Feeds
75%
Sony NWZ-A866

Sony Walkman NWZ-A866

Touchscreen tunesmith

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Open sores?

Format support is fairly standard, though, with AAC, MP3, WMA and L-PCM ticking a few boxes, but leaving open source Ogg and FLAC fans out in the cold, as with older models. With Sony's marketing suggesting the A-series is for audiophiles, then its really is time it broadened its format support. It's not like this hasn't been said before.

Sony NWZ-A866

Open source audio formats are bypassed once again

Load up for a listen and you'll find the audio quality won't disappoint and and is hard to fault. In the past I've found Sony MP3 players to be a touch on the quiet side, however the A866 does a more than satisfactory job – just ensure your headphones are a good fit.

Supplied with the Walkman are Sony's MDR-EX300 earbuds, which are surprisingly good for a freebie set, but could have sat in my lugs better, so it wasn't long before I swapped them for my trusty Sennheisers that featured in our in-ear headphone roundup. With compressed tunage revitalised by several Clear Audio Technologies sound enhancements, the output certainly changes, feeling richer and in many cases, more complete.

Getting content on the device can be tad annoying, though. Yes there's drag and drop capability, but it has to be done through a proprietary 22-pin connection cable, which is easily misplaced. Sony has abandoned daft connectors on its phones; time it did the same on its Walkmans.

Sony NWZ-A866

A toushscreen, Bluetooth and a decent battery life equip the A-series to take on smartphone alternatives

For PC owners, Sony has supplied its MediaGo software, which claims to make transferring files and ripping CDs an easy task. I prefer to just drag and drop files though – from my experience with iTunes and the like, this sync malarkey has never appealed to me and I didn't have any issues using the device without it.

At 32GB the NWZ-A866 has ample storage for music and enough for video too. The A-series range starts at 8GB and goes up to 64GB, but there's no MicroSD expansion. Still, with 32GB, how much music do you need on one device? Get organised – slackers.

Verdict

If you're keen on video, then you might be better off paying an extra £20 and settling for an iPod Touch. But as many will argue, Apple's media players could sound better. Indeed, the Sony NWZ-A866 delivers a quality output, along with a user-friendly design and, overall, is is a great little music player. Although some will bemoan its incomplete format support, as pocket PMPs go, it has a lot going for it. ®

More PMP Reviews

Philips
GoGear Muse 3
Archos 32 Cowon D3
Plenue
Creative
Ziio
Ten...
sub-£150
PMPs

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

75%
Sony NWZ-A866

Sony Walkman NWZ-A866

Touchscreen PMP with Bluetooth streaming.
Price: £230 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Soundbites: News in brief from the Wi-Fi audiophile files
DTS and Sonos sing out but not off the same hymnsheet
In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE
Rival electronic giant tries to iron out allegations
Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM
Reg staff not allowed to enter, god dammit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.