It was a sad day when I reviewed the second-gen Sony S-Series Walkman. We expected a worthy successor to this fantastic MP3 player and instead were met with a mere shadow of the device and its former glory. True, you still get top-notch sound quality, impressive battery life, and even the added bonus of external speakers, but what happened to my podcast support, upgraded headphones, expanded sound enhancement options, interface personalization, SensMe Channels, and Rhapsody DNA?
Well, most of those things got funneled into the "expanded" S-Series, the S640 and S740 lines, which--naturally--Sony has no intention of offering to U.S. buyers. (The speaker-sporting model is the S540.) These two players differ in only one way: the S740 offers integrated noise canceling, whereas the S640 does not. Other than that, both devices include just about everything that made the original S-Series Walkman so freakin' sweet, plus the ability to output to a TV and what appears to be some sort of audio recording option. Oh, and it's available in a 32GB option. You're killing me, Sony!
Adding insult to injury is the Japan-only release of a next-gen A-Series Walkman, a seemingly spectacular MP3 player with a 2.8-inch WQVGA OLED screen. It offers an S-Master digital amplifier, FM radio, digital noise canceling, and the ability to output to TV at 720?480. The package also includes Sony's MDR-EX300SL earphones (i.e. not shoddy stock earbuds). Oh, and have I mentioned it's available in capacities up to 64GB? Seriously. Killing. Me.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to write a strongly-worded letter.