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Over the past few years my daughters interest in pop music has grown, she loves watching all the latest music videos and she has an ever growing collection of CDs. For Christmas last year I decided to buy her an mp3 player so she could listen to her music whilst out and about or whilst travelling. As this was going to be her first mp3 player I didn't want anything too expensive, but I also didn't want to get her something too cheap. After lots of research I finally decided on this Philips GoGear RaGa, its a brand I know and trust, plus if I remember correctly it was on offer at the time. The Philips GoGear RaGa is available in a variety of colours including black, blue and purple, my daughter has the pink one. It is a little bigger and thicker than my iPod but quite lightweight. I was worried my daughter would easily misplace anything too small so it works quite well for us. The mp3 player is plastic but it doesn't feel or look cheap, it has been dropped on a few occasions but hasn't cracked or split, so its fairly resilient. Its quite a nice looking mp3 player with its black body and pink surround. I was a little surprised to discover that Philips provide their own version of iTunes called Songbird. We did install Songbird on our PC using the provided CD and found it easy enough to use. We recently bought a laptop, I haven't bothered installing Songbird (i lost the CD anyways) and simply just click and drag the songs onto the mp3 player now. This is a really simple easy to use mp3 player, my daughter and I have absolutely no problems navigating it. There is a small screen on the front which displays the different music folders and shows what album / song / artist is currently playing. This can all be controlled via the buttons below the screen. There is a menu button, back button and play / pause. On the top there is a small pink button which turns the mp3 on / off and this can also be used to lock the device. The headphone socket and the small usb port are on the bottom. There is no clip on the back. I have borrowed my daughters mp3 player a number of times and have always been really impressed with the sound quality, it is clear and crisp without any tinniness. The Philips GoGear RaGa is available with 2GB or 4GB, we have the latter. I transfer all of my daughters CDs onto hers, yet the mp3 player is still not full - so there is plenty of room for her ever growing collection. We tend to charge this up via the USB port on our laptop and this works well. I believe a mains charger can be purchased separately. Once fully charged the mp3 player lasts absolutely ages so its ideal for the long car journeys we often take to visit relatives. A year on the Philips GoGear RaGa is still going well and my daughter has been very pleased with it. It is still in full working order and looking good despite being in and out of pockets and bags. My daughter and I both find it easy to use and the sound quality is great. Its the full five stars from us. A quick look online shows me that prices vary from between £25 - £50, so its certainly worth shopping around to get the best deal.
It's small, it looks funky, and it does a decent job of playing. That's all a bonus, and pretty much all I'd look for in an mp3 player (4gb is more than enough for me anyway- does one always need to have their whole music collection with them at all times?). However, there's a few negatives that bring this one down for me, unfortunately. The minor issues- rewind and fast forward take a while to do. Maybe that's just me being influenced by our want-it-now society, but I hate having to hold down for a while to skip that pointless intro, or crowd noise at the end of the song. But it's minor. Not too bad. Then, the songs don't seem to ever be in order. However, this could just be a problem of my mac. No matter how much fiddling I do, it still never seems to have track 1 at the start (and no, it's not on shuffle!). And the last issue isn't a minor one. It's a fairly major one- bigger than this little player itself. The player often won't detect on my computer, and when it does, it will get rather confused and say the battery is full when the battery sign clearly says no battery, or it will say no battery, seemingly just to confuse and ridicule me. Well, you did it well little player. These issues come and go, so it's frustrating to say the least, especially as this player has so much promise. The menus are small, tidy and unclustered; it comes with headphones, a USB cable, software, and a very nice price (£25 for me); and it's small enough to fit in a toddler's pocket. There's also a voice recorder, a slightly colour screen (not too dull, no too loud), and also an add-to-playlist option so you can add on any songs to a playlist on the go. Finally, it does a fairly good job of sorting out the files to their ID4 (that is, making sense of my clustered music collection). So, take away the inconsistencies and you have a nice player. Did I mention it is small and red?
After constantly changing batteries in cheap little mp3 players for our 6 year old, we decided for her birthday to find a nice rechargeable mp3 player for her. Like her daddy does, she often takes her music to be and listens until she is asleep, but never turns her mp3 off! After agreeing that an I-pod was a bit too much for a 6 year old, we set about looking for a cheaper substitute. This Philips GoGear RaGa mp3 player caught my eye, mainly for its colours. It was a lovely deep red colour (although is available in other colours) but it also looked quite funky, not like an Ipod, but like a funkier version of the small I-pod shuffles. The mp3 player is small, just under about 5cm high and wide, and has a small screen across the front which tells you what song is playing. Underneath the screen, is a control pad, with shuffle, skip forward and back, volume, play/pause and on/off functions. The mp3 player is availble in 4GB and 8GB memories. We bought the 4GB memory, my husband says it should hold between 1600 to 2000 songs! The mp3 is rechargeable, it comes supplied with a USB cable that you just connect one end to the pc and the other to the mp3 and it charges up, apparently holding 20 hours of battery life when fully charged. Im not sure on exacts but the battery life is great, we charged it up overnight before giving it to our daughter, and she had it on play lots, and it was about another week before we needed to charge it again, although we cant be sure exactly how long she had it on in each go. The mp3 comes supplied with a USB cable, earphones and software for the computer (although we have never tried the software, our computer installed the device without it and charges without it, too, so we have never installed the software) Although I have just noticed that it is compatible with Windows Vista, XP and 2000, there is no mention of the new version of Windows, so if you are running the new Windows it might be worth checking it is compatible with it. My husband found it very easy to add files to the mp3 player, he just used a drag and drop function, opening the folder for the mp3 player and just dragging the files in, and they all stored on the mp3 player fine. I think we have added over 200 songs before we couldnt think of anymore, so the 4GB of space is more than ample for a child, and we are thinking of trying to see if it will hold an audio book (will update if it does!) The volume on this mp3 is brilliant, there have been times when I have had to take it off my daughter as I can hgear her music crystal clear from the other end of the room, so I do have to set the volume for her before she blows her ear drums! It also means when we hook it up to her portable speakers, the volume she gets out of it is almost as good as our stereo system! The 4GB version is currently selling in Argos for £24.99 and is definately worth the money, its cheaper than an I-pod but in my opinion looks better! At the moment, it may be a better option to go for the 8GB version as its currently selling for £27.99, so double the memory for just a few more pounds.