Sony Bluetooth Walkman NWZ-A826K
Better late than never?
Review Available in three flavours - 4, 8 and 16GB - the pithily named NWZ-A826K is Sony's latest post-ATRAC assault on the MP3 player market, an attack launched once again under the now rather faded Walkman banner.
One can only imagine the gnashing of teeth that goes on at Sony when anyone mentions that in the 1990s we all had a Walkman, but now we all seem to have iPods.
Sony's Walkman NWZ-A826K: a handsome little devil
The reasons for the decline are many, but pride of place probably goes to Sony's unhealthy attachment to its proprietary ATRAC music format and SonicStage media management software. Thankfully, Sony has now shaken off the dead weight of both and if this is a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, it's also worth considering that it's better late than never.
Still, the new A82 series players are nothing if not handsome little devils and at an eminently pocketable 50.2 x 93.6 x 9.3mm and 65g they sit comfortably alongside their major leading brand competitors, the squat third-gen iPod Nano and the touch-screen Samsung P2. Indeed, in terms of screen size the Walkman sits right between these two, its 2.4in, 240 x 320 screen being a touch larger than the Nano's, but a touch smaller than the P2's.
The Walkman's controls are simple. On the front a navigation pad lets you scroll around the nine-icon main menu, the centre button either taking you into the selected menu or starting/pausing playback. To the left is a Back key that, if held down, also takes you straight to the main menu. To the right is an Option key that, if held down, switches the player on and off.
On the right-hand side of the player is the volume control; a small rubber button that allows you to turn the Bluetooth on and off without recourse to the main menu; and a Hold slider. At the bottom of the unit is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a bespoke USB port.
I thought Walkmans were personal cassette players and I reckon more than 1 in 10 people had one of those.
>what a curiously but desperately possessable gadget the iPod, any iPod, is
Actually had a Nano for a while and completely failed to see what the big difference was between it and a myriad of other devices. So ended up going back to my 4gb Sansa(which cost less and sounds at least as good if not better), mainly because it shows up as two separate drives when I plug it in (internal memory and microSD plugin flash card). What I dont have to do is put up with the irritating i-tunes software, so kudos to Sony for taking that route.
Final thoughts on the 'poddies' (TM)
16GB Version now £209 on either Amazon or Sony Style (I called and got a discount!). The 8GB version comes bundled with the bluetooth headphones, the 16GB one doesn't.
I ordered one sight unseen, which is rare indeed for me and I hope not a mistake! I did look at the iTouch etc - if it had an external volume control (the iPhone does so why not?) I may well have gone the Apple/iTunes route (despite reservations about iTunes).
I have had good experiences from Sony hardware (my old MiniDisc survived a battering and sounded great) now that Sonic Stage is gone can only see it being better from a usability front.
I would use my phone, but the supplied headphones are complete rubbish and it has a mini headphone socket, so I would need an adapter, plus at the end of the day if my MP3 player has a flat battery at least my phone will still work.
All I need to do now is wait for the damn thing, the first lot were presold before arrival...
C'mon no Sony TALKman?
That one could kill iPhone just because we have all been subconsciously waiting for it since cell phones jumped out of cars.
Also, why haven't they ever released a KITT car PC module that does everything including blow s41t up? Oh yeah, and insert 'your name' instead of 'Michael'
"what a curiously but desperately possessable gadget the iPod, any iPod, is"
Curious, indeed. I've always regarded iPods as MP3 players for people who didn't understand MP3 players. I wouldn't want one, and as even my £50 Nokia phone has a micro-SD card slot and a radio, I'm not likely to bother with the Sony, either.