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Sony NWZ-S738 Walkman review:

Sony NWZ-S738 Walkman

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Typical Price: $289.00
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The Good Built-in noise cancellation. Dedicated volume keys. Great sound. Fast, logically arranged menus. Heaps and heaps of tweaking options.

The Bad Nav key is a bit small. SensMe is no Genius. Noise cancellation reduces battery life.

The Bottom Line An excellent player with meaty sound. If you're a bit over the whole iPod thing, this is a very good alternative to the Nano.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

8.6 Overall

Review Sections

The NWZ-S730 series is available in two capacities: a $229 8GB version (known as the S738) and a $289 16GB version (the NWZ-S739). Each one looks very similar to the previous model in Sony's MP3 line-up, the NWZ-A728. The main difference is in the buttons under the display — the tiny rectangular Back and Option keys on the A728 have thankfully been replaced by larger, more finger-friendly circles. It's the same story with the navigation button, which is circular instead of square. The only downside to the redesign is that you may need to train your thumb to get out of scrollwheel mode.

The S730 range shares its screen specs with the new iPod Nanos: both have a 2-inch (5.1-centimetre), 320x240-pixel, portrait-oriented display. Unlike the Apple player, the S738 is not equipped with an accelerometer, but you can easily flip videos and pictures to landscape mode by pressing the Option button during playback. Left-handers will be pleased to note that there are two horizontal orientations to choose from.

On the right of the S738 are dedicated volume buttons — always a winner — and a hold switch. The bottom of the player houses a noise-cancelling switch, a proprietary port for USB connection and the headphone socket. Dimension-wise the S738 is the slimmest Walkman yet at 7.5 millimetres thick. That's 1.3 millimetres fatter than the Nano, for the sticklers out there.

The big feature of the S730 range is that each device has built-in noise-cancelling — not built into the headphones, but lurking in the circuitry of the player itself. Sony claims that activating the function reduces up to 75 per cent of the surrounding noise, which is a bonus for train commuters and frequent flyers.

The S730 series supports MP3, WMA, protected WMA, WAV and AAC audio formats. The inclusion of AAC widens the options for online music purchases — as well as being able to buy from WMA services like LoadIt and BigPond Music, you can buy iTunes Plus songs from the iTunes Store. The protected AAC files that make up the bulk of the iTunes catalogue are still incompatible though.

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