Sony X Series X-1000 Review

sony x1000 main Sony X Series X 1000 Review

In a battle for touch screen MP3 players Sony swung for the fences with a premium product with a price to match well above the competition. To those who have the extra cash to spend the premium price may well be justified. These unique to the competition features include YouTube browsing, Slacker Radio (US Only), direct podcast downloads, premium noise canceling headphones, and a semi-useful web browser.

Some of the highlights of this player include an amazing looking OLED screen with a capacitive touch screen with a lightning fast response. You can also expect great sound quality like most of Sony’s other players. Read on for the full in depth look at the Sony X-1000 player.

  • Sony X-1000 Specs
  • Dimensions: 43.9 x 2.1 x 0.4 in.
  • Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Colors: Black
  • Capacities: 16GB, 32GB
  • MSRP: $300, $400
  • Display: 3″ 432×240 LCD 262k colors, Touch Capacitive
  • Audio: MP3, WMA, AAC, L-PCM
  • Video: AVC (H.264/AVC), MPEG-4, WMV DRM
  • Photo: JPEG
  • Transfer Protocol: MTP / Temporary MSC
  • Audio: 5-band EQ,VPT Surround
  • Battery: 33h Audio, 9h Video
  • Other: Wi-Fi, YouTube, Slacker Radio (US Only), Internet Browswer, Yahoo! Search, Direct Download Podcasts
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Inside the Box / Accessories

Sony goes a bit beyond the basic accessories packaged with the X-1000 Included: Noise canceling earphones (MDR-NC020) with three different sizes of inserts, airline adapter, noise canceling extension cable, dock adapter, and transfer software. We’ll get more into these below, but as far as aftermarket accessories goes you will be able to find all the basic things like various types of cases and speaker docks- though the docks are usually Sony’s own concoction.

Design / Build Quality

Sony did a nice job on the design it feels well built like most of their higher end products. It’s a bit on the heavier side, but in a good way making it feel substantial. I believe that most of this weight lies in the surrounding bezel made of a heavy metal. This metal is finished with a crackle paint giving it a rock like finish and feel. When I first saw this finish at CES 2009 (where it was behind glass) it wasn’t very appealing, but once I got it in my hand it’s a finish I can appreciate giving nice grip and unique feel. If it’s not visually appealing to you then you may welcome its function and feel.

The screen is a glass composite so it is very scratch resistant. The back on the other hand is made of slippery scratch resistant plastic. Its saving grace however, is that its kept a fraction of a millimeter off of flat surfaces raised by the metal bezel and hold button. The serial number sticker on the back actually shows more scratches then the plastic backing.

The buttons are nice and tight with a proper tactile click. They are also well placed with the volume buttons and noise canceling switch on the right side. Also at the top you have buttons dedicated to forward, reverse, and pause/play. The hold switch is cleverly integrated into the design on the back. It’s probably the biggest hold switch I’ve seen on an mp3 player, but it’s much nicer than fumbling with a tiny on/off/hold switch or a soft switch in the touch screen.

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Screen

The 3” 432 x 240 pixel OLED screen looks fantastic. OLED technology has come a long way, early tech had color inaccuracies and refresh issues but the screen found on the X-1000 is modern and refined screen. Colors look accurate and blacks are nice and near absolute black. The refresh rate appears to be just as fast as an AMOLED (Active Matrix OLED) like the one found on the Cowon S9. In fact if no one had told me it’s an OLED screen I would have guess it to be an AMOLED. Between the X-1000 and the Cowon S9 you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference- though when compared to the LCD on the Samsung P3, the P3 slips a little behind lacking the deep blacks even though the refresh rate seems to keep up.

User Interface

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Sony spent some time on this like they do with all their other players- its a well thought out pick-up-and-use interface. The basic home screen is a grid like many touch screen players with typical list scrolling in music and menus. Any navigation is handled predictably at the bottom of the screen. The top of the player is dedicated to status information such as play indication, battery life, Wi-Fi and other indicators. The constant of having the navigation at the bottom makes it comfortable to use. For instance the Cowon S9 puts some of the menu options at the top of the screen making it comparatively awkward to navigate. Rounding the UI out is the big home button at the bottom taking you back to the home grid in one press.

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Touch Screen

This is easily the fastest most accurate touch screen on any device I have used to date. It easily kicks the Cowon S9, Samsung P3, and even the iPod Touch to the curb. There are even some nice built in heuristics that fend off accidental presses. If you give one of the home screen icons a light brief brush it will only show a quick glow of the icon. Kind of saying “Hey, I’m not sure you meant to press this button, if you did, go ahead and try again”. Accidental presses are considerably more rare compared to other devices.

Transferring Media / Software

The X-1000 is an MTP device- drag and drop for any modern OS. If you want to keep your collection sorted, use a sync feature, or create playlists most desktop media players will work well. There is a also a MSC compatibility mode under the settings for Linux and Mac users that have not installed MTP drivers. Note however this is not a setting that keeps it on MSC mode- its only a momentary setting. When you are done using it you have to press the home button to boot back to the main player OS. Also if you are looking to use MSC on a Windows OS you will have to do some clever hacks like disable the MTP drivers in order to get the X-1000 to function in MSC mode since it will just auto detect and use MTP if available.

Sony Media Transfer: unfortunately, the included software is complete garbage, reminiscent of SonicStage. It’s very buggy and doesn’t convert anything other than basic WMV and MPEG files unless you cough up $13 for the “Pro” version. Luckily the PSP has paved the way for lots of free alternatives for converting video for the device. The manual and the pop up screens on the player says that this software is needed for podcasts, however, I have successfully subscribed to podcasts from the web browser. There is also a way to subscribe to Flickr photo streams though the software- I have only been able to subscribe to the main public photostream. Entering a user or search photo stream returned an error in version 1.2.

Included on the supplied software disc is a light transfer Windows gadget. It will allow you do drag and drop all of you media to that gadget and transfer it to the proper media folder- it’s a neat little app but it doesn’t work well just as the other software. I had issues with dragging and dropping podcasts and videos often didn’t take.

Wi-Fi

WiFi- performance varied by network, but I was unable to pin point what the factor causing the variation. When the performance was lacking it wasn’t that there were any YouTube buffering issues, it was just slow to open the media or show the thumbnails. Also Wi-Fi is a battery killer. It took about a half hour to update about a half a gig worth of podcasts over my secured network and it drained about a quarter of the battery life. Similar story if you are browsing YouTube videos- don’t expect more than a few hours of streaming.

Podcasts

You can subscribe and download podcasts directly from the player; unfortunately it’s a rather rough experience. As mentioned above there are two basic ways to add a podcast: through the software or by clicking on the podcast RSS link in the web browser. The software as mentioned is not at all fun to use and downright frustrating at times- some podcast RSS feeds couldn’t be added due to an error. Other video podcasts would download, transfer to the device through the software, and then not play properly. MP3 podcasts usually didn’t have any issues, it was mostly video podcasts that had trouble. Aside from the Media Transfer software bugs the main issue is that the player can be a bit picky with some H.264 encodes.

Subscribing to podcast over the web browser had similar issues but was far easier and produced fewer errors. One of the default links in the web browser is to the mobile site of podcast.com which works pretty well but is still a messy way to add podcasts since it’s a massive directory without a search mechanism. Aside from the directory you can simply click the RSS icon on a regular web page, but browsing non-mobile formatted sties and searching for that RSS link is not a good experience.

The bottom line is that it works and you will likely be able to subscribe all your favorite podcasts, but be prepared to spend some time getting them all in and working properly. It’s a buggy and far from an easy user experience. I hope Sony will release a substantial firmware update to possibly include some kind of podcast directory or somehow make this and easier to use feature.

YouTube

YouTube on the other hand has a pretty solid video browser with a basic list with thumbnails. You can view videos by “Most Viewed”, “Featured”, or “Related”. You can also search by keyword. These videos can be further filtered by region or time frame.

One of the cool things about having YouTube on this player is that it’s great for music discovery or watching artists videos. One of the menu items on the now playing screen is a “Web search” icon that allows you to search the current artist, album, or song you are listening to. So if you want to see the video for the song you are currently playing, if its relatively popular and available on YouTube you can dive right in with a click. I even found a lot of stuff that wasn’t so popular. For instance there are a lot of vinyl rips of electronic music on YouTube, so as an electronic music fan I could find various remixes of many club tracks. Some may get more out of this than others, but you can easily check how well this will work for your musical tasted by going to youtube.com and searching for what you normally listen to since its all the same.

I thought this might be a gimmick feature, but it turns out to be a very usefully and pretty solid feature.

Web Browser

The web browser works fine if you are viewing mobile versions of a website. It was a pain to browse most non mobile websites on such a tiny screen with many of them having formatting errors and not being able to run certain scripts and flash. Zooming could have been helpful in the case of a small screen, but the scaling of the page was less than pretty. If you zoom the furthest out to make the page fit to the screen the text turns into a bunch of dots. Not dots because it’s really small typeface, but dots because it can’t display fonts that small on the screen.

Text Input:If you are good at T9 number pad text input, you might be ok since the touch screen is accurate. However it might be frustrating to those who are spoiled with QWERTY keypads and are not fluent in T9.

The saving grace of the browser on the X-1000 is the many mobile formatted sites out there. Most search engines have mobile site and even customized mobile home pages such as google.com/ig. Facebook and Twitter have mobile sites as well and it’s a pretty decent experience from the device other than the text input part for some.

Slacker Radio

US residents will get Slacker Radio- the UK and EU will be out of luck due to record labels’ regional licensing restrictions. Simply loading US firmware on your UK device likely won’t work since blocking takes place by IP address. Yeah, pretty lame. For those who don’t know it’s a free skippable Internet radio that will stream over your Wi-Fi connection- it’s something similar to Pandora or Last.FM radio. It is definitely a killer feature- great for when you can’t decide what to listen to or don’t want to mess with playlists.

I got my X-1000 over a month or so ago before there was a US version so I can’t comment on its performance, but will update once I can get my hands on the US firmware. However, based on how well they pulled off the YouTube integration- I would expect this to be a solid feature. I have used Slacker on other mobile devices and it’s a great service, so its ex
citing to see it come to a Wi-Fi enabled MP3 player.

Battery

Battery life is rated at 33 hours for music and 9 hours for video. While the audio did play to something in the vicinity of 30 hours the video for me was more towards 6-7 hours. Much better than most, but well below the advertised; it may depend on your video encode. Previously mentioned, Wi-Fi is a battery killer and that is somewhat expected. I found myself charging the player every few days of full day use- most of this was music with the occasional web surf and YouTube video. Despite the expected Wi-Fi drain the X-1000 does very well on the battery front.

Audio

Music Browsing

Flipping through you music library is quite a treat. There are two basic screens, the now playing screen and the browser. Starting with the browsing screen there is much less of a hierarchical feel to the way you browse the basic ID3 data based such as Album, Song, Artist, ect. Hierarchical browsing still intuitively exists when diving though your collection by let’s say “Artist > Album > Song” but they did something clever by pulling out the very base of the ID3 browsing and put it in a “search” / find icon. This is clever because no matter where you are in the menu the find icon is at the bottom allowing you to jump back to selecting your songs by “All Songs”, “Album”, “Artist”, “Genre”, “Release Year”, “Playlists”, and “Folder”. Folder browsing is indeed there for those who like to keep their collection organized in folders thought drag and drop.

One of the problems even with these really nicely done touch screen players, scrolling through several thousand songs can still be cumbersome. Like many of their other Walkmans there is an alphabet at the top that allows you to quickly jump around in your library. It works a bit quicker than their other Walkmans since you don’t have to click up to the bar and highlight it- you simply sweep your finger back and forth on the bar with a little dialogue bubble showing you which letter you are selecting.

The now playing screen is well organized with all of you track information at the top, nice large album art in the center, progress bar at the bottom, and the consistent bottom menu below. What is also a nice addition to this is the forward, back, pause/play are transparently overlaid on top of the album art. These will appear with a light tap- though the nice thing is you still have them available as tactile buttons at the top. One fix here I would like to see would be the ability to turn this overlay off if you just wanted to use the hardware buttons. You can however just lock the touch screen. This would get rid of the overlay, but you wouldn’t be able to browse your music. Really, it’s not a big deal; it would just a nice little helpful tweak.

The now playing screen has a little bit of magic built in. If you tap on the album art and flick, it becomes an album art browser- allowing you to kinetically flip though all of your album art. Compared with other album art browsers this gives you more of a view a head by tilting the album covers in “Star Wars credits” kind of way. However, this feature is useless if you are missing a lot of album art in your collection.

Playlists & Bookmarks: This is a bit disappointing. No book marks or on the go playlists exist. You can still make playlists but they need to be created with a desktop media player.

Radio

The FM tuner is among some of the best tuners I’ve seen on MP3 players. The auto preset is quick and works very well and includes a high and low sensitivity setting. On high it picked up every station in my rural area on low it only picked of the two closest stations. From past experience I can imagine the low setting working very well in big cities. Flipping though presets and tuning your station is as easy as changing the channel on a TV.

Noise Canceling Headphones

I was surprised at how well these little ear buds canceled out background noise. I don’t have a lot of experience with noise canceling phones but from the few I have hear such as the overpriced Bose and Dr Dre headphones these perform better. Even when the music is paused the noise cancellation can be activated. If you have never used noise cancellation phones it can be a bizarre experience to have a switch to turn off your surroundings. When I first started testing the NC I flipped the switch and it sounded like my noisy air condition turned completely off- it worked that well. But what makes this set up a bit different from other noise canceling phones is it can be adjusted filtering out different types of sounds. There are three different environment settings: bus/train, airplane, and office- all having different effects on ambient frequencies.

There is also a level adjust between -15 and +15, but to be honest I don’t understand why its -15 when there still is a small level of noise cancellation going on when set at that. It seems as if this adjustment responds to different frequencies. For instance, when testing against my very loud dishwasher adjusting this slide created an audible hallucination dropping out the sound of the motor but the sound of the water splashing inside came into focus. So I guess the take away from this is that the noise cancellation of very good and very tweakable. As I write this, I’m very thankful for it set to +15 blocking out this horrible dirty hippie music blasting though a speaker above my head at the local café.

Cancellation vs Isolation: The cancellation on the Sony X-1000 no doubt works great; however, it’s about on par with some of the heavier noise isolation headphones such as the Shure SE530s or the FutureSonics Atrio M5’s. One of the advantages to these noise cancellation phones is that it can be quickly switched off to hear your environment around you. If you have ever worn the Shure SE530s you know that they are not a quick pair of headphones to put back in- though they are more comfortable.

Headphone Sound Quality: Aside from the noise cancellation the sound quality is impressive for a supplied pair of headphones. Similar to past headphones Sony has included, these will be really sweet for the bass head. The low end is incredibly rich and tight performing better than the Shure SE530s at that end of the spectrum. The bass they produce is very reminiscent of the Future Sonic Atrio M5s. However compared to the M5 or the SE530s anything above midbass lacks a lot of clarity and dynamics. If you like bass, you will not need to buy another pair of headphones and really if you not a fidelity snob, you will be more than pleased with the included IEMs. The model number on these phones is MDR-NC020 if you were curious.

Sound Quality

Speaking now about the player itself, the sound quality is top notch as most Sony players are- but this one is my favorite. Its clean and even throughout the spectrum holding up well in the low end much like the Clip. What I really like about this player’s sound signature it is very neutral. Typically, Sony players sound a bit on the cold side or “too digital”. The X-1000 on the other hand is warmer, but not as warm as the Cowon S9- hence the neutrality. In terms of sound quality this player ranks up there with the Sansa Clip as one of my favorites.

EQ & Effects

The EQ has 5 bands +-3 with a “Clear Bass” bass boost. Works well, but I would have like to see more adjustability here with either more bands or adjustable frequency cuts. The clear bass boost works extremely well with the supplied headphones, but I found it to boost too much low midbass with the Shure SE530s- anything more than +1 is overdoing it.

In addition to the EQ there are a few VPT Surround set
ting. These are the typical “environment” settings like “Club”, “Live, or “Studio”. Personally I am never a fan of these and would never use them, but I will say that these are very well done and are the most natural I have heard on any player. There is even a “Karaoke” setting that works amazingly well with some music if you are into that kind of thing. I turned it on and the vocals dropped out almost completely. Sure it effects surrounding frequencies, but its impressive for an MP3 player.

Video

Video looks great on the OLED screen- it’s nice and bright and pixel response is fast. It’s a small improvement over traditional LCD and nearly identical to an AMOLED screen on something like the Cowon S9.

Browsing your video collection is handled by a simple library list with the familiar find icon at the bottom allowing you to select the video folder you want to view. Tapping on the screen will reveal the transparent controls: the bottom menu, top touchable progress bar, and center skip, scan, pause/play buttons. The Cowon S9 and the Samsung P3 have a really cool scene selection that creates thumbnails for a specified interval – this allows you to quickly jump to scenes in really long video. The X-1000 has the same thing but takes it a step further by creating a kinetic coverflow of scenes instead of a thumbnail matrix. It’s very fast too, with the ability to select the segment intervals with and easy to touch top menu.

The worst part of this device is the lack of native video support; most content will need to be converted. This is a killer since its cheaper by $100 competitors, the Cowon S9 and Samsung P3, playback most of what you throw at it. As I mentioned before there are many free utilities to convert video, but depending on your computer CPU this can take as long as the video. Who wants to spend an hour or two converting a movie? Maybe I got spoiled with the P3 and the S9, but I really miss native video support on this player; it would have made is very well rounded.

Photo

The photo browser is what you would expect. Basic slide show browning with touch enabled so you can flick though your photos with the addition of thumbnail browsing and the ability to select which folder you want to browse. You won’t however find an auto playing slideshow that appear on many other players or a zoom function. There is one small hang up in the full screen slide show mode- the first time around it may be a bit slows since the player hasn’t had a chance to cache the thumbnail or optimized version for the screen. The time for it to load will depend on the file size as well, but once you flip though one time you no longer have any of these issues since it’s had a chance to cache them all.

Wallpaper: Under the photo menu you are able to select “set as wallpaper” for customization of the home screen. There is also a rather unique setting related to the wallpaper under the main settings that allows you to select a “dark” setting that slightly dims the wallpaper a bit so that lighter color wallpapers don’t drown out the icons- nice little touch.

Conclusion

The X-1000 is priced $100 above competing players such as the Cowon S9 and the Samsung P3, but this elevated price could easily be justified with the additional W-Fi features and a nice pair of noise canceling headphones. The headphones alone I feel add at the very least a $50 value to the player if you are not going to use you own. YouTube was less gimmicky than I had thought and will add to the player if that is something that interests you. For the US the addition of Slacker Radio may also help justify that additional price.

I found that there where are two very big disappointments, the lack of native video support and the sketchy podcast support. That part of the player feels unusually unfinished for Sony. The web browser may disappoint some people- it is not a comfortable experience on a small screen and T9 text input.

Despite the issues, I like the Sony X-1000 a lot mainly due to the fact that it’s an awesome music player. It has top notch sound quality and a very user friendly interface with a very accurate touch screen. The added tactile buttons pair nicely with the touch screen adding to the overall usability. Build quality is solid matching the P3 and surpassing the S9- it’s a very comfortable player to hold in your hand.

I personally like the X-1000 a lot and have found that I use it more so than the P3 or the S9 and I have only been using it for music paired nicely with the Shure SE530s. If you can justify that additional $100 price over the competitors then go for it. If not the Samsung P3 and the Cowon S9 may be just as impressive for you and have strong native video support.

Purchase

You can pick up the Sony X-1000 for the best price at Amazon at the same time getting free shipping and avoiding sales tax. Amazon UK also stocks the X Series and Advanced MP3 players will ship anywhere in the world.

Please check out the Sony X-1000 Forum for help and firmware updates

Pros

  • Great Sound Quality
  • Capacitive touch screen
  • Great OLED screen
  • Slacker Radio, YouTube, Direct Download Podcasts
  • Solid design

Cons

  • No Native Video Playback, Conversion is Neccesary
  • Expensive
  • Horrible Included Software
  • Buggy Podcast Feature
  • No multi-touch



59 Comments

Dreamnine on June 22, 2009 6:56 PM

Nice,well-balanced review as always. I think they’ll find it hard to justify the extra cost over the S9 and P3.

Martin Sägmüller on June 22, 2009 7:00 PM

So there’s really nothing useful about the Sony compared to the S9, besides banal Youtube videos…. Not to mention how pathetic it is nowadays to not have native MPEG4 video support. Fail.

AzNStyle on June 22, 2009 7:02 PM

All it needs is more video support and ogg vorbis codeccs and it will be a total buy for me

AzNStyle on June 22, 2009 7:03 PM

I was planning on getting one of the three (S9, P3, X-1000) still unsure since each player has its ups and downs

Relyt on June 22, 2009 7:22 PM

Great player but…..OUCH it is expensive…

jjrosaria on June 22, 2009 7:34 PM

so.. its one of your favourite sounding players.. how does the sound compare to the S9???? as I havnt heard how a clip sounds beforeThanks :D

Grahm on June 22, 2009 7:39 PM

@jjrosariaread the review

JonathanC on June 22, 2009 7:54 PM

–It supports NO lossless formats?Please tell me I’m wrong.

sim on June 22, 2009 8:04 PM

first glance, interface looks like the P2…

Aze on June 22, 2009 8:15 PM

It does support lossless in a way since it supports Linear PCM (wav). I was seriously considering this and P3. And, I am now waiting for my Walkman X 1000 to arrive. Sounds like a serious music player.

Aze on June 22, 2009 8:15 PM

Forgot to add. It’s an awesome review.

oskar on June 22, 2009 8:32 PM

Great review!One question thogh: What about audio output? Is it as powerful as the S9? Any specs?

Aze on June 22, 2009 9:28 PM

@oskarX series probably has better output, since it uses S-master Amp which has been used in Sony stereo systerms.

JonathanC on June 22, 2009 9:46 PM

Aze, you cannot compare support for UNCOMPRESSED files, in which the description “lossless” is redundant, to lossless compressed files.It is idiotic and amateurish that this isn’t counted against the player in the review.

Zizone on June 22, 2009 10:24 PM

@JonathanCI know what you mean and I agree. That’s why I said “in a way” since it is uncompressed so lossless. Again, I know what you are getting at.My point was that it indeed support linear PCM considering there are players which only support compressed and/or compressed yet lossless.

Zizone on June 22, 2009 10:27 PM

btw. Aze is my ABI name and Zizone is for the other site. Sorry in advance if there is any confusion.

Jonjon on June 22, 2009 11:49 PM

I miss my hd5. I miss it so much I’m bout to order a mk2006gal to replace the faulty hard drive…and I think I miss atrac (yeah)…if you still have one, how does this compare?

SuperKris on June 23, 2009 4:29 AM

I owned a lot of diffrent players. The sony nw-a3000 was one of them. While i though the sound quality was great, i replaced if for a worse sounding zen, because the software used to transfer files was terrible ans buggy als hell. Actualy, the software on that player wasnt much better. I lost lots of songs on that player.Because ot that, and the fact that sony for a while dont build players over 8GB i nnever buight a sony again. This one looks very nice tho, and if the software isnt terrible it might be a very great player.I just bought the S9 32Gb and im loving it, so i dont think i will ever buy this player. I do really like the wifi that is missing on the cowon. However this one doenst have bluetooth that can be very usefull connecting it to your car radio or home stereo. Also i really like the fact that everything can be customized on the S9 so its possible to ad a lot of extra features. Also the batery life is much lower vs the S9 (33h vs 55h) and the screen is a bit smaller.I also dont like the headphones. While these headphones by sony are pretty good, i own a nice set of shures. Im pretty sure the shures will sound better, so in that case i would pay a lot of money for good headphones i would never use.Anyway, it looks like a awsome player, but i gues i do prefer the S9

oskar on June 23, 2009 5:30 AM

@AzeAre you sure? The X-series is rated at 5mW per channel(compared to the S9′s 29 mW). Then again, I don’t think those numbers are correct, and would prefer a head to head comparison, by sombody who owns them both. How about the reviewer? (pleeeeease!!!)

electron on June 23, 2009 8:55 AM

nice review! I just wish the X series didn’t break the bank so much :(

Grahm on June 23, 2009 8:58 AM

@osakarmW ratings on MP3 players tell us very little about their performance. The S9 might get a little louder but it tends to sound over driven at max volumes like the D2. Both of these will drive the majority of headphones quite well- just as any player will.

pudsey456 on June 23, 2009 9:17 AM

Great review as usual, the interface is exemplary on this device considering its CPU speed, and it also sounds good. The anti-sony fanbois really need to see how well sony does the FM tuner and noise canceling.Having said that, I’m someone who’s sworn off Sony products just recently. I think in the end I got fed up with the way Sony does certain things. Example – they always provide less features than the competition, without fail. The fact that they removed on-the-go playlists and line-in recording (both were present on previous Japanese models but not on the Japanese X1000) is an absolute deal breaker for me. Sony expects me to pay more for less features, a browser that works just as bad as an older version pulled straight from a five year old CLIE, and generally pretend it’s posh when its design and material hardly warrants it. Nope.Sony’s general approach to creating a product also tend to be quite boxed in, unlike a certain manufacturer who always leaves enough doors open for hackers to hack, for people to write apps or just use the product in inventive ways.For the first 6 months of the year I was eyeing an X1000. Now it’s the P3, so thanks for the education, ABI :P

oskar on June 23, 2009 10:39 AM

@GrahmThank you for the reply! As I could have suspected, the numbers don’t really matter – thank you for that information. I have to tell you though that I have had bad experiance from sony products before. The NW-HD5 was way too weak, even with the volume hack applied.

Jim on June 23, 2009 11:14 AM

It looks nice enough, but its high price tag and limited codec support kill it. Also, no audio line out. The Cowon and Samsung are much more flexible players, and you can use the P3 as a cell phone (connected to your phone over bluetooth) to boot.

Vladimir on June 23, 2009 2:29 PM

Jim, what is the audio line-out used for?

GimmeTheLoot on June 23, 2009 7:02 PM

Im getting this as soon as it hits Canada in a couple of weeks.Its exactly what im looking for, a low gimmick music player that focuses on sound quality. I only use LPCM files and ATH-ESW10JPN headphones.

mohamad on June 24, 2009 9:38 AM

i loved this player so much,but i don’t love touch screen so much,so i wonder if there is a huge gap between it and the A-820 in term of sound quality because i am tending more towards the a-820.thanks :)

Danneh on June 24, 2009 3:17 PM

Considering getting this, seeing as how it’s £25 cheaper than the 16GB S9 in the UK. I do like the look of the S9, but from what I read, it seems to be very light, and I like a fairly heavy feel. It’s shortsighted to think that weight = quality, but it’s nice to hold something with a little heft to it.

Mf1232 on June 25, 2009 7:22 AM

i got an s9 why? i shouldve waited for this…beast.

Young on June 25, 2009 10:41 AM

Can you change the Play Speed like you can with the S9 and the P3?

Tisir on June 25, 2009 3:46 PM

Hey there, this might come across as a noob question. In fact, that is exactly what it is ^^I’m debating whether to buy the cowon s9, or this. I will be watching a lot of videos, and saw this screen had 262k colors, opposed to the s9′s 16 mil. Does this mean the image quality on the X-series is worse then that of the s9?Forgive my stupidity, but I couldn’t find an answer anywhere else ^^

Ravii on June 25, 2009 4:33 PM

X1000 eliminates virtually every problem described in the “Touch Screen vs Tactile Controls” article.The 16gb X1000 is not more expensive than 16gb iPod Touch, atleast here in Norway.

mk on June 25, 2009 8:52 PM

If you apply for sony card today (and get instant approval), get $150 statement credit for first purchase at Sonystyle over 299.99.Just ordered the 32GB version for $430 shipped – $150 (credit ~8 weeks) for a total of about $280.If not for this deal though, I wouldn’t have bought the Sony with the current pricing.

Andy on June 25, 2009 11:59 PM

Looks nice, but to put it in perspective, its the price of a PS3!The only difference is Sony make money on this device, but loose money on every PS3 sold.But then again I’m comparing apples to oranges.

D.J. on June 26, 2009 2:19 AM

Stating that we avoid sales tax at Amazon is false. There are five states that are charged sales tax when purchasing from Amazon:KS, KY, ND, NY and WA.That’s 10% of the United States, including 2 of the top 12 major cities (NY/Seattle).

Alex on June 26, 2009 3:08 AM

Couldn’t wait for this so I got the S9.. and loving it!The only things that I wish the S9 can do is youtube and internet browsing, but on the other hand, no native video support is a complete deal breaker. With my S9 most of my divx videos I just drag and drop and play great, no conversion required!

Shinigami on June 26, 2009 4:02 PM

A little off-topic. I hope you’ll get a sample of that tegra Zune and post a review-preview at about same time it hits shelves.Thanks in advance.

ReNiLR on June 28, 2009 12:44 AM

Hey…awesome review!though i’d like to ask u about the video conversions..what resolutions does it support for the wmv, mp4 and .h264 formats?i know that its pretty picky..but how much so? does it support 432×240 resolution videos?

GimmeTheLoot on June 29, 2009 8:46 PM

I just picked this up a couple of hours ago. This is definitely the sh!t!! Definitely a step up from the Sony 618 i was using before in terms of sound quality. The bundle earphones are above average, but, i probably wont use them to much since i will be combining this with my A-T ESW10JPN.The YouTube function is awesome as well, esp. for music videos, or whatever you may want to watch.The screen is really bright and crisp, but, i dont really care too much since im not going to be staring at a screen when im listening to music.

Chris on June 30, 2009 12:57 AM

Can’t believe they bundled the crap drag and drop software. Media Go is one of the best media managers I’ve used in a long time, especially for my Walkman and PSP. It converts as necessary and is absolutely free. Anyone with a PSP or Walkman should download this right away. Good job Sony!

Tisir on June 30, 2009 12:39 PM

The thing really killing the deal for me is it’s price. Paying 100 euros more then what one would pay for a S9, for little more then a youtube player is not cool.

GimmeTheLoot on June 30, 2009 11:31 PM

I got a chance to try out the nc headphones today. The effect is very impressive! I dont have much experience with other nc phones, but, i can say for sure that the bundled phones worked very well on my way to work.Also, as stated in the review, using WiFi is a major battery drain. One thing i dont like is that turning on WiFi and connecting are two separate commands. So, let say you want to conserve battery power (and leave WiFi off).. now, if you want to hop onto YouTube, you have to turn the WiFi on and then connect. There should be a single “turn WiFi on and connect” command… otherwise, you have to leave WiFi enabled and drain your battery life.

Mark on July 3, 2009 12:51 PM

What is “native video support”?This device works pretty well, it does H.264/AVC just fine.Clearly it’s inpractical to include codecs for everything ever created, so native is what the user expects, and for a HD device, it’s a HD codec like H.264.Otherwise good review.

Dave on July 9, 2009 10:56 AM

Seems nice but a bit over priced. And why does Sony keep changing their players every year? No wonder people won’t buy them. I stopped after buying my second Sony player. I just can’t keep up. How many players have they released since the walkman came out back in 2007?I wish they would stick with one style and build on that.(Like I-pod)

Chris on July 15, 2009 8:41 AM

Fantastic review, I ordered mine two days ago.On a side note, If whatever PC you happen to be using has a recent NVidia GPU (i.e. 8000 series or newer) you can use a piece of software called Badaboom to do your video trans-coding. It converts at an ungodly speed compared to using a general purpose CPU and also takes the load off the system, making the comp usable during the process. It’s not free, but at this point I consider it $20 well spent.My condolences to those of you with integrated video chips ;)

donggri on July 26, 2009 5:28 AM

well balanced review.. however on the specs, it is said that the screen is lcd, can u change it to OLED screen, I don’t know if many people will misunderstand, just to make sure..

tre on July 26, 2009 2:22 PM

@donggrithe display is OLED not LCD.

SwayDizzle on July 26, 2009 3:18 PM

@trethat’s what he said, it says LCD in the specs, not OLED

legend_bob on August 11, 2009 4:26 PM

After bricking my second S9 transferring files from Linux I’m considering this. But not being able to drop xvid videos in is a big problem for me.Is this something that could be added with a future firmware update or is it limited by the hardware?

Anup V on August 16, 2009 12:06 PM

HiI just got this player and its really good. The noise cancellation is excellent. I was on a flight yesterday and I could not make out the engines – However I didnt make out the announcements either :) which tells me I should be a little careful with the use of noise cancellation.I am facing some trouble with the player though. partly because it is the first time I have any player of this kind.Is there a forum where i could get help on this player -Music works great but -1. I cant get Wifi to work – keep getting a DNS error2. Cant load videos at all. I even shelled out the 13 dollars extra and still no help :( Please share any links/software that will help the video.thanks

parkpy on September 16, 2009 10:33 AM

Two questions:1) How are the transfer rates2) When headphones are unplugged, does the Walkman pause?

ashiiya on October 8, 2009 1:07 PM

I don’t have one, but I do know someone who does and I got all excited and started playing around with it the other day.Overall, the interface was pretty nice and easy to use and even the wifi was working pretty well, but the browsing wasn’t the best experience. Although on something like this, I wouldn’t expect to be browsing on it that often, it was still a bit annoying.But in terms of music and video, it was awesome ^^

LK on October 9, 2009 6:37 PM

The review doesn’t even mention the proprietary USB connector. I had to go elsewhere to find out about it, and I’m sure many people agree that this is a major drawback!

Raffo on October 27, 2009 5:27 PM

Thank you for your review!Now I’ve got this player and it sounds GOOD, much better than ipod. After buying my first ipod i renounced listening music with a pair of earphones, now things are changing. And, again thanks to your review, I discovered that the earphones coming with the player soun good too… Unfortunately, I bought some Klipsch S4 thinkin’ they were better than the Sony and… well, they didn’t at all.Now I enjoy the sound (I think I cannot expect something better for the bass), but I’d like more presence and musicality in the mid/high range, specially for the voices that now don’t sound very natural. Any suggest for upgrading without loosing the good low range?

Rohit Bhalwankar on November 11, 2009 7:29 PM

This review is perfect – Except that I have not heard the X-series.I was getting confused between X and s9 and I use SE530′s.I didn’t know if the sound quality would deteriorate with the cancellation off or not(Y)

yu gi on November 24, 2009 9:03 PM

As usual , perfect review grahm :) i have a question ,what about its output power is it still under powerd ?

Cuddles on December 8, 2009 5:12 AM

How can such an “advanced” player not have a simple feature like on the go playlist!? An absolute deal breaker for me.

israa on May 17, 2010 5:58 AM

Nice review. I bought the 32 Gig Version of this unit together with a pair of Bower & Wilkings P5 Headphones whilse in the UK last week. This replaces my 1 year old NZW829 working with a pair of Bose Tri-Ports. Even though I spent a small fortune, It was the sound quality of this unit what sold itself, I mean, that’s why we buy portable audio for, right, Sound Quality. What makes me happy is that It plays back uncompressed PCM Audio (gapless too). The sound engine is amazing, it totally compliments the P5 B&W Head Gear. Totally recommend this unit. If you prefer Anything else other than Audio Quality, then go and get an i-Pod Touch like I have for the same purpose! But the X Series is pure audiophile pleasure!!

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