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Sony W-Series Walkman--photos

Sony's new W-Series Walkman crams a 2GB MP3 player into two compact earpieces, making it wearable and essentially wireless.

Jasmine France

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1 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
There's more than one way to make a wireless MP3 player, and building it directly into a set of headphones may seem like the easy way out, but it gets the job done. Sony elected to take this route with its new W-Series Walkman, a 2GB MP3 player that's built into a set of impressively small earbud-style headphones and sports a palatable price tag of just $69.
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2 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
We've got to give props to Sony for the design of the W-Series Walkman, which is available in a choice of two colors (black or pink). Two rectangular audio modules--measuring roughly 2 inches long by 0.8 inch wide and 0.4 inch deep--attach to one another via a flexible, twisting neckband. It's the smallest all-in-one MP3 player/headphone we've ever seen, and it's impressively lightweight, as well (1.3 ounces).
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3 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
With any such device made specifically for active pursuits, a secure fit is a chief concern. Luckily, the W-Series Walkman is up for the task: we tested the player walking, jogging, and doing jumping jacks and found it quite capable of staying in place during all of these activities. Still, comfort is somewhat of a concern--the fact that the earbuds are integrated will no doubt cause issues for some, despite Sony's inclusion of three sizes of silicone eartips.
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4 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
As might be expected, the W-Series Walkman's interface is rather nontraditional. Naturally, there's no screen--it would be a bit difficult to view one on a device that's attached to your ears anyway. Music plays straight through in alphanumeric order by default, or you can activate the shuffle switch on the inside of the right earpiece to randomize playback.
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5 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
The bottom edge of the right module contains the remainder of the controls: a volume rocker and a jog dial. Swiping the dial forward or backward serves to cycle through tracks.
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6 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
The W-Series Walkman is predictably light on extras, but Sony does integrate a few unique and useful features. The first is something called Zappin, which lets you browse through tracks by ear by playing a snippet of the chorus of each song.
7 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
The package includes a sticky-bottomed stand/docking station for charging the device and transferring songs (done via standard Mini-USB). Each earpiece is magnetized and when you stick them together, the player automatically powers down.
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8 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET
The Sony W-Series Walkman garnered a Best of CES nomination due to its wearable design, which allows you to cut the cords out of your listening experience.
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9 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET
Sony managed to fit 2GB of memory into this ultracompact package.
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10 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
The W-Series has no screen nor many features to speak of, but it does use an innovative technology called Zappin that allows you to listen to snippets of the chorus of each track in order to audibly find the song you want.
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11 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
Sony includes this handy stand-cum-charging unit with the player. The whole deal will only set you back $69.
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12 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
The W-Series is lightweight and seemed to fit fairly securely, though I didn't move much while wearing it.
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13 of 13 Corinne Schulze/CNET
In the U.S., the player will be available in pink and black versions. If you want the white, neon, or purple/gold models shown here, you'll have to take a trip to Asia.

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