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I recently purchased this mp3 player, because my previous mp3 player was packing in, as illustrated in my Aigo review. This was really the first time I have purchased a high end mp3 player, and the first time such players have begun to reach my price range. I purchased it for a mere £80 and i have not since doubted the value of my purchase. Once again form Argos, but this time with a Product replacement cover which I do recommend you do take out for more expensive items.
Sound Quality ----------------------
Probably the first and most important, factor you must consider when buying an mp3 player is it's ability to produce superior sound. The Headphones that are supplied with the player also have a lot to do with the sound produced. I do occasionally use headphones with my PC, so i switched these headphones with my ones for the PC ones, to investigate the sound quality with the song; Still - Foo Fighters. The headphones you get with the player are sony and therefore do posses some element of quality. And the player does perform considerably better than my PC speakers with any earphones.
The sound in general is much deeper and fuller, the bass is much smoother without any distortion. The vocals have a less tinny sound, and the headphones do compare very well to SRS sound. The sound range of the headphones is superb, they play sound from below 20Hz, inaudible to human hearing I believe, but the lowest sound you can hear do add to the full bodied sound that this walkman makes.
A problem which I have had in the past with various different earphones is that they leak a lot of sound to the outside, but these are well insulated, and channel the sound well, into your ear.
Ease of use ------------------
in the beginning I flicked through the manual trying to establish what was the quickest way to get the player going. I knew that the unit had no internal battery but an Li - Ion battery that charges directly from the USB port very quickly. After plugging it into my computer the Screen displayed what was obviously a battery charging icon.
Anxious to see what this player had to offer I rushed straight into things without looking at the manual I transferred a couple of my favourite albums (in mp3 format) into the root directory of my unit. ( I only did this because my previous mp3 player allowed me to do this, and this was the only way to transfer music to it.
I then safely removed my player, it turned on by itself. after being removed from the USB port, I skipped the sample tracks and realised that my music was not there, I moved the music about a couple of times before i realised the mp3 player (shouldn't really be called this then) was totally incapable of playing mp3 music. Even though the packaging said it could. Hmm. So i referred to the manual. After installing sonic stage. I had a couple of my albums on my player. Sonic stage is not easy to use and I will definitely not be using it as my music player. Sony makes sure you can only transfer music to your walkman via sonic stage. So I would not strongly recommend it if you cannot readily adapt to a new software environment.
Once you have got the music you want on your player, it can be easily navigated, it took me less than five minutes to get used to the buttons which all have a satisfying click. they are not pressed by accident easily (there is a hold switch) they can be easily pressed when needed, and above all the commands are intuitive, the easy to understand screen has a great resolution the text is clear and scrolling is smooth, you can feel in total control with this player.
Overall, easy charging, easy to listen to, and fiddly music transfer.
Look & Design -----------------------
Sony have gone to great lengths to make this mp3 look brilliant. The black finish and the high quality display definitely give this player the aesthetic edge. Definitely the best looking player I have ever owned.
The screen is as always what you would expect form a high end mp3 player, good quality, and miraculously sony have managed to make the edges of the screen seamlessly blend with the rest if the players body, giving the excellent effect that the words are just appearing form some plane in the middle of the players semi-transparent body. The screen has great text effects, and other graphic effects, and is fairly bright.If you want a great looking player, then I advise you get one of these.
I haven't found anything I don't like about the look of the player, I doubt there is anything that does let this player down, it is so unimaginably small, that there is no space on it to go wrong, but at least it is large enough not to be constantly losing. I would, not doubt be the one to know if a product was prone to being lost.
I was initially impressed when i saw that the user guide was supplied in a multitude od different languages, i never really read the guide, but I had to refer to them, as I described earlier, to find out what to do regards music transfer.
I have come to the conclusion that the user guide is cr-ubbish, there are vague instructions on the functions of the player, i suppose they can get away with such a poor guide by calling it a "quick start guide" the full manual is PDF and is listed on the sony website. I got hold of this because I couldn't work out how to turn off my unit. The user guide doesn't say anything about the players funny little habits, it seems to assume that you know the player as well as the person that wrote the user guide, if you are truly incapable of using this thing without much written help, please reconsider making this purchase as it may land you in a spot of bother...
I can foresee another problem for anyone that does not have a PDF reader, if you don't have one, can't be arsed to get one, don't know what it is, you may be better off finding a product with a nice easy printed user guide. I would have expected a lot better form such a high end product.
Range of Features & extras ------------------------------------------
Excessive amount of features available with this player, I'm not even sure where I should start. There is a lot of things which every could fin useful, like it does have an in built date / time function. Which I haven't had to use, a hold function which i am particularly fond of. Most mp3s provide you with something like this nowadays, but it even tells you when your unit is on hold when you try and press the keys, which is quite helpful i think, i would usually end up hitting the player in vain to try and get it to work again before realising it was on hold.
SMASH SMASH SMASH... seems durable to me. Seriously, It takes knocks, and being a Portable Solid State player (PSS - Flash memory) It doesn't skip, unlike the iPod * shiver * I haven't had it too long, also, it does not seem to scratch easily. Thank god, very good news if you cannot stand scratching you brand new mp3. I can. But would rather not.
Well, Overall, I have to recommend this player, and give ity 5 stars, it's only real downfall is of course it's instructions which are not up to the job, but a fairly minor problem, I don't like the way that the player will only play certain filetypes and that you have to us e a fiddly interface, but the memory is big, that the files rarely need changing.
There is a lot to be gained form this mp3 player, perfect aesthetics, brilliant sound quality, and a great on-board user interface, along with the assurance of a reliable brand name all make for a great buy at not a bad price.