Sony VAIO VGF-WA1 shipping soon in North America

The company's first Wi-Fi boom box will soon be available in the U.S.

Sony's VGF-WA1 is available in white or black Sony

Sony's network audio streamer should be hitting store shelves soon. First unveiled at the January Consumer Electronics Show--and no stranger to Crave --the VGF-WA1 is the baby of Sony's VAIO PC division, not the consumer electronics side of the company. While we've seen similar Wi-Fi boom boxes in the past--the Roku SoundBridge Radio comes to mind--the VGF-WA1 is the first I've seen with a rechargeable battery, so you can go truly wireless (for up to 4 hours, according to Sony). In addition to streaming a variety of audio files (MP3, AAC, WAV, and, of course, Sony's own proprietary ATRAC3 format) from a networked Windows XP/Vista PC, the VGF-WA1 can also play compatible Web radio stations straight from the Internet. A line-in port lets the WA1 double as a set of speakers for any audio source (such as a portable music player), and the unit smartly includes an alarm clock as well.

Both the black (VGF-WA1/B) and white (VGR-WA1/W) versions of the Sony VAIO VGF-WA1 will retail for $350--admittedly, a pretty high premium for the built-in speakers and portability. Sony reps tell me that final production units for the U.S. market are set to arrive in "a few more days." That means we'll soon have a sample for hands-on testing--and that the product should be entering the retail channel very soon. In the meantime, at least one lukewarm review of the Japanese version of the VGF-WA1 has already appeared online. With any luck, the North American model will have updated firmware that addresses some of the issues mentioned therein.

About the author

John P. Falcone is the executive editor of CNET Reviews, where he coordinates a group of more than 20 editors and writers based in New York and San Francisco as they cover the latest and greatest products in consumer technology. He's been a CNET editor since 2003.


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