Philips GoGear Spark SA2940

Blog JJ O'Donoghue Feb 18, 2011

A tiny MP3 player that doesn't sacrifice sound, Philips' latest player is well worth a listen.

Portable MP3 players come in all sizes and shapes but, when it comes to scaling down the dimensions of a music player, sound is often the first thing to suffer. This tiny MP3 player from Philips addresses this issue with FullSound, its sound-enhancement technology. But does it rival the audio quality of larger players?

The Spark is about the same size as a book of matches and weighs about 25 grams. The simple-looking device is dominated by the colour OLED screen. The main navigation controls are operated by pressing the four edges of the device. It will play most basic file formats, including WAV, MP3 and WMA. Overall, Philips has adopted a less-is-more attitude, leaving only a 3.5mm headphone jack, the on/off/lock slider volume control and a mono mic on the edges of the device.

You can upload album artwork and JPEG pictures onto the Spark and view them on the colour screen, but sound quality is what matters most on a music player of any size. The audio-enhancement software FullSound works surprisingly well – having listened to several musical genres, from rock to jazz and pop, we were pleasantly surprised by the impressive sound quality. The battery life is also generous, running to nearly 27 hours on a full charge and outlasting most rivals.

Ease of use:
The Spark’s menu is easy to operate. To navigate through the menu, simply push down on the top or bottom of the screen. This will let you scroll through Music, Pictures and Recordings, as well as the other main functions. To activate a function, click the right-hand side of the screen, and to move back, push it on the left. The small but ample colour screen provides information as you go. Moving music onto the Spark is a simple drag-and-drop operation.

Value for money:
The 4GB model we tested comes in at just under £50. Philips is also offering 2GB and 8GB versions, and you can buy each model with FM radio for an additional cost of about £5. Its price compares well with competitors, such as the Sansa Clip and Apple’s Shuffle, although unlike these, it doesn’t have a built-in clip. However, you can use the bundled rubber casing if you want to attach it to your clothing. Most importantly, the Spark offers good value for money when it comes to sound quality, which is easily its best feature.