Sony NWZ-X1060 Touch-Screen PMP - Sony NWZ-X1060

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


However, we now come to the X1060's strong suits. First, the screen really is excellent. At 3in it's a half-inch smaller than the display on the iPod touch, and the resolution (432 x 240) isn't actually as high. However, to counter this the screen is superbly bright, colours are extremely vivid and clarity is plain top notch. It's a great screen for viewing or sharing photos, and an even better one for watching video content. It's hard to know which player I'd rather watch a movie on - the touch has size on its side and is sharp and vibrant enough for me - but the Sony is certainly one of a handful of PMPs where I could imagine watching a whole blockbuster, and it's superb sound and pocket friendly size make it a great ultra-mobile cinema device. Of course, coming from Sony you can't expect format support to be that comprehensive, but MPEG-4, H.264 and WMV files are all handled without any major issues. What's more, the X1060 also plays iPlayer downloads, and while trying this out I discovered something else. When the X1060 imports video files it automatically chapter marks sections where it finds a natural gap, allowing you to flick between ‘chapters', DVD style, using another neat, CoverFlow style menu.

Now for the really good news. I'm tempted to stick my neck out, right here and right now, and say that the X1060 is the best sounding PMP I have ever heard, surpassing even the Cowon S9 and D2+. It's certainly the best sounding player I've heard out of the box, thanks mostly to the excellent bundled headphones. With their 13.5mm drivers the EX earphones provided are in a different league to the buds you'll find bundled with the S9 or iPod touch, and the sound they dish out is warm, slightly bass heavy but surprisingly detailed. I tried out a range of material from The Kings of Leon through Wagner's Tristan and Isolde to The Hold Steady, Justin Timberlake and Mastodon, and while I've heard all sound better with more expensive headphones and canalphones, I don't think there's any compelling reason to upgrade unless you're going to spend £60 or more.

In fact, I can think of one good reason not to; with the bundled EX headphones connected you can use the X1060's built-in noise reduction processing. You can switch between train, plane and office modes, and the effect is actually pretty convincing, doing a very effective job of drowning out traffic noise on a long walk into town - to an extent that was probably not all that good for safety. Again, you will get better results from a more expensive pair of active noise cancelling ‘phones or a really good pair of isolating canal phones, but given this is all in the one price, it's another win for Sony.

All that said, it's only when you hook up some more high-end cans that you really get a sense what the X1060 is made of. I suspect the superlative sound quality really comes down to two things: intelligent processing and high-class digital amplification. There are three processing options you can switch in and out. One, the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine, is designed to restore high-frequency information lost during compression and - like similar technologies from BBE, Samsung and Philips - seems to create a fuller, more dynamic output. The other two, Clear Bass and Clear Stereo, have a less marked effect, but seem to do exactly what you might expect. Combine these with some fine DAC circuitry and what Sony claims is a derivative of its S-Master amplification tech - as used in the manufacturer's audio and home cinema equipment - and the sound quality of the X1060 is set on course for the stars.


June 14, 2009, 6:42 am

Why oh why couldn't they include flac and ogg support....

I'll be waiting until I can get a 128GB flash based PMP before I buy one, my current RockBoxed 80GB iPod is doing alright for now. Although I've barely any free storage left on it.


June 14, 2009, 9:27 am

"typical Sony: understated, elegant and smart" compared to other brands, like Philips for example, not to our tastes...

Always beads and mirrors for the natives. All these devices should be really useful with WiMax connections, not WiFi. The future now please?


June 14, 2009, 9:42 am

Oops, i forgot, you can have a much better audio experience with 30-40p headphones, not only with 60+p. These EX are not saying something.


June 14, 2009, 10:45 am

Brilliant review, Stuart. Hilarious comparison with B&Q worktop - but personally, the front of the player resembles my own kitchen worktop. Also, definitely hear you on the "certain boroughs of London" bit *shakes head*.


June 14, 2009, 10:50 am

One more thing...I'm guessing the touch-screen is capacitive?


June 14, 2009, 5:51 pm

"Now for the really good news. I'm tempted to stick my neck out, right here and right now, and say that the X1060 is the best sounding PMP I have ever heard,..."

So I guess file format support isn't important if lower quality codecs can still be made to sound exceptional then? So who cares if it doesn't support FLAC or Ogg?


June 14, 2009, 6:08 pm

Sound quality, thats the most important thing in Mp3players, and nothing beats Sony walkman's Sound quality...

i have a Sony Walkman NWZ-S639F, and oh boy the sound quality and the(bass) is BRILLIANT!!!


June 14, 2009, 8:25 pm

I just checked and the 32GB version of this is available for $500. $70 more then the 32GB iPod Touch. I don't know if the price difference is worth it over the Touch. I may be willing to sacrifice some sound quality for the app store and the excellent browser.

Oh and I think the Walkman looks great, I love the granite like finish.


June 15, 2009, 5:54 am

Great review! Pretty much what I expected but it's a shame the lack of any lossless support makes it a complete write-off...

@Ohmz: That's because you're looking at Sony Style! In the UK, Sony stores had an exclusive for a few weeks before 'sensible' retailers started selling it. Hopefully that will happen in Canada too.


June 15, 2009, 7:33 am

US Pricing for Sony WMX

16GB US $299.99

32GB US $399.99

Sony's WMX is only 0.99 more than corresponding iPod touches.

Also with Sony, you get 100 free downloads.


June 15, 2009, 1:14 pm

@Chris I'm pretty sure it does WMA lossless - I did check online a while ago and that was what Sony were quoting


June 15, 2009, 3:05 pm

Thanks for the review. Very informative and made my decision to purchase a lot easier. I was just wondering if you knew what the difference, if any, between the nwz-1060 and the nwz-1061 as listed on the American SonyStyle website:


June 15, 2009, 4:35 pm

@acgs1: Sony's website isn't very helpful, but it seems the only support for lossless audio is linear PCM, which I suppose means WAV files! WAVs are so large that in practical terms they're useless.

This is a huge omission, particularly given that its superior sound quality is its greatest advantage over an iPod.

Having said that, I imagine that a 320kbps AAC file played from a Walkman would still sound better than the equivalent lossless file played from an iPod. I just can't bring myself to convert my lossless library to 320kbps and then have to manage two copies of the same library. It just makes the Apple route look so much simpler.


June 15, 2009, 4:56 pm

@Chris Really? Hmm... I just got one today, I'll load something up and check


June 15, 2009, 7:40 pm

Ok, no worries. I just found out the difference between the x1060 & x1061. The American version (x1061) has support for 'Slacker' radio via WiFi.


June 16, 2009, 5:24 am

I bought my X1060 for £229 from Amazon, having had it for 2 weeks...

Web browser: when typing out a url, tap the "url" button. If URL is selected, selecting the letter "h" allow you to automatically type "http://www." with 2 further touches: it could be better but it's no where near as bad as described in the review.

Saying that I agree that full blown web browsing isn't really viable: Google Mail seems to work better as the full standard web version but the BBC site is pointless unless it's the mobile version. And I'm a bit disappointed by the mobile phone style predictive text entry, for urls it's acceptable but a full size keyboard could have fitted on the screen.

Video: I think the lack of video support is massively understated in the review: not only is the lack of DivX and Xvid support dire, but you have to pay £8 to upgrade the software for DivX conversion support: and that you get absolutely nothing for xVid is a big problem considering my Zen Vision M quite happily take both without conversion (and I have a large amount of both video types). As the big selling point for me was the OLED screen it's a major disappointment that I have to mass convert my videos... with less than perfect software.

Sound: even with my cheapy £15 headphones there's a definite improvement over my ZVM, which itself was rated as having very good audio for 2006... the quality, even of 192kbps mp3s is phenomenal: it's even better with the supplied headphones, which really are brilliant. As for lack of lossless support, it's not a problem for me and I'd never bother using lossless content on a portable device... it's a niche feature that I'm quite happy to live without, especially as everything I have is mp3 (or was converted).

I still remain undecided though as to whether it was worth it. I'll repost if/when I can decide...

Wayne Harris

June 16, 2009, 8:12 pm

Hi guys, currently i have a Nokia N91 8GB for listening to Music, Audio Quality is pretty damn good, I have a £120 pair of Ultimate Ears headphones that I'm using with it, with Sony Walkman phones in the past, maximum volume has always been too low, obviously this reviewed model isnt a phone, but carrying my N91 about is beginning to do my head in as its not small, i also want something to watch films on while im` on the way to my bands gigs, the N91 has the Bose Audio Chip inside it, i just wondered if their is plenty of volume on this Sony MP3 Player, any distortion, and does anyone here own the N91 8GB or N91 and can make a comparison? really want to get this! but just don't want to waste the money if it doesn't match Audio quality of my N91 8GB, i cant try it at a shop anywhere, all my MP3`s are always ripped at 320kbps and NO less... thoughts?


June 17, 2009, 1:07 am

Well, turns out it doesn't do WMA lossless, does VBR though, lossless tracks are automatically converted to 320kbps before syncing. I did copy/paste to the device (to get the actual lossless tracks onto it) but it didn't play them. Shame, hopefully they will patch it? Maybe the RockBox people will come up with something, that might be a bit drastic though...


June 17, 2009, 1:48 am

I agree that the keyboard has been demonised slightly too much - it's bad, but it could be worse, you get used to it quite quickly - I can type more quickly on it than on my phone already(!), and the predictive text is *very* good, especially for URLs

Chris, you were right, it wouldn't play my WMA lossless tracks, it does do VBRs though, and the lossless tracks are converted at sync (if you're using WMP (I normally don't as I rarely use Windows)) to 320kbps tracks... It's a shame about the lack of support, maybe they'll patch it in the future...

Maybe the RockBox people will come up with something, that might be a bit drastic though...


June 17, 2009, 4:26 pm

@acgs1: Thanks for trying. Any idea what it would do if you transferred Apple Lossless files from iTunes? Would the software convert those to 320kbps on the fly and how long would that take? Is anything lost when doing that, i.e. would you lose any artwork or ID tags?

If you don't know these off the top of your head, don't worry. I'll just keep Googling for some answers...


June 17, 2009, 10:32 pm

Don't know about those - as I don't have iTunes, I can't really help there. Sorry.


June 18, 2009, 10:36 pm

Feel like selling off my iPod Touch to get another player. The sound quality, while it is definitely a step up from my 5700XM, still leaves me hanging. Even my PC's on board audio exposes more detail using the exact same perceived volume and equipment. Should I go for a Cowon D2+ or a S9 or any you guys would suggest? The App Store is just a novelty to me, IMHO, as I rarely even play the games, as apparently the screen hates detecting my fingers.


June 23, 2009, 2:06 am

@Chris: I don't have any Apple lossless files I'm afraid: all I can say is that it works perfectly with mp3/wma/aac files as listed in the specs.

@Rickysio: the D2 comes out pretty badly in reviews, only the DAB version is worth considering... and that's if you want access to digital radio.

Haven't used the S9 but for sound it's supposed to be brilliant... even so, the X series tops it based on reviews, and as I've said een with dirt cheap headphones it sounds fantastic and outperforms my Creative Zen Vision:M, which got rave reviews for audio quality back in 2006.

If you can afford I'd go with this, otherwise I'd consider the Samsung YPP3: I very nearly went that way, but thought wi-fi web browasing was a better fit for me than bluetooth audio (my phone already does that nicely).

Yasser Saeed

August 23, 2009, 1:38 am

This is my 3rd Sony PMP since the last 5 years. My older once still work beautifally with no problem, and their audio quality still much much better than any current iPods!!

I have been using my X series for a month now, and all I can say... WOW :)

I always try other PMPs before I decide, and my top priority is always sound quality, and this PMP provide the best sound quality I have ever heard!! Simply; the best PMP I ever owned.

Not to mention the sleek design and the solid feel of it when handling it. By the way, this PMP looks far better in real than on paper!!


The GUI is exelent, very logical as always, and very smooth to operate. The OLED screen is the top in my opinion, with touch screen as smooth as iPod Touh.

My rating:

- Design: 10/10

- Features: 8/10

- Sound Quality: 10/10

- Audio Usability: 10/10

- Value: 9/10

- Video Quality: 10/10

- Video Usability: 7/10

- Build Quality: 10/10

- Overall: Excellent PMP

I only dislike the complexity of copying video files to it!! It is not easy and straight forward, but video does not concern me much because all I care about is audio quality, and the usability of the device.

Features I would love to see in the next update:

On the software side:-

1- Calculator... I always find a handy calculator to be very useful. I think is very simple task for Sony to add a simple calculator!

2- Speed change (tempo) of audio track without pitch change.

3- Pitch change without speed change.

4- FM radio recording.

5- Support for more format, audio and video.

On the hardware part:

1- Bluetooth to hear music via Bluetooth devices such as portable speakers, and the ability to transfer files as well.

2- FM transmitter.

3- Mic to records important notes.

4- Much bigger capacity, 128GB to start with!!

5- Ambient sensor for back light.

6- Accelerometer.

7- Multi touch.


December 16, 2009, 1:52 pm

This one X series walkman is best what i have heard ever. No one player can give so ultimate sound quality like this one! And this one have EISA sertificate "Best European Personal Media Player 2009-2010"

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