Channel 5

Sony X-Series Walkman

Thursday 22 January 2009

G-Rating

Rating of 4

The basics

The Sony X-Series Walkman is the latest portable media player from the legendary line. It's the first Walkman with an OLED screen (touchscreen, bien sur) for vibrant video, and the world's first PMP to tuck digital noise cancelling inside, so you can turn off background noise with the flick of a button. You'll also find an FM tuner and Wi-Fi for web browsing and YouTube chuckles stashed inside, and you can pick up the X-Series in either 16GB or 32GB flavours.

The good

The touchscreen is as responsive as the iPod touch, and swiping album coverflow is easy to pick up but it's the three-inch OLED panel's colour that stands out: videos look just stunning. Sound quality is as good as you'd expect in a Walkman, and hitting up the digital noise cancelling really does put your lugs on lockdown from sounds around you. We can't fault the build either: it's noticeably smaller than Apple's touchscreen rival, but feels far more robust.

The bad

It's no surprise that Macs aren't supported, but that's not the end of compatibility woes. The noise cancelling? Doesn't work with your own headphones. You're stuck with what Sony provides if you don't want to hear people making cringing chit chat on the train. And while the Wi-Fi is great for downloading podcasts, the other internet features feel like last-minute additions. Either way you look at it, the screen isn't a good ratio for pages, and having to type in http://www. for no real reason before any URL is a real pain on a touchscreen. YouTube meanwhile only ever opened half the time on our review unit. What's up with that?

The bottom line

Sony's ahead of the curve with the OLED screen and digital noise cancelling on the X-Series Walkman - you can bet others will follow shortly. If you're about sound and picture quality in your PMP and nothing more, this is poifect. But the Wi-Fi extras are tacked on: if you need your MP3 player for more than that, stick with the app-filled iPod touch.
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User comments (2)

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Anonymous

I've got the 16gb version and I'm very happy with it. I find the noise cancelling very handy but it has meant that I've had to stop using my Bose in ear head phones but to be honest when I do go back to them I find the sound quality not as great and quieter than with the Sony cans that came with it. The sound quality is excellent, the transfer of music to the unit easy using the drag and drop function but then (unlike iPod) you can drag and drop using explorer too. Video playback is stunning and a purchase of Aimersoft's DVD ripper means I can now easily convert my DVD's to a format I can put on my walkman. I got rid of a 5th Gen iPod 160gb for this and I have to say I'm not disappointed but finding a sound dock for it is not so easy as everything seems to be geared to take iPod's. All in all though it's a great unit, smaller than the iPod touch or 5Th gen models, excellent colour packed screen and sound quality you'd expect from a manufacturer who specialise in hi quality sound reproduction and no reports of them blowing up in people's pockets either which is reason enough to buy one of these over an iPod

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Anonymous

I own this but should have done research on head phone choice first!

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