"This should be $99."
That was the first thought that popped into my mind after a few minutes of playing with the GoGear Connect 3, a $179 portable media player from Philips.
I wasn't being nasty or petty. In world that now includes a $199 Kindle Fire, I believe that many manufacturers are having a tough time coming to grips with consumer price expectations. Philips isn't alone. As I've noted recently, both Samsung and Sony need to check back in with reality, too.
Taking price out of the equation for a moment, let's assume you're here to find an Android-based portable media player and you're wondering how the Philips GoGear Connect 3 stacks up. Let's take a look.
Compared with the neutered smartphone designs of the Samsung Galaxy Player 4 and 5, the GoGear Connect 3 looks more like a classic portable media player. Much of this can be attributed to the oversize Android navigation buttons (Back, Home, Menu) running across the bottom of the 3.2-inch screen. Also, instead of placing the built-in speaker on the front of the device like some vestigial earpiece, Philips relocates it along the right side, along with buttons for volume and power made to look like machined anodized metal (spoiler: they're plastic).
The bottom edge holds a headphone minijack, pinhole mic, and a Micro-USB port for charging and syncing. Matte black plastic covers the back, lending the whole device a refined, minimal feel.
Features and software
There are some noticeably absent hardware features, such as cameras, video output, and, most importantly, memory expansion. If you want a 16GB version of the GoGear Connect 3, it'll cost you $219.
But the most egregious sin committed here is the screen. Cramped at 3.2 inches, this 480x320-pixel-resolution LCD has a viewing angle so bad, it practically winks at you. Of course, to even see the screen at all you'll need to crank the GoGear Connect 3 to its maximum brightness, which is paltry compared with what you'll find on the Galaxy Player 4.