Philips is yet another consumer electronics manufacturer to offer its very own MP3 player, unlike every other manufacturer who isn't Apple, Philips' job so far has been mixed. One minute they are great, the next not so hot. So we were intrigued when the HD6230 arrived in the office.

The Go Gear HDD6230 to give it its full title is a 30GB hard drive based MP3 player that comes in a small package.

The unit is slightly on the large side when it comes to the design although this doesn't stop it offering a 65k colour screen so you can view images stored on the device and a touch sensitive control panel that is hidden behind the players gloss black front.

The style and design of the unit is its biggest wow factor with its blue backlit buttons that appear out of nowhere when you touch it.

Of course this has its pros and cons. In what might be perhaps confusing to some in the beginning, but overall actually quite a clever element of the player, only the controls available or needed are lit on the front of the device.

This means if you are in the top-level menu for example, then you don't need to see the menu button, and so it is not shown. It's a great idea and if only the buttons were responsive to your touch first time would be even better.

To save you not knowing where the volume button has disappeared to, luckily Philips has put this on the side of the device.

Get past the controls and unfortunately for us, while the screen is ample for viewing menus and song data it's way too small to really enjoy viewing images on. Heck most digital camera screens are bigger.

That said, the screen is as crisp as the Apple iPod video, although not as good as the Creative Zen Vision:M and the major drawback here is that this device won't support video either.

What would have been nice is if the screen disappeared - like the buttons - so you were left with a black shinny box, but don't get your hopes up, when the screen turns off its resembles your TV in the lounge: grey and uninspiring.

Get past the design and the user interface is fairly straightforward. The player supports Microsoft's play for sure and will plug straight into Windows Media Player 10 for downloading and transferring songs from one of the many legal download stores.

Additionally the speakers shipped with the device are better than the norm and in turn this helps to produce a decent sound good enough to enjoy out and about on the train and the such like.

Verdict

While the Philips Go Gear will have you ohing and ah-ing with its blue buttons and gloss black front panel for some it will be nothing more than an annoyance. In our tests we had trouble getting some of the buttons to activate when pressed and the fact that there isn't anything to press means it might be off putting if you like touch-feedback to know something is happening.

A good straight talking player that does what it sets out to do, for us it just doesn't have the same excitement as competing players from the likes of Sony, Creative or Apple.

Our advice, if you aren't 100% sold, make sure you have a play yourself before opting to buy this one over the Internet.