Clearly, Sony didn't get the memo about mobile phones being the latest-and-greatest when it comes to portable audio, and it warms the cockles of my jaded heart. This morning, the company announced a refresh to its E-Series Walkman line in the form of the 4GB NWZ-E53 and the 8GB NWZ-E54. (Most disappointingly, there is not a 16GB or a 32GB version.)
The new MP3 players, which will not make calls or transmit text messages (hallelujah!), follow in the footsteps of the previous E-Series with a sleek and slim design, an impressive 50 hours of battery life for music (10 for video), and Sony's SenseMe technology, a useful feature that "automatically categorizes music tracks in a connected library into a variety of music channels and playlists." The device continues playback support for MP3, WMA (subscription included), AAC, and linear PCM audio formats as well as WMV (subscription included) video.
New features for the E-Series Walkman include a bookmark function, which lets users create an on-the-fly playlist, and an updated user interface that offers something called "album scroll" for quick and easy navigation.
The MP3 players will be available next month for about $70 for the 4GB version and $80 for the 8GB. Kind of a no-brainer as to which one to buy at those price points. Check back soon for CNET's full review.