Product Type: Sony MP3 players
Newest Review: ... 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 g... more
a gorgeous mp3 player with a few quirks
Sony Walkman NW-HD1 20 GB
Member Name: staceyspiers
Sony Walkman NW-HD1 20 GB
Advantages: gorgeous looks, and good sound
Disadvantages: stupid design features and fiddly controls
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.
Summary: Might be worth checking out for a great retro mp3 player
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