Sony has been making strides in the MP3 player market recently and its latest flash based range looks set to continue that.
Called the “Bean” series (for obvious reasons), the new players are smaller than a cigarette lighter (plastic one, not Zippo!) and come in sizes of 512MB and 1GB. Battery life is corking – even for a flash player – at over 50 hours and the ace up its sleeve is that it can produce three hours of playback from just a three minute charge. Great in times of emergency or extreme forgetfulness.
Commands are naturally handled by Sony’s famous tilting, rolling jog wheel, with track information displayed courtesy of the company’s stylish one line organic LED display (first seen on the impressive NW-E507). As for potential downsides well, as always, you’ll have to rely on Sony’s naff SonicStage software (now up to version 3.2 and improving at a snail’s pace), while compatible formats are limited to ATRAC3plus and MP3s. No WMA support from the King of Proprietary Technology.
That said, the size, simplicity and stamina of the Beans (black, white and blue are available in both capacities, curiously pink is 1GB only) should guarantee them a good following. We journos will start receiving trial units in early September, which means shops should be seeing shipments a few weeks later. RRP for the 512MB edition will be £79, with 1GB priced at £99. You know which model to go for…
Wow, I made it through the whole article without mentioning Jack, beanstalks, giants or making puns about it being “magic”. *D’OH!*