Sony Walkman NW-A1000
- Looks fantastic, Unique features such as Top 100 Favourites and Time Machine, Screen is bright and clear, Easy to use controls
- Heavy for its size, Screen impossible to see in sunlight, Impossible to keep free of fingerprints and smudges, Volume isn't loud enough, Poor software
Besides issues with the software, the Sony Walkman is a fine entry into the populated MP3 market and comes highly recommended as an alternative to the iPod.
Price$ 379.00 (AUD)
Accompanied by the release of every new MP3 player are the endless comparisons with the market-leading Apple iPod. Since the original iPod was released, we've had numerous claims of other MP3 players being "iPod killers", but really, not a single player has been able to knock the popular Apple number off its perch. That may be about to change with Sony's launch of the new hard drive based Walkman.
To say we were impressed when the 6GB Walkman landed in our offices would be an understatement. Available in four colours, the silver, chrome-like mirrored unit that we received looks absolutely fantastic. The entire front of the player is essentially a bright, reflective surface, with not even the controls escaping the design influence. The rear of the Walkman is the only part of the unit which doesn't use the mirrored surface; instead it's finished in a matt, silver titanium type number. It looks great and creates a nice contrast with the rest of the Walkman. Overall, the Walkmans design is definitely a head turner.
The Walkmans controls are very functional and hassle-free to use. The front of the player contains a 4-way navigational pad with a central Play/Pause button, an option key and a back key. That's it. This keeps the design relatively uncluttered and users will really appreciate the simple nature of the controls. There's a volume control slider on the right, a hold key at the top and the Link button on the left. We were puzzled by the hold key being a button rather than the usual slider, and you simply press the hold key for about two seconds to lock and unlock the unit. At first we thought this may mean that the button could be easily bumped when the Walkman is in your pocket or bag, but we didn't experience this at all.
The bright OLED screen looks impressive on first glance and blends excellent into the rest of the unit. It's not colour, but the Walkman isn't a photo or picture viewer so really, a colour screen would have been fairly useless on this device. Where the display falters is in any sort of sunlight - it becomes practically invisible and we really struggled to change tracks or alter any settings while we were outside. For those who value function over form, this may be a deciding factor in your purchase.
The interface of the Walkman is fairly intuitive and easy to grasp. The Main Menu is a 3 x 3 row of icons, which you scroll through using the navigational pad. We liked the fact that while you're in the main menu, the bottom of the screen displays the current track that is playing, as well as the battery life icon. There are plenty of customisable options available through the menu system including adjusting the display brightness, Play Mode, AVLS (Volume Limiting System) and equalisation settings. We were impressed with the included six-band equaliser on the Walkman, in addition to the preset equalisation settings. This is something that is lacking on the iPod and seems to be making more of an appearance as new players are released.
There were a few features on the Walkman that really caught our eye. The first was the "Favourite 100" option, which when selected, creates a play list of the 100 most played songs on the Walkman. "Time Machine Shuffle" was another interesting option. Basically, the player randomly picks a year and then proceeds to play all the songs from that year on your Walkman. When you first select the time machine, the Walkman displays a shuffle scene filled with numbers and then proceeds to decode the random year it is going to select. It looks like something out of The Matrix, rather than an MP3 player, but this unique function worked well. The Search function also proved quite useful, whereby you can search music on the player by selecting letters from a keyboard which appears on the screen.
The Link button was the other interesting function of the Walkman. Pressing this button searches for tracks by artists that belong to a similar genre to the artist of the currently playing track. Three options will appear after pressing the link button "All Related Songs", any artists which are similar and "Increase Search Range". The Walkman then plays a section of particular tracks which are in this range. For example, we were listening to 3 Doors Down, pressed the Link button and No Doubt appeared as one of the similar artists. The Walkman then played a selection (about 6 seconds) of the No Doubt songs on the Walkman as a preview. From here, you can either select the displayed artist, or increase your search range. The function isn't perfect, as users must have the ID3 tags fully updated and correct to utilise it best, but it is a unique option and one that will surely be developed with further releases.
Sound quality on the Walkman was definitely above average, but it wasn't overly outstanding. In particular we were annoyed with the volume on the unit, which wasn't loud enough on its highest setting. This is turn renders Sony's AVLS (Volume Limiting System) quite useless as you can barely hear anything when it's switched on. The Walkman pumped out a fair amount of bass and most tracks sounded clean and crisp. Mid range was good, and treble levels were notable. It is really worth adjusting the excellent custom equaliser for the best quality sound, depending on the music you're listening to. The supplied headphones were attractive, with their chrome ear buds matching the player, but the quality, as usual with boxed headphones, was poor. As we've mentioned in other reviews, it is necessary to purchase a set of quality headphones or earphones if you're really after quality sound. The headphones include a one metre extension cable. Overall though, the sound quality of the Walkman is one of its strong points, if you take away the volume issue.
Once again, Sony have stuck with their proprietary ATRAC3 file system, which means you need the supplied connect software to convert music files before uploading them onto the Walkman (although it does play standard MP3 files). This wouldn't be such a frustrating process if the software wasn't as slow and non-user friendly as Connect 1.0. We had issues right from the beginning, where the player wasn't recognized by the software, it crashed twice and it took us three attempts to transfer a few of our own tracks onto the player. Sony desperately needs to release an update which fixes these problems as soon as possible.
Battery life on the Walkman is rated by Sony at 20 hours, with standard ATRAC3 playback. This is above average and certainly more impressive than the iPod battery life, which is one of the leader's poorer points. We were annoyed when we learnt how we had to charge the unit - you need the AC power cable, the Power adapter as well as the USB cable, which plugs into the adapter. A non-proprietary USB cable for file transfer would have also been appreciated.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
- Sony shows latest high-end Walkman
- Sydney Airport lost property auction: you'll be amazed at what some people left behind
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSales Account Manager | Cloud Solutions | Global Tech GiantNSW
- CCSenior Technical Consultant - MicrosoftACT
- FT.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- CCData Engineer (SQL/Big Data/Scala)VIC
- FTLife/400 Resource - PermanentNSW
- CCSystems Engineer (Infra)NSW
- CCDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Contract - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- CCBusiness Project ManagerNSW
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- FTConsultant Business AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)Other
- CCDesktop RolloutVIC
- CCProject / Portfolio SchedulerNSW
- FTStorage Solution ArchitectVIC
- TPJava DeveloperVIC
- TPBI Commercial AnalystVIC
- CCSenior Networks Specialist - DNS PlatformVIC
- TP.Net DeveloperSA
- FTSolutions Software DeveloperVIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Technical Business Analyst - ITMSP - Melbourne CBDVIC
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- FTDigital Sales Account Manager - Global BrandNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW