It can't be avoided: any new MP3 player is in direct competition with the Apple iPod, and device manufacturers are well aware of this fact. Some pack their players with boatloads of extras, while others create unique and purportedly useful design elements. Some simply make a product that's just as easy to use, offers a similar array of features, and delivers great sound quality--but then charge less for it. Such is the case with the Sony E-Series Wallkman, a flash player positioned to square off against the iPod Nano. Unfortunately, the E-Series doesn't come in a 16GB model, but the 4GB and 8GB versions are priced to sell at $89.95 and $119.95, respectively.
The Good The Sony E-Series Walkman is very competitively priced and features a compact design with a nice, bright screen. It's easy to use and offers a variety of desirable extras, such as an FM tuner, a user-customizable EQ, and support for Rhapsody To Go and Amazon Video On Demand. Rated battery life is superb and sound quality is great.
The Bad The Sony E-Series Walkman tops out at 8GB and doesn't offer memory expansion. There's no integrated podcast support, and subscription-content syncing is slow.
The Bottom Line The Sony E-Series Walkman is a great value. It's an excellent option for anyone looking for an easy-to-use MP3 player with a pocketable design, a long battery life, handy features, and solid sound quality.