Thursday, May 28, 2009

JVC and rip-off Britain

JVC's HA-FX1000 has been gaining some attention lately as being a Sennheiser IE 8 killer, what with its use of wooden diaphragms and stuff. But suspicion has emerged that it is merely a renamed version of the old cheaper FX500 model. Unfortunately there hasn't been any proof and all evidence so far were circumstantial, until now.

Today a fellow Head-Fi'er Soozieq decided to call JVC UK and spoke with someone called Richard who confirmed that the FX1000 is indeed a rebranded FX500 and has been renamed specifically for the UK release. Now here's where it gets all nasty. The FX500 only costs £70 at whereas it is sold here (under the FX1000 moniker) for... wait for it... £250! That is 3.5 times the price in Japan! Nothing wrong with that as at the end of the day it is the prerogative of the company to price their product whatever they want, but the deliberate attempt to mask the version by doubling the product numbering to make it appear as a new version or an upgrade really takes the piss. Odd my arse.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it is mighty tempting to import the FX500 from Japan as they appear to be good value for money. But on the other I am pretty darn pissed off with JVC and/or Apple for deliberately attempting to mislead and price gouge its potential customers. I know us in the UK are no strangers to being ripped off, but this is a whole new level. If JVC thinks that they can get away with this then they can duly fuck off. My money will instead go towards other (less evil) companies.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Some pictures from our early May bank holiday weekend trip to Glencoe early this month. We stayed at the lovely Heatherlea Bed & Breakfast in the village. The scenery is just stunning and we will definitely make a return and longer trip one day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Chiltern Hills

Here are some pictures from today's short walk around The Chiltern Hills:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 mini-review

Is it really 2009? Here I am writing up a quick review of a PS2 game, and I keep wondering myself how on earth did the PS2 lasted this long. Why, by releasing quality titles like Persona 4. Released in Europe just a couple of months ago, I've finally found myself the time to complete it. Maybe I am getting a bit too old for epic RPG quests...

I am not going to bother with a full review as I am pretty worn out. Plus most of Persona 4's gameplay is so similar to Persona 3 you can just read my long review of the previous game here... If you are interested in Persona 4, it is likely you have already bought it and do not need me to convince you. No, this was written more out of love for the title than obligation, and there is plenty to love with in this Shin Megami spin-off.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 is the successor to the hugely popular Persona 3 game, the game that I credit to finally taking the Shin Megami Tensei to the mainstream. Not that it is a mainstream kind of series, but it is good that gamers that would normally only have eyes for Final Fantasy, is finally being taken by Atlus's flagship series. Unlike Persona 3's urban environment, Persona 4 takes place in a Japanese countryside and also involves playing a student protagonist. New features includes a weather forecast system and events that happens on rainy and foggy days (similar to the full moon phases in Persona 3).

The story begins a year after the events of Persona 3 in a small town in the Japanese countryside where the main character has been sent to live with his uncle by his parents. Shortly after arriving, the town is gripped by the mysterious death of a TV presentor whose body was found hung from an antenna. Soon rumours begin to spread that watching a blank telly on a rainy night, the person's soul mate will appear on the screen at exactly midnight. The protagonist soons discovers that he is able to enter the alternative dimension of the television. As murders continue to pile up, the protagonist and his band of classmates have to solve the mystery behind them.

Persona 4 uses the same visual engine and to a certain degree, the same combat engine, as Persona 3 meaning you won't get Final Fantasy XII-esque visual orgy. That doesn't mean it is ugly, far from it though it could use a greater range of colour palette. The graphical fidelity are serviceable and lends well to the visual style of the game. Face it, if graphics are important than you won't even be reading this review. Special effects are pretty and while it doesn't really push the PS2 console to its upper upper limits, it still does the old console proud. The quality of the anime cut scenes are mediocre at best, but is more than satisfactory to forward the story.

Gameplay wise Persona 4 is very similar to Persona 3. If you haven't done so, it is probably best to just hop over here and read the review of Persona 3, before jumping back to this review, but the gist is like Persona 3 the game is divided into two parts: the day section where you go to school and do other normal human stuff and improving your Social Link, and the other world (in this case, the TV world) where you battle demons and play Scooby Doo. There are however some improvements. For one, you now have complete control of your party (if you want), which is a significant difference from the previous game (where you only get to control your character). You also get an extra turn when you hit an enemy with their weakness, something that adds another element of strategy to the combat system.

Dungeon crawling may not be for everyone, but I promise you, reward is always at hand. Besides the dungeons here are a far cry from the 200 over levels in Persona 3, where they get too repetitive. Here you get a handful of dungeons and each one unique. During the day you can improve your Social Link through interactions with your friends, going to classes and generally dick about. As in Persona 3, developing your Social Link is crucial to the game as it also affects the strength of your Personas/summons.

I did find the voice acting to be extremely cheesy actually, but you can skip them if you prefer. They may lack the production value of a Final Fantasy game or Dragon Quest VIII, but more than made up for the superb Shoji Meduro soundtrack. The brilliant music is made up of a collection of Japanese Pop and Rock, with a slice of R&B, Jazz and other genres, all infused with Shoji Meguro electronica-led compositions. Atlus seems to reckon that the fans would enjoy the music outside of the game, that they even package an audio CD with the Western edition of Persona 4 filled with selected tracks from the game.

Persona 4 is a hardcore game, and in this day it is pretty rare to find one that works as well as it. You will definitely need to set a side plenty of time as it is bleeding difficult and long (about 70-90 hours depending on skills). Unless you are jobless, you will be better off playing it in normal or even easy mode. But regardless, forget all the silly Final Fantasy spin-offs (Crystal Chronicles - heh), this game just deserves to be played. It will suck your life and you will happy for it.


Persona 4 is available to buy now from Amazon UK and

Friday, May 22, 2009

Radiopaq Custom Tuned Earphones review

Radiopaq has made big claims over their new range of headphones, which they dub as Custom Tuned Earphones. Costing £59.99 each, the four IEMs are customised to different types of music: Classical, Jazz, Pop and Rock, but will also sound great regardless of whatever genre you throw at each individual headphone. So is the Custom Tuned Earphones a shrewd concept cooked up by marketing of a way getting customers to hand over their money four times, or is Radiopaq really onto something?

Specifications and stuff:

Frequency response: 18 Hz – 20 kHz
Sensitivity: 120 dB
Nominal impedance: 16 ohms
Transducer: 10mm moving coil dynamic
Attenuation: up to 26 dB
Cable length: 1.2 meters
Warranty: 2 years

One thing Radiopaq is right on the money is that different people has different sound preference. What they did is tune the four individual models, through customising the transducer drivers, chamber shapes and bass ports in order to produce the frequency response that their engineers believe would distinguish each versions from each other. This allows for differentiation that offers people with a degree of sound choices, all without the confusing audiophile terminologies.

Unfortunately it also presents the would-be customer with some tough choices. For many £60 is a lot of money to spend on headphones, so getting it right would be important. And what if, like me, a person listens to a wide range of musical genres? No problem says Radiopaq, you will still be able to enjoy other genres with them, even going on to likening their headphones to different sort of cars.

Sadly, until you are able to listen to all four models, there is no way to know which models really suit you. With the Rock version, you get big warm and powerful sound, with plenty of bass and good mid-range. The Pop IEMs offers forward vocals with good clarity and a bit less bass than the Rock version. On the other hand the Jazz model gives you a more balanced sound, with adequate amount of bass impact and sweet vocals. Finally if you prefer Bach to Burt, the Classical version delivers more on the mids and highs with a greater soundstaging, but by sacrificing any sort of bass impact.

It all boils down to personal preference. I personally found the Rock version to be too bassy and the Classical version too flat and dull, but some may just prefer the sound. My classical piano-trained partner offered her opinion on the Classical version as sounding flat and neutral, capable of capturing every nuance of a good classical recording. The Jazz version is sweet sounding, which I find perfect for listening to tons of indie pop and twee, where as I use the Pop version for good amount of trance and electronica, as they provide just about the right amount of bass and very fun. Instrumental separation could have been better with all versions, but they are not too bad.

They also lack the vast soundstaging (burn-in will improve this), clarity and fuller in your face sound of my Sennheiser IE 8, but then again the IE 8 costs three times as much as an individual Radiopaq. If I have to pick one of the four, I would go for the Jazz as it allows me to relax in between sessions with my IE 8. It is less bold, softer, slightly colder and ideal for chill-out sessions (like before sleep). Unfortunately the design meant that it sticks out of my ear a bit and thus is physically uncomfortable to sleep-in. The Pop version is better in this regard as they are as tiny as the CX 95, and has an overall better fit.

It is actually nice to find that the enclosure is indeed made of metal. Even the nozzles are metal. They feel very tough and yet light. The same however can't be said about the cable. The cord seems tough, but they kink a lot, and are also microphonics. The microphonics isn't as bad as the Sennheiser CX 300, but they are still noticeable. They can be worn over the ear, which can somewhat alleviate the microphonics issue. As for fit, the Pop version first my ear the best due to its small size. Coming up on the rear is the Jazz version due to its rather large housing. The silicon taps are also proned to pick up dirt easily, though John of Radiopaq did inform me that they are looking into alternatives including foam tips. Isolation is on par with my Sennheiser CX 95 and s-Jays, but no where near the Klipsch Customs.

At £59.99, the Radiopaqs do offer plenty of value, but getting them all would mean spending just under £240. For that you can get a Sleek Audio SA6 (US$199), or the Sennheiser IE 8, which while only allows you to customise the bass, has overall better clarity. Another would be the CrossRoads MylarOne Quattro, which at US$88 may be a serious contender to the Radiopaq, whilst also offering interchangeable bass ports.

All in all, the Radiopaqs surpassed my expectations. They don't come with plenty of frills - in fact just the headphone and three pairs of single-flanged silicon tips are included within the retail plastic case. But what you do get is a pair of headphone with good sound quality/price ratio and a two year warranty to match. I find them better than the equally priced Denon AH-C551, and just about equal to the Sennheiser CX 95. The Jazz version in particular is a keeper and I have no qualms about saying that this version is one of the better sub-£100 in-ear headphone I have heard.

The Radiopaq Classical, Jazz, Pop and Rock are all available on Amazon UK. Radiopaq has plans to launch the IEMs in the US in the future, but you can always get them from their own online store now.

+ Great sound quality/price ratio
+ Good build quality
+ Two years warranty as standard
+ Very light
- Kinky and microphonic cord
- Packaging

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Summer sorted

Bank holiday weekend cancelled. Will instead be going to the Lake District in June and Snowdonia in August. Pretty excited. ^_^

Monday, May 18, 2009

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles cancelled

Can't say I am surprised. It is such a shame as the series had potential, but the writers screwed up badly by introducing too many standalone episodes and mini-arcs like Jessie and Derek. Such a wasted opportunity really. Season two did pick up in the end, but only through the final two episodes which does nothing to conclude the Weaver/Turk-arc.

And yes, Sarah Connor wearing a turtle neck is still wrong.

New Kojima tease

Looks like a tease for MGS5, but knowing Kojima it would probably be a red herring. Truthfully, I wouldn't mind another Metal Gear, but isn't it about time we had a new Zone of the Enders? Hmm..., Mr. Kojima?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sony Walkman X-Series 32GB NWZ-X1060 review

The NWZ-X1060B is the 32GB version of Sony's new Walkman X-series. This is now Sony's premier and flagship Walkman, with a price tag to match. It is also a first of many for Sony's Walkman heritage, being the first to ship with a full coloured OLED screen (the MZ-RH1 Minidisc, NW-A1000, NW-A3000 and various small Walkmans had OLED screens as well), S-master class-D digital amp, touchscreen, WiFi and digital ANC. Priced at £289.99 retail (US$399 for the X1061B version), it isn't particularly cheap, but you will be able to get it cheaper online (£229 to be exact at Amazon UK). We will see if it is worth stumping up for.


Like (almost) all Sony products, the X-series is well build. The glossy glass front and back plates is susceptible to picking up fingerprints, but isn't too bad. The side has a faux granite texture to it and improves the grip by quite a bit. Despite the 'dandruff' appearance in promotional pictures, it is actually quite nice in real life. The design bears some resemblance to Sony's Clie TH55 PMP/PDA of yore with its large touchscreen panel on the front and some hardware controls on the top. It is also surprisingly small. I was surprised to find it just a bit thicker than my S639/S739 and has almost the same footprint. At 98g, it is fairly hefty which lends weight to its solid feel.

In order to compliment the set of hardware buttons, Sony has moved the 3.5mm headphone-out socket to the top. This makes sense as Sony expects most users to leave their X-series in their pocket with the top controls easily accessible. On the side you will find the usual volume controls, reset hold and the ANC switch. The bottom contains the WM-Port USB connector. The back has a rather large hold switch, which you can set to only disable the touchscreen if you like. Finally the front houses a large HOME button at the bottom of the screen. The HOME button acts as the power on, power off as well as a shortcut for the user to easily jump back to the home screen.


The X-series features a 3-inch OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) resolution of 432x240 and 262k colour support. This isn't Sony's first OLED PMP (that honours belongs to the Clie VZ90 released way back in 2004), nor their first Walkman with one, but it is their first mainstream touchscreen Walkman with a full colour OLED display.The advantage of using OLED is its power requirement, or lack of. OLED works without backlight due to the way its pixels gives off light when electrical current flows through the panel. This negates the need of bulky and power hungry backlight.

Because of the way OLED pixels directly emit light, they show a greater range of colour saturation, higher contrast and has a quicker refresh rate. Even when viewed at a 90 degree angle, the OLED display on the X-series remains equally as stunning as when viewed from the front. Black remains true black, unlike that of a normal LCD display (even one equipped with LED backlight). They also have a faster response time than a standard LCD screen, ideal for watching video, though on the X-series this is a wasted opportunity (more on this later).

Update: The OLED screen here works well under sunlight, provided the backlight setting is set to maximum.


The X-series shares the same basic UI as their none-touchscreen Walkmans, but with some changes to the control layout to suit the more touchscreen approach. When you first turn it on you will be greated with the fimiliar grid layout. The touchscreen here is a capacitive one, meaning you do not have to use a stylus. It is both a blessing and irritation at the same time (I always prefer the accuracy of a stylus, but that is just a personal preference). Because of the lack of front buttons, blind control is no longer a possibility (duh).

The touchscreen interface is actually rather nice. There are some gimmicks, but clever stuff too. You tap an icon, item etc. in order to select/launch it, and you can drag your finger up and down to scroll through a list. Flicking through the list will allow for faster scrolling. When you listen to a music, the UI shows the name of the track being played, artist and album it is from. The large cover art is displayed in the middle. Four shortcuts of various functionalities are available on the bottom. These allows quick access to your library, YouTube and Yahoo! search and audio-related settings.

Tapping the album art will cause a set of on-screen controls to appear. If you flick on the album art, you will be able to scroll through a 3D slide of album arts, where you can select another album to listen to. It is a bit of a gimmick, but fun way to browsing through the library. Traditonalists will also be happy to find that folder browsing is available, in addition to the hierachy interface pionereed by Creative years ago.


Sony is well known for bundling good sets of headphones with their Walkmans. The headphone bundled here is similar to the one bundled with the S730 series. This is a hybrid canal earbud that is designed to work with Sony's noise cancelling system. The X-series's digital active noise cancelling engine analyses the waveform of the noise, and generate a reversed waveform tha cancels out the noise. With this, you not only have a stock headphone that works pretty good (but not perfect) at cancelling out background noise, but also offers excellent sound quality (in comparison to the majority of bundled headphones). You can even use the supplied audio input cable and airplane stereo adapter, coupled with the X-series as a middle man, to listen to an airplane's audio system.


Sony markets the X-series as primarily a music player first and that is how I am going to see it. Everything else is just frills. A FM radio is available here, though the reception isn't the greatest (maybe it is just where I live as I always have problem with gaining radio reception here). Podcast (fancy word for pre-recorded amateur radio by bloggers), as well as wallpaper support is available. A competent video player is also present, but it only has support for 320x240 resolution files despite the obvious higher resolution screen. This reminds me of the PSP when it first came out when Sony restricted MemoryStick playback to 320x240 files. A very simple and disappointing NetFront web browser can be used to surf mobile friendly websites via WiFi. Finally a surprisingly decent YouTube application allows for quick music video viewings.

Sadly, the auto-playlist generator in the form of SenseMe, previously seen in Sony Ericsson phones and the S630/S730 series, is missing. I have no idea why Sony decided to excise this neat feature as I have grown to love it. Hopefully Sony will see fit to reinstate the feature with a firmware update.

The US versions, X1061 and X1051, will also be bundled with the Slacker radio app. Due to outdated copyright rules and stuff, the Slacker service is not available in this country. A darn shame really.

Video Playback

First and foremost, the X-series is not designed with primary video playback in mind. If video playback is what you are seeking foremost, a separate device like the Archos or Sony PSP would be better suited. Like their other Walkmans, the X-series is capable of playing files encoded in 320x240 resolution using h.264 (Mpeg4-AVC) video format, as well as WMV9 files encoded in either 320x240 (main profile) or 480x270 (simple profile) at a maximum of 30fps. Video playback is smooth and the OLED display will highlight any flaws you may find in a badly encoded file. The X-series would make a great video device, if the option for high-resolution playback is available. As is I still prefer using my PSP as a portable video player (bigger screen and all).

Transferring Content

It is amazing how far Sony has opened up when it comes to their newest and greatest Walkman. Transferring content is a doodle, if a bit slow. The player is MTP compliant, meaning you can just plug-in and immediately start dragging and dropping content into their appropriate folder (up to eight level deep). No proprietary and bloated nonsense like SonicStage or iTunes to worry about. For those who prefer some form of music management software, the X-series supports a hold host of applications including Windows Media Player, Sony Media Manager, iTunes and my personal favourite, MediaMonkey.


The Walkman supports basic audio codecs such as MP3 up to 320kbps (as well as those encoded in VBR) and WMA. Lossless fans will be disappointed by the lack FLAC, WMA Lossless or even ATRAC3 Lossless. Gapless is also sorely missing, which in the case of this blogger, is more of an irritant than something crucial. The only way to play full CD quality music (including gapless) is through Linear PCM. A couple of sound effects are present for those who likes to tinker around including the 5-band equalisers (four presets and two user definable, and great as ever), VTP Surround setting (which I advice to ignore), DSEE (this is only useful for low bitrate files), Clear Stereo and Dynamic Normalizer.

Sound Quality

Out of the box, the X-series is one of the best sounding DAP on the market. This is because of the bundled ANC headphones which surpasses many (if not all) usual bundled headphones. You will need to set aside at least £30 to gain some form of improvement, and even then it would only be slightly.

Now, the most important bit: how it sounds with a high quality headphone (in this case the reference headphone I used here would be my Sennheiser IE 8). The X-series has a very very slight hiss compared to the S630/S730 series. It isn't as much as my old A818, but it is there. I have no problem with it as it isn't audible during playback.

Without EQ, the sound isn't as neutral as one might prefer. Despite using a digital amp, the sound signature is pleasantly warm, just like how Sony tends to sound. With my S730, I can comfortably listen at a volume setting of 14/30 in outdoors, where as with the X-series I have the volume at 11/30. In quiet areas my volume setting is 3/30. They sound very aggressive, and yet smooth when playing back more laid back genres like jazz and ambient music.

Compared to my S730, the bass here is tighter and cleaner. It is also very powerful. Even with dynamic normalizer turned off, it is very loud. It seems to have a bit more dynamics and clearer cleaner sound overall with top notch clarity. A very musical device indeed, one that has a greater instrumental seperation in comparison to my other Walkman. Fans of portable amps will be sad to find that there isn't a line-out cable available, yet.

Like their previous flash-based Walkman, the EQ is very effective. I know some audiophiles may scoff at the use of EQ, but whatever the EQ here does not distort the sound at all. Bass head will be pleased to find that the Clear Bass setting is ever present (3 notches). Two user customisable EQ slots are available, in addition to the presets. Clear Stereo is designed to work with the bundled headphones, but there is a difference with my IE 8 when enabled. I can't decide whether I prefer it enabled or disabled, so I leave it turned off. DSEE on the other hand works by aiming to improve the overall sound quality of low bitrate music files, and there is a noticeable improvement on badly ripped tracks. Disable it if you have good rips.

Overall, the sound quality here is an improvement over the S630/S730. It isn't a massive improvement, but that isn't surprising considering the headphone-out quality of the aforementioned models. Sony has already set the bar very high from their previous models that surpassing them is already an achievement. Still, it is noticeably better overall.

Web stuff

The X-series comes with a WiFi 802.11b/g module allowing and supports up to 50m range. I had no problem using it in my bedroom despite our (still not broken) wireless router sitting two walls away. It supports all the usual security protocols, including WPA2. You can also edit the proxy server and port number manually.

The NetFront web browser is sadly disappointing. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise considering that the X-series isn't running on an uber operating system, but I expected a bit better. If you are expecting a desktop like web experience like you can obtain using NetFront for Windows Mobile, you will be sadly disappointed. Rendering is slow and there is absolutely no support for text only rendering, like you get with their WinMob version. Three rendering modes is available, including NetFront's Just-Fit and Smart-Fit modes. These two modes work very well on their Windows Mobile application, but not here. Even stupider is the requirement to type in "http://" first. My advice to those seeking an X-series for web browsing: don't bother. Pick up a HTC Touch HD or Nokia 5800 instead.

The X-series also has built-in support for YouTube. The integration is pretty good. Just fire up the application and a list of videos will appear, where you can tap to a video to watch it or search. Videos can be searched through featured videos, most viewed, related videos and through a keyword search. You will also be able to filter the videos through regions/countries and timeframe. When you watch a video, you can bring up or dismiss the control buttons by tapping the screen (just like how you would control the music playback program).


Sony quotes a battery life of 33 hours for audio playback. Based on my previous experience with their other Walkmans, I have no reason to doubt that estimate. Note that to achieve that level fo battery life, you will need to turn off all sound effects (which you ought to anyway). Bitrates also affect battery life, as is the use of different codecs (AAC-LC files at the same bitrate will use more power). The same applies to playing videos. Finding the balanced between achieving acceptable battery life and sound quality is something different people will have to do for themselves. Turning off ANC and WiFi will also help.


The X-series if one of a slew of device that Sony has released in order to gain back the market share that they once dominated. I am not quite convinced that the X-series have what it takes. It does excel in the most important area: sound quality. Sadly mainstream consumers do not really care about audio anymore. They want a good browser, eye candy, video games and 3D effects in their DAP. The market is saturated with plenty of such devices. With the X-series Sony do have the necessary ingredients to succed, but the execution can be poor in some areas, while great in others.

One thing I can't understand is the lack of SenseMe playlist generator, or the lack of on-the-go playlist. These are features that can be easily implemented and require no hardware add-ons. They also ought to finally start thinking of implementing gapless support (or at least cross fade) for lossy playback, as well as supporting at least one lossless codec. Hell, even if it means opening up Atrac3 Lossless to the public... (a note here: the Japanese version designated NW-X1060/X1050, does have support for Atrac3 Lossless)

The 16GB S639/S739 still represents amazing good value for money for around £100 of your hard earned money, and I am not sure if it is worth paying an extra £100 for the 16GB X1050 especially if you do not need the other features. (edit: Amazon UK has cut the price of the 16GB X1050 to £179.99, which is a bargain). At £249.9 (edit, now £229.99) via Amazon UK, the 32GB X1060 is actually cheaper than some of their competitors like the Cowon S9 and iPod Touch, and it comes with a better set of headphones. The S9, despite the lack of WiFi, will likely appeal more towards power users and the Touch, while not being equipped with an OLED screen, does have access to third party applications and a huge array of accessories.

Despite all that, the X-series is still quite the player. It is a fantastic digital audio player and if you have no qualms paying for it you will not have any regrets, especially you like the Sony sound. Overall the X-series is a great hardware and offers fantastic sound, only let down by slightly poor software implementation. Regardless, it is the best sounding Walkman available (and possibly the best unamped DAP) and if you value sound quality over everything else, you will not be disappointed.

+ Fantastic sound quality
+ Fantastic OLED screen
+ Amazing build quality
+ Good ANC bundled headphones
+ Good battery life
+ Drag and drop, oh yes
+ Quick navigation and UI
+ Good YouTube integration
+ Good value (at Amazon UK)
- No gapless for MP3/AAC/WMA files
- No compressed lossless playback (in NWZ versions)
- Some functionalities not brought over from the A/S-series
- Piss poor web browser
- Accessories a bit hard to come by
- None replaceable battery

The X-series is available for pre-orders from Amazon UK and US customers can also get the X-series now via Advanced MP3 Player.

Update (27/11): As you may have known (if you read the review above), the browser on the X-Series is piss poor. Sso it may come as a relief to many to know that Sony and Access has finally listened to user complains and release a new firmware update, with a new version of NetFront that supposedly improves displaying and navigation. As usual with all firmware updates, make sure you back up your content first and that your battery is fully charged.