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aznbro85

aznbro85's NWZ-A818 Review

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So, after finding out about the new Network Walkman and the discontinuation of SonicStage and the ATRAC format, I had an itching to try out one of the new players.

Being the Network Walkman whore that I am, after finding out that they were released on Wednesday in the US, I gave my local Sony Style store (San Francisco, California) a call, and indeed they had these new players in stock!

So the next day I made it a mission to go check out these players. And check it out i did!

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BEFORE I START:

I noticed that people here on Atraclife wanted to check out the user's manual, and it wasn't on sony's e-support site.

I extracted the one off from the software CD and here it is to anybody who is interested in it =)

http://www.mediamax.com/aznbro85/Hosted/A810_GB.pdf

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Ok, let's let the games begin!

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the new sonystyle bag... looks so cool to me for some reason.. that HDNA campaign they have going on is getting to me...

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The box

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Manual and other papers, Software CD

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Headphones, Extension Cord, WM-Port USB Cable, Cradle converter for those with the dock

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And the NWZ-A818 in Black :)

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Bottom view, WM-Port and Headphone Out

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Side view, Volume controls and lanyard hole

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The back of the player

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Home Screen

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EQ Settings

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Shot of the Music Settings

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Shot of the Video Settings

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Shot of Photo Settings

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Brightness settings... i had the screen at "1" brightness earlier.. this is full brightness

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Shot of Common Settings

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Shot of Language Settings

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Time and Date Screensaver..

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Walkman at work!

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Walkman at rest.

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Plugged in the Walkman, and Windows Vista detected the player and installed the drivers for it, no problem

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Player in the Control Panel

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File structure of the player

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The music folder. All the album folders I DRAGGED AND DROPPED INTO THE PLAYER. The individual files were the pre-installed sony ones

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Windows Media Player 11 discovers player, wants to sync

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Song I transfered via drag and drop. Lost album art and year

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Song I transferd via WMP11.

YES! IT SUPPORTS UNICODE / NON-ENGLISH CHARACTERS! :wave:

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I also scanned all the documents that I thought you guys might be interested in...

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The software cd

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Napster trial card, with 14-day free code on back..

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Sound Quality: Great!

I'm using MP3 files @ 192kbps ripped from WMP11, and it sounds a lot better than my usual 64kbps ATRAC3plus.

Battery Life: Great!

I've used it for a few hours, and the battery indicator still shows as full bar.

Build Quality: Good

The player feels sturdy, but it feels kinda small and light in my big hands (haha)... The NWZ-S6xx series seems a tad heaver and more 'rugged' when i tried them out in-store

Misc:

- Finally, it reads kanji without the use of AppLocale! :D

- I don't know if I'm tripping or not, but I feel that the player seems "quieter" than the other ones I own.. when I blast it at max volume it doesnt seem as loud as my old ones.

- GAPLESS? Not sure [sorry you guys :sad: ] I couldn't tell if this player played MP3 gapless or not. I have some tracks I thought were gapless, but i couldnt tell if it was truely gapless or not. There didn't seem to be an 'obvious' gap, but i think i might have heard like a split-second 'gap'... i'll have to look into it, i guess, haha

- WM-PORT

- The bluetooth adapter WLA-NWB1 does indeed work with the player. I used it with my DR-BT50 bluetooth headphones, and sound quality was excellent.

- The recording cable that was released with the NW-S7xx series WMC-NWR1 DOES NOT work on this player. I plugged it in, went to home menu, and looked around, and found nothing to allow me to record onto the player directly

- VIDEO: The quality of the included Spiderman 3 trailor looked really well. I tried to convert my own file to put onto the player, but I still haven't been able to have one that worked yet. :(

Having fiddled around with this for about a day and a half now, I really am enjoying this player. It looks nice (Looks like a PlayForSure version of the OpenMGed NW-A808 that I was about to get imported)

It supports drag-and-drop, so people other than those who use windows can finally enjoy Sony's Network Walkmans :)

But, when you use software, you get the album art and 'more functionality' out of the player, haha..

I can't wait til that "Media Manager for WALKMAN" software comes out, maybe that will help me out with the video transfer problem.

but other than that, i really love this player. Good work sony! :D

EDIT: I forgot to mention, the player indeed does NOT show up in SonicStage. It shows up in WMP11, and in Windows Explorer, but again, it does not register in SonicStage.

Edited by aznbro85

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Hi, is there any (unofficial) firmware hack to turn an A806 to an A816??? Or there are hardware differences (DPS's, processor capability/speed, memory, etc.)?

But it's really a shame that SonicStage and A810 series don't work together... I love SonicStage and ATRAC3+!

no there isn't, if a firmware update was all that was needed, then sony would have not released new players.

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I so want this player, a shame I can't afford it, and I haven't seen it in Canada!

Edit: so amazed by the player I forgot to thank you for the review... So here it is;

Thanks for taking the time to make this review and showing us that wonderful audio player! :D

Edited by DannyB37

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Gapless playback is not that easy.

Sony has to start from the beginning.....

A freeware firmware called rockbox can implement gapless, so if they can do it, a big company like Sony should be able to do it.

Lame MP3 already contains tags needed for gapless playback (used by foobar and rockbox). How hard is it for Sony to support that?

The S70x series can play AAC gaplessly, so Sony already have something done, yet it's not implemented on the new walkmen?

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I so want this player, a shame I can't afford it, and I haven't seen it in Canada!

it's coming in late september I believe, or early october.

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Hello!

As is said:

Sony has to start from the beginning.

The new ipods rock.

Again and again. And the battery life is also no problem anymore in the ipods.

Sony has lost all their key features. Including gapless.

The only thing is now the Equalizer which is much better in the sony.

But this is no more interesting for me when the maximum Volume is so low.

The Sony time is over for me.

Apples gonna rock the house.

Bye

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The only thing is now the Equalizer which is much better in the sony.

But this is no more interesting for me when the maximum Volume is so low.

Funny, volume is the one thing I have absolutely no problem with. I listen at around 60% of maximum, which is loud enough and leaves plenty in reserve, at least with the 706 and 808.

I could complain about lots of other things, as I'm sure we all could - but I think the volume output on these units is amazing, and definitely one of its strengths along with the sound quality. If my Sony daps didn't excel in this area, I'd have looked for another player a long time ago :D

Edited by juli

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I had so many Players from Sony and the HD1 was a joke according to the maximum volume.

And this sucks. I don´t want to buy several players to have it good in only one of them.

Sony pisses me off.

In an iPod all these fundamental things work fine.

The Audio Quality is not the problem of the sony but also not in my iPod video 5.5 G.

So anyway. Everything else is not interesting anymore at a Sony.

And 299 Euro für 8GB flash is a little joke when the ipod costs 249.

They have to bleed for all this until they learn.

bye

Edited by lindijones

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Hi, great review!

One more effort: did you manage to play videos and pictures?

Will you please upload some close-up shots of the screen when viewing videos and images? (you may Pause the video)

Is it detailed enough to read subtitles? (thinking of Death Note anime and such) I'd like to have such information before buying one.

I've downloaded some video clips through iTunes that were from NASA. They had subtitles and I could read them no problem (I have the A-806, which has the same screen size). You have to turn off the information that appears across the bottom of the screen (the progress bar, the battery indicator and the running time), which is easy enough to do.

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Hello!

As is said:

Sony has to start from the beginning.

The new ipods rock.

Again and again. And the battery life is also no problem anymore in the ipods.

Sony has lost all their key features. Including gapless.

The only thing is now the Equalizer which is much better in the sony.

But this is no more interesting for me when the maximum Volume is so low.

The Sony time is over for me.

Apples gonna rock the house.

Bye

(mind if I change your into something more readable, don't use that much empty spaces...)

You can't compare sony's to Ipods if you look at the soundquality. You can say a lot about Ipods, but not that sound as great as Sony's/Irivers/Iaudio's and so on. An Ipod is more stylish (although I prefer the looks of my a808 over every Ipod, especialy the new Nano looks really ugly) and it has an userfriendly interface, but in my opinion you pay for too much for what you get.

About volume, I don't get your complaining, usually I listen at 30% of its max and sometimes up to 50-60%. Else it would blow up my ears :unsure:

Edited by Rens

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The iPod Video 5.5G sounds much better than my Sony HD5 Walkman.

Thats a fact.

The new players from Sony increased sound quality a bit but anyway iPods do not stress me with bullshxt.

The 8GB Flash player from is 50 euro more expensive than the old nano.

And the new nano with 8 GB costs 199 Euro.

The iPod is in fact cheaper than the Sonys.

The advantages of the Sony shrink more and more.

But anyway i was the same Sony freak as you but i woke up.

bye

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A freeware firmware called rockbox can implement gapless, so if they can do it, a big company like Sony should be able to do it.

Lame MP3 already contains tags needed for gapless playback (used by foobar and rockbox). How hard is it for Sony to support that?

The S70x series can play AAC gaplessly, so Sony already have something done, yet it's not implemented on the new walkmen?

I agree - not supporting the gapless tags in LAME mp3s now is rediculous. The iPod and iTunes both make use of the LAME tags if they are present. If they are not there, it does some analysis of silence to remove the gap.

Another piece of hardware that supports the LAME gapless tags is the SqueezeBox made by Logitech (formerly SlimDevices). They introduced this feature after Apple introduced it in the iPod.

There is PLENTY of music out there that is gapless: any live album, classical music, a lot of progressive and classic rock, electronic music. Maybe not a lot of "mainstream" music is gapless, but gapless music doesn't all fall into the esoteric category. Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, and Dark Side of the Moon are classic examples of widely appreciated albums that require gapless playback to be fully enjoyed. Many folks just learn to live with it because they don't know any better.

Gapless playback was one of the reasons that I was a staunch fan of Sony DAPs and ATRAC and fought against the iPod tide. If I hadn't bailed ship already, these latest developments certainly would have sent me over the edge.

Sorry to rant, but it really annoys me when companies like Sony ignore that gapless feature. The technology has been around enough that there is no excuse anymore.

Edited by maggior

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The iPod is in fact cheaper than the Sonys. The advantages of the Sony shrink more and more.

But anyway i was the same Sony freak as you but i woke up.

Price isn't always a consideration if SQ is valued above all else, and I don't see any value at all in buying an iPod if the SQ is inferior just because I can save some money. How long will it be before the extra money is forgotten about and all that lingers is the nastiness that pumps through my ears every day? And I don't know what a Sony 'freak' is. . . but I can't see I'll ever 'wake up' and discover I now enjoy inferior SQ. If that makes me a freak. . . then I guess I'm a freak :lol:

Edited by juli

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The iPod Video 5.5G sounds much better than my Sony HD5 Walkman.

Thats a fact.

The new players from Sony increased sound quality a bit but anyway iPods do not stress me with bullshxt.

The 8GB Flash player from is 50 euro more expensive than the old nano.

And the new nano with 8 GB costs 199 Euro.

The iPod is in fact cheaper than the Sonys.

The advantages of the Sony shrink more and more.

But anyway i was the same Sony freak as you but i woke up.

bye

funny thing is apple caps their products way too low here in europe and there is absolutely no need for that as all other vendors demonstrate.

also, there is no current sony hdd product on the market so i don´t see your point. ipod rules the hdd realm.

besides, this is a review thread so please open a new thread to compare hdd players.

i can´t see your point with pricing. nano fatty comes in at 199, sony 249 suggessted retail price. howver, you get a leather case, 40 euro ear buds and a leather lanyard for the price so there is no advantage to nano 3g.

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I just received my NW-A808 and E016 and the sound on both of them is incredible with music in atrac 64. I live in the US and bought the A808 because I love Atrac. It makes the A808 like a 16GB player. I have 3400 songs and still have 1GB free. Its a real shame that Sony will not make any more players with Atrac. I also have no problem with SS. If anyone has music in Atrac I would highly recommend getting the A808 over the A818. I doubt someone could hear the difference between Atrac 64 and MP3 at 192 exept you can have 1/3rd of the capacity. I compared the sound of the A808 to the Iphone and the Iphone sounded like the radio compared to the A808. The A808 even sounded great with the crappy iphone earphones. I actually also bought a apare A808 so they will last me a few years. I am not sure what you could ask for more in a player than the A808. Its sad something so great will soon be no more.

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it's coming in late september I believe, or early october.

That would be so cool, I suddenly want to sell my iPod to some sucker, if the time comes lol If I can find it I so want it!!!!

Edited by DannyB37

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funny thing is apple caps their products way too low here in europe and there is absolutely no need for that as all other vendors demonstrate.

also, there is no current sony hdd product on the market so i don´t see your point. ipod rules the hdd realm.

besides, this is a review thread so please open a new thread to compare hdd players.

i can´t see your point with pricing. nano fatty comes in at 199, sony 249 suggessted retail price. howver, you get a leather case, 40 euro ear buds and a leather lanyard for the price so there is no advantage to nano 3g.

Apple is still the loudest i ever heard with a europe cap. ;-)

There is no current HDD Product from Sony, but there was. AND they were not cheaper than the iPod.

The iPod fatty works. That´s the difference. And as you said: the earphone costs about 40 euro extra. That´s the point.

Anyway don´t feel agressive to me. ;-)

I know all the situations as a fanboy.

I bought all the stuff from Sony including the first MemoyStick Walkman and the second and.... I don´t know how many Minidisc Players.

And they were good. No Question.

But at the moment nothing can bring me back to Sony except there is a better "iTunes" from Sony and a better Support of Firmware updates.

In the 5G iPod Video you also got the Firmware update to get gapless playback.

If you had a Sony the´ll let you die with your walkman.

Conclusion: I just have ripped my CDs too often because of an Atrac crash.

I have learned a lot and i hope that Sony will come back on track. But I think that they don´t have the taste like apple.

And the click wheel is one of these tasty things. It´s just a phenomenon.

I think that and many other users also like this kind of browsing through music.

Sony just don´t have the taste for a simmilar volume regulation like in the iPod.

It´s just amazing.

I think that and many many people too.

So far. Enjoy your Sony players!

Bye

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I've downloaded some video clips through iTunes that were from NASA. They had subtitles and I could read them no problem (I have the A-806, which has the same screen size). You have to turn off the information that appears across the bottom of the screen (the progress bar, the battery indicator and the running time), which is easy enough to do.
Thanks, could you please post a close-up screen, I'm just curious to check if it is worth to buy a video player... :P

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You have to turn off the information that appears across the bottom of the screen (the progress bar, the battery indicator and the running time), which is easy enough to do.

Where is that setting. I have searched but (obviously) not found... :)

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Apple is still the loudest i ever heard with a europe cap. ;-)

There is no current HDD Product from Sony, but there was. AND they were not cheaper than the iPod.

The iPod fatty works. That´s the difference. And as you said: the earphone costs about 40 euro extra. That´s the point.

Anyway don´t feel agressive to me. ;-)

I know all the situations as a fanboy.

I bought all the stuff from Sony including the first MemoyStick Walkman and the second and.... I don´t know how many Minidisc Players.

And they were good. No Question.

But at the moment nothing can bring me back to Sony except there is a better "iTunes" from Sony and a better Support of Firmware updates.

In the 5G iPod Video you also got the Firmware update to get gapless playback.

If you had a Sony the´ll let you die with your walkman.

Conclusion: I just have ripped my CDs too often because of an Atrac crash.

I have learned a lot and i hope that Sony will come back on track. But I think that they don´t have the taste like apple.

And the click wheel is one of these tasty things. It´s just a phenomenon.

I think that and many other users also like this kind of browsing through music.

Sony just don´t have the taste for a simmilar volume regulation like in the iPod.

It´s just amazing.

I think that and many many people too.

So far. Enjoy your Sony players!

Bye

Do you work for Apple Marketing or something? You're starting to get really annoying.

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So it looks like the new players can browse by folders, but are not gapless, or, at least not using drag and drop - it looks like it may still be possible when syching with WMP 11. Also looks like there could be some issues with album art when not using WMP 11:

So, if you use WMP 11, does this mean that you can't add albums individually, but have synch each time and only the music on that computer will end up on your player each time? (I wouldn't like to have to do that, especially since I have music on two computers that I would like to add to the player).

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After coming back from a two week vacation, it looks like a lot has happened in the DAP world. It's making me wonder how I should handle my future portable music needs... wait for this supposed firmware update for the A80x series mentioned at http://www.atraclife.com/forums/index.php?...c=4116&st=0, start converting all my free (with coupon) tracks from CONNECT to mp3 and start re-ripping all my music to mp3 or aac for the future... so much time. So much music. The open world is a better one to be sure, but it's a hard way to go for long-time Sony fans to switch from ATRAC. But, I suppose I could have all my music ready for use with a new Sony DAP or my SE Walkman phone (yes, big Sony fan here... PS3, HDTV, headphones, etc...)

I've browsed this now long thread and nobody's asked or mentioned the transfer speed with drag and drop or with WMP. How fast is it? Is it like the S-70x or A80x series "Hi-Speed USB 2.0" but really runs at 1.x speeds? Or did it actually get an upgrade?

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Also, on the video front, do the new models support the same videos I've been encoding with PSP Video 9 for... you guessed it, the PSP? I've been using the AVC format for video encodes, but the A80x currently doesn't support those videos. :( Let me know. Thanks!

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it's coming in late september I believe, or early october.

They better fix the pricing though. With the Fatty selling at 220$ for the 8 gigger (not to mention the 199$ Creative Zen V and the occasional Sandisk rebate which can decrease the Sansa's price below 200$), a Sony product can clean the house and do your homework and it's sales numbers still won't register on anyone's radar if they price it above the competition. Sound quality and higher-end earbuds only matter to a very small minority of people. Not to mention the 4GB NWZ-A8** Sony gadgets selling for 30$ above the 4GB Fatty and an even greater price discrepancy between Sony and Creative/Samsung/Sandisk/RCA 4GB players, all in the 130$ range.

Hope they fixed the transfer speeds too. Given their lame transfer speeds, Creative probably uses the same cheap second rate flash memory, but at least they sell their players at a discount relative to iPoos.

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