As somebody who's dabbled with various brands of MP3 players over the years i'm satisfied that i'm now a true Sony convert. This affection for the revitalised Walkman brand started a few years ago when I was recommended to try one of their 'pebble' machines. The product was gorgeous and I fell in love with it as as soon as the mirrored front lit up as the player's screen. The fun ended here though really. For all the good the unparalleled battery life and quality of earphones did me it was undone by the frankly awful Connect software that was supplied with it. I also managed to get through three of those players but i'm going to give Sony the benefit of the doubt and put it down to my robust use or misuse of the player.
Now this new player, memorably called the NW - A806 (hmm) has delivered all that been previously been promised in my pebble but without any need to install software. As somebody who considers a computer as more of an opponent than a tool this has been a revelation for me and I can't stress this enough. I've since recommended the player for any first time MP3 owners as well as anyone looking for a credible alternative to the iPod, which I should make clear i've tried but not liked, mostly down to the invasive nature of iTunes.
I love how I can drag and drop music from my desktop to the player as you would a USB stick and as a personal music player it's fantastic. It's small and very light with real buttons and has a phenomenal battery. Sony quote around 30 hours and that sounds about right to me. It is also packaged with very good in-ear phones with the more comfortable rubber tips that mould to the shape of your inner ear which blocks out background noise as well as being more comfortable.
Now, there are no downsides to this product for me but i'm sure that some people will take exception with the miserly range of accessories available for it. In a world of iPod docking, most people will be forced to use an aux in connection to use the player with speakers.
Another issue perhaps is that putting video on the player can prove a very fiddly process to the point where i'd say that anyone who wants to watch movies on their mp3 player should look elsewhere. This hasn't proven a problem for me as a music only man who can't see the use in a two inch screen for moving pictures but I understand that i'm probably in the minority and it'd be short sighted of me to assume no one wants to do this.
There's no bolted on video camera and no radio, just a basic music player and one deserving of the famous Walkman title and that's why it's so good.
==Slim, Lightweight, and best of all PINK!==
I decided a few weeks ago that it was time that I moved with the times and treated myself to an MP4 player. As a part-time dance teacher I have to cart about an inordinate array of CD, tapes and CD players, along with all my dancing gear, so I decided to buy myself a decent player and docking station so I could put all my dancing music on, therefore reducing the amount of stuff I carry and also saves me leaving important CDs at home!
I've been looking for a while at various players and I thought I had settles on an IPOD however, one day whilst browsing in my local Boots store I saw a good docking station at a reasonable price, and I had enough advantage card points to buy it, great I thought. So I approached the assistant and asked for some details, she was very helpful and she showed me this MP4 player, she said she had this model herself and it was great, easy to use and reasonably priced. I was sold! The fact that it was pink made it even better, my little ones will love it too!
When the assistant passed it to me I was impressed by it's small size and how light it is, it's great, very easy to slip into a pocket whilst walking, I remember doing this before with a tape player first then a portable CD player - what a difference!
The pink finish is pearlesent with a silver edge running round. The buttons are very straight forward and clearly marked, the volume control is on the edge which is again clearly marked, and there is a 'hold' button on the back which prevent accidental turning on/off etc whilst in a pocket. On the bottom edge is the port for connecting to the computer and also one for the headphones.
==What is in the Box==
I was desperate to get home and try out the player, it comes in a small box with all the equipment you need to get you up and running fast.
* Headphones - the headphones are fantastic, I have always had problems with in-ear head phones (I've always found Sony to be the best). These have little rubber bits that fit into the ear, they don't fall out and very little sound is lost through them. The wire for the headphones appears at first to be quite short, but also included with the equipment is an extension for the headphones!
* Attachment - used for connecting the player to the optional cradle.
* USB cable - for connecting to the computer - this is also the means of charging the player.
* PC Application Software - SonicStage, Image Converter and Operation Guide.
* Quick Start Guide.
==What can you do with this player?==
This is a 4GB player with a 2inch colour LCD screen, it features video playback, clear audio technology and a long battery life.
The battery life gives up to 30hours of playback of music and 8 hours of video playback.
The player stores music, video and photos - there is no indication of how much of each the layer can hold, but I have over 500 tracks on the player already and it is not nearly half full yet.
The software supplied with the player for transferring music, videos, and photos is very straightforward to use, everything is self explanatory and simple, which I was very impressed with. You can even transfer all your music from your PC to the player in one straightforward step, or you can do it album/track at a time. Putting new music on is also straightforward, if the software is open and you insert a new CD it will ask if you want to copy it to your library, then from there it is simple to get it imported onto the player.
==Using the Player==
Before using the player for the first time you have to charge it for about 3 hours via the USB cable, it means that while it is charging you can transfer music and files onto the player, then you are ready to get on the move.
Like I said earlier the buttons on the player are really straightforward. Pressing any button (so long as the hold is off) will turn the player on (if the hold is on it will appear on screen). The home screen is well laid out with 9 icons, this is easily navigated using the arrow keys. These icons are:
* Intelligent shuffle
* Initial search
* Clock display
* Photo Library
* Music Library
* Video Library
* Now Playing
From here it is easy to select what you would like to do next, music tracks can be ordered by artists initial, by album, by genre, rating, release year or recent transfers so it is easy to find the track you are looking for.
I have not used the video function on the player but imagine it would also be simple to use.
I have transferred one photo so far and am very please with the display.
Well I was very impressed, the player cost my £89.99, which is much less that the equivalent Ipod. I found it very easy to use, the sound quality is great, I have used it both as a personal player and with the docking station, both at home and in a small dance class. As someone who is not very savvy when it comes to this type of technology I was pleased to find something that was straightforward to use. It is really quite intuitive both using the player and getting the music onto the player.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a player that is simple, sleek, and relatively inexpensive. It does come in black and white too, so it's not just a player for the girls!
Thanks for reading
© Catw0man July 2008
This is a real Ipod Nano KILLER!
it has a nice crisp screen, along with good battery life, excellent sound quality and a good meny system.
it comes with a really nice set of in ear headphones so there is no need to upgrade once you buy it.
it actually works with almost all video files, unlike lots of so called MP 4 players. although it is hard to find any bad points about this player, the one i can think of is the software that comes with it. the software for transferring music and videos to the player is fairly tedious to use and so far i have come accross no alternatives
all in all, it is a great player, especially for the money, the casing is nice and solid, this won't break in your pocket! good sound,
just a great package, worth the money and a great alternative to iPods