Sony Walkman NW-A3000 20 GB

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Sony Walkman NW-A3000 20 GB

Simply called 'WALKMAN', the new digital music player from Sony features spectacular ergonomic design and an exciting range of intelligent features th...

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Review of "Sony Walkman NW-A3000 20 GB"

published 21/11/2005 | TheFirstEscapist
Member since : 05/11/2003
Reviews : 18
Members who trust : 1
About me :
Super
Pro 'Better than iPod' design. 'Better than iPod' look. Battery life (20-25 hours). The entire piece of hardware!
Cons The abysmal almost unusable software.
very helpful
Sound Quality
Ease of Use
Look & Design
Video Quality
Range of Features

"A BIG missed opportunity. Sort it out Sony!!!"

Sony NWA3000

Sony NWA3000

I would love to write this review in two parts - and about two separate products.

On the one hand - we have the hardware, and then the other hand we have the software. Now most sensible manufacturers will make sure that the software runs with the hardware, and then they have a successful product. Sony however - seemed to have employed a bunch of schoolchildren to make their answer to iTunes - the connect player. This is a shame - because it seems like they've hired the world's best designers to make the MP3 player.

LOOKS:

So the NW-A3000 - is the answer to the iPod. The iPod beater. Well in terms of the unit itself, this is by FAR the best looking unit I have ever seen. It absolutely destroys the competition. I can't think of many gadgets - let alone MP3 players that look much better than this. It is quite simply - a superb piece of design, it looks absolutely fantastic and I can guarantee it will be the envy of your friends. The best part about it - is the excellent screen - which you can't actually see (only if you look hard can you see it). Basically - imagine a metallic surface - and then when you want to use the player - writing comes from out of the metallic surface and glows on the screen. It's called an 'Organic LCD' - and it looks fabulous.

THE PLAYER:

Basics: It's a silver 20 Gigabyte (3000-4000 tracks) MP3 player by Sony.

The player itself is very simple to use. Whilst it doesn't quite have the brilliance of the iPod in its ability to move between menus quickly (the click wheel on the iPod being one of the truly great design feats in MP3 players) - it has very few buttons.

First there is the navigation area, with up,down,left,right cursors and the Play/Pause button in the middle. These are basically used for finding which tracks you want to play (or playlists/albums etc..).

There is a back button to return to the previous menu,.

And there is an options button to take you to 'Options'!

The volume button is discreetly on the side of the MP3 player and the Hold button is discreetly on the top of the MP3 player. The connection port from player to computer is discreetly on the bottom of the MP3 player. There is also a button on the left hand side which is completely useless and redundant because of the software.

My point is - is that Sony have made a very versatile player without overwhelming the user with too many things to press - much like the iPod and most of the other players these days.

VERSATILITY:

The way in which you can organise your tracks is as good as iTunes - but you'll have problems with doing that, because of the prohibitive software - more on that later.

The player plays music in the ATRAC3 format which is better quality in my opinion (as a trained musician with pretty good ears) than any of the competition. I would recommend transferring music at 160 kbps as it is probably the best quality that you can get without sacrificing too much space, it's difficult to notice much of a difference after that unless you're a highly trained musician.

The problem I have with all MP3 players is that they insist on their own formats. So Apple with their iPod - when you download tracks from iTunes - you do it in their format. So then - when you buy a new MP3 player - like I did - you can't transfer any of the tracks to the new player, because they're all protected.

Maybe - they'll come up with a universal format, that'll never happen though. I will always have this criticism of MP3 players.

SOUND QUALITY:

Well - it all depends on what format you upload your tracks and what headphones you use. But on testing the players with the same headphones - I found the new Sony player to be slightly better than my old Sony MP3 player and my old iPod.

BATTERY LIFE:

Fantastic. 20 -25 hours on full volume playing 160 kbps music. This is almost DOUBLE the iPod's battery life. This is seriously impressive work by Sony.

Essentially: this piece of hardware is absolutely fantastic.

But hardware doesn't work without the software.

SOFTWARE REVIEW:

Sony's new range of MP3 players came bundled with the new Connect Player.

With the old MP3 players - Sony had software called Sonicstage. This was widely derided and rightly so for not being the most accessible software and for being buggy. The latest version 3.3 - isn't iTunes - but it's certainly very usable.

However- with the new MP3 players - it's difficult to use Sonicstage, and of course - I tried out the new software first.

CONNECT PLAYER V1.0

This has to be the worst designed, most broken product released in the history of Sony's software releases. It's absolutely abysmal. Basically - it doesn't work! It's absolute rubbish.

Firstly - the program takes up a huge amount of your memory when it's running - which slows down the computer considerably.

When importing albums - the program often crashes.

When exiting the program - the computer crashes. (My computer is state of the art - and is from a manufacturer called VoodooPC - who are essentially the Ferraris of PC manufacturing) The crash is not down to my computer which is extremely well protected from internet threats as well.

It's almost impossible to transfer music without the program crashing. And when it does work - it takes 5 hours to transfer 2500 tracks (it should take about 30 minutes).

I managed to get 2600 tracks onto my MP3 player - but it took me about a week, and much hassle and time. I also had to wait for the first update form Sony (there will be MANY) - to get the transfer working at all.

The CONCEPT of the software is great, and what they've done is essentially copied iTunes with the design - but used different colours. The problem is - is that the software is just so broken, that your average user who gets this player for Christmas is not going to be able to use it - and will therefore get frustrated, and most likely return the product to Sony!

I think you've got the idea - the software is abysmal, for the reasons outlined above.

CONCLUSION.

So - on hearing such a two sided review - what do you - the buyer need to know about whether to acquire this product or not.

At the moment - unless you are an EXPERIENCED or KNOWLEDGEABLE computer user - do NOT buy this product.

If however - you have the patience to perservere with it, then by all means - get it.

I would recommend buying this product in 2 months time - when Sony will have sorted out the software (they'll have to - otherwise they're going to lose a LOT of money, and a LOT of customers).

I swear - if the Sony boss could see that software - a lot of people would get fired. I hope he does.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the MP3 player - the unit itself. It is the best looking player onthe market, and is is only just a bit more expensive than the iPod Nano - which is 16Gb less in size!!

It's the broken software that lets this product down, not the player - it's such a shame that Sony haven't been able to get it right. They've put so much effort into getting a great MP3 player out for Christmas - and they've forgotten to finish the software.

A hardware product with defective software generally makes the hardware unusable, and that is nearly the case with the NW-A 3000.

Consider buying it in 2 months but not now - unless you're a computer-geek/(me)audiophile(me)/person who wants to have gorgeous gadgets to show off(sort of me!).

This was a big chance for Sony to eat into the iPod market - unfortunately - if they don't sort out the software - they will fail.

SO SORT IT OUT SONY!!!


N.B. MY REVIEW SCORE IS BASED ON MY OWN EXPERIENCE ON THE PRODUCT. I AM LUCKY TO HAVE GOT IT WORKING. MOST USERS WILL PROBABLY GIVE IT A 2 STAR RATING BECAUSE THEY WILL BE UNABLE TO GET THE SOFTWARE TO WORK.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE OF THIS FINAL STATEMENT.

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Comments on this review

  • DJ_Deano published 16/08/2006
    Thanks for a fantastic review. it was brilliant, i now know that i don't want it. thanks for making my mind up :)
  • frogds published 12/05/2006
    Great review...i Still bought one, and can now totally see what you mean about the software
  • Firelynxx published 02/05/2006
    Great review, I was thinking of getting one of these when I get my redundancy cheque if I ever do (slightly doubtful) but have heard so many bad things about Connect - I already have a baby Sony mp3 player and find Sonic bad enough, so I think I might steer clear of this having read your review.
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Product Information : Sony Walkman NW-A3000 20 GB

Manufacturer's product description

Simply called 'WALKMAN', the new digital music player from Sony features spectacular ergonomic design and an exciting range of intelligent features that allow the user to enjoy music in a totally new way. Sony WALKMAN NW-A3000 is a true extension of the user's personal taste and musical preferences. At the press of a button, the 'Artist Link' function will search every artist, album and song stored on the device and offer suggestions of artists and bands closely linked to the genre of music being played at the time. Sony WALKMAN NW-A3000 also features two new shuffle functions. By selecting 'My Favorite Shuffle', the device automatically selects the most listened to 100 songs and plays them at random. The 'Time Machine Shuffle' function randomly selects a year and plays all of the songs from that particular year that are currently held on the device. Featuring an advanced organic EL display, Sony WALKMAN NW-A3000 not only incorporates a range of great features, it also offers the ultimate in ease of use through an appealing user interface and fantastic visibility.

Product Details

Product Description: Sony Walkman NW-A3000 - digital player

Product Type: Digital player hard drive based

Enclosure Colour: Silver, Violet, Black

Playback Digital Standards: MP3, ATRAC3

Sound Output Mode: Stereo

Equaliser: 6 bands

Built-in Display: 2" - OLED, OLED

HDD: 20 GB

Headphones: Headphones - binaural - ear-bud - stereo

Interface Supported: USB 2.0

Battery: Player, Player - rechargeable

Dimensions (WxDxH): 6.5 cm x 2.1 cm x 10.4 cm

Weight: 182 g

General

MPN: NWA3000S, NW-A3000, NWA3000V, NWA3000S.CEK, NWA3000B.CEK, NW-A3000B, NWA3000V.CEK, NWA3000S.EU8, NWA3000V.EU8

Product Type: Digital player

Digital Player Type: Hard drive based

Enclosure Colour: Silver, Violet, Black

Interface Supported: USB 2.0

Supported Digital Audio Standards: MP3, ATRAC3

Width: 6.5 cm

Depth: 2.1 cm

Height: 10.4 cm

Weight: 182 g

Audio System

HDD: 20 GB

Sound Output Mode: Stereo

Equaliser: Yes

Features: WMA compatible, hold button, volume limiter, ATRAC technology

Built-in Display

Built-in Display: OLED

Diagonal Size: 2"

Equaliser

Equalizer: 6 bands

Digital Player (Recorder)

External Hard Drive Function: Yes

Playback Modes: Random play / shuffle

Headphones

Headphones Type: Headphones - binaural - ear-bud

Connectivity Technology: Wired

Sound Output Mode: Stereo

Connections

Connector Type: Headphones ( mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm ) ¦ USB

Miscellaneous

Included Accessories: USB cable

Cables Included: 1 x USB cable

Software: Drivers & Utilities

Power

Power Device: Power adapter - external

Battery

Battery: Player, Player - rechargeable

Run Time (Up To): 35 hour(s)

Battery Life Details: ATRAC3 playback - up to 35 hour(s)

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Listed on Ciao since: 21/11/2005