"Don't misunderstand the virtues of HiMD - this format is made for recording, not just playback"4.5 starson by dex Otaku
Pros: inexpensive media, OLED display, LPCM recording, AA battery option
Cons: SonicStage, inherent limitations of MO media
Summary: People don't seem to understand what MD and HiMD are for. These units haven't even been released yet and people are already panning them with little good reason.
One of MD's original design intents was to replace cassette tape for portable recording, something which both MD and subsequently HiMD are perfectly suited to.
Sony in their infinite wisdom attempt to market these formats as competitors to hard disc players - something that anything based on magneto-optical storage simply can't do, IMNSHO.
Consequently, I think that neither MD nor HiMD should be marketed to the public as portable audio players at all. I consider the playback features [which, once you accept the limitations imposed by SonicStage, are actually very good] to be little more than a bonus on top of the real intended use of this format.
Don't be fooled. Don't listen to the people who are saying that the MP3 features are to live or die for. The units play back MP3s [wrapped in DRM] natively as well as ATRAC3, ATRAC3plus, and linear PCM, but none of these are clinching elements for any but the most average consumer who just wants to listen to their MP3s in peace - the kind of person who should definitely stay away from this format.
In terms of recording, Sony's first-gen HiMDs [I have an NH700] do an excellent job [almost always exceeding my expectations from such a tiny device] and I look forward to seeing what the 2nd-gen units can do.
Basically, HiMD is currently the lowest cost-for-performance as well as lowest cost-per-media digital audio recorder on the market that supports linear PCM and direct transfers, albeit only to PCs running the rather dismal SonicStage software.
If what you want is a portable player - DO NOT BUY HiMD unless you have previous generations and are, as many [unlike myself]are, a fierce proponent of the format[s]. You would be better suited with a hdp or flash player [or even an MP3-CD player]. MO media is very slow, even if it is highly reliable.
If what you want is the smallest, highest-quality portable sound recorder on the market that can record uncompressed digital audio, and allows full-digital transfers to your PC, then HiMD is more than merely a viable option for you. The small sacrifices of having to work within SonicStage for a few minutes to do your transfers is worth the results you can get with these.
** This format is for recording, and should be marketed as such. If you want something to record with, consider it.
** If you want a fancy MP3 player that can blow out your eardrums with bloated bass, stay away from it.