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Above the d-pad, on the top edge, sits the volume control and, just around the corner is a button for adding tracks to the device's dynamic playlist – a feature that lets you build up a mix of tracks on the fly. Disappointingly, though, this doesn't work as it should. Add a file to the end of the playlist as you're listening to it and it'll simply ignore that track when you get to the end of the original list. You have to physically refresh the playlist to get it to play the new selection, which is hardly ideal.
Nor is the list of supported audio formats particularly impressive. All you get with this Philips is WMA, WMA DRM and MP3 support – no AAC, Ogg Vorbis or lossless file support – which is a shame because the sound quality of this player is actually extremely good.
Kicking off the listening tests with the Kings of Convenience's Simon and Garfunkel-style piano, guitars and vocals really drew out the strengths of the SA6045. It has an extremely clean sound – clearly better than the iAudio7, the iPod nano and shuffle, and a big improvement over the linkout:http://www.trustedreviews.com/mp3/review/2007/06/13/Samsung-YP-T9-mp3-player/p1 Samsung YP-T9}. Even the bundled earbuds are far better than most you get with players at this price.
Moving onto something a bit more bass heavy, reveals a balanced sound that's not lacking at the low end of the scale. The deep electronic bass on Chicane's Saltwater is all there – not quite as juicy as it is with Sony's players, perhaps, but certainly up there with the likes of the iRiver T60, which is high praise indeed. The driving guitars on Biffy Clyro's Puzzle don't faze the player either.
As with so many digital media players these days, the conclusion with this Philips is a bit of a mixed one. With such a low price it's clearly firing directly at the Sandisk Sansa e200 range of players and, to a certain extent it bests them. In particular, the Philips is the better player for watching video on. The frame rate is smoother and the screen is bigger.
In other respects it falls behind. The controls and interface let it down in comparison to the e200's scroll wheel, audio file format support is weak and there's no facility for memory expansion either.
In the end it comes down to what you want to do with your media player. For straight out music listening there are better players out there, but if movie playback is a significant consideration then at this price there's none better than the SA6000 series.
Scores In Detail
- Sound Quality