Once files are on the unit, the emphasis is again on simplicity. We reckon even someone with very little experience of using an MP3 player could find their way around the menu system. On the main menu there are only three symbols: Settings, Music and Voice, all indicated by very obvious icons. We also found that using the fast forward and rewind buttons on the collar of the unit and the Back button was an obvious and easy way to get around.
Other settings include Repeat and Shuffle options. A power saving facility offers three separate settings: normal, super save or off - essentially they're how quickly the device automatically powers down. Normal setting is fine, but we thought the super save was actually too quick, sometimes kicking in before you can make up your mind what you want to do.
...and, finally, violet
Playback times are listed as 12 hours for 128Kbps MP3 tracks and nine hours for 128Kbps WMA songs, which we found to be about right.
Music listings themselves come with the expected album, artist or all songs options, but the unit also recognises folders that have been created on a computer and transferred over.
Unusual for a product that's trying to keep things simple, there are several EQ options available. The Heavy setting throws a bit more bass into the mix, but the overall effect is a bit tinny. The Rock setting was better with the extra bass of the Heavy setting given a much warmer delivery. Classic sounds a little flat, but does smooth things out a little and adds detail. Pop pushes all the treble up and gives everything a sugary veneer. However, the unit sounds really good on Normal so we didn't really see the need for the extra options. In general, the sound is well organised, detailed and with less of the lifelessness that some other MP3 players deliver.
However, if you're really caught up with the idea of controlling the sound, there is a custom option where you can adjust the various different bass and treble levels to get the sound exactly how you want it.
Volume is often a problem with these players, but the unit does well here, with enough power to deal with a noisy street or to annoy the hell out of the person next to you on the train.
The voice record also has several different quality settings to choose from - High is 192Kbps, Mid is 128Kbps and Low 96Kbps. We didn't notice too much difference between the two higher settings. Playback is clear, with little distortion or hissing at the end of words or around ‘s’ sounds, which some recorders often struggle with. The low setting had less definition and is only really suitable for recordings of a single voice in a quiet environment.
This is a friendly little player that delivers good sound in a simple-to-use package. Features like updating the most recently downloaded tracks add that little extra to the player to place it ahead of some of its rivals, and at under £45 it’s just good old fashioned value for money.
Sony Walkman NWD-B105 2GB MP3 player
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.