Sony Walkman NWD-B105 2GB MP3 player
Simple 'n' sweet?
Review With increasing hard drive sizes, the arrival of touchscreen technology and ever more features and falling prices, it's easy to forget the more humble end of the personal digital music player market. However, Sony's NWD-B105 proves there are still some good value and strongly featured products at the lower price points.
At this end of the market, the look and feel of the product is perhaps even more important than on more expensive items. With fewer features to win over prospective buyers, the product needs to make a good first impression. The NWD-B105 comes in three basic but attractive colours: black, white and violet. At 30g, it's extremely light and has a pleasant, almost soft-to-the-touch coating on the outer shell.
Sony's NWD-B105: available in black...
Aesthetics aside, the product's most noteworthy trick is that there's no software bundled with the product. The normal SonicStage app is missing, presumed lost.
Instead, this player is all about simplicity. A basic-looking folder icon appears a few seconds after connection. With a sub-folder for storing any voice recordings made or transferred onto the player, files are just dragged over from the computer. The no-nonsense approach is continued with a built-on USB jack which plugs straight into the computer, so there are no cables to lose, tread on, lend out and never get back.
Getting the machine up and running is simple as well. From new, a full charge took just under an hour - although the figure quoted in the manual is 120 minutes. File transfer is fast, too. On a player with this kind of memory size - 2GB, to be precise - lots of transfers, often of singles or a couple of albums, are going to be taking place. Happily, one album buzzes over in well under a minute, and a more random selection of seven took just under ten.
Sony quotes a storage capacity of 999 songs, but that's at 48Kbps. Choose 256Kbps and the number drops to an acceptable 250. A feature we particularly liked was the built-in software which can automatically pick the most recently added tracks to a PC, so the unit carries always the user’s most recently downloaded files.
Not buying because it's Sony
To be honest, I'm very attracted to it for it's small size and design.
I don't even own a MP3 player nor do I NEED ONE at all, but I really found this one interesting.
However just because it's from Sony I won't be buying it.
I don't like being taken for the fool I am not.
PS3 price, blu-ray DVDs shipped with tons of DRM and not even being readable, rootkits on USB keys...
Sony, contemplate a lost sale (several actually, word of mouth) just because you're too deep in DRM hell to care about the CUSTOMER.
PS: my downgraded PSP works fine though, thank you.
Mass Storage Devices
I've found that a lot of the "low end, unheard-of brand" MP3 players are just bog-standard USB Mass Storage Devices. I guess that makes it so much easier for the manufacturers -- someone's bound to have a single-chip solution with DSP and Flash controller by now. It's when you get into premium brands who think they can create new standards rather than following established ones that you run into problems.
For the penguin-shaggers: Simple USB memory devices and HDDs can even be reformatted as ext2, allowing you to keep file ownership and permissions. This *doesn't* work with MP3 players, though, at least if you want to play MP3s on them!
Yes, it's the computational power required
"so.... wma uses 25% more processing power to decrypt??? Is it the algorithm on the Sony player, or is wma that computationally intensive?"
Probably the latter. This is why Sony stuck with ATRAC and SonicStage for as long as they did. The ATRAC codec was designed from the start to be for mobile (MiniDisc), devices and thus is designed so as not to require much processing power on decoding. MP3 and WMA were not designed as such. Hence in the past, a lot of Sony devices, whilst requiring SonicStage to convert your MP3 files, would have considerably superior playing times than other MP3 players. Off the top of my head, I wouldn't be surprosed if this device could play for 20+ hours of ATRAC - if it supported it.
Yes, it's more intensive than mp3. All the players report that drop.
yes, windows software shrinks your willy. Linux gives you 25% (or more) prowess power. That's a fact.