Sony announces new B-, E-, and S-Series Walkmans

Sony starts fall early with new MP3 players for its Walkman line.

Sony S-Series Walkman Sony

The first sign of fall in CNET's San Francisco office isn't the turning of leaves--it's the ever-increasing waves of new product announcements. MP3 players in particular start cropping up in late summer, perhaps in an attempt to get a jump on Apple's typical September iPod announcement.

Creative got an early start with its new Zen players a couple of weeks ago, and now Sony is joining the fray. Today, the company announced a rev to its Walkman line of MP3 players in the form of the B-Series, E-Series, and S-Series.

The S-Series represents the top of the line and is arguably the most exciting of the bunch. This new Walkman, which is available in a gunmetal black finish, comes with the integrated noise-canceling capability found on the Sony NWZ-S710.

A pair of complementing, high-end earphones are included in the package, along with an accessory cable that allows the player to be used as a standalone noise-canceling module for use with other audio devices--a unique feature that's ideal for use with in-flight entertainment systems.

Sony has also added support for WMV video (including DRM files from the likes of Amazon Unbox), an FM tuner, and a separate podcast menu item for easier management of the content. In addition, the S Series is the first Walkman to feature a customizable interface that includes a variety of themes and the ability to set personal photos as wallpaper.

Sony E-Series Walkman in red. Sony

Perhaps the coolest feature, however, is the SensMe Channels function, which is a "smart" DJ that uses an algorithm to analyze songs in order to create custom playlists (up to 11) based on each track's speed, mood, and rhythm. Other features include a 2-inch color screen and a rated battery life of 40 hours for audio. The S Series, which is available in 4GB and 8GB capacities for $149.95 and $179.95 (respectively), is expected to hit online shelves in the next three to four weeks.

The other video player in the line, the E-Series, is set to replace the NWZ-A720. This Walkman also features a 2-inch color screen and WMV/Amazon Unbox support. It has a fantastic rated battery life of 45 hours for audio and 8 hours for video and will be available within the next two weeks in four color options: black, red, pink, or blue. It is significantly more affordable than the S-Series, at $99.95 for the 4GB version and $139.95 for the 8GB.

Sony B-Series Walkman in blue. Sony

Last but not least is Sony's new budget model, the B-Series, also available within one to two weeks. This player features a built-in USB interface for true plug-and-play capability, as well as a one-touch bass boost button, an FM tuner, and a voice recorder. Sony has also reintroduced its quick charge function, which gives 90 minutes of playback off of a three-minute charge. The 1GB B-Series, selling for $44.95, comes in black, red, or blue, while the 2GB is priced at $59.95 and decked out in black, red, or pink.

All models in the new Walkman line support MP3, AAC, and both DRM and non-DRM WMA audio. The video players accept WMV, H.264, and MPEG-4 video files.

Crave UK coverage

About the author

    Since 2003, Jasmine France has worked at CNET covering everything from scanners to keyboards to GPS devices to MP3 players. She currently cohosts the Crave podcast and spends the majority of her time testing headphones, music software, and mobile apps.



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