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Sony Walkman A845 - Sony Walkman A845

By Hugo Jobling
Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Sony Walkman A845

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price £127.39

As has become typical of Sony players, the A-series offers drag-and-drop file transfers, but it's not quite a simple matter of plugging the device into a computer - you'll need to use Sony's proprietary USB cable. Also specific to the A-series player with which they're bundled are the headphones Sony supplies. Not that they won't work with another player, or that other earphones won't work with the A-series. But the combination of the two adds noise-cancelling to the A-series' capabilities.

This works well enough, with a number of settings available to fine tune how aggressively the cancellation works. However, the extra bulk that this adds to the earpieces is an annoyance, and although the bundled earphones sound okay, they're no match for a decent third party set.

The headphones do, in fact, serve one other purpose, which is to act as an antenna for the built-in radio. There's little to say about this other than it works - unless you're the type to be impressed by a whole 30 slots available for saving pre-set stations. That proved 28 more than we needed (BBC Radios 2 and 4), but your mileage may vary.

What's perhaps most interesting about the latest generation of Sony media player, is the audio quality. Previous Walkman players offered a significant advantage over their equivalent Apple players, but with this latest generation the gap isn't quite as profound - where the iPod improved noticeably over its predecessor this generation, the A-series is about on a par with other Walkmans such as the E443.

Not that we're suggesting this is a problem. The A-series offers audio quality as good you can realistically expect at its price. The overall sound comes across full and warm, with a forceful but balanced output. There's plenty of volume available, no distortion even with the player turned up painfully loud, and although the A-series output is powerful, it's not too much so - the player will do delicate, too. For the money there's really nothing to dislike.

Verdict

The A-series Walkman is a fine successor to the previous models Sony has released in its class. The built-in noise cancelling ability isn't as much of a show-stopper as Sony might hope, but the A-series is nonetheless a solidly built, well-featured and competitively priced rival to Apple's iPod nano.

Scores In Detail

Sound Quality
8/10
Value
9/10

Our Score

8/10
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william haynes

February 8, 2011, 1:57 pm

I purchased the 32GB version while in Hong Kong last year to replace my old Sony NWZ-A818 and although it is a good player it sadly does not offer an improvement in audio quality over previous Sony models. In fact, I feel it is a small step backwards in comparison to my old player. Also, when using the Shuffle mode to play music the player automatically defaults to the first track held on its memory when charged via the USB cable. This is very annoying, previous models would simply resume from the last track played when removed from charge, this does not. On the plus side, the screen display is excellent and the internal radio a plus. Overall, it is not a bad player - though it's nothing special either.

Michael G

February 8, 2011, 2:22 pm

First of all, I think the point made about touch screens and physical buttons is extremely important. When I'm on the bus or walking around, I want to be able to change tracks, pause/play and adjust the volume on the go.





Sadly, I'm one of those poor sods who can't text and walk etc, so with a touch screen, I'd have to stop walking, stand still every time I want to change track etc. Which is a complete pain in the proverbials and completely illogical.





Inline remotes don't solve the issue either, as you either have the cable dangling outside of your clothing, or the inline remote is stuck inside your coat somewhere around the chest area. Which is useless too, because all I really want to do is be able to feel the buttons through my pocket.





Secondly, I still have an Sony NWZ A818 and have done for about 3 or so years. I've never felt the need to upgrade or change because it's a stunning bit of kit. The solid metal construction and excellent finish has meant it looks exactly the same as it did on day one. It plays music, has physical controls, is very svelte and well proportioned and sounds much better than any Apple player.





So if I was to upgrade, it would be to another Walkman, and I would always recommend Sony players.

MacSimon

February 8, 2011, 3:29 pm

Yes, but does it do gapless playback like the iPods do?

Ouroboros

February 8, 2011, 5:38 pm

@MacSimon


Does my iphone do this gapless playback thing? (I don't know because I use a walkman NWZ W252 for my music. I tried using the iphone for music initially, but the sound quality was noticably inferior to even my tiny, cable-free W252.) And why would I want the gapless playback? Waiting 2 seconds for the next track seems perfectly acceptable, and most artists intend for their music to have some sort of demarcation.

Metalex

February 8, 2011, 6:20 pm

@MacSimon - I assume so, yes. My NW-HD3 Walkman from several years ago managed gapless playback, so surely the latest models offer this too.





Lack of gapless playback used to be a weakness of iPods. My first generation Nano can't do gapless, though I think this was fixed by the time the second generation came along.

Chris

February 8, 2011, 6:40 pm

@Ouroboros: Gapless playback is supposed to be intelligent. Some albums will require a gap between tracks, but some artists intend one track to lead onto the next, so there should be no gap in playback. A good media player should be capable of using information in the media's metadata tags to determine whether a gap is required or not.





In Apple's case, iTunes downloads this information and applies it to your library automatically. Ideally you shouldn't even notice this happening, but the result is that gapless albums are played back accordingly.

Ed

February 8, 2011, 9:09 pm

@Chris: That's not strictly true. Gapless playback isn't intelligent - it always eliminates the extra gaps - it's simply that, as you say, in some songs/albums there are intentional gaps.

Chris

February 8, 2011, 9:19 pm

@Ed. True, it's not technically 'intelligent', that's the wrong word, but the rest still applies.

MrGodfrey

February 9, 2011, 2:08 am

Michael G: Indeed. I have the A818 too, and while I've bought other players for various purposes, this Walkman is the one I always go back to when the priority is simply to enjoy music. If I remember correctly this was one of the first models that didn't rely on the horrific SonicStage software; they finally "got it" and got pretty much everything else right too - the design, build quality, interface and above all sound quality were basically perfect. Even the bundled earphones were miles better than those seen on any PMP before or since. Since then IMO nobody has made a better player in this class - including Sony. Just goes to show that newer is not always better.

sahil16011990

February 9, 2012, 9:21 pm

I just bought Sony Walkman A845 B 16 GB model for Rs 10k and got bundled earphones with that which fit comfortably into my ears.
These earphones are excellent and would say the best ones available in India with super bass and when you listen to it on full volume it appears as if you are listening to a really high quality DJ.
The earphones have also got a unique feature called Noise Cancellation Technology which works only with this model of Sony Walkman.
Its just awesome for sound freaks like me!!!

Don't listen the sound, feel it with Sony!!!

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