Sony Walkman NWZ-A810 & NWZ-S610

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Randy Savicky
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Sony Walkman NWZ-A810 & NWZ-S610

Sony NWZ S615 MP3 Video PlayerSony NWZ S615 MP3 Red Video PlayerOk, so Sony kinda sorta took my hint from yesterday and today just launched some cool combination gadgety devices - the Sony Walkman NWZ-A810 & NWZ-S610, which are portable music and video players. Now I get that Sony is trying to leverage the Walkman brand, but is that such a good idea? When I think of a Sony Walkman, I think of my old Sony Walkman cassette player NOT some new fandangled high-tech gadget device that not only plays audio but also video. Walkman just seems so 1980s -- but I digress.

Let's move along to what the new Sony NWZ-A810 and NWZ-S610 series have for features. According to Sony, the series of Walkman digital music players will "support an open platform, providing more choices for downloading and managing music and video collections online." Open? Sony is "open"? Surely this can't be true? More on this "openness" later...

The devices have a standard user interface that makes it easy to enjoy songs, videos or pictures. The video players have a large Quarter Video Graphics Array (QVGA) LCD screen that displays video at 30 frames per second. QVGA is a display mode for small screens in which the resolution is 320 pixels vertically by 240 pixels horizontally.

More importantly, Sony is supporting MP3 format on these players, so we can bid adieu to Sony's proprietary ATRAC format. Good riddance! Converting MP3 to Sony ATRAC was a PITA.

Battery Life...
The battery life allows up to eight hours of video playback for the NWZ-A810 series and nine-and-a-half hours for the NWZ-S610 series. The battery also provides up to 33 hours of music playback for both series.

Codec / Formats Supported
The players support security-enhanced Windows Media Audio (WMA), as well as non-secure AAC and MP3 music formats, plus JPEG files for photos, in addition to the AVC (H.264/AVC) Baseline Profile and MPEG-4 video codecs.

Users can download movie trailers, music videos, podcasts and video clips from the Internet and use readily-available shareware to convert the clips for use with the Walkman video players. Sony is leveraging Sony Pictures Entertainment and is providing video content for both of the new players, which is hosted at www.sonystyle.com/walkman. No word on YouTube support, but I'm sure someone will come up with a software converter if the Walkman can't play YouTube's video format.

The top-of-the-line Walkman video players (NWZ-A810 series) have a 2-inch QVGA (320 by 240 pixels) LCD screen (measured diagonally). This series of players also comes with higher quality Sony ear-buds (model MDR-EX082).

Designed with a younger demographic in mind, the NWZ-S610 series has a 1.8-inch QVGA (320 by 240 pixels) LCD screen (measured diagonally) and includes an FM tuner with 30 presets.

The Walkman video players store up to 1,850 songs on the 8GB models, 925 songs on the 4GB models, and 4The NWZ-A815 player has a total capacity of 2GB; comes in white, pink, black, blue and silver; and will cost about $140.
- The NWZ-A816 player has a total capacity of 4GB; comes in white, pink, black and silver; and will cost about $180.
- The NWZ-A818 player has a total capacity of 8GB, comes in black and silver, and will cost about $230.

The NWZ-S610 series of Walkman music players come in three different capacities and four colors:

- The NWZ-S615F player has a total capacity of 2GB; comes in black, pink, red and silver; and costs about $120.
- The NWZ-S616F player has a total capacity of 4GB; comes in black, pink, red and silver; and costs about $160.
- The NWZ-S618F player has a total capacity of 8GB, comes in black, and costs about $210.

The NWZ-B100 series of Walkman music players come in two different capacities and colors:

- The NWZ-B103F player has a total capacity of 1GB, comes in black, and costs about $60.
- The NWZ-B105F player has a total capacity of 2GB, comes in black and white, and costs about $80.40 songs on the 2GB models, for songs an average of four minutes in length at 128kbps in the MP3 format.

The NWZ-A810 series of Walkman video music players come in three different capacities and five colors.

These two new series combo audio/video portable players are a great start for Sony. But I'm still waiting for Sony to create the Sony PlayStation Portable Multimedia Video GPS Phone or Sony PSMVGP for short.

It would combine a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) with built-in GPS, GSM cellular service, and wireless Internet functionality. Then life would be good.


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