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back to article Sony X-Series Walkman

For the last few years, Sony has applied its iconic Walkman brand to Sony Ericsson products and performed sterling work in developing sound quality and user friendliness in media playing mobile phones. The new X-series Walkman has no phone element whatsoever, but it does have an OLED touch screen, built-in Wi-Fi for Internet …

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Stop

Slightly better sound? No Mac/Linux?

Are you mad? It's VASTLY superior sound. The iPods really do sound horrible with or without cheap cheap apple headphones.

The Walkmans (and almost every other player on the market) sound better than ipods.

As for Windows only, again, you need to check your facts. This is a MTP Drag and Drop device, and will work just fine under Linux and Mac as a standard USB Mass Storage Device. This also applies to the last 2 generations of Sony players too, which work as MTP devices.

Drag and drop your media, and bobs yer uncle... You need to sort our your review and score because of that...

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I almost bought ones of these until...

I found that it doesn't do gapless playback.

So if you have any DJ mixes or seamless music like DSOTM, if you rip as seperate tracks, when you play back you'll get gaps between the tracks which completely spoils the flow of the music.

The only way to get aorund it is to rip as one big long track, but then you can't skip between songs, you have to hold the fast forward button and slowly search through until you get to the bit you like.

A right PITA.

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Alert

details...

Any chance of telling us what the screen's resolution is? And will it play video files of a higher resolution than the screen native? Also, will it support AVI / DivX / Xvid video files?

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OLED

"OLED screens are being touted as the next great leap forward for TVs, with their enviably sharper resolution, faster rendering speed and wider viewing angle, but those benefits aren't quite so obvious on the very small screen"

No - the obvious benefit of OLED for portable devices is that they generate their own light and therefore don't require a backlight, unlike LCD which does. Consequently they have significantly lower power consumption. The fact that they tend to produce more vibrant colours than an LCD screen is a bonus for portable devices, but not their killer feature.

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Kick the iPod into touch?

well in terms of sound quality it most certainly does

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Broader range of formats???

> Supporting a broader range of formats than Apple's alternative

Since when has FOUR formats been a broader range than SIX formats?

The Sony supports WMA, MP3, AAC and lossless PCM

The iPod supports AAC, MP3, Audible (formats 2,3 & 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV

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RTFM

"Also, we were shocked to discover we had to physically enter ‘http://’ at the beginning of a URL – it was like something out of the nineties."

Whilst agree with the majority of the review & yes the browser is a bit poor, the above statement is just not true.

There is a dedicated URL button on the keypad that activates (surprise surprise) the URL predictive text function. This then offers 'http://www.' & a whole host of other web based extensions in far fewer key strokes than tapping out the whole thing.

Predictive text will also remember new words inputted to is memory, so after a few days of use web log on names / @xxxxxx's for Twitter etc will become much quicker to input. Passwords however are not remembered by the device on any site I have come accross so far.

Browsing the mobile web is fine, as admittedly the screen really is too small for rich pages to display properly but hey - its a WALKMAN! music is its game & that cannot be faulted, it sounds fantastic & also allows for the fastest /easiest access to a large music collection that I have ever come across thanks to the touch screen.

The podcast function that will download the latest audio/video feeds from your favorite sites (RSS based) is also most useful & can even be done without hooking up to a PC. As is the ability to play iplayer downloads (the ones optimised for mobile use).

All said and done Im very happy with mine, Here's hoping that Sony will see fit to provide firmware / device updates as time goes on to address the browser issues, but out of the box it is still a very good device worthy of more than an 80% score imo sonyfanboi opinion.

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Excuse me?

"developing sound quality and user friendliness in media playing mobile phones"

Are you serious? I had a K800i before my iPhone, and it was an awkard piece of crap at the best of times. The way music storage was organised made it too confusing to know where the hell anything was, and it was bogged down with insanely pointless "features" like Video DJ. WTF?

I've missed the video camera occasionally, but that's it. I found myself having to use it again the other day after 12 months of iPhone, and I couldn't do a thing on it. Nothing made sense!

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Headphone socket

"performed sterling work in developing sound quality and user friendliness in media playing mobile phones"

If they'd done such sterling work, they might have noticed the invention of something called a "headphone socket". It's an exceedingly useful thing to have on any device that claims to play music. It's annoying enough that the other phone manufacturers miss it out, but for a so-called "Walkman phone" to suffer from this defect is laughably poor.

Still, they wouldn't want to make their phones any real use for music, or they wouldn't stand a chance of selling devices like this one.

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@hi_robb

With you on this one although the FF/REW functions are duplicated in the green track progress bar that runs along the bottom of the playscreen. Drag your finger right or left on it to get to the point in the recording you want, the time elapsed display also changes as to where you are in the track to let you know where you are. Its now way quicker than having to keep your finger on the button but gapless would still be nice.

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Dave Oliver

@ Anonymous Coward - The screen is WQVGA, 432x240 pixels, with 262,144 colours. There's no support for AVI / DivX / Xvid video. I'll get back to you on the higher resolution playback.

@ RTFM – the fact that I had to input http://, even via the URL predictive text function, caused the shock. I could learn to live with it, but still...

@ Ian Davies – the K800i isn't a Sony Ericsson Walkman handset (they're the ones with 'W' in the name). The music players in other Sony Ericsson handsets aren't so good.

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Flame

Reviewed by the deaf?

As mentioned, the Walkmans really do sound fantastic, but only slightly better than a iPod? Come on, iPods are crap in the sound department.

This is how if generally pans out:

If you love music, then you buy a Walkman, Cowon or Samsung.

If you love slick marketing, and don't want to be left out the clique, then you buy an iPod.

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Go

no itunes! yay!

Better sound and no itunes! yay!

itunes on Mac is very good, but it's borderline malware on Windows.. I'll wait for the Zune HD for comparison, then we'll see.

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Flame

@Ian Davies: I cannot disagree more

Having owned three K800i phones - and back to one of them now, and sharing use of an iPod Touch, and played with the iPhone, the K800 is way way faster to navigate and operate with one hand. Just today, I checked my gmail, while listening to the stereo FM radio - and took some calls, all with one hand - on my bike. One can navigate music on it very quickly. The music navigation on the iPhone/Touch is a pain, just as it is on the iPods. There is no faster way to navigate information than using a DPAD or good joystick. Having owned about 50 phones (sad), where the iPhone and Touch do score is in browsing visual media, like photos, video etc. It is also way easier to browse web pages on the K800i, as it doesn't require zooming in each time, it formats the text perfectly.

And the camera is still one of the best.

Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is amazing (as is the App Store), but tactile navigation is (I hope) never going away.

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Silver badge

will it...

play mp3s in file name order without mp3 tags? Like, for example, episodes of a detective story?

stream .ra from iplayer over the wifi?

make sheduled recordings from the FM radio? While you are listening to something else?

I notice it does not include DAB radio, an increasing omission in consumer gadgets. I reckon DAB is dead if it can't be crowbared into something like this.

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Jobs Horns

Noise Cancelling Headphones

So you only get the noise cancelling using the supplied headphones?!

I think that some of Sony's advertising may be a bit misleading in this department as I initially believed that the noise cancelling would happen on any headphones attached, your review is however correct.

Seeing as the headphones are usually the first item broken/replaced on a portable stereo, there seems to be no availability of replacement headphones with noise cancelling.

Shame really as it's not a bad attempt, especially as Apple are so sure that no one wants FM radio.

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@Robert E A Harvey

"stream .ra from iplayer over the wifi?

make sheduled recordings from the FM radio? While you are listening to something else?

I notice it does not include DAB radio, an increasing omission in consumer gadgets. I reckon DAB is dead if it can't be crowbared into something like this."

Fuck me dead, you don't want much do you?

Doesn't include DAB radio? Hasn't this system just been abused with stations using poxy quality settings such that sound quality is often perceptibly worse than FM?

Take a look at this page...

http://www.which.co.uk/advice/dab-plus-explained/index.jsp

especially the bit about the new DAB+ standard. Maybe that's a good reason why nobody's bothered yet? DAB is dead. Creation of DAB+ will see to that. Australia for one has gone with this so it seems that the UK was too early an adopter or went in half-arsed and it's now fallen by the wayside/taken off too late.

In the end this is a bloody mp3 player and it does the job exceedingly well. Maybe they should reduce the price a touch but I think people's expectations are getting as out of hand when it comes to features in technology - a bit like house/share price expectations were. The old "if it doesn't <insert ridiculous expectation here> then I certainly won't be buying one" tripe.

If it doesn't have the kitchen sink functionality that you deem necessary then don't buy it but please leave your unrealistic expectations/marginal requirements at the door.

One thing it should do is force Apple to up their game to keep ahead and, as a consumer, that can only be a good thing.

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Dead Vulture

ok, but what about...

screen rez and colours? detailed video file support? DRM support for iPlayer? support for subtitles files? Actual battery life (33/9 are Sony's figures!), does it come with/work with Sony's iTunes Media Transfer Tool? Can you set up playlists or synch them from MTP media players? Can you bookmark video/audio files? How does it cope with various aspect ratios? Does DSEE work with video playback or just audio? Oh, and how does the touch UI actually work? 2/10. El Reg usually does -much- better.

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Flame

Can we get some decent, unbiased reviewers please?

I remember the days, when reviewers had a code of neutrality, where unbiased facts and information was the norm.

Now, we get people like Dave, who are so Apple-biased it makes me wonder if he didn't develop a nasty rash after holding something other than an iPod... I mean...

"...is clearly gunning for the iconic iPod Touch..."

"...certainly lacks the grace and far-reaching capabilities of iTunes ..."

Grace? Far-reaching??

Those two comments look like they were spewed out by some Apple PR monkey. They don't belong in a serious, unbiased review.

Iconic indeed...

"...33 hours of audio playback with nine hours for video, which puts it on a par with the iPod Touch."

Since shen was roughly 25 hours music, and 5 hours video on par?!!

And the Pièce de Résistance?

"But the Touch sound is perfectly decent, certainly decent enough to keep most music fans happy for most of the time."

That has got to be the most self-centred drivel I have ever heard. Most music fans != iPod owners. Many other players, most definitely including the 'X' is so far above the quality of iPod, it's like comparing Swiss chocolate, and that stuff candy mice are made from...

The review was factually incorrect in quite a few areas too. No mention of the Digital amp, weak bass (did you even turn the clear bass on??)...

Load of shite. I wonder how this review may have turned out had it have been the Apple iPod Touch II?

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Gah

They need to bring back high-capacity players, I still have one of their NW-HD20s and that was an awesome MP3 player. Still is, in fact.

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Anonymous Coward

Dave Oliver

@ Robert – the Walkman will read MP3 tags, and organise files accordingly. Or you can organise your files into playlists.

@ Anonymous Coward – no, you can't stream iPlayer content over Wi-Fi, you need to side load it from your computer. You can use other noise cancelling headphones with it – but in that case it won't be the noise cancelling that's built into the Walkman. As for the other stuff, perhaps you'd have preferred a longer review?

@ Scott – I'm hardly Apple-biased, I don't even own a Mac. I do think the iPod has achieved iconic status in terms of portable music, just like the Walkman used to be, and may possibly be again if it keeps improving. Also, I made it clear in the review that the Walkman sounds better than the iPod Touch, or was there not enough Sony bias for you?

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Dead Vulture

@Dave Oliver

Even if I had some sort of bias towards Sony, that is my right as a consumer, and visitor of this website.

I was under the impression that reviewers were supposed to be pretty impartial about what they say. Say what you want, the review sounded very Apple-friendly to me - I appear to not be the only other commenter to notice that either - maybe you should lace some other barbed comments their way too.

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