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Before the world was populated entirely by ipods, sony actually had the dominant place in portable music- with their cassette walkman, the CD diskman, the weird minidisk format (which I loved btw) and also a few quality mp3 players.
Sony's main issue was their reliance on a propriety audio format called Atrac, making this actually an 'atrac' player not an MP3 player. You could use the bundled 'sonic stage' app to convert your mp3's to atrac, but when you had a sizeable music collection and a slow computer it was a pain, and the software crashed all the time and generally just wasn't as good as itunes, or the simple drag and drop interfaces of other mp3 players. A firmware update later enabled mp3 playback, for all the benefits of atrac (better quality at lower bit rates) convienience and ubiquity of mp3 won the war.
The volume was also really low on these, to protect our hearing- but it was actually borderline unusable, a simple hack restored the volume to useable levels.
The bundled headphones are terrible, even worse than ipod earphones.
Sound quality with good headphones is very good indeed.
The player is very very small, and looks absolutely amazing with a brushed metal casing and monotone screen. It comes with an equally classy looking computer dock, but actually the dock just clutters up your workspace- later sony players didn't come with a dock, the dock was a leftover from the minidisk ers.
Battery life is incredible, it would last for 30 hours! The simple screen had a factor in that i'm sure.
Inside the unit is a very small harddrive with 20gb capacity, at the time this was a lot, but now is nothing compared to 160gb ipods, but we still often only have 16gb in our phones!
Navigation on the sony was a bit of a pain, the buttons were small and had a bit of a wobble that reduced the feeling of quality. The buttons along the top were great though.
Unfortunately mine broke one day, I tried to repair it but no luck- I got an iphone and although I have thought of the sony fondly, i've never looked back.
I actually have two of these because i accidentally crushed the screen of my original one when closing the car boot door. The NW-D1 was the standard of MP3 players a couple of years back before the iPod became big.
It boasted a huge 20GB of memory which enabled the user to store over 15.000 tracks in Sony's attracc music form. The design was very sleek with a cool sleak metal finish and a dark plastic around the screen itself. The MP3 player is quite light weihhing only 110g so it will not weigh down your pockets. Navigating through the menus are easy with only several buttons, you cant really get lost using this mp3 player.
The problems with this MP3 is that you needed Sony's own Sonicstage software to place music on the MP3 player itself, You also need to connect it to the dock which also need to be connected to a power source before it can be connected to the computer. And it takes roughly 20-30 seconds to upload a song.
The sound quality is good as you would expect from all Sony audio products. It originally cost over 200 pounds when first released but i manged to buy a second hand one for 50 to replace my broken one, i still use the defunct one as a 20 GB hardrive which is useful.
However today it lacks the new more advanced technologies such as colour screen, touchscreen, video playback and other useful features.
Upon receiving my first pay cheque I wanted to buy my first mp3 player and so after a lot of searching I decided on this little beauty.
The unit is incredibly small and is billed as the smallest 20gb digital music player. It is about the size of a credit card, a fact which surprised me when I first saw one. As well as being small it is incredibly durable, being made out of metal. When you drop this you're more likely to damage the ground than the music player. Thankfully despite being so small the controls are still manageable for somebody like me who has big hands. On a similar note
the Sony is shock proof and works perfectly for me when I go jogging.
Ease of use:
As previously stated the buttons are well located and easy to use. It is perhaps a little awkward to navigate at times with wrong button presses resulting in your music stopping or skipping. Thankfully you don't have to worry about this happening when you're simply listening to music as there is a useful hold feature which ensures that your music goes uninterrupted. Setting up things like shuffles or changing equalisers can be a pain what with the often confusing navigation.
The sound quality on the Sony is good, but nothing spectacular; I would rate it on power with other leading players. There are some nice equaliser features, but really sound quality depends on the headphones you choose. My only qualm here is that without 'unlocking' the device the maximum volume is rather low. This is for health purposes, but at times in a noisy environment I can't hear my music.
This is the biggest problem with the Sony. The device is not plug and play, requiring that you use Sony's abysmal SonicStage software. This software is prone to stop working mid transfer, is renowned for taking a long time to perform simple tasks and just generally reduces the pick up and play nature of what is otherwise a perfect music player.
I have owned this mp3 player for nearly a year now and I think it's a very good system, but there are a few things that really bug me.
The first one is why cant manufactures make thier mp3 players plug and play so if you wanna transfer something you dont have to take your drivers everywhere. The other thing that bugs me about thsis is that is uses sonys ATRAC system meaning that if you want to transfer a file which isnt in that formatt it converts it efore transfering it(which i find annoying if i'm in a rush) and also it can be tempermental about changing details on the memory which is annoying.
I suppose now that the desadvantages are dont this is a very good product because it's tiny and very light weight, and has an incredible sound quality and battery life (though the quality of these thingscant match a cd but i suppose u cant loose size of files and keep quality).
This is a very reliable system and one feature i like is that you can buy an attachment that allows you to add yor own batteries (though finding this is a different matter).
All in all said if you want a good alternative to the weighty ipod and a portable hard drive with good battery like and a name that is very high in the electronics industry with very simple use i would reccomend this product.