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Sony NWZ-A815 review

Great video playback, but we expect better sound from a Sony Tested at £89.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Good to have WMP compatibility, but it needs better sound.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent video playback

  • +

    superb functionality

Cons

  • -

    Needs better sound

  • -

    pricey

Sony's latest MP3 player, the 2GB NWZ-A815, has been much anticipated, mainly due to its compatibility with Windows Media Player, marking a departure from the dreaded SonicStage software used by earlier Sonys.

Fans of Sony products will surely welcome this move, while appreciating the elegant façade of the NWZ-A815. The unit isn't quite as small as the nano, but is still tiny in comparison to most other MP3 players. The screen is a robust 2in, with a 340 x 240 resolution, and is capable of showing pictures and video with great clarity, helped by the 30 frames per second playback.

Both MP3 and WMP files are supported here, among others, along with major video formats such as MP4.

Like most Sony products, simplicity in functionality is where this unit excels. The NWZ-A815 is incredibly easy to use, and navigating through the menus is an undemanding joy.

Video is sound; sound is weak
Uploading is also effortless, due to the player's compatibility with Windows Media Player. No more struggling with Sony's SonicStage software, when a simple drop-and-drag will suffice now.

Where the NWZ-A815 falls down is its sonic ability. The effort seems to have gone into perfecting video replay, while music playback has suffered as a result. The bass and the vocals both come across clear and detailed, but the treble is lacking and on the whole it lacks the kind punch we'd expect from a Sony.

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