Philips GoGear Spark SA2940 - Philips GoGear Spark

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


Philips has made up for this by including a sound enhancement feature - Fullsound - which is supposed to 'faithfully restore sonic details to compressed music.' Whether it does or not, it certainly beefs up the low end, widens the sound stage and adds some much needed body to the mid-range. The combined effect is that the sound through the bundled headphones is just about good enough for me to rock out to Soundgarden's mighty A-Sides compilation or chill out to the piano/bass/drums interplay of Bill Evans' classic Portrait in Jazz. It's hardly Hi-Fi, but it's listenable.

The effects of Fullsound change, however, as you move up to pricier 'phones. With cheap upgrade in-ear models, like Creative's bargain-tastic EP630s, there are still benefits, but switch up to more expensive in-ear models or over-the-ear favourites, and the enhancement starts to muffle detail rather than reveal it. And while you can switch Fullsound for a range of preset EQ settings or your own custom EQ, the effects can be a bit crude. Since when has Rock meant: 'set bass to stun and stuff the rest?' Left untouched, the sound from the GoGear Spark is perfectly decent, handling slick, well-engineered pop and commercial rock better than dense electronica or heavy rock, but it's a solid, not spectacular performer.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the GoGear Spark still loses out to the Sansa Clip overall because the latter seems to have more headroom when you go beyond the bundled earbuds. The SA2940 can go louder than the SA2840, and the player's grasp of dynamics is improved partly as a result, but Sandisk's little champ still performs better.

Don't get me wrong; put the Spark through a pair of Grado SR60s and the sound is very likeable, but the clarity and dynamics aren't quite there. Listen to, say, Notion from Kings of Leon's Only by the Night and the chiming riff has less punch and the vocals less power. With Ralph Vaughan-Williams' The Lark Ascending - a piece that relies on contrasting tones and subtle swellings of volume - the Spark doesn't quite have the subtlety to scope.

This isn't a disaster. If you want a cheap, take-anywhere player that you'll use with some equally cheap, take-anywhere headphones, the Spark has a lot going for it. If you prize style, solid built quality, good battery life and a decent screen over value for money and sound quality, then the Spark is an excellent buy, However, if you're looking for a cheap, bargain-basement player to team with not-so-cheap headphones, then the Sansa Clip is still a much better bet. Damn; foiled again. The GoGear Spark might be a decent alternative to the Clip, but it's not quite the player to supersede it.


A convincing challenger for the Sansa Clip, and one that works hard to produce decent results from budget headphones. However, neither audio quality nor value is quite good enough to bring down Sandisk's bargain-basement champ.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 8
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Features 7
  • Design 8


March 29, 2009, 3:37 pm

It's a kind of offtopic, but--

I'm looking for a not expensive, preferably desktop mp3 player, that'd feature a screen and would be VERY EASY to navigate through folders. Thing is, I want to make a gift for my beloved granny who.. is not that young anymore, and I had difficulties teaching her how to set up the clock on our microwave. I want her to listen to audiobooks, which I believe would be a pleasure for her. But all the players I've seen in the local shops are tiny, battery-powered and stuffed with unneeded features. What I want is simple menus, large buttons and at least 2GB of storage. I'd be very glad to see your recommendations, dear TR.


March 29, 2009, 11:26 pm


You could consider the Sony E-Series 2GB or 4GB models that feature a decent 2 in screen, one of the easiest navigation systems and large text and menu icons. You could check out the interface through a video available on (for A829, but interface is common).

I'm not sure if they support audible format though.

Both the players are available at a great prices on


April 3, 2009, 10:06 pm

It's nice to know the player is 4.5cm long and 1cm deep, but perhaps you could also mention how much memory it has?


April 5, 2009, 6:08 pm

@ piesforyou,

4GB (Google)


April 13, 2009, 12:24 pm

is it available internationally? I'd like to buy it but I can't seem to find where in Mexico, or USA


May 12, 2009, 2:35 am

Although this device plays audiobooks it's worth noting that it does not support bookmarks. A very frustrating discovery after I purchased the BBC dramatised adaptation of the Lord of the Rings - some 13 hours of audio without a single opportunity to save the page I am on. Fortunately I have a TomTom which does support bookmarking so I can listen to this book in the car.


June 22, 2010, 11:35 pm

I'm new to MP3 players etc so this might be an obvious question, which is probably why it's not answered in the reviews. I'm buying one specifically to download podcasts from the BBC, and other sites that specify iTunes iPod etc. This one looks well priced and easy to use, but will I be able to download these podcasts? Thanks

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