CNET First Look
Sony S-Series WalkmanThe Sony S-Series Walkman is a solid entry-level MP3 player thanks to its ultraaffordable price tag, easy-to-use design, excellent performance, and fair smattering of features--but those who are looking to upgrade from the previous Walkman generation...
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> Jasmine France: Now we see a lot of follow-ups to MP3 players here at CNET. There's plus this, second generation that and on and on and rarely does a next generation product fail to improve upon the previous generation; however, every once in awhile that happens. I'm Jasmine France and I'm here with the second generation S Series Walkman and while this is a solid MP3 player it is far from an improvement on the initial S Series Walkman but Sony has a couple of excuses for that which I'll get to. Now as far as the design of this player it is quite a significant difference from the previous generation S Series, mainly it's quite a bit larger, it has a larger screen I think it's about 3 inches and it has built in speakers so that's kind of what the larger size is going for. It keeps the same control layout with a 5 way circular control pad [inaudible] by a back and a home button here on the front and then Sony was smart enough to continue to offer the dedicated volume rocker over here and you also get a switch that will let you toggle between speaker and headphone output as well as a hold switch which is always important in a device such as this. Now as far as the features are concerned that is where Sony cut some corners. This player does not offer a lot of the really neat features that you found in the S Series Walkman before. First of all there is no noise cancelation nor do you get any upgraded headphones in the package. Also Sony got rid of the Sony Senseme Channels function which was a smart playlist creator. It also has no more intelligence shuffle and there is no longer dedicated podcast support which means there is no bookmarking of podcasts and they get kind of mixed into your general music library which is a real bummer because they had that in the previous model. Plus they got rid of the Rhapsody DNA integration on this player which is not entirely surprising but still a bummer. Now that's what Sony got rid of so what did Sony keep? Well you still get an FM tuner on board with presets and FM recording capability. There's also a built in mic for making voice recordings and of course you have photo support although you can no longer set photos as wall paper which is another omission that we don't quite understand and you do get the video support which is a little bit hard to deal with on this player because of the conversion but at least you can put the play back videos and you can buy videos from Amazon's Video On Demand service and transfer it to the player which is a definite plus. Now you may be wondering just why Sony would get rid of so many great features? Well at least part of the reason has to do with the fact they dropped the pricing severely on this player. You can actually pick up an 8GB version of this for $110 and a 16GB for just 130 and that's some of the lowest pricing on the market so it may still be worth it for you especially considering that it has an excellent rate of battery life and it still has stellar sound quality so if you're looking for an entry level MP3 player this is still a great choice. I'm Jasmine France and this has been a Sony S Series Walkman ^M00:02:50 [ Music ]