Pros Size, battery life, audio quality, ease of use, price
Cons Armband and/or belt clip not included
Summary I've had this player for a few weeks now and I must say this is the BEST investment I have made! It really is an adorable little device that packs a HUGE audio punch. The sound is superior to any portable music player I have tried, and you can fully adjust the treble and bass to how ever your preference prefers. For such a small device, it has many features that make this device very interesting and enjoyable to work with and listen to. It's also a handy, portable, plug-n-play storage device that allows you to drag and drop files.
I read all the reviews I could before I purchased this device, and many people complained about the lack of drag-n-drop of music files. Sony has made such software capabilities available for past players, so perhaps they will for this player in the future as well. For me, it doesn't matter because Sony's SonicStage software just is NOT that big of a deal for me to use. Over the years I have amassed a HUGE MP3 collection of my own CD's and CD's I check out from the public library (a better option than downloading if you live in a larger Metro area with a HUGE music collection in their library). It is quite simple to get the music on the player. I imported the MP3 versions into SonicStage, converted them all to ATRAC3plus 48 kbs and dumped them on to the player.
I'm fairly picky about the quality of music I listen to, but I can NOT state firmly enough how absolutely GREAT the sound quality of even 48 kbs of the ATRAC3plus versions sound on this player. By converting my MP3 collection to the ATRAC3plus 48 kbs files system, I still have my MP3 collection AND a MUCH reduced in file size set that I can burn on to CD's for a backup. Blank CD's are inexpensive, and it's good to have another backup of my music collection. By converting my MP3's to the ATRAC3plus system, I now have around 750 songs on my Network Walkman player. Sony indicates 695, but there certainly IS room for more than that. It's just AMAZING that I can listen to my music on this player at work for two weeks and not hear the same song twice AND all of this from one AAA battery. INCREDIBLE!
Yes, it will be nice when Sony finally gets the armband released for this player, but I have a brain and can figure out a way to make my own until then. That's called ingenuity.
If you want an FM tuner, Sony has a 1 GB player with that feature either out or soon to be released. I purchased this player because I do NOT want to have to listen to the radio. I just can not say enough good about this player. The onboard features are excellent, the operation of the player and yes, even the SonicStage software are quite intuitive if you take a few seconds to actually make the effort to look (and heaven forbid - read!) through the menus. I have an older and slower computer and when I imported and converted my MP3's, it did take a while to convert them to the MUCH better sounding and efficient ATRAC3plus 48 kbs, but I simply began the process right before I went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning they were done and transferring the ATRAC3plus 48 kbs files on to the player was very quick, even with my slower USB 1 transfer capabilities. It was literally only a matter of minutes to fill up my player with over two weeks worth of high quality sounding music pleasure.
If you don't care about listening to the radio, you don't need your player to be a mini-recorder, you don't mind having about two week's worth of music to listen to all from one AAA battery, then I HIGHLY recommend you purchasing this player. I have absolutely NO regrets and am 100% satisfied with my purchase and the performance of this player. If it came with an armband and/or belt clip, I would have needed to give a rating of a 10. Thank you Sony!
Pros Battery life, Screen. etc possibly easier transfer manager around
Cons damn sonic software
Summary I have heard rumors that sony offers a download for simple drag and drop file manager to use with MP3 files. If that's true I don't see why this product shouldn't get a 9 rating.
I plan to buy the 407 if I can get it for 150ishUpdated
Just found the link to the mp3 transfer software. It's actually used for the older flash player so it proably won't work for these newer models, but hopefully Sony will make an updated version to use with them.
I was able to find the drag and drop software for their older flash player so hopefully Sony will release a new version for these new players.
Pros Long battery life, pretty good sound, capacity
Cons Sonic Stage, toggle switches, earbuds, no armband
Summary Really long battery life and the 1GB storage were the deciding factors. The questionable durability of the toggling face/switch will be tested with time, since no armband/case is included. Toss the supplied earbuds, and with the limited equalizer, the sound is pretty good. The slider switches for the volume and hold/artist/album could use a non-skid material as there is very little feel to them. But, all in all, so far so good. Now to the real bummer.
Sonic Stage is seriously slow. Slow to install, slow to manage songs, slow to transfer from/to CD/file/player. It invaded my Windows ME laptop darn near to the point of lockup. Shame on you Sony!
Luckley there is an option. The Sony support website has a small program you can download ftp://ftp.sony.com/ccpg/portable/MP3FMV2_ENG.EXE . This little gem resides in the player so you can drag and drop right in Explorer. Get the player driver while you're there, and you don't even need Sonic Stage loaded on the computer. I think it works for mp3's only, so if you want the (subjectively) better ATRAC, your stuck with SubSonic Stage.
For me, it's a keeper. Get around Sony's music management nightmare, and this player has potential.
Pros Size, sound quality, battery life, ease of use, no gaps between tracks
Cons None so far
Summary I bought this after my iRiver IFP-195 packed up and I am so impressed with how good it is.
The sound is great (the ATRAC3 tracks sound better than the WMA equivalents on my iRiver) but, best of all, there are no 'added' gaps between tracks. This means that I can finally listen to albums like Oxygene and Equinoxe without the annoying split-second gaps between the tracks on the CD.
The battery life is superb and, unlike some, I find SonicStage to be easy and logical to use. Why anyone would choose an iPod shuffle over this is beyond me (unless, of course, they prefer 'style' over substance).
I'm in ATRAC heaven. Thank you Sony.
Pros It's a Sony
Cons ATRAC, Will only let you tranfer downloads from Sony's Connect Store, SLOW transfer
Summary I love Sony. I felt it was a great name to go with. Not for an mp3 player. This ATRAC version is horrid. In just a few days I found that I could not transfer files I had gotten from MSN or elsehwere, and when I got my five free songs from Connect, Sony's store, the software wouldn't even allow me to burn a CD -- which it is supposed to. HORRID. Brought it back. Horrid format ATRAC and horrid transfer speed. And, pretty sneaky of Sony to attach it to their store ONLY.