I really do enjoy Sony’s mp3 players and even more so now that they are lightened up on their proprietary ways. However I’m not entirely sure of their strategy to blanket the store shelves with a new player every few months. I guess it keeps their product line fresh, but it is much of the same stuff rehashed into a different case.
This E series player isn’t too different from the last E series from what I can tell, but it does mention that this is the first E series with “Clear Audio” which improves the sound stage. This is found on the Sony X series and while I did find it to improve sound stage a bit I’m not sure it’s a feature worth upgrading for. But I likely will pick one of these up to see if it has a similar sound to the X series. I have been really enjoying the X-1000 lately and using it almost exclusively while I’m out and about. This E440 could be a nice alternative to the astronomically priced X series. If you are into something a bit more portable the B140 follows their familiar “stick player” formula like the B130 but with a nicer design and a “zap” feature allowing you to listen to random parts of a track.
The EU press release states that these will be widely available at the end of July. Nothing is said about the US but I’m sure we will likely see them shortly after.