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Exclusive ATRACLife NW-A3000 + NW-A1000 Review

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Good day,

A little birdie passed these along my way (thank you, A) -- I figured that the majority of you would be interested in quality pictures of the upcoming Walkman; the purple unit is the NW-A1000, and the NW-A3000 is the silver/black looking unit. Please feel free to ask any question you wish about the NW-A3000 or NW-A1000, as we will be able to answer it with 100% accuracy. Enjoy, and don't forget to check out some impressions of these new units below..

Click on the images to enlarge them.

It's interesting to see how the NW-A1000 (the 6gb model) is roughly the same size as the NW-HD5, but the NW-A3000 (the 20gb model) is actually larger. The shape of these new devices is obviously very esoteric and will most certainly catch the eye of any gadget enthusiast when they go live. Both units have a proprietary US connection, line out via the headphone jack (although the cradle accessory has a dedicated line out), and full ATRAC3plus (even the new bitrates), mp3, and eventually WMA support in December. The buttons are refreshing, tactile (somewhat akin to the NW-HD3), and work well. The options are incredible, probably the best in any MP3 unit at this point in a certain sense. Search is equally great -- you can do artist, album, song, genre, three years of playback history, release date, recent transfers, favorite 100, a rating system that is created by your usage, and an improved bookmarking and playlisting interface. Firmware is upgradeable!

Expect the material on these devices to drastically improve in regards to scratches, although expect some fingerprints.

After reading my words, are you as stunned as I am? Are we talking about Sony here, or a complete alter-ego? :ol_groucho:

More pictures of the NW-A1000:

[radically different design from the usual blister packaging - a vaio flavor?]

[comparison pictures with the NW-E507]

[buttons whilst orange and white -- yes, they change.]

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may i please be honest?? compared to the hd5, its f-ugly...

i really dont think this is an ipod killer....

but, hopefully, the new connect player will be far nicer to use.

chris, will these things have a full eq for mp3 files? from what others have said, the hd5 has no custom 5 band eq for mp3 files, only atrac. what about the battery? usb connector? line out? full atrac3plus support?

cheers

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CAn you tell us what the buttons down the left and right hand edge are for.

Also any further information on the connect player software, specifically compatibility with older hardware and general availability?

Finally, can you confirm that these players will play all new ATRAC3+ bit rates?

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WOW! fantastic! that's just what I wanted to know! how big the 3000 was compared to the HD5! Thanx a lot.

Are these pics your pics? if so may I ask some questions?

I'm starting to be excited about this series, though I already have a HD5. But Chris, if you could touch these devices, and put some music into them, it means that you had to use a software? right? what did you use then? The new Connect player soft?

I'm so worried about it , as I read that this new soft wouldn't be compatible with all the sony devices before A series! scandal!!! is that true? or did you use Sonicstage 3.2 to transfer music on the A series?

Well, are they heavy? how's your feeling about buttons, options available and search function?

Thanx a lot for the pics!!! :ol_bah:

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Hi all from Spain.

Fantastic pics.

I really like these players, specially in these pics. And the a3000 is smaller than i expected - those japanese girls and their small hands ;-) - but it would be perfect at least 1 cm shorter or a 40 gb hd in the same space. I think the ¿black? unit is very sexy. Well, they are not better, simply different than the hd´s ones.

Something about the sound quality? mp3 gapless?. And the remote, i don´t see a lcd screen and, for me,this is a bad thing.

Sorry for my english.

Cheers. Un saludo.

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hows the user interface? better than the hd5? compared to other players?

hows easy is it to use the a3000 with only one hand?

also, is this the silver or black a3000?

most important, how is the material when it comes to finger prints and scratches?

thanks a million :)

Edited by szsiddiq1214
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1) How annoying is the glossy surface when it comes to visability (e.g. in bright sunlight) ?

2) Can you say something about batterylife ( I think 30 hours should not be for Atrac256kbit )

3) Which functions are provided via the remote?

btw: Are you a Rammstein-Fan or is this just a preinstalled testsong? :ol_rolleyes:

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they sure are small. the hd5 is minute next to an ipod photo but the shape of these i think lead many internet people to assume these are massive. they sure look like fingerprint magnets. kinda hot although pity it's monochrome.

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chris, will these things have a full eq for mp3 files? from what others have said, the hd5  has no custom 5 band eq for mp3 files, only atrac. what about the battery? usb connector? line out? full atrac3plus support?

No EQ for mp3's. It has a proprietary USB connection; line out via the headphone jack, although the cradle has a dedicated line out; full atrac3plus (even the new bitrates), mp3, and eventually WMA support in December.

CAn you tell us what the buttons down the left and right hand edge are for.

The button on the left is the "LINK" button (which gives instant access to artist link), and on the right is the volume control.

or did you use Sonicstage 3.2 to transfer music on the A series?

Well, are they heavy? how's your feeling about buttons, options available and search function?

Sonicstage 3.2 will work with these units, albeit in a limited capacity. The buttons are refreshing, tactile, and work well. The options are incredible, probably the best in any MP3 unit at this point in a certain sense. Search is equally great -- you can do artist, album, song, genre, three years of playback history, release date, recent transfers, favorite 100, a rating system that is created by your usage, and an improved bookmarking and playlisting interface.

Something about the sound quality? mp3 gapless?. And the remote, i don´t see a lcd screen and, for me,this is a bad thing.

I don't believe mp3's are gapless, but I'll look into it. As for the remote, yes, no LCD -- why would you need one with such a beautiful display? Older remotes are compatible, but not fully because this unit has features that were not in any previous generation, so expect limited functionality in that regard.

hows the user interface? compared to other players?

hows easy is it to use the a3000 with only one hand? 

also, is this the silver or black a3000?

most important, how is the material when it comes to finger prints and scratches?

This is about as close to the champion of UI (iPod) as Sony may get. One handed operation should be fine for most people, given the shape and response of the unit's buttons. This is the silver A3000; there is no black. Expect the material on these devices to drastically differ in regards to scratches, although expect some fingerprints.

1) How annoying is the glossy surface when it comes to visability (e.g. in bright sunlight) ?

2) Can you say something about batterylife ( I think 30 hours should not be for Atrac256kbit )

3) Which functions are provided via the remote?

You've played with the RH10 -- you know how OLED is. 128kbps ATRAC3plus plays for about 29 hours, so somewhere in the range of half that figure for 256kbps ATRAC3plus is plausible. The remote offers volume, 3-direction key (Play/Pause/FF/RW/Vol + -/Bookmark) and hold.

Can you pause and quickly fast forward to a point in the track, as you can with the HD5.

Yes.

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Expect the material on these devices to drastically differ in regards to scratches, although expect some fingerprints.

is that for good or bad? is the material more scratch resistant than say an iPod? compared to an HD5?

and how is the display in bright sunlight? im not familier with the RH10 :)

ooo, man thers so much to ask...umm

no removable battery, right?

how is scrolling thru lists of music?

oh, one issue i had with the HD5 was that in the menu tree it went artist --> album and in the album section there was no way to view all songs from the artist - you had to go thru each album. is there an "all" option now?

Edited by szsiddiq1214
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Any reason given why it's bigger than the HD5? (Although, from the pics, it's not that much bigger, I'd say it kind of looked smaller than the iPod, but the sizes say otherwise) Or why the battery life seems lower than the HD5?

Will this be out in NA before Christmas? (I really hope it's easy to buy as well. Going to Best Buy, Walmart, Circuit City, you'll find no HD series of the mp3 players, at least, around here. I really hope it changes with this.)

Any surprises about the player left to be revealed?

How's the build quality?

Thanks for answering.

Edited by EZero
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Build quality is very good.Screen material is prone to fingerprints-but not anymore than E400/500 series.

scratch resistance(so far!)is similar to the aforementioned products(very good)

The battery life is lower due to the charging options-capacity capped to facilitate multi-use cable(usb/AC shared).-and speedier charging times.(dont quote me on this part-as I am only using usb.)

Battery life is very good.My first few hours was almost totally occupied with playing with the GUI-without any reduction shown on the batt.indicator.

Power save modes include 15sec screen shut off,and 'auto'shut off(about 20 secs)

Power save cannot be disabled(so screen will be off most of the time).

There is a 'screensaver'-consisting of a sort of 'shooting star'...but not too impressive.

Screen is not very visible in direct light(like all of Sonys other mono-org.EL screens)-but this is not an issue with me(i dont like reading my display in the street like an ipod loser...lol).

The 3000 I have has some light leakage from the 'artist link'key(upper left corner of unit)-indicating a less than perfect component seal-but its not noticible in everday usage-and my unit is not a a final indication of build.

Depending on colour the screens edge matrix is visible through the plastic from some angles-just like on the red/pink e series players(again not an issue with me)

The search features(not related to artist link-and connect player-as I have not used either yet)are very fast and fluid-noticibly smoother than the HD5.

The search tree is from left to right(alphabetically)with the option of scrolling down within a group of letters(ie.a-c,d-f...)-indicated by a scroll bar to the right(not sure if that makes sense...lol)-overall a very very good search performance in all areas.(i only have a couple of hundred tracks on my 3000 and 1000-so this may differ with larger librarys-but I doubt it)

-once selected a track is played virtually instantly.

-hope this has answered some questions. :ol_sleep:

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This was a really excellent post you did there! thanx for all these infos.

I'm really looking foward getting a A3000 when it comes out (I live in Tokyo, and I bought the HD5 when it came out here. It was my first HDD type, as I kept sticking to MD and Hi-MD before-I'm still using them though, no other product can record analog and mic sounds as easily with a great sound quality).

I'm now sure about the great quality of this A Series, but still my big question is: how about Connect Player???

So I'd really really like to know more about Connect player, bundled with these A series.

Will it be compatible with all the previous SONY devices (Hi-MD, HD series, Bean etc.??). I don't see any good reason it won't be, right? It seems to be automaticaly upgradable too! well, if it isn't compatible, how is it going to be? We're gonna have 2 different programs? the cool (to be confirmed...) Connect player AND the old clunky sonicstage 3.2? kind of trouble right? will they share the same song library? or is connect player a real upgrade of SS, deleting SS to replace it when installed?

I plan giving my HD5 to a friend, but will it be a poisoned present,if only working with SS 3.2? I wouldn't dare offering a sony product to somebody, when knowing he/she's going to use SS...

I'm sorry for being so long, but I'd really want an excellent program working with all my SONY devices (psp included). Would you ahev some infos about this?

Thanx again for all the previous infos you gave us!

PS: is there a clock in the A3000/1000?

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Hi and thanks.

Some noticiable HD or other background noise during playback?. I remember one of my old Sony discmans with a very frustrating background noise ( "electronic birdies") in quiet passages and transitions.

And the remote: I prefer no remote than a remote with no lcd. I´ll try my remotes with lcd.

Cheers. Un saludo.

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I should be getting 'connect player'over the next few days(fingers crossed).

I will endevour to answer any questions regarding it on this site ASAP.

Any attempt to use any unique features of the hardware(artist link et.)are greeted by the request to .."connect appropriate software..."

Cheers

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biozet: Do you know if Sony have any plans to release a competing product for the iPod nano? Meaning a 2GB or 4GB flash based DAP will full GUI system like the HDx or Axxxx series? (not like the current Sony flash based units).

HD based DAPs are not that interesting anymore. Almost every manufacture has released a unit with micro HDD already (iRiver H10, Rio Carbon, Zen micro/photo, etc). Even Creative is going to release an 8GB zen micro photo, for only $250! Sony is really running late in the game. A flash based and thinner A1xxx unit would be nice.

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OK. I'm thinking of getting one of these but can u put music from other sites (apart from connect-europe.com) onto the connect player software thing. I get my music from a different site (which is legal and you do have to pay for tracks) and can I use them on this player? Sorry if this is a stupid question but I'm no good with computers!

Answer asap!

:ol_love: xxx :ol_love:

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This was a really excellent post you did there! thanx for all these infos.

I'm really looking foward getting a A3000 when it comes out (I live in Tokyo, and I bought the HD5 when it came out here. It was my first HDD type, as I kept sticking to MD and Hi-MD before-I'm still using them though, no other product can record analog and mic sounds as easily with a great sound quality).

I'm now sure about the great quality of this A Series, but still my big question is: how about Connect Player???

So I'd really really like to know more about Connect player, bundled with these A series.

Will it be compatible with all the previous SONY devices (Hi-MD, HD series, Bean etc.??). I don't see any good reason it won't be, right? It seems to be automaticaly upgradable too! well, if it isn't compatible, how is it going to be? We're gonna have 2 different programs? the cool (to be confirmed...) Connect player AND the old clunky sonicstage 3.2? kind of trouble right? will they share the same song library? or is connect player a real upgrade of SS, deleting SS to replace it when installed?

I plan giving my HD5 to a friend, but will it be a poisoned present,if only working with SS 3.2? I wouldn't dare offering a sony product to somebody, when knowing he/she's going to use SS...

I'm sorry for being so long, but I'd really want an excellent program working with all my SONY devices (psp included). Would you ahev some infos about this?

Thanx again for all the previous infos you gave us!

PS: is there a clock in the A3000/1000?

There is no clock or date function in either model.

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Three brief questions from a complete newbie:

1) Do any of the titles scroll in the now playing and search screens?

2) Is there a screen to show the current playlist?

3) Am I correct in thinking that there is a dedicated volume button (I know that this was indicated earlier; I just wanted to make absolutely sure)?

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