Philips HD060

Following on from the success of its large hard-drive based MP3 Player - the
HDD100 - Philips have released a smaller 1.5Gb version capable of holding 375 MP3s to compete against Apple's iPod Mini and Creative's Muvo2.

Unfortunately while the larger model broke away from the iPod's distinctive white body, the HD060 unfortunately doesn't follow suit and because of this suffers from the same fate as so many other iPod wannabes.

Like the HD100, the front is dominated by a tinted black and white LCD display and four button D-pad allowing you easy access to the menu system and a play/pause button. On the side is a source button - very handy to getting straight to the main folder, a volume control and alternative menu/hold button. The other side sees three slots: power, USB1.1, and a headphone jack.

Inside the case the system is almost identical to the HD100. The actual operation of the device is very simple and has borrowed greatly from the iPod. The opening screen presents the option of playlists, Artists, Albums, Genres, and All Tracks and everything is laid out to be familiar to users of windows media player.

The menu system allows you to root down into the album or artist individually or you can simply ask the player to play everything in order or shuffle from one particular album or artist.

Verdict

The screen is clear and the menu system a simple to use. However the distinctive look that worked so well for the HD100 has disappeared and because of the units wannabe iPod angle it looks like a cheap imitation. Why companies can't break away from trying to be an iPod we don't understand- Apple were first, innovate around what you haven't invented, or improve the functions, but just ripping off the looks without any other real improvement is pointless. We thought that Philips had succeeded in this with the HD100, what went wrong? Worse still is the adoption of the USB1.1 format for transferring files making file transfer on this level slow and annoying. For smaller players it's understandable, but for larger based units it seems very short sighted, especially as the HD100 does feature a USB2.0 connection.

When Philips launched the HD100 it was if a company had finally produced a device that was good enough to knock the iPod off its top spot. With this model however all that gained ground has been lost. Very disappointing.