Pros Easy to Use, Sound Quality is Superb, Lots of Good Functions
Cons Price, No A2DP Bluetooth, Remote
Summary First of all, it is a really nice stylish product that is worth looking at and placing in your living room.
There is an updated firmware available on Japanese support site (ver. 1.2) that will make this unit even more usable as it adds a lot of extra features (like RSS, wireless speaker control, more radio station choices, so you are not just stuck with Live365, also can add your own stations to the list) and fixes a few bugs found in the original firmware. The new firmware is in English too, so do not worry about messing language settings. I also have CPF-IX001 unit from Sony and it uses M-Crew software for its server and Webradio purposes and luckily VAIO WA1 can also tap into it as well! I just wish the remote control more usable and had more buttons to scroll through the menu settings. Bluetooth would be nice too, to use with BT headphones. All in all, I am pretty happy with it and especially its new firmware upgrade!
Pros Sound quality, battery life, ease of use, aesthetics,
Cons no fm radio, internal memory access too restricted and small
Summary Mainly, I wrote this review to confirm that the VAIO WA1 firmware v1.2 update exists and where to get it. The indrect austrailian link that bmoore8888 gave is now dead.
I already had the OEM CD software installed. That was straightforward and easy, contrary to other i-net opinions. After setting up sonicstage, I had immediate access to all my music.
Here's a translated Sony Japanese home page for the Vaio WA1.
The FAQ's are useful but the big deal is the complete update history at the bottom of the page. So far, I have only used the"VGF-WA1 software" update.
The install was smooth and painless. It detects WinXP-sr3, which requires a separate download and install for the wireless adapter manager, and notifies you of the skipped step in the install. The separate download is not necessary if you do not use the USB wireless adapter.
There is no trick language selection. It doesn't even ask, just installs in english (on mine).
The v1.2 firmware update is a substantial improvement but there is even more in the enhanced settings tool! (Still no internal memory access, but some free web radio access and rss feeds) The environment features access some WA1 settings, through a browser interface, that are not available on the WA1.
The NTP clock set is one of those, although I'm not sure if that setting sticks if all power is disconnected.
Anyway, that's my give-back for today.
Pros Deeply discounted from initial MSRP.
Very good sound.
Easy streaming-(once set up)
Light, easy to transport
Cons Only average display.
Very limited searching ability.
Summary I had also purchased this unit as much for it's web radio feature as the mp3 music streaming capability because even though I like to listening to the radio before bed- I had no intention of using my laptop as a clock radio just to access the web at night. Therefore I also shared some of the same initial disappointment that some other reviewers have expressed when I also discovered that it's "web radio" was limited to a Live365 paid subscription service.
Even though this unit is now retailing at about 1/2 of it's orig. price- I couldn't justify paying for a service in one room that I could get for free in another.
After reading some of the other positive reviews I thought I'd at least try to update the firmware myself before I sent it back. (It's maddening that Sony has still not posted the updated firmware on it's U.S. Support site.) Frankly it's also a little frustrating that another user/ reviewer didn't post the link either, even after raving about what a difference it made! (I'll try and post the link below.)
Once I downloaded the updated firmware and tweaked the audio options on the unit, I decided to keep my aging compact stereo (which I had found discarded on junk night) right where it had been on my night stand, and just run some RCA wires to it from the back of the Sony. The VGF-W1's decent if somewhat smallish sound was now greatly enhanced by this simple arrangement.
With regard to downloading the firmware I couldn't find the Japanese site either. So after several fruitless attempts and w/ some trepidation I called Sony support. Initially I got the same runaround from some under-trained support staff who also misinformed me that my unit was out of warranty. He did this we concluded because he apparently confused the product release date w/ the purchase date and was suggesting I would also have to fax my invoice to customer service the next day in order to continue this process. Since I really didn't have the time or inclination to do it, the following evening I called Sony again and was very pleasantly surprised this time to get a hold of "Bill" from Level Two Support in San Diego CA. He reviewed my service ticket and then did a search on the web himself and found the site and promptly emailed me the link!
It worked like a charm! The firmware is in English and finally opens the unit up to Shoutcast, a free AOL web radio streaming provider. In addition you can also now manually load your own links in live365 as well.
I wonder if Sony may have been underwhelmed by the response to the product and is not concentrating on promoting or supporting it in any but the most perfunctory manner.
With all of that said, I think it's still a very worthy candidate for serious consideration for any one w/ high speed broadband access- (who usually leaves their pc on- (note* the unit also can be synced to wake your pc from hibernation mode) and who is looking for an attractive way of accessing their Mp3 music library and some of the web's myriad number of radio stations w/o lugging their pc around the house!
This is the link for the updated firmware (ver1.2):
Pros Sound, size, battery operated
Cons Small memory
Summary Overall a great unit but overpriced
"?????????????????"on by Stehl261
Pros Best sound for it's size. I use it as my PC speaker via the earphone jack. I also connect it to my Sam 46" for a better movie sound. Better sound than the Logitech Boombox. Not as bass heavy as the ROKYU R-1000 but it at least plays music
Cons Never did get it to work as advertized. Maybe the dongle is dead? The only signal I get is the little green light goes on which indicates the unit is receiving...what it's receiving, only it and it's God knows because it ain't sharing with me!
Summary The only thing that was accomplished was the music in it's memory erased itself and it crashes every day(it weakly beeps as though asking for help)t I have to pull the pwr. plug, wait 30 seconds and re-plug. Also, if it gets too close to my Sam TV, it beeps continually until I pull the plug.????? My biggest Bit...Gripe, was that I have a paid subscription to Live365 (6 bucks a month for one year, they send you a message to renew at the end!!) After three years I have yet to get a peep of Live365 from the Sony...It just never connected! I gave up before I launched it out of my 10th floor window to see if it could at least fly! So I just use it as an external speaker for my PC, TV and Ipods etc. It's pretty flexible...Now if it only played streamed music etc. Any sound, other than that which is fed to it via wire, would be a treat at this point. Why didn't I call Sony and/or Live365 you ask? Ha-Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!! Now,why haven't I thought of that?After three years I still haven't been able to connect to any of these links for software/firmware updates. So, My unit remains a simple external speaker.
Updated on Jan 4, 2011