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Sony Walkman NWZ-A828 review

Alan Lu
22 Apr 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
103
inc VAT

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Sony's latest Walkman, the NWZ-A828, is the first MP3 player we've seen that comes with a set of cordless Bluetooth headphones. This may sound gimmicky, but they'll appeal to anyone who's ever struggled to untangle a pair of wired earphones.

Bluetooth is built in, so there's no need for an external adaptor. There are controls for adjusting the volume and skipping between tracks on the right headphone, but bizarrely there isn't a simple pause button. Getting a comfortable fit can be tricky, especially if you wear glasses. The wireless connection remained stable and didn't drop during our tests

Sound quality was surprisingly good. There wasn't quite as much bass as we would have liked and some backing vocals sounded a little muffled, but otherwise they sounded clear and reasonably detailed.

Using the Bluetooth headphones dramatically reduces battery life. With Bluetooth enabled, the NWZ-A828 lasted a mere 10 hours and six minutes playing music and six hours and 47 minutes playing video. Using the included corded earphones, the NWZ-A828 lasted an astonishing 46 hours and 44 minutes playing audio and nine hours, nine minutes playing video. If you're determined to use the cordless headphone, you'll have to charge your MP3 player regularly.

The included wired sound-isolating earphones blocked out a surprising amount of background noise. The bass was overwhelming, though, and the treble sounded very harsh. Music was far more balanced and detailed using a quality third-party set of headphones.

The NWZ-A828's slender black metal frame feels sturdy. The menus are easy to navigate and make it easy to select songs from the same artist, album, genre or year as the one currently playing. There's no support for DRM-protected music, but this isn't a serious issue any more since both iTunes and Amazon now sell music without copy protection.

Video support is poor. The Walkman will play only MPEG4 or H.264 videos with a 320x240 pixel resolution and a 15fps frame rate, so the videos aren't very smooth. The only video-encoding program that consistently produced playable files was Sony's Vegas video-editing program. The included Media Manager program is of little use; it will re-encode incompatible videos only if you pay an extra £8 for the Pro version.

The NWZ-A828 isn't perfect. Video support is poor and the Bluetooth headphones aren't a very practical replacement for a wired set. Still, it's a great music player thanks to its logical controls, excellent battery life with wired headphones and good sound quality.

Details

Price£103
Rating*****
Headphone Rating***

Hardware

Capacity7.84GB
Formatted capacity7.03GB
InterfaceUSB
Storage mediumflash memory
Battery and charge optionsLi-ion, USB
Size51x10x94mmmm
Weight58g

Features

Device has screen?Yes
Viewable size2.4 in
Native resolution320x240
Memory card supportnone
FM Radiono
Audio record optionsnone
Video record optionsN/A
Supplied with06:47 Bluetooth video

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback)46h 44m
Tested battery life (Video playback)9h 9m
500MB transfer time10h 6m 0s
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackYes
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackNo
Audio WAV playbackNo
Audio Audible playbackNo
Image BMP supportNo
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportNo
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackNo
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackYes
Video WMV playbackNo
Video MPEG-1 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 VOB playbackNo
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD supportNo
Video H.264 supportYes
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio supportNo
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportYes
Download compatibilitynone

Buying Information

Price per MB1.3p
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk
Detailswww.sony.co.uk

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