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Sony NW-E01x: Ultra-sporty DRM-free player

Sony's sporty new MP3 player impresses us on paper. It'll play those lovely DRM-free AAC tracks from the iTunes Store too

As if releasing a delicious video Walkman wasn't enough, Sony has built another compact and smart-looking MP3 player. The NW-E01x series is a range of ultra-slim and sporty players, with 30 hours of battery life from a 1-hour charge and the same audio-enhancement tech that delivered cracking playback on the NW-A808.

These new offerings come in 1GB, 2GB and 4GB versions and support Sony's usual range of audio formats, such as MP3, WMA, ATRAC and L-PCM, but they also support unprotected AAC music files. This means all those lovely new DRM-free tracks on Apple's previously iPod-only iTunes Store can be transferred to these new Sony players. Rejoice and let joy be unconfined!

Sadly, the NW-E01 series still requires you use the grotesque, mentally offensive, unbearably foul media-management software that is SonicStage. Using SonicStage is about as pleasant as pushing your finger through your eyeball and poking your own brain. Why the hell isn't drag-and-drop supported? The USB connector is built into the player itself, for crying out loud!

Aside from the repugnant software, these new little players look impressive and we're eager to get our hands on one. They go on sale later this month for £59, £69 and £99 for the 1GB, 2GB and 4GB models respectively. -Nate Lanxon