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Sony Confirms X Series Walkman Launch Date & RRP

Gordon Kelly


Sony Confirms X Series Walkman Launch Date & RRP

So the talking stops now/now-ish...

The Sony Walkman X Series has been gathering admirers ever since its announcement at CES in January and now it is ready to go.

13 May (also known currently as 'tomorrow') will see both 16GB and 32GB versions of the X-Series hitting Sony Centres and selected retailers nationwide. You'll be asked to shell out £209 or £279 depending on your capacious needs.

So given these RRPs put the X-Series on par with the iPod touch (16GB, £214; 32GB, £283) what do you get for such a substantial outlay? In short: a 3in 432 x 240 pixel OLED touchscreen display (though no multi-touch), decent codec support (MP3, AAC (Non DRM), WMA (DRM), Linear PCM, AVC (H.264/AVC), Mpeg4 , WMV), WiFi for streaming YouTube videos, Podcast downloads, a web browser and an FM tuner.

On top of this you find Sony's proprietary - though typically excellent - audio technologies including S-master, Digital Noise Cancelling, Clear Stereo, Clear Bass, DSEE and what look do be some decent EX headphones (still always upgrade).

Yes, there are pros and cons: audiophiles will likely go anything but Apple, but the omission of things like Google Maps and a comparable App Store will likely be deal breakers for many others.

At least Sony is finally back in the game...


Sony Style X-Series Pre-Order Page


May 12, 2009, 6:50 pm

Looks like a good product. Interested to see if the sound quality lives up to Sony's previous models.

@Gordon - I'd agree re. an upgrade for sound fidelity reasons, but unfair to link to the "earphones can damage your hearing" page I think. The buds Sony supply with this are both noise cancelling and of the isolating variety (perhaps not quite as effectively as a top line pair of Shure's I suppose).


May 12, 2009, 6:55 pm

Just a question, if you have Wifi and a web browser, shouldn't it be very easy to use google maps as well?

and the sony X really does sound like a winner to me, I might even buy it and replace my ever so annoying meizu m6 :-)


May 12, 2009, 7:21 pm

I don't think it's fair to say "always upgrade" for the headphones Sony supplies with its good players. They're actually really good headphones that don't require much volume and the ones they'll supply with their most expensive Walkman yet will probably be as good as anything in the £30-60 range.


May 12, 2009, 7:25 pm

@Will - it's "always" fair. If you can afford to spend £200/300 on an MP3 player you should be ORDERED BY LAW (!) to buy some proper earphones. Entry level Shure SE110 series earphones can be found online for less than £40.

Not that I'm passionate about the topic or anything... ;)


May 12, 2009, 7:58 pm

looks like a really nice walkman, currently using an I-phone tho so cant see myself buying one anytime soon


May 12, 2009, 9:11 pm

I wish the screen were bigger...


May 12, 2009, 9:21 pm

You know everything I've heard about this player over the last few weeks has been overwhelmingly positive. Great screen, battery life, sound & build quality, headphones (ok not Shure, but by far best bundled headphones of any manufacturer), etc, etc. It seems like it's the best mp3 player on the market.

But I just don't these days see the point in gettting a separate mp3 player when you can get a phone that does it all. Ok the sound won't be as good, the battery life will suffer, but really those seem small compromises to make in the name of convenience. Why can't Sony just put all this into their phones? It's like they don't want to cannibalise the sales of thei phones by making them too good. But it's just backfiring by people going to other manufacturers (as witnessed by the recent terrible financial results posted by S-E). I think this player is too late, 5 years ago they'd have trounced the iPods with this, now it's a different market and they're no longer competitive. Do an all-in-one, maybe some PSP functionality for the gamers and they'd have a fighting chance.


May 12, 2009, 10:06 pm

It looks like a good competitor but the video kills it for me, 320x240 on an AMOLED screen? No thanks, after owning the Cowon S9 for a few months it's obvious that AMOLED has a habit of bringing out all the weaknesses in the source material. And especially now that the S9 has H.264 support at native resolutions and can play Xvid up to around 600x300, 320x240 is just too little even if the OLED screen of the Sony is better then the S9.


May 12, 2009, 10:42 pm

I can't believe I'm typing this, but I think I'd rather have the iPod Touch.


May 12, 2009, 10:48 pm

@HK I completely agree. I have been following this devices and after having read the reviews I would just love to buy it. Only problem is I can't justify it to myself. The whole idea about having to carry a separate MP3 player just seems so 2000. The optimal solution would be for Sony to merge their Walkman and phone devision and we would see some of the best multimedia devices on the market I am sure. But I guess it won't fly that way as long as Ericsson is still in Sony-Ericsson.


May 12, 2009, 11:00 pm

@HK Spot on.

First thing I thought was "Stick 3G phone capabilities in it, for the same price, and I *might* be interested...but probably not".


May 13, 2009, 7:21 am

I too also cant see the need for a dedicated mp3 player and just want everything in one device, camera, mp3, internet, phone, ect.


May 13, 2009, 7:23 am

Unless you carry a spare battery along with your mp3 playing phone than a device such as this is indeed unnecesary.

The top located controls are a very thoughtful touch too.


May 13, 2009, 11:35 am

A mobile phone for an mp3 player ??! The sound those things produce is abysmal.

Okay it might work for some people who don't demand much from it...but I for one NEED a dedicated mp3 player.

Just like digital cameras, mp3 capability on phones has always been way behind their dedicated devices.

Jon Cook

May 13, 2009, 2:22 pm

Completely agree with gettinghigh (in more ways than one). I dont want a single converged device that is average at best, laughable at worst for convenience sake, I want seperate devices that excel in their primary function. I might change my mind when the device arrives that has a full-size CMOS sensor, plays properly amplified lossless audio files, has an expandable screen for web browsing, 1TB or more of SS storage and 20Mb mobile broadband access.......... in fact then I'll definately change my mind :o)


May 13, 2009, 3:53 pm

@gettinhigh & @Jon, sure it's a compromise; but I think it's one the majority of people are going to be comfortable with.

- Camera - Well the quality isn't quite there yet on most phones, but for most occasions it's fine and means there's no need to carry a P&S. Obviously when you need quality then you need an SLR; but you would anyway.

- Audio - I really think it's possible now to get a phone with nearly as good sound as a dedicated player. I think when you are listening to music "on the go" then with all the background noise and distractions you really don't need pure high fidelity.

I really like this player and would love to justify it to myself, but it just seems unnecessary. I hate to say it, but if the new iPhone rumours are true, then a better camera, FM radio & 32GB are going to be enough to sway me to the Apple camp. The sound might be a bit crap, but hey at home in my imaginary dedicated listening room I've got a Naim, Kef system for pure audio nirvana...


May 13, 2009, 5:48 pm

totally agree HK

there will be no way you could tell the defference most of the time between a mp3 and a phone, and I'm tempted to go one further and say there may be negligible difference between lossless and mp3, but I'm going to go try it out before I say that ;)


May 14, 2009, 12:26 pm

Any idea when you might be getting a review sample?

Jon Cook

May 14, 2009, 2:29 pm

@Jay, you're quite right with 128kb MP3's: any player will reproduce the horrible sound faithfully :-) But listen to the difference between, say, 128kb and 320kb, and then 320kb and lossless. The vast majority of difference is found in the first comparison but more detail will emerge more subtley across a wider soundstage in the second. Of course, the key requirement is a decent set of IEM's or cans. The player should present this as neutrally as possible (imo). With a decently encoded or lossless file combined with prerequisite 'phones you will notice a different signature between a Cowon, an iPod, an Archos and, hopefully, a Sony (I say hopefully as I have one on order - if, after it arrives, its rubbish, I'll come back and eat my words)


May 14, 2009, 4:47 pm

I'm hoping to have one in my paws early next week, so we should have a review up then (fingers crossed).


Adam Foreman

May 14, 2009, 5:13 pm

If iPods didn't require iTunes, I'd buy an iTouch. But with Apple stranggle hold over the user as to what you can and can't put on your player wihtout dedicated software it means the flexibility isnt there for the owner. I'm ore inclined to buy this player even though its touch over priced when compared to other media players.


May 15, 2009, 3:21 am

The audio and video quality of this new Walkman is really stunning! I've thrown my old iPod away into the drawer as I've been getting upset with its quality for a long time now and looking for a good replacement.

I have put my hands on X Series today in John Lewis on Oxford Street and eventually bought it from there! They've built up a great demonstration site there where you can try it out. I haven't seen it available anywhere else though. I guess you can buy it from johnlewis.com now

Playing with it :)


May 15, 2009, 3:55 am

@Jon Cook - yeah I can tell the difference between a low bit mp3 and 320kbs thats why I only use 320kbs, it the step up from this to lossless im skeptical about, but im going to try out the lossless (just need to find a cd as I have none here) just a shame nothing supports the lossless formats. and it would take ages to re rip all the CDs to lossless after Ive done them to mp3 - no doubt I will do sometime though

as for the music quality on phones low end are very bad but high end phones are good and are pretty much on a par with iPods ect.

@Adam Foreman I quite like itunes good all round software and loads easier than dragging and dropping songs - but it isnt for everyone

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