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.

Design

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.

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.

Controls

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.

Bundles

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.

Features

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.

Audio

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).

Battery

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.

Conclusion

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 Amazon.com. 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.

198 comments:

Jairo said...

Great review. I like that you didn't show any bias to any other device. You showed the plus and minuses in a clean way.

Jon said...

Thanks. Really appreciate the comment. :)

Anonymous said...

I can't see why it wont run atrac3 lossless. my old A-Series Walkman runs it and gapless playback.

Jon said...

Your old A-series also required SonicStage didn't it? Sony has dropped SonicStage, a key component in loading Atrac files, from all NWZ-designated players since the release of the A810 series in favour of drag & drop.

Jon said...

Good news. Amazon UK has also reduced the price of the 32GB X1060B to £229.99!!! Brilliant value for something that sounds this great.

Anonymous said...

A really good & very engaging review.This device looks very bold. Also I wanted to ask if the dynamic normalizer works as good as with previous models; i mean with already such powerful sound does the normalizer really does effect(in a good way?).And with E series walkmans changing the equalizer(freq.bands)the sound drops away,why?

Jon said...

Thanks for the comment.

I do not use the Dynamic Normalizer as it normally compress the dynamic range of the sound, at least that is what I think it does. It sounds like what I normally would expect from enabling it - everything gets louder with a more engaging sound at the expense of dynamic range. The X-series is more powerful than the S-series, so I do not think you will need to enable it.

As for EQ, I do not have an E-series so I am not familiar with its performance. I am told by other people who has experienced both the E and the newer S-series, that the E-series has a lower SQ. This may be why the E-series does not respond well to EQing.

Dave said...

I thought the player could support L-pcm? That's a another meaning for .WAV files right? Well... according to cnet anyways. Please confirm this for me please...

Jon said...

Hi Dave,

Yes it does support Linear PCM (Wav) uncompressed lossy file. Sorry if I wasn't clear with this. Thanks for visiting.

Dave said...

Thx for the rapid reply Jon, this means that it supports uncompressed(lossless) .wav files. I'm really gonna get this player ASAP!

Jon said...

Oops, just noticed my misake! Yep it does support lossless wav. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Thank u so much for the reply jon.You said my word on the dynamic normalizer, i think the same for it but i like louder music esp. with trance where dynamics do not matter a lot. & i didnt ever expect such a good review on a blogspot bcoz i've been through several 'expert?' reviews that are either biased or are written just for the sake of it.Anyways i think i'll have to stick to this link.And finally how does the soundstage compare with touch2g & is the bass sustantially better than the touch

Jon said...

I have only heard the Touch 2G ever so briefly and that was ages ago, so I can't do a direct comparison. It isn't bad sounding - it is just I have preference for the warm 'Sony' sound that I have grown accustomed to.

I know of at least one who has compared it to the Touch 2G, and that is Soozieq at head-fi.org.

"It's warm and detailed, it's warmer than the Touch and the A808." (source)

"As far as soundstage is concerned, I'm come to the conclusion that it's definitely bigger than the 808 and almost on par with the Touch. But it has a lot more depth and that makes it sound quite different from my previous Sony daps. Going back and forth between the X1000 and A808 was interesting, because the 808 still sounds very good to me, so I wasn't expecting a dramatic difference, and I didn't hear a dramatic difference." (source)

"I'm beginning to think it sounds like a 'smoother' Touch 2G, but with bigger bass and a usable EQ. I like the Touch, but occasionally it sounds a little brittle to me. The Sony is smooth all the way." (source)

Thanks for the nice comments BTW! Really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Oh my reply for everyone,surprised!
& are you on headfi too,what name?
Headfi discussions are just too good n i dont mind spending an hour on it everyday. Btw i m using ipod 30gb(classic?, 2.5in screen)with mdr ex71(very old),can u suggest me an upgrade to these phones that would offer any significant improvement(with no brittle sound)

Jon said...

head-fi id: walkingman

As for headphones, the EX71 is pretty poor by today's standard even at their low price. What is your budget and what is your sound preference?

Anonymous said...

oh i forgot to mention my budget ;at max 100$.I am from india & here IE8 are available for an astronomical 350$ ;else they are just too good(a couple of auditions).I would prefer something with tight clear sound and something that can hide grainy ,brittle treble of the ipod
& is my ipod 'CLASSIC'or something else

Jon said...

I have read a lot of great stuff about Head-Direct's RE2 IEM. Here's a positive review by Frederick and another by ClieOS - both whom are very experience IEM users. They are currently on sale for US$39 + $10 shipping at Head-Direct. They lack a bit in bass apparenly but you can fix that with a LOD + cheap Amp like the Fiio E5.

Klipsch Custom 2 are also very good value in the UK selling for nearly half of their RRP, but I do not know of a company here that will ship to India, unfortunately. I also love my Sennheiser CX 95, but they do have a bit more bass than the Custom 2. Another would be Radiopaq's Pop or Jazz editions, which I recently reviewed. The Pop is well balanced with a bit more bass, and the Jazz has a better treble quality and extension with less bass. Both are very good SQ/price ratio IEMs.

I also recently received a review sample of the CrossRoads MylarOne Quattro. Like the IE 8 and Sleek SA6, the Quattro allows you to tune the bass to your sound preference. It is very tiny which allows for deep insertion (more isolation). ClieOS has a review on these, plus the CrossRoads Woody. Jaben has them for US$88 with free shipping to India. I am in the process of burning them in before starting my review write up, but my early impressions on these are positive - they just sound good for their price.

Regardless all of them are an improvement over the EX71.

Oskar said...

Great review! Finally I found a readable one! All the others told me nothing that I didn't already know.

If you still care to answer questions, here are two for you:
1. I had the Nw-HD5 years ago, and I really liked the warm sony sound, but it was way too weak, it wouldn't drive my phones, especially with some bass added in the EQ. Now I've been spoiled with the cowon d2 for a couple of years, but I'm considering going back to sony. You said the X-series is louder than other sony players, but I haven't heard those. What do you think? Is there any way of giving me another reference regarding the output power? Does it even get close to the D2? Which are the heaviest phones that you would pair it with?
2. Do you have any clue why the 32GB X-walkman (NWZX1060B.CE7) is rated at 60H of music playback and 16H of video at the swedish sony site? Do they have different models for different countries?
Thanks again for the great review!

The DarkSide said...

Nice review, and I love the honesty. Also, hi from the USA!!!

Anonymous said...

The lack of gapless playback is far far more than an irritant for me. This omission make the player absolutely useless for the type of music I listen to (progressive rock such as Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, IQ, etc.) I was considering updating from my VAIO Pocket - but sadly unless a player can do gapless I'm not interested.

Jon said...

@Oskar, thanks for the nice comments. As for your questions...

1. Hmm... that is a tricky question as I myself do not have a D2... I have read about the supposed power of the D2 which are said to be very powerful and capable of driving even some full sized headphones. Sony's headphone out rating (about 5 mW + 5 mW @ 16 ohms) is very conservative.

2. I am guessing the 60 hours rating was either a mistake or an estimate hours of music one can install on the 32GB model, and not relating to the battery life - which is ridiculous as I have around 4000 tracks (VBR)(250+ hours). The UK model is NWZ-X1060B.CE7 and the manual did state the battery life as 33 hours for 128kbps files.

@TheDarkSide, cheers and hello from the UK!

@Anonymous, Fortunately I can live with it (I do listen to Pink Floyd) as do some people. Gapless is available with Linear PCM (wav).

Oskar said...

Thank you for the answers. 5 mW indeed is not impressive compared to the S9's 29 mW at 16 ohm. I wonder if those numbers are even comparable. Maybe they measure those things different ways...

toughnut said...

@Oskar,
Dont take the rating too seriously. Sony always rate their player's output at 5mW but in reality, it way more powerful than most player in the market.

@Jon,
Nice review :)

Anonymous said...

Can I use after market phones with this and still use the noise cancelling?
I've heard worrying rumors you can only use the pack in ones...

Jon said...

Thanks Toughnut.

Anonymous, no you can't. You can use other ANC headphones, but it will have to rely on its own technology rather than using Sony's ANC system. Anyway, passive isolation is still better than ANC at blocking out noise so I don't see this as a huge loss.

Jim said...

Thanks Jon, nice review btw.

Bah that's annoying, oh well I'm sure I'll love it anyway. Mine arrived today. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi,

while reading all the reviews nobody tells about the display when you're outside in the sun.

Can you read the display outside in the sun / dauylight?

iPod touch is readable very well outside and it would be a dealbraker if the Sony is NOT!

Can anybody answer this question??

Thank you!

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon said...

Enjoy it Jim.

As for sunlight, my apologies, there hasn't been plenty of sunlight in the UK when I wrote the review, and it didn't enter my mind to test it...

Anyway, the screen is easily readable outdoors in the sun if the brightness is set to maximum.

Anonymous said...

Do you know what playlist formats it accepts? I know it doesn't like m3u's as I have tried. Also is there a way of disabling the MTP to make it a MSC device?

Jon said...

I haven't tried using it as a MSC device yet. Try this first:

Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager

Find the Walkman on the device manager then choose 'Update driver'. Select 'no, not this time', then install from a list (advanced). Choose 'Don't search', then you will be presented with a list where you can choose between MTP and USB Mass Storage device.

As for playlist, I use MediaMonkey to create and manage them, but you always use WMP.

Anonymous said...

I tried finding the player on device manager but "Walkman" isn't listed. I don't particularly like WMP and WMP11 fail's to install.

Aidyn said...

Jon, thanks very much for your informative and well-organised review of the Sony I've just ordered from Amazon. Can you tell me whether I'll need to buy a 5V Sony charger to complement the DAP, or is it bundled; i.e. how long will I have to charge the walkman via USB if no charger is provided? Also, is it made in Japan or somewhere else? Thank you in advance.

Regards,

Aidyn

Jon said...

@Anon, try MediaMonkey. It is a brilliant application.

@Aidyn, thanks for the comment. No AC charger is bundled with the Walkman. My personal experience is that it takes about 3 hours (not a big problem as you'll take a long time to fill it up) to charge it up the first time and about an hour each time to top it up (quicker via AC). Obviously this depends on how much charge is left.

As for the AC charger, you can get any generic USB AC charger like those Belkins you find in high street stores. They tend to advertise them for iPods, but just plug in your USB cable and you'll be set. I have something similar to this that I use to charge my GPS, Walkman and any gadgets that allows USB charging.

Finally, I believe they are made in Malaysia. All Walkmans has been made there for the past couple of years.

Masurao-Aker said...

@Jon,

Have you tried using winamp with the player? For me winamp and the X1060 hate each other.

Anonymous said...

How can I get this in the US????!

Jon said...

@Masurao-Aker, I don't use Winamp. I use MediaMonkey exclusively and find it a brilliant music management app.

@Anon, US customers can get the X-series now via Advanced MP3 Player or wait till its release in July.

Anonymous said...

Great review and agree with all your points. I am now on my third Walkman and enjoying the X-Series. I just can't understand why Sony has dropped SensMe Channels and it is not even that intuitive to play tracks randomly.

Andy said...

Very honest and balance review. Thanks!

Marcus said...

Shame about the lack of gapless playback. I have a Sony NWHD5 (still going strong) and looked at this as a tech upgrade. With all my CDs in Atrac3 format in Sonicstage and wanting to keep the gapless playback, I will be keeping the HD5 for a couple more years and not upgrading. Shame on you Sony!

Jon said...

@Anon I don't get it either

@Andy Thanks

@Marcus Gapless playback is available with Linear PCM (Wav) files. Atrac3 format is still supported in the Japanese NW-X1000 models.

Marcus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcus said...

Uncompressed rip from a CD should reduce overall capacity :(

I'll stick with my HD5 for now :)

Jon said...

HD5 is a great player. I was once tempted to get it but I am paranoid about harddrives...!

Marcus said...

btw - nice review Jon.

I cannot find anywhere to buy the NW-X1000 in the UK otherwise I might be interested.

Aidyn said...

Jon, thank you very much for your quick response. I've been playing with my new Walkman for the last two days, it sounds perfectly, the front panel is a fingerprint magnet (duh!), and it won't play any wmv music videos (non-DRM) I dragged and dropped into the Sony using Explorer (duh, again!). What's the secret? Do I need to sync the files, and if yes, why? I didn't have to sync any mp3's! Thanks in advance.

Jon said...

@Marcus, yeah it's only Japan-exclusive...

@Aidyn, not all WMVs are supported unfortunately. The player can only plau 480x270 resolution WMV9 simple profile files or 320x240 main profile. It's video support sadly isn't that great despite the awesome screen, and you will have to re-encode them to a lower resolution for it to work.

Aidyn said...

@Jon, thanks again, I appreciate it. I don't think there's any software to help me re-encode the video files on the bundled CD, shame on Sony Corporation! :( What other video file types can it play? H.264 - is it the videos like the ones I take with a camera phone? What extension - avi/mp4/mpg? What files worked on your walkman?

Jon said...

Try PSP Video 9. Make sure you set the resolution to 320x240 encoded using AVC Baseline Profile 1.3, or just select this default setting: "Fw2.00+ AVC 320x240 768kbps Stereo/128kbps". Transencoding your videos with that setting ought to make them compatible with the X-series.

h.264 is also supported but again only at 320x240. File extension would be either mp4 or m4v.

Yep, shame on Sony. But I am pretty happy as I only care about the sound quality. :)

Anonymous said...

You Mean June right for USA?

Jon said...

June for USA. Did I really say July, oh shit... haha

Anonymous said...

Hey Jon. I'm thinking about getting the UK version can't wait for the US that will be past my Birthday. I have a Zune right now and I hope the Sound is better.

jjrosaria said...

Hi nice review,

Have you ever compared this walkmam to the cowon s9, cuz I really like this device but I'm not sure which has better SQ..

Also I have sony a728 atm do you think its a worth upgrade to this??

thanks.

Hi from the land down under (sheep land)

Jon said...

I do not have a S9 to compare it with, but I've been told an owner of both that the S9 has a 'cold' analytical sound and you'll need to EQ the hell of it to get the desired sound. The X-series on the other hand is warm and fun sounding.

The X-series also offers a substantial SQ improvement over the A72X/A82X series.

AcidRock said...

I need a new mp3 player for my summer holiday across Asia. There are four touchscreen players: Zune HD, X-series, new iPod Touch and Cowon S9.

If the S9 sounds anything like the D2 I won't be getting it. I just dislike the metaliic sound. The Zune HD will not be available until September, and would not be released outside the US. And I am not interested in getting the new Touch or iPhone.

So that leaves me the X-series. I am going to try a demo version in SonyStyle and if the SQ is indeed great, I am going to take the plunge and order this tomorrow!

Thanks for the informative review!

Jim said...

Totally loving this player. It isn't perfect but it's Sonys best I believe.

I'll repeat others comments tho.. that the lack of SenseMe or other random like playlist creations is utterly baffling! :(

Jim said...

Does anyone know if its safe to use an official ipod charger with this player? I've plug mine in and it works fine but wondered if I was doing the device any harm..?

Jon said...

It should be fine. I've been using third party 'designed for iPod' USB chargers with all my Walkman and none has exploded yet! :)

sinkhustla said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi!

First of all, great review. You comes up with a lot of great things. Maybe i´ve missed a couple of lines, cause i didn´t got wich video formats it plays.

Christian, DK

Jon said...

Thanks for the kind comments.

It's video playback support isn't that great.
- MPEG4-AVC (h.264) up to level 1.3 baseline profile 320x240 resolution
- MPEG-4 simple profile 320x240 resolution
- WMV9 simple profile 480x270 resolution
- WMV9 main profile 320x240 resolution

Jon said...

Update:

Someone has confirmed to me that the Japanese NW version has full gapless support with Atrac music files. You do not need to use SonicStage to transfer them. Drag and drop is supported.

Aidyn said...

Jon, hi! Do you know which is the latest flash version for this Sony (32 Gb)? For some strange reasons, I can't access any product support information on the sony-europe website. Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

does this DAP hiss?

Jon said...

Aidyn, I am not aware of any new firmware for the X-series. Sony Support side doesn't list any.

Anon, very small amount of hiss - much less than the A818.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a nice concise review! I got more useful information here than from visiting three Sony Style stores in my area. While it is kind of a moot point now as the device is on its way to me as I post this, I find myself wondering after reading your review just how much of a gap is there between songs.

Jon said...

It is a fraction of a second. Noticeable, but not too bothersome to me. I don't have many tracks that requires gapless playback though, so the usual YMMV cavaet applies here. :)

Aidyn said...

The gap is hardly noticeable, I agree with Jon, but please stay away from The Wall by Pink Floyd and from Court & Spark by Joni Mitchell (these are two of my favourites albums of all times), because listening to them on Sony X is sooooo painful - I could only stand it for 10 minutes or so! :(

Peter said...

A warts and all review which is incredibly helpful when looking for impartial opinion. Don't suppose you know why some album cover art which displays OK in Windows Media Player 11 won't then show up on the Walkman? Having quite a few blank covers when scrolling through is a bit annoying.

Jon said...

Thanks for the comment.

Make sure album art are in JPEG file format and saved in 'baseline' format. It won't recognise those that are saved as 'progressive'.

Martin said...

Hi Jon! Great review man! I'm choosing between this and the X-Series. I was wondering, how much better is the X's sound quality than the S's? I only care about the sound quality and I would really like to know if the price difference is worth it. Thanks so much.

Jon said...

Thanks Martin.

I personally do think it is worth it particularly now that the price has dropped a little bit, even if some of the functions (like web browser) is useless. You will also get more storage, which is always a good thing.

RubyTuesday said...

Hi
Great review. I love my walkman but just have one little problem - I cannot get it to connect to my WiFi network. My PSP and Blackberry do it fine. Anybody have any ideas please?
I probably won't use it after you guys say how rubbish it is - it is just one of those annoying things - it is supposes to work so I want it to work.
Thanks

Jon said...

Thanks for the compliments.

Not sure where the problem regarding WiFi, is so it would be difficult to diagnose. I've read that the clock must be set before one can get online, but I highly doubt so. Have you gone through the WiFi setup in 'Settings'->'Wireless LAN Settings'?

Walker Blog said...

Dear All,

Thanks Jon for the good review...

Regarding the Hiss, my Bose Noise Cancelling headhphones make a very loud hiss when I use them with the NWZ-X-1060. I have of course turned off "Noise Cancelling" and tried everthing to get it to go away.

Has anyone else experienced this?
Any suggestions on how to deal with it?

Thanks in advance,

M

Jon said...

It is likely your Bose is very sensitive. One way of suppressing (or lessening) the hiss is by using an impedance adapter (resistor). Something like this:

http://www.head-direct.com/product_detail.php?p=12

The X1060 hisses a bit more than my S630/S730 Walkmans with low impedance headphones, but not as much as my old A818.

Walker Blog said...

Many Thanks Jon, I will give it a try. Appreciate your help.

Cheers,

Mw

RubyTuesday said...

Back to my wifi problem (thanks for repsonding): I can see the network and have entered the password. When I try to connect it just tries for ages and eventually times out. I am using WPA.
Any ideas appreciated, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi friends. Just to say:
YOU CAN HAVE GAPLESS on any mp3 player.
There are lots of comments here about not getting gapless playback. I know the problem very well because I have opera and prog rock on CD and I like to hear the tracks gapless on my walkman. You can use a program to splice mp3 tracks together before loading them on to the X series. I use a software called MP3 Cutter-Joiner. I didn't pay much to buy it online. There are other programs that will do this joining-up just as well.
OK so there's an extra stage involved in getting your CD from jewelbox to portable digital player, but it doesn't take long to do. And using this method you end up with quite long mp3 tracks, for example a 45-minute-long section of an opera or musical. So it's not so convenient during a rewind/fastforward. That in my view is a small price to pay for the proper gapless experience.

Jon said...

@Ruby,

Is you AP set to filter MAC address? I've no idea what could be the problem. I am using WPA2 myself, though I doubt there would be issues with WEP and WPA.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Nice review.
This might sound like an ignorance question. Can I know what is the difference between NWZ-X1060 and NWZ-X1060B?
Thank in advance.

Jon said...

Hiya, the 'B' is to identify the colour.

Ian Ian said...

Hi
I found the review and many of the comments useful. However I didn't notice anyone mentioning streaming or downloading from the BBC iplayer. Some articles I've read say the X series does (incl the Amazon descritption) some say not. Can anyone tell me their experience with the "X) and BBC iplayer please.

Jon said...

Hi Ian,

It does (including other WMV-DRM files). You will need to download and copy via a PC as there is no iPlayer streaming app (like the YouTube one).

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I encountered problem when connect to YouTube and got this message 'Session to YouTube has been unavailable'.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Do I need to update the firmware? My current version is 1.02.

Thank in advance.

Sylvain said...

Hi Jon, Hi everyone!

I'm coming a bit late on the thread, but this is by far the best review i've seen on the device!
Thanks A LOT! It is super useful & pictures are nice =)

I was wondering about something concerning this walkman. I currently have an ipod but hate all the itunes sh**t and having to get my music "organised" by the software.
My music is organised in a different way, i've classified it by my own genres. From what i've understood, the walkman is drag and drop, meaning that i can grab my whole "music" folder (containing the genre folders which look like genre>artits>albums) and drop it onto the walkman, right ?
Also, because i like things done right, each album folder contains a 'folder.jpg' file which is the artwork of that album. When i drag and drop the whole thing, would those 'folder.jpg' files be displayed as the artwork onto the walkman?

That'd be super sweet 8)

Also let me mention that i do not use any music management software (i do NOT use WMP) - (although my music is tagged kinda correctly).

Thanks for clearing up :)

Cheers!

Sylvain (french fellow currently in Australia looking forward to going to the UK =) )

Jon said...

Hi Sylvain,

Thanks for the lovely comment.

Yes, you can drag and drop your music into the music folder and the Walkman should recognise them as long as they are in the correct file format (MP3, AAC, WMA or WAV). As long as your files are tagged correctly you will be fine, but it does support browsing through folder if you prefer doing so.

It won't however recognise the folder.jpg file unfortunately. Album art has to be tagged into each track for the Walkman to recognise it. You can use MP3tag or MediaMonkey to tag them. JPEG images should be saved as 'baseline' format.

I am sure you will enjoy coming to the UK!

@Anon, some early X-series users had that problem but the issue just kinda gone away after a couple of days. I suspect that either the YouTube or Sony server is busy.

Sylvain said...

Hi Jon !

Thanks for the lighting fast answer! Awesome! Thanks for the details and for recommending MP3tag ! Gosh this software totally rocks!

I actually didn't know it was possible to tag an album art in the tags of a file but i like the idea! And MP3tag let me do that very quickly as it opens directly the right folder!

Thanks for the tip it's great !

Keep up the good work mate!

Cheers!
Sylvain

Anonymous said...

In your review, you wrote, "Overall, the sound quality here is an improvement over the S630/S730. It isn't a massive improvement".
In a reply (June 1), you wrote,
"The X-series also offers a substantial SQ improvement over the A72X/A82X series"
I heard S63x and A72x sound very similar. Is it fair to say X1000 improves over time? I, as many others, am curious about the upgrade path after owning S63x.

Jon said...

The A72X/A82X and S63X/S73X sounds different, with the A82X series being a bit more neutral and less coloured than the S63X series - at least as far as I remember. I probably should be a bit clearer here!

I do still own a S739 and can detect difference between it and the X-series. It is clearer, more powerful and louder.

Sylvain,

Glad to be of help!

Anonymous said...

In one other person's review, he mentioned, "Piano sounds darn good on S739, but it sounds like a real piano on X1050." The reviewer used the "organic" many times in his review. Do you feel the same way? I just received a S739 as a gift, so exchange/upgrade to X series will cost me £60. I know, it is probably not worth buying a totally new one for the sound improvement (I don't use other features at all), but, does it worth upgrading? Thank you.

Jon said...

£60 - is that for the 32GB? If so then go for it.

I personally think it is worth it - and I never use the YouTube or WiFi features. The clarity is amazing. Obviously I would also suggest getting a good pair of headphone/in-ear monitor as well.

Daniel said...

Great in-depth review. I've always preferred Sony as well for the very warm sound of its players and MTP support. I love my music and it's all I look for an MP3 player to do - play me my MP3s. What I cannot understand though is why Sony players still don't have support for gapless playback. It's not just annoying, it totally disrupts the listening experience. Dark Side Of The Moon (and any other gapless album) for example is just wrecked by all the gaps. Crazy.

James said...

How do you get the album art work onto this, does it do it with itunes, or do you have to copy the jpegs over?

Cool review btw

Jon said...

@Daniel, thanks. Agree about the lack of gapless - it is annoying. Fortunately not too many of my albums has gapless gaps. Still, Sony ought to fix this.

@James, you have to embed the album art onto the track's ID3 tag. You can do so during the ripping time (using rippers like dbpoweramp) or later on (using MP3tag or MediaMonkey - which I personally use to tag all my music and transfer them over to the player).

This is a standard way to getting album art to display on most modern DAPs and music phones.

If the album art still does not display, try reducing the resolution of it (mine are in 300x300 res - which is about right size and quality wise) and that the JPEG are saved as 'baseline' profile (important if you are using Photoshop).

Thanks for the comment!

Keling said...

Is the sound quality of this x series walkman definately greater than that of the s639?

Is can the touch screen sometimes be a nuisance, such as you may accidentally select something when the player is in your pocket?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon
This review, the questions and answers make this one of the best reviews I have ever read...I have been looking for an upgrade on my player for a while and I now know which one I am going for! with all its faults...Off to the Sony shop to glad-hand one then off to tinterweb land to buy...
Cheers
Jay

Eternally said...

Great review, you really highlighted its pros and cons wel! I have an idea of purchasing it and I have a major question - is it bluetooth enabled?

Jon said...

Jay, thanks. Hope you enjoy it!

Eternally, no it isn't. Thanks for the comment!

Eternally said...

Aw, shucks!
Thanks a lot anyways.
So music and video can be transferred from the computer to the mp4 via a connecting cable, or will a CD be provided?

Jon said...

Transfer is via the cable. Just drag and drop (both audio or video) or use WMP/Media Monkey etc. (for audio only).

yu gi said...

i am very pleased to find your reviews.
they are very helpful to me .
thanks a lot :)

Jon said...

You are welcomed. Glad to me of help.

Anonymous said...

Is the sound quality of the x1060 a lot better than the s739?

Anonymous said...

Is the sony x1060's sound quality a lot better than the s739? or just only slightly?

what about the battery of life of x1060? is it considerably shorter?

Jon said...

The SQ is noticeably clearer and cleaner. How much depends on what headphones you use. To me it is sufficient enough to upgrade, but to others it may not be. In either case I suggest waiting for the new 64GB A840 series first.

As for battery life, it is shorter by about 10 hours. It is still considerably better than other DAPs.

Anonymous said...

Is it only the A840, will have the master amp system that the x1000 series have? Will the S740s have it as well?

How long will the battery life of the A849 be?

yu gi said...

i have nw-e013f,it is an old player but it sounds fantastic,i dont have problems with sonic stage.

i have a 100db/16 ohm sony ex headphone ,it sounds very good but i want to upgrade to a louder and better sounding headphone @max. 100$
what i can buy?

Jon said...

US$100? Hmm... not sure as I am not aware of what is generally available in the US. I take it that you like quantities of bass?

For under $100, the Denon C551 and C751 are worth considering. They are an upgrade over the bundled Sony EX headphones and have good amount of bass.

Anonymous said...

My sennheiser Ie 8 started to play up after 3 weeks of use. The speakers are starting to amplify sounds unevenly. What is more worrying is that it tends to amplify uneven sounds inconsistently. For example, I play the same song twice, and I can hear it being played differently.

Is this all part of the soundstage ability? Is there any way of switching off the soundstage?

Anonymous said...

i see in some reviews that sony a810/820 are louder than the x walkman ' is that true?
sorry for bad english ...:)

Jon said...

The IE 8 is not meant to do that. Get it replaced.

I am not sure what you mean by 'louder'. I do not have a A810 with me now, but the X-series is louder than the S-series at the same volume level. I tend to listen to it at a lower volume.

Jon said...

Great review. Wish I'd read it before I'd bought mine, along with the AV docking station. I didn't know about the 320x240 MP4 limitation. I connected it to my digital satellite receiver (SKY in the UK) and have successfully recorded content. However I was very disappointed to see that everything played back in miniaturised format. It records as MP4. Zooming during playback fills the screen pretty well but there is cropping at top and bottom on a widescreen recording. Just a small warning to prospective buyers & bit of a shame but still a great gadget. Thanks for at least making me understand why I'm seeing what I'm seeing.

Anonymous said...

Any news on the sony A840? has it lived up to expectations?

In the preview video, I think I saw the player had a language translation function, could you elaborate on that?

SwayDizzle said...

Actually the videos are not capped at 320x240, u can play videos that are 480x264. according to some people, windows media player can convert videos to 480x264 when you drag-n-drop videofiles on to the player. Though i think this is just in windows7, you probably have to do it manually yourself otherwise

Jon said...

A840 has not been released in the UK yet...

As for video files, I did mention in the review that videos with 480x270 resolution is supported, but only if encoded with WMV Simple Profile.

larry said...

hi Jon
thanks for the great review, it was difficult to find one that was balanced i hope this is the right place to post this as its my first post.my 1060 arrived 2 days ago after my touch took is last breath.my impressions of it so far is that its far better than the touch. i bought it mainly for the sound and that's awesome the same as the screen, it feels so much more sturdy than the touch. the lack of applications is no big deal as my phone has all the applications i need. just ordered a screen protector and case if I've spent all that money best to look after it.once again thanks for the review it helped a lot

Anonymous said...

"In the preview video, I think I saw the player had a language translation function, could you elaborate on that?"

I believe it is not a translation function. It's a language learning function. It can slow down/repeat, for people want to learn new language. You know, like a special tape recorder.

Jon said...

Larry,

Thanks for the kind comments. I am glad that my review was useful to you and others. Hope you enjoy the Walkman!

Anonymous said...

Jon, which sony walkman are you currently using at the moment? is it the x1060?

Just wondering what do you do with your old sony walkmans such as the s639 and s739? Are you selling them?

Jon said...

I sold my X1060 recently in anticipation of the new A840 and S639 back when I got the S739 (it was purely an aesthetic reason for selling that).

The X1060 is still the best sounding DAP I have ever heard. But I really do want that A840. If Sony UK does not announce its UK release by the end of the month I may just have to import it and put up with SonicStage.

There is no language translation function, AFAIK. You can however switch the language of the UI.

Anonymous said...

do you know any website which I can import the A847? ebay.com or anywhere else does not seem to sell them

Anonymous said...

The sony a847 64gb is on ebay now, are you gonna buy one then jon?

Jon said...

Tempting...

But we are puchasing our first ever property and will be moving soon. So the money is kinda tied up for now. Plus I am reluctant to import any expensive device for the time being. Who knows where we will be when it finally clears HM Custom...

Very disappointed with Sony Europe for not releasing this yet. They have a killer device that it years ahead of Apple's iPod and they are not willing to sell it.

r4i software said...

The Sony S-Series Walkman no longer offers noise cancellation or upgraded headphones; there's no podcast support, SenseMe Channels, or on-the-go playlists; getting video onto the device can be a hassle.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to you then Jon in your property purchase.

Does the new S640/740 walkmans not have noise cancelling, or sense me and podcast?

Will sony definately release the
A840 in europe?

Anonymous said...

Jon, does the noise cancelling function on the s739 work with the x series headphones?

Jon said...

Anon1, thanks.

The S740, like the S730, will have noise cancelling. I am going to assume it will have podcast support like the S730/S630 series based on pictures of the UI - which is based on the X-series now. If so there is a possibility that there is no SenseMe, which would be a shame as I love the feature.

No idea on when the A840 will be released over here. Sony Europe is definitely mum about the issue. I will ask my local Sony Store later today or tomorrow.

Anon2,

It should. Both have the same mini plugs on them, but I can't confirm as I no longer have them.

In any case, it is better to invest in a good pair of passive noise isolation in-ear headphones than relying on ANC for noise suppression.

David said...

Hi John, I got one a few months ago and love it. One thing though like another person who posted a comment I cant get youtube. Everything seems to be set up correctly and time is correct. I have tried on three seperate wifi connections in case there was a router problem and still get the message "could not connect to YouTube". has anyone else had this and found a solution.DaveS

Anonymous said...

Jon, did you speak to your local sony centre then about the A840 series? what did they say?

Jon said...

I spoke with two people at two different Sony shop (Westfield and Watford). They have no idea about this series, nor do they have any idea when it would arrive. At this rate I doubt it will ever be released outside Japan this year.

It seems that Sony Europe has decided that there is no market for a high end touchscreen-less DAP. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

When you had your x1060 walkman, did you pretty much have to charge it every other day, since the battery life was so short?

Anonymous said...

When you had your x1060 walkman, did you pretty much have to charge it every other day, since the battery life was so short?

Jon said...

No. I charged it every couple of days. I found the battery life to be pretty good, not as good as the S630 or A810 series but still decent for close to a week of usage (about 4-5 hours a day).

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Great review!

I currently have a Sony NW-HD1 that I bought 5 years ago (sigh) and that I still find very good. However, battery capacity is now very low and using SonicStage is a real pain (I'm a Linux user). What made me really want to replace it is that the latest version of SonicStage wants me to reformat my device because that version is not compatible with previous ones...

So I've been digging through the web during the past few days for a good replacement, and I think I finally found one :-) I was heading toward an iPod touch/nano, but iTunes was more or less a stopper for me, as I didn't want to run again into that kind of SonicStage problem.

This walkman seems amazing, and its support of MTP is a great thing. I'll still think about it for a few days, but I think this one will be the winner.

BTW, thanks for the extensive review, most of them never mention how the transfer is done.

Anonymous said...

Do you know where I can get the 1.20m sennheiser ie 8 cables? most online shops are sold out. Is there a good chance that local sennheiser retailers will have them in stock?

Jon said...

Anon1,

Thanks. The X-series is a worth replacement to your HD1. I am sure you will enjoy it.

Anon2,

I have never actually seen the cable being sold. I guess the best chance of getting it would be calling Sennheiser CS and ask for it. I know of a few people who bought accessories and spare parts directly from their customer service.

The 1.2m IE 8 cable's part no is 525719.

Good luck.

stan said...

Great review I agree with every word. I've been using my X1060 32gig for 2 days nowand loving it but it definately needs a playlist generator and it would be perfect. I hope sony put this in the next firmware update.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to miss London then Jon? you got a new job at hertfordshire?

Anonymous said...

Are you gonna miss London then Jon? you got a new job at heartfordshire?

Jon said...

Will still be working in London. :)

Anonymous said...

Still no news on A847 walkman being released here?

Is sennheiser gonna release Ie9 next year? I wonder how they are going to do better than the Ie 8

Mitch said...

Excellent review and so nice to see current followup questions and responses. Based on the comments and review here I will be purchasing one of these in the next few days. Cheers!

Koneesha said...

Hello Jon. Great review. i was wondering how the browser was after the firmware update. Is it still "piss poor" or is it improved. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Jon, great review. Bought the 1060 early on, mainly for music, and not been disapointed.

Only annoyance is lack of line out cable. I wonder if you or other readers know if one is available yet or if not whether there is any other solution, e.g. a USB converter. Using the headphone socket is hopeless.

Thanks
Rummo

Anonymous said...

Could anyone tell me the difference between the NWZ-X1060 and the NWZ-X1061 please?

Thanks in advance

Koneesha said...

The 1060 is for a different region I think. I believe that this blog is British so they would get the 1060. I know that the American model is the 1061, if i am not mistaken.

Mitch said...

The Canadian model is NWZ-X1060B.

Koneesha said...

My mistake. Oh well. I knew the numbers meant different places though. ;)

Anonymous said...

Great review. Got one for Christmas - am loving it atm!

Rebecca said...

i have a good question im really angry at my equalizer since i have to change it for every song and i just wanted to turn it off is there a possible way to disable the equalizer in the sony walkman s series???

Jon said...

Hi Rebecca,

You can switch the equaliser off by pressing Options then selecting equaliser and selecting the most top setting. I will confirm the step by step selection when I get home tonight.

Anonymous said...

is the x walkman loud as sony old discman? as they was rated as 15 mw per channel and i heard one of them (d-t450) it is exceptionally sounded with a great fidelity makes me totally amazed with loudness and sound quality!

Anonymous said...

Hello Jon,

I'm greatful for your review, very detailed and useful. I have an x series in the post on its way to me. I was just wondering if you'd know whether the noise cancelling works with any normal speakers which aren't bundled with the unit...

Thanks very much

Kris

Jon said...

Kris,

The noise cancellig function will not work with any normal speakers unfortunately, unless it has its own noise cancelling function (with built-in mics).

My suggestion is to get a good passive isolation headphones. The bundled headphones are good, but there are better third party IEMs out there.

Good choice getting the X-series. You won't regret it.

@Anon

The X-series are pretty loud actually, but I do not currently have any discmans with me. Sony Walkmans output are always conservatively calculated compared to their rivals.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great review, it helped a lot (was one of the deciding factors in opting for the X-1060).
However, the headphones broke a couple of weeks ago (accident, not manufacturer defect, so I can't get them replaced).
I've tried the Sony EX-500LP, and quite frankly, I regret buying them (in terms of sound quality, they don't really come near to the ones bundled with the player).
Which headphones at around $200 (+/- $30)would you suggest for use with the X series?
I was thinking giving a shot at the Senn IE6, but suggestions would be appreciated (I can currently only get hold of Shure, Sony, Bose and Sennheiser. I listen to Metal, and the bundled NC020 sounded fairly good).
I'm hoping for some crisp, clear & warm sound with no shortage of deep bass response(could the IE6 provide that)? Basically something comparable to the bundled phones, but taking only in-ear models into consideration (I have to be highly mobile most of the time).

Thanks for your time in advance! And keep reviewing, the blog rocks.

Jon said...

Thanks for the cooment.

I do not have a IE 6, but I do have its more expensive brother the IE 8.

Sennheiser IEMs has always provided ample enough of bass quantity and response (seeing that they are dynamic headphones) so I do think the IE 6 would be a great replacement (even my cheaper CX 95 was better than the bundled Sony). Besides a standard two year warranty is always helpful with fragile products like this.

Shures are worth considering - it just depends on how much bass you require.

The Bose isn't worth thinking about.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the info. ^^

Anonymous said...

Amazon will be selling the a845 walkman on the 13th this month. You gonna buy the 16gb version if the 64gb one does not arrive in europe or the USA?

Jon said...

I doubt so. £148 is a lot of money for only 16GB, and I doubt the SQ alone will make it worth it.

32GB is the minimum requirement for a modern DAP, but my eyes are set for the 64GB.

Jon said...

Having said that I wouldn't say no if Sony were to send me a review unit.

Anonymous said...

has it been definately confirmed that the japanese 64gb model does not have the drag and drop function?

is it going to be a challenge to use the japanese version of the walkman?

Jon said...

With the X-series, Japanese NW has support for both Sonicstage and drag and drop, AFAIK.

Not sure about the A-series.

Anonymous said...

Any news on the new s series walkman (s740) being released in UK?

How comes the s739 is still a popular walkman even today? do you think its actuallly better than the s740 and a845?

Jon said...

I haven't heard anything about the S740 being released here yet, so that may explain why the older models are popular. There's also the price advantage.

I'm going to try to get hold of the A845 to test.

Anonymous said...

Got hold of the a845 to test yet?

IS it true that the x1060 hisses more than the s739?

And when did dave cameron say he will nuke china?

Jon said...

No A845 yet, been busy with a HTC Legend.

There is a very slight hiss. It is none-existent on the S630/730. Not as much as the older A810 series.

As for Dave Cameron, well:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2010/apr/15/leaders-debate-live-blog

Anonymous said...

Does the s739's battery life last at least a day or two longer than the x 1060 one?

Anonymous said...

Does the s739's battery life last at least a day or two longer than the x 1060 one?

Jon said...

It does, well, depending on your usage behaviour. Officially there should be about 8-9 hours of extra audio playback time with the S630/730 series compared to the X-series.

Anonymous said...

HAve you seen the film series Mr. Vampire? If so, do you know what happens in the third one?

Anonymous said...

The s739 hasn't got the so called not lound enough issue with it has it? what about the x1060?

Is this problem really significant if I only listen to my music at volume level 6?

Jon said...

In my experience, none of the Walkmans I have or had, had not loud enough issues especially when paired with a 16/32ohm IEM. I tend to listen between volumes 4-8.

The X-Series is quite a bit louder than the S739.

purrpleberrie said...

It's the best player I've ever invested in. A bit pricey where I come from, SGD700, but for the sound quality, it's a music lover's haven!

Anonymous said...

Any luck getting hold of a a845 to review yet?

Are you gonna be buying an ipad and reviewing it?

Jon said...

I actually did place an order on Amazon UK recently, but the estimate due date is 1-3 months!!! Sony really are cocking up the launch of the A840 series in the UK (and elsewhere).

All the hype that was gained when it was announced has all but vanished. I am not sure if I want to bother waiting for them to restock, but I'll give it a couple of weeks before deciding.

Not interested in the ipad at all, but I am saving up for a ThinkPad X-series tablet probably for next year when I replace my aging X61.

Anonymous said...

you must have got the a845 by now, amazon has restocked it. Gonna be reviewing it anytime soon?

Jon said...

A845 incoming!

Should be here by this weekend (I am a cheapskate hence using the saver delivery!).

Will give it the usual 1-2 weeks before reviewing.

Anonymous said...

hey jon i just saw there is the nwz a846 walkman, thats right, NWZ-a846, not jap nw. check it out on google.

Jon said...

I believe the NWZ-A846 has been available in Asia Pacific for some time. But I am unwilling to import such a device for many reasons (warranty, customs, stolen by postal workers, returns policy).

Dear Sony Europe.

Get off you arse and release the A847 64GB here!

Or release a new cheaper X-series with 64GB and no WiFi.

Anonymous said...

So the nwz s739 is basically the device as we know it, its the european model with all the main languages available as well as drag and drop?

In terms of of your postage concern. yesasia.com sells it. and they are pretty reliable. I have bought from them many times.

Jon said...

The UK model of the S739 has all the main languages and drag & drop. I would assume it is the same as the none-Japan NWZ variants.

Anonymous said...

So basically, you're saying you can'g go wrong with buying the x1060?

Could you please give a detailed mention on how user friendly the button on the a845 is? i heard it's one of the main problems.

does the hissing still exist on the x1060 even if you change the headphones to IE 8?

Jon said...

Yes, there is nothing wrong with getting the X-series, if SQ is what you are after, and SQ alone, because that it where it excels. If you want apps and other none-music stuff then the Zune or Touch will be much better.

That is why I've writen such a positive review about it. The SQ is unsurpassed. It really is a new standard in amp-less DAP (it sounds stupid because all DAP does has amps, but what I meant is without using external portable amps like Pico or Mustang).

As far as hisses goes, it does hiss with the IE 8. But it really is minute and not worth bothering about. If it bothers you I suggest taking your favourite IEM to a Sony store and test it there.

Will get back to you on the buttons once I have the A840 in my hands. It is due to arrive on Saturday or next week.

Anonymous said...

SO as far as you know, is the nwz-a846 the international version? ie. contains drag and drop, and with different languages?

Is you sole reason for not getting this model is because of warranty? surely sony walkmans are reliable enough to last a long time?

Jon said...

The version I am getting is the UK NWZ version which should have drag and drop.

Walkmans are realible, but the A840 isn't cheap so I rather not take the chance.

Anonymous said...

so the 32gb A846 is basically the international version then?

Anonymous said...

SO the a845's output isnt as loud as the s739? what about its sound quality, is it better than the s739?

Anonymous said...

when will you be putting up the full review for the a845 then?

Jon said...

Patience. I'll be away for the majority of this week and next week on holiday, so I expect that it will be posted once I get back.

Jon said...

The SQ is brilliant. Warm and powerful sounding (at the correct volume), not at all digital like. Just like the X-series.

The limited volume should not be a problem if you are using a IEM, and I can recommend the A845 if you are fine with 16GB and don't mind the fiddly buttons. Otherwise spring more for the X1060 32GB.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon,
I bought my Walkman X 1050 a few weeks ago and received a few days back. Having owned it for a few days, all I can say is that it ain't as all good with sound quality as people have hyped it up to be. I dont know how you can say this absolutely good when the previous model from S series (s706FV) which I still have, sounds so much better with nicely rounded bass and highs. Evn the FM reception is poor on the X. Only good thing about the X is the volume which S series dint offer. So it's all wrong to say that you should buy this player all based on its sound quality. People tend to believe that they would be getting something more than the previous S Series lineup. To me the X series investment was a disappointment. I wish I could buy an s739 or s738 but they are no more on sale on the web.

Anonymous said...

You can buy a s738 on amazon uk, a 2nd handed one for 100 quid

Anonymous said...

The A847 will be released in the UK around late august I think.I read it somewhere on sony eu

Anonymous said...

for sale nwz s739

http://www.willentrading.co.uk/audio/mp3-players/sony-nwzs739f-16gb-premium-video-mp3-player-black-p-4783.html?osCsid=kk5sjllm9f9c8a8omqn9mcr5b4

Anonymous said...

Jon, does all the sony walkmans released in the UK now, suffer from the low volume issue?

Is the new s755 walkman better than the s739?

Jon said...

I can't say as I haven't bought any recent Walkmans. Sorry!

Mitch said...

Firmware v1.11 is available now. I was prompted to update this morning when I plugged my unit into my pc to charge.