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C'mon touch me baby!

We take a closer look at what makes the Sony X-series Walkman both great and horribly frustrating. Now if only we could get inside the heads of Sony's pricing department.

Take a look around, the profusion of iPhones and iPod Touches should tell you that touchscreens are the hottest things right now. Much hotter, in fact, than the proposed

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X-series versus iPhone, part I

It's not as apparent in the photo as it is in real life, but at this angle the X-series' display remains clear, legible and burst forth with brightness and colour, while the iPhone is teetering on the edge of being a washed out mess.

Updated:Caption:Photo:CNET Australia
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X-series versus iPhone, part II

Size-wise the X-series is to the iPhone what Tim Cahill is to Peter Crouch. That said, it's still bigger than the rest of the current Walkman range.

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Oh dear...

What's that sir? You wanted to visit a normal website, one that isn't optimised for mobile devices, well forgedaboutit. The web browser, supplied by Access, can't even render Wikipedia properly, so it's little wonder that drifting over to

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Let's just zoom out a bit...

If you're lucky enough to find a page that renders correctly, zooming out will give you this amazing array of dots.

Updated:Caption:Photo:CNET UK
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Enter it slowly now

Entering URLs via the mobile phone-style keypad is tedious. Doubly so because the browser demands that you prefix every address with "http://" lest it throw a hissy fit, charge up stairs, slam the door shut and vow never to speak to you again.

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Scroll, scroll, scroll your boat

Flicking through stations looks neat, but scrolling from one end of the spectrum to the other is a large dose of tedium sugar coated with pretty pictures.

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Noise be gone

The X comes standard with digital noise cancellation, but this only works with the supplied EX headphones which have built-in microphones to sample the background noise. Great if you like the 'phones, a waste if digging into your ear canal makes you more squeamish than watching an anti-smoking ad.

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Can I have some crackling?

The crackled granite finish around the edges does little for the X-series' looks but does make it very easy to hold.

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Sparkle, sparkle little star

Black with sparkle effect makes a nice change from straight piano black. The large Hold button on the back is simple to operate too.

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The not-Cover Flow

Scroll through your album covers vertically on the X.

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Videos anywhere

Thanks to the OLED screen washed out blacks and colours are a thing of the past when you watch video on bumpy, unreliable public transport.

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Go, go, stop

Sony has included a set of play/pause, forward and reverse buttons along the top edge, allowing you to operate the X without looking.

Updated:Caption:Photo:CNET Australia
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