttons unless you want to quickly add songs to a playlist or return to the menu in one click.
Plays MP3s (and WMAs) obviously. Sound quality is very good. No loss of sound here and there or lack of background sound in certain songs. The song is played as it would do on your laptop or pc - providing you have a decent set of earphones.
You can store and view photos but the screen is not ideally suited to this function. Despite being a decent colour screen similar to that of a mid-range mobile phone, the screen itself is rather small. Ideal for displaying track info, but not really that good for viewing your holiday snaps. But this is a side feature anyway and I'm sure your mobile phone or other device would be more suited to viewing pictures on the go if you are that bothered.
There is a microphone for recording your own voice if you wish. This is a rather pointless feature and is not that great really. You have to speak directly into the microphone on the top of the player and the result is often muffled and unclear. Again, a mid-range phone will have a much better attempt of this feature.
In summary, this MP3 player does exactly what I want and does it well. It plays my songs and allows me to navigate to and from songs easily without the need to stop the song you are currently playing. The sound quality is excellent and it looks really stylish against other mp3 players available. The blue lights on the touch-sensitive front buttons are a bonus making the device more fun and exciting to use. Sometimes, it can be a little unresponsive when using the side buttons but this never promises to be more than a minor grumble. I would recommend this if you are looking for an mp3 player where you don't have to download and use iTunes. It is compatible with all versions of Windows media player to my knowledge and is easy to transfer songs to and from.
I hope this review has helped you somewhat. Please let me know if you need any further information on the product which I have forgotten to include. :)