Sony has a knack for capturing the consumer's attention with their snazzy looking products. First impressions do count, and when we set eyes on Sony's new Walkman player, the NWZ-X1000, it did make us swoon over it.
Diamond in the Rough
The X1000 looks all shiny at the front, but we noticed a rough granite material running across the border. This non-slippery lining ensures a better grip on the device. Right at the back of the device, we noticed a little Hold button that keeps the device's touch screen locked from accidental navigation.
The X1000's crown is lined with the standard 3.5mm audio jack and the three main navigation buttons: forward, back and play/pause. This gives the front panel a much cleaner look with only a single Home button for you to return instantly to the main screen.
The user interface is as simple as it gets, with icons representing the various basic functions such as music, video and image viewing. Music sounded pretty decent on the X1000 and its bundled in-ear earphone. We detected a balanced amount of bass and treble with the equalizer deactivated.
If you do want a stronger punch out of the audio, there are a number of enhancements such as the VPT (Surround) and DSEE (Sound Enhancement) features for better clarity and effect. Its Dynamic Normalizer mode is quite nifty in making sure you don't get blasted with a track that's too loud, nor strain your ears with music that's too soft.
This is further enhanced by the integrated Noise Canceling feature, which is easily activated via the switch on the side just below the volume buttons. We didn't really hear any discernible difference in the audio quality on the road, but this could mean that the device is sufficiently good to drown out all the noise distractions.
Brighter Days Ahead
Video quality turned out to be clear and bright, aided in part by the X1000's inclusion of an OLED 3.0-inch screen. With OLED screens, we noticed that brightness isn't an issue, and we had to tweak down the levels to keep it bearable for our eyes, except in daylight situations. Admittedly, videos will still require conversion which is easily done either with a third party application, or Sony's bundled software.
Alternatively, if you're more of an online video junkie, the X1000 comes with integrated Wi-Fi connectivity for you to view YouTube videos on the go. Granted, this will drastically reduce the X1000's battery mileage, as we have seen in less than a day of usage with YouTube videos thrown in as part of the experience.
In fact, the X1000 can probably even be classified as a mobile internet device since it also comes with the NetFront web browser similar to that on Sony's Playstation Portable gaming devices. But surfing the web isn't as easy as we thought since we struggled when it came to typing out a simple URL on the onscreen numeric keypad.
Sony's Walkman series have proven to be quite resilient in a market filled with convergent devices, and the X1000's capabilities as a portable media player manages to keep the company's portable media player lineup in the game. It sticks well to its core focus as an entertainment player, and brings some value-added features with its Wi-Fi connectivity for mobile internet purposes.