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Review of Sony Video Walkman NWZ-A816 media player

Sony NWZ-A816B 4GB video walkman MP3

17 September 2008

An easy-to-use, bright, and reliable media player.

nwz a816 black sidefront earphones

The Sony 4GB Video NWZ-A816 media player is a slender, attractive and well-designed player.

It plays MP3s and displays video and photos.

The selling price is around £55-£65.

The display is bright and crisp and the easy-to-understand icons give ready access to the player’s various functions.

File transfer is easy, file navigation on the player is also quick and easy.

Despite being rather quiet, the in-ear earphones produce a clear, penetrating sound, but are not as comfortable as standard earphones.

The player’s buttons are intuitive, easy-to-use with a dedicated volume button.

Sony NWZ-A816 Walkman Media Player

NAVIGATION


Buttons


Navigation is done by a five-way button, a back button and an options button. These are placed in a thumb friendly arrangement and can easily be told apart by feel and position.

There is a dedicated volume control at the top of the right edge.

File Navigation


Music navigation is done by MP3 tags – artists, albums, tracks and genres plus year of release.

Albums cover art is supported and you can also create playlists.

When browsing large lists of MP3s, you can scroll either at one track at a time or keep the arrow keys pressed to get smooth fast scrolling. A progress bar on the right provides useful feedback.

Video files are navigated using filenames. It is also possible to work through a procedure which allows navigation by image preview, but thumbnails are not automatically generated.

Photos can be browsed using a preview menu which allows display of several thumbnails at once, though often only placeholders are visible.

Not all pictures displayed as expected, but the vast majority were fine.


DISPLAY


The player has a bright display with easy-to-read menus and an easy-to-understand icon main menu.

Images appear crisp, well defined and even fairly small details of photos and movies can be made out on the 2-inch screen.


SOUND


The sound quality is great – with various controls including graphic equalizers to give the sound output the shape you want.

The in-ear headphones provided produce a clean, precise, penetrating sound. The bass notes are probably not as pronounced as with a standard set, and the select-to-fit choice of silicon pads produced only a vaguely comfortable feel.

PLAYBACK


During playback, fast forwarding and rewinding happens at a speed which varies slightly depending on whether you pause play before cueing and on how long you press the cue buttons.

It can take a little while to navigate through a long podcast – the top scan speed is about a minute a second (and much slower if cue and review is used) - but the player does retain your position in a track when you power down.

DATA TRANSFER and SOFTWARE


Data transfer and battery recharging is done via USB using the specialized Sony cable which is provided.

Recharging is fairly quick, and the speed of data transfer is impressive – particularly if done using the Windows Explorer drag-and-drop method.

Video files will almost certainly need conversion before transfer. The same applies to some photo files.

Software

The box is labelled as Certified for Windows Vista and carries the Playsforsure Windows Media audio label.

The Software provided includes an MP3 conversion tool and Windows Media Player 11. Playlists that were created with the previous version - Windows Media Player 10 – could not be retrieved on the player’s playlist menu.

The package included a notice indicating that a Sony Walkman Media Manager will soon be available. At the time of this review, this was indeed available for download from Sony’s European website. The Media Manager required several more large downloads during installation.
Once installed it was irritable, huffy and refused to open properly even once.

BATTERY


Battery life is excellent. A full charge lasts pretty much the whole day for music playback.

Recharging is done via the Sony data transfer USB cable. This takes about 3 hours for a full charge but a pretty healthy charge is visible after only a couple of hours.


OTHER FEATURES & CONCLUSION


An attractive and easy-to-use player.

The player doesn’t have a huge range of features but what it does it does well.

The player’s functions allow full use of the 4GB memory to be made and the price level and the long-life battery is a treat.

The in-ear earphones are definitely an acquired taste, and the software could do with some attention.

For the price however, this player's a pretty good deal.


Plays MP3, ASF, MP4 and Wave Riff audio file formats;

MP4 Video file format;

JPEG photo file format.

USB rechargeable internal battery.


Smart, Flexible and Good Value.

LITREV Rating 4/5

 

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