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Old 07-05-2009, 11:25 PM
stevem5000 stevem5000 is offline
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Default NWZ-A829 and JBL 610 BT review

I had looked at the a829 a couple years ago, decided it was too expensive for 16Gb...but couldn't find anything else I liked...so decided to wait a while...
Since my primary requirement in any MP3 player is bluetooth, I got a pair of JBL Reference Series 610 which comes with a bluetooth adapter for the classic iPod...since there was nothing else out there I was interested in, I decided to get the iPod...and Sony had moved on to the new X series Walkman...no bluetooth...

My daughter has the classic iPod...nice, but not quite there...and the screen is tiny...I spend a lot of time in airports and wanted to watch movies, videos etc...I'm, starting to get "wishy washy" on my iPod decision...but with the JBL adapter, iPod is now bluetooth...

I paired the JBL to my laptop and listened to my MP3 thru Monkey Media...the sound quality of these headphones is very, very good...and the more I thought about the iPod, the less I liked the idea...BUT Sony no longer has the a829 Walkman...and I can't find it at any of the Inet outlets...Amazon is out...47th St Photo...etc...

After a couple weeks searching I find 3 a829'son Ebay...I got a used a829 for US$150...Slightly nicked on the case, but working perfectly....The owner sent me 2 USB cables, a silicon case cover, and a couple other goodies...

I hooked it up to my computer and...holy cow...this thing opens up folders like Windows Explorer...AND, you can drag and drop...
I dragged and dropped a couple hundred MP3's...and plugged in the Sony earbuds, and I was MOST impressed...

Took me about 15 minutes to figgure out how to connect the bluetooth, works GREAT...
Now here is the catch...the earbuds sounded a bit better than my JBL bluetooth...not sure if I was expecting that or not...but after fiddling around with the equilizer, now my bluetooth sounds better than the earbuds...and I would be willing to put it up against most of the wired headphones...

Video is another story...I have some music videos I wanted on the a829...Fleetwood Mac the Dance etc...could not get any of my video converters to work...put in a video file, I would get "File Format not Recognized"...
After maybe a week of reading comments on this forum and several others, researching wherever I could...I finally found it requires a 320x240 30 FPS MP4...I downloaded several recommended video converters, none of them worked...

Finally found a thing called ******** Video Converter...choose the setup for iPod and it converts perfectly...

I've had the unit now for maybe 3 weeks and here are my judgements...

Everyone will tell you the sound quality of the a829 is fantastic...believe it...it's true...
I think it's true with either earbuds, earphones or bluetooth...but if you go bluetooth I would not get cheap headphones...test the bluetooth on your a829 before you part with any significant cash...

The video was an issue to get working...but the image is very, very good, sharp, clear, saturated colors...and the 2.4" horz image is small, but workable for sitting in airports trying to pass the time...not great but workable...

The interface...I prefer the iPod wheel...quick, easy...
The a829 does NOT have a touch screen, bit dissapointed about that...
You have to scroll thru menues, so finding things is a bit convoluted...Right now I have about 1000 MP3's and 6 videos on it...I can sort MP3' by type, album, artist etc...it works but not as nice as the iTouch for example...

Battery life...I probably listen 3-4 hours a day...mostly at work...and I charge the battery about every 3-4 days...so far the battery has not run down...My JBL 610's are about the same...I charge both at the same time...same schedule...Here is a downer...gotta recharge it with the USB cable and it is slow, I let it charge overnight...however, there are USB chargers you plug into your wall outlet...and plug the USB cable into it...don't have one yet, but that should charge the battery significantly faster...

Small, thin and the silicone cover makes it not slip out of your shirt pocket very easy...

Do I like it...yes...would I get another, I think so...However, if the new X Series Sony's had bluetooth, I would certainly consider that...but they are significantly more expensive...

Getting an a829 on the used market makes this unit very affordable and justifiable...but I don't think I would pay the original price...I forget what it was, I think around $350 or so when this unit came out...

Also, if anyone is intersted...the JBL610's are a cushened over the ear headphone...the bar is over the head not behind...not designed to block out noise, but it does a pretty good job...on the airplane, you get very little jet noise...and these units are very comfortable...
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