So this is it, the long-awaited NW-A1000 Walkman MP3 player from Sony. From the moment we first glimpsed this on the pages of an indecipherable Japanese gadget site months ago, we've been producing a measurably increased amount of saliva every day. Finally the object of our anticipation has arrived. Our verdict? Hmmm.
This is, for certain, the best-looking Sony MP3 player to date. It's like an exotic pebble, worn smooth at the bottom of a brook. They are small quibbles, but a number of things make the NW-A1000's design less seamless than the adverts make it appear.
The first thing we've noticed is that the chassis, which appears seamless in the adverts, is actually divided into two halves. One half is made of glossy, reflective plastic, the other half is metallic -- this gives the unit a less organic look than a single material might have.
The second thing: the LCD screen embedded in the NW-A1000 is also less organic than it appeared in photos. In average light you can see the LCD's square panel set beneath the surface of the outer plastic. This was not the case with the Sony NW-E507, which gave the impression that the track info was being displayed magically on the surface of the case -- like some kind of Roswell technology at work. With the NW-A1000 the workings behind the trick are exposed -- Sony should have made the outer casing less translucent.
Sound quality on the player is impressive, but is this enough to fend off Apple's iPod? Expect a full review soon. -CS.
Update: a full review of the Sony Walkman NW-A1000 is now live.