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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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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.

No need to say more.

@ascariss:

The A-Series with 8GB was at 299 Euro at the beginning. 50 Euro more than the iPod with 8GB. Okok with worthless video....because of some nice software.

hehe.

Drag and drop is nice, but without software to sync it is not that nice as the i-solution.

Anyway: Enjoy your Sony players!

;-)

Edited by lindijones

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No need to say more.

@ascariss:

The A-Series with 8GB was at 299 Euro at the beginning. 50 Euro more than the iPod with 8GB. Okok with worthless video....because of some nice software.

hehe.

Enjoy your Sony players!

I meant in canada, the price points for the 8 gig nano and 8 gig a808 were the same. the price points were identical to all apple products, 4 and 2 gig models.

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Is it just me or do Apple supporters seem to be getting a little worried now about Sony's drag and drop capability? To me this is such a significant new move that I think Sony might finally be able to steal some of the market share back, or is it too late now? Interesting times ahead that's for sure.

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Is it just me or do Apple supporters seem to be getting a little worried now about Sony's drag and drop capability? To me this is such a significant new move that I think Sony might finally be able to steal some of the market share back, or is it too late now? Interesting times ahead that's for sure.

Sony need to release a series of WALKMAN, stick to it ( not a ridiculous 4 month run), and aggressively advertise and promote it to get it stuck in peoples minds. Give the bloody thing a name not, NW*&^$££"%%; Imagine calling a car a RV ( road vehicle) S ( sports) 1998( faster model)....nonsense.

If they have any hunger for the DAP market a few simple policy changes could make all the difference....Oh! and one other thing occurred to me. In companies like COWON, APPLE and SANDISK there are probably hungry young professionals with their fingures on the pulse, somehow I don't think you could say the same for SONY.

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Sony need to release a series of WALKMAN, stick to it ( not a ridiculous 4 month run), and aggressively advertise and promote it to get it stuck in peoples minds. Give the bloody thing a name not, NW*&^$££"%%; Imagine calling a car a RV ( road vehicle) S ( sports) 1998( faster model)....nonsense.

If they have any hunger for the DAP market a few simple policy changes could make all the difference....Oh! and one other thing occurred to me. In companies like COWON, APPLE and SANDISK there are probably hungry young professionals with their fingures on the pulse, somehow I don't think you could say the same for SONY.

I think APPLE are way out the picture, in terms of Sony competing with them. The drag & drop does open up the market. Sony will always have a fan base. If Ipod lovers want to diss, Kool. let them. As long as you are happy with what you have, then that's all that matters.

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I think APPLE are way out the picture, in terms of Sony competing with them. The drag & drop does open up the market. Sony will always have a fan base. If Ipod lovers want to diss, Kool. let them. As long as you are happy with what you have, then that's all that matters.

I AM a SONY fan, but I want a high capacity player and SONY doesn't have one. APPLE,COWON and CREATIVE,( to name a few), do have these players. Surely, they are missing on on market share there.

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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 know exactly what you mean, I'm a big Sony fan as well and worried about my future portable music options.

Yesterday I decided to rerip all my CD's to WMV (day by day...) and start getting used to WMP11. I'll wait for the firmware update for my NWA-808 (I really hope it will actually come!!). In the meanwhile I'll continue using SS, by importing the reripped WMV into SS and put it on my NWA 808. If the firmware comes I'm ready to go over at once! If it doesn't come, I'll wait for a year or so and then get another (Sony!) walkman (who know what kind of DAPs they'll have by that time!) which will of course support WMV (I cannot imagine them ditching that again....then again, I never imagined them ditching Atrac...)

Regarding my bought Connect DRM ATRAC files, I think I will eventually burn them onto a CD and rip them into WMV. But I'll just postpone that as long as possible.

The worst problem I have now is that I'm very limited in buying tracks online at this moment. But I'll get over that...

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According to ENGADGET:

Sony cuts prices on A810, S610 :wave:

Sony's new A810 and S610 series Walkmans have just barely made it out the door, but it looks like the company has already decided to shave a few bucks off the price of 'em. According to the Sony Style website, the A810 now starts at $120 for the 2GB model (as opposed to the $140 launch price), while the 4GB will set you back $150 and the 8GB demands an even $200. The S610 series, on the other hand, now starts at just $100 for the 2GB model (down from $120 before), with the 4GB and 8GB coming it at $130 and $180, respectively. The Walkman B100 series, introduced around the same time as the other two, looks to be the only one unchanged, costing $60 for the 1GB version and $80 for the 2GB.

Sounds great to me :D

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I know exactly what you mean, I'm a big Sony fan as well and worried about my future portable music options.

Yesterday I decided to rerip all my CD's to WMV (day by day...) and start getting used to WMP11. I'll wait for the firmware update for my NWA-808 (I really hope it will actually come!!). In the meanwhile I'll continue using SS, by importing the reripped WMV into SS and put it on my NWA 808. If the firmware comes I'm ready to go over at once! If it doesn't come, I'll wait for a year or so and then get another (Sony!) walkman (who know what kind of DAPs they'll have by that time!) which will of course support WMV (I cannot imagine them ditching that again....then again, I never imagined them ditching Atrac...)

Regarding my bought Connect DRM ATRAC files, I think I will eventually burn them onto a CD and rip them into WMV. But I'll just postpone that as long as possible.

The worst problem I have now is that I'm very limited in buying tracks online at this moment. But I'll get over that...

Actually, your post has posed a question for me steve. Will WMP11 transfer MP3 to the A81*( A80* with firmware) or will it convert it to WMV on the way? I know MP3 will transfer via D'a'D, but I would like WMP11 to do the same...........I don't fancy WMV and the thoughts of re-ripping would lead me to stay with SS for my A805, now there's a development. :unsure:

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According to ENGADGET:

Sony cuts prices on A810, S610 :wave:

Sony's new A810 and S610 series Walkmans have just barely made it out the door, but it looks like the company has already decided to shave a few bucks off the price of 'em. According to the Sony Style website, the A810 now starts at $120 for the 2GB model (as opposed to the $140 launch price), while the 4GB will set you back $150 and the 8GB demands an even $200. The S610 series, on the other hand, now starts at just $100 for the 2GB model (down from $120 before), with the 4GB and 8GB coming it at $130 and $180, respectively. The Walkman B100 series, introduced around the same time as the other two, looks to be the only one unchanged, costing $60 for the 1GB version and $80 for the 2GB.

Sounds great to me :D

Wise move. Better player than, but at the same price as the iFatty. Now we're talking.

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Not to bring this topic more... well, on-topic, but can anyone comment to my questions about transfer speed and video codec compatibilities? It seems like the thread went into comparing it to the Nano and discussing its features, etc... I'd like to hear more impressions about the NWZ-A818 itself! Thanks!

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According to ENGADGET:

Sony cuts prices on A810, S610 :wave:

Sony's new A810 and S610 series Walkmans have just barely made it out the door, but it looks like the company has already decided to shave a few bucks off the price of 'em. According to the Sony Style website, the A810 now starts at $120 for the 2GB model (as opposed to the $140 launch price), while the 4GB will set you back $150 and the 8GB demands an even $200. The S610 series, on the other hand, now starts at just $100 for the 2GB model (down from $120 before), with the 4GB and 8GB coming it at $130 and $180, respectively. The Walkman B100 series, introduced around the same time as the other two, looks to be the only one unchanged, costing $60 for the 1GB version and $80 for the 2GB.

Sounds great to me :D

What?! The one I ordered last week hasn't even arrived yet, and they're already cutting the price?

I know you pay a premium to be an early adopter, but Jesus Christ.

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Not to bring this topic more... well, on-topic, but can anyone comment to my questions about transfer speed and video codec compatibilities? It seems like the thread went into comparing it to the Nano and discussing its features, etc... I'd like to hear more impressions about the NWZ-A818 itself! Thanks!

Hey doclloyd,

The transfer speed of this player is much faster than when using sonicstage, i think. Since you're able to just drag and drop items into the player, the speed is comparable to transfering onto a USB flash drive, and the player doesn't rebuild the library until you unplug it from the computer.

I just tried and sent a ~495MB movie file over to the player, and it took about 2min, 50seconds. Not as fast as a SATA harddrive, but i have a few usb sticks and they seem to transfer around the same speed. By the way, I'm using windows vista, which might still ahve that slow transfer prob going on, so it might be even faster on non-vista, i'm not exactly sure, heh..

As far as video codecs go, here's some info from the manual:

File format: MP4 file format, "Memory Stick" video format

File extension: .mp4, .m4v

Video:

~ AVC (H.264/AVC) Profile: Baseline Profile, Level: Max 1.3 Bit rate: Max 786kbps

~ MPEG-4 Profile: Simple Profile Bit rate: Max. 2,500kbps

Frame rate: Max 30fps

Resolution: Max QVGA (320 x 240)

AUDIO:

~ AAC-LC Channel Number: Max. 2 channels / Sampling frequency: 24. 32. 441/. 48kHz / Bit rate: MAx. 288kbps per 1 channel

File Size: Max. 2GB

The number of files: Max 1,000

To me, the sound quality is awesome, and asthetically it looks better than the new iPod nano. But i guess i'm a tad biased, me and my sony love (check out my stats) ~_~

And I too, just read on engadget about the price drop on the player. I don't mind much though, since I was thinking about importing the NW-A808 from japan a while back, and that would have costed a LOT more than the original price i paid for the NWZ-A818, so it's all good for me.

Hopefully the price drop will make the walkman somewhat competitive in the markets.

Here's to hoping, haha

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Thanks for the reply! That's great news that the speed is faster now. I'm sure it's the same for the S61x series as well. Here's hoping they make a more official announcement regarding the firmware update on the A80x series, unlike the current phone calls and emails some have received.

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Mine just arrived in the mail today. Awesome little player, my experience mostly echoes that of aznbro. I copied over some Nero-encoded AAC files, and they indeed do not play gaplessly. A minor annoyance, but hopefully it can be rectified. We'll see what develops with the Sony Media Manager software. There are a bunch of sound enhancement setting that I have yet to toy with.

EDIT: And SonyStyle just sent me an e-mail saying they'd credit me the difference for the yesterday's price drop, without me even having to ask them! w00t!

Edited by Akai Kenshi

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Mine just arrived in the mail today. Awesome little player, my experience mostly echoes that of aznbro. I copied over some Nero-encoded AAC files, and they indeed do not play gaplessly. A minor annoyance, but hopefully it can be rectified. We'll see what develops with the Sony Media Manager software. There are a bunch of sound enhancement setting that I have yet to toy with.

EDIT: And SonyStyle just sent me an e-mail saying they'd credit me the difference for the yesterday's price drop, without me even having to ask them! w00t!

Good for them. So it seems the release of the pod has one good effect on your wallet. :lol:

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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!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.

Thank you for the review. I wonder if Sony will release a tool to enable the conversion from ATRAC to one of the NWZ-A810 series supported formats.

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Thank you for the review. I wonder if Sony will release a tool to enable the conversion from ATRAC to one of the NWZ-A810 series supported formats.

Hey Shinji Ikeda,

Thanks for the compliment, I really appreciate it :)

Sony already has software to help convert (unprotected/non-Connect store bought) ATRAC files to MP3. It's included in the package, but can also be found on their esupport site.

http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/swu-list....amp;SelectOS=27

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Sony UK just dropped the price this morning, I ordered a 818 for £129.00 (190Euro). The free case and neck strap seems good.

Edited by f1rick

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the reason for this price drop may well be because there is no firmware update coming (supposedly). fantastic price compared to the ipod ranges (when u consider the sound quality of the ipods), after what i said in the other post about not buying sony again if they dont release a f/w update, this may have just changed my mind :D . nice one sony

Edited by p0rkch0p2007

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Also owner of new Sony Video Walkman 8GB (NWZ-A818). Very impressed. Nicely engineered. Some observations:

* supports H.264 so you can download many video podcasts and transfer over, including those on iTunes (as long as max resolution is 320x240)

* fast boot up times, and resume - nice!

* remembers your position in video with resume

* beautifully engineered device; small touches like small bump on play button and volume (+) aids in blind use

* excellent sound quality (I've compared vs. Cowon D2 and it holds its own!)

* love the small thumbnails of album art -> good interface (not quite to Zune standards, my favorite, but very good and FAST)

* works seamlessly with WMP 11

* also drag and drop works fine; album art also works this way as long as art is embedded into file

* volume seems fine to me

* video quality superb, if even only 2" (i compared to ARCHOS 405, granted a larger screen 3.5" but was not nearly as good as the Sony)

* intelligent shuffle = fun

* where is the Media Manager for Walkman software? still waiting for the release

* I have a Creative ZEN on order, and will also do comparison (so far the Sony beats the Cowon D2, Cowon I7, Archos 405 and the new Apple Nano)

* don't like proprietary USB cable, but I do like that the connector has very tiny cover; again nice attention to detail Sony

* I wish it would support 640x480 resolution files and also XVID or DIVX

* Does not work with Amazon Unbox, iTunes (but you can drag and drop iTunes podcasts files)

* I received $34 credit from Sony after they dropped price a la iPhone

* it's MADE IN CHINA (Designed in Japan!)... sound familiar... Apple... (Designed in California...)

Let me know any questions!!

Edited by shoot2score67

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