Review: Sony NWZ-A867

[Modified 29.01.13] Overall impression in bullet points towards the end of the post as this review gets a bit long winded.

Sony NWZ-A867
Image © www.advancedmp3players.co.uk

 

I have had this video/mp3 player for about a month so thought this was an adequate time to review the product.  I should note that I am a bit of a Sony fangirl but will try and keep the tinted glasses off, and give a fair perspective. ;)

Firstly the specification (taken from the Sony website):

Connectivity

USB connection Yes
WM-PORT Yes

Memory

Memory size(Gb) 64Gb

Playback and Display

Dynamic normaliser Yes
Clear bass Yes
Clear Stereo Yes
DSEE Yes
Equaliser Yes (5 band)
Music searching methods Folder / All Songs / Artist / Album / Playlists (created on a PC) / Genre / Release Year / Voice Recording / Bookmarks
Music play mode Normal / Shuffle / Repeat/ Shuffle & Repeat / Repeat 1 song / Shuffle all
Video play mode Zoom Settings (Auto/Full/Off), Video Orientation (Vertical/Horizontal(right)), Display (On/Off)
Photo play mode Photo Orientation (Vertical/Horizontal(right)/Horizontal(left)), Display (On/Off)
Drag and drop Yes
Display resolution WQVGA(400 x 240 pixels)
Display type TFT colour display with white LED backlight
Screen size (inch) 2.8”
Horizontal/vertical display Yes
Mp3 Yes
WMA (non-DRM) Yes
WMA (DRM) Yes
AAC-LC (non-DRM) Yes
Linear PCM Yes
JPEG Yes
Mpeg-4 Yes
AVC (H.264/AVC) Yes
WMV9 Yes
Back-lit display Yes
Bass boost No
Voice recording Yes (Mp3 codec)
FM tuner Yes (30 station presets)
PC External Storage Device YES

Supplied accessories

Headphones Yes (MDR-EX300)
Rechargeable battery Yes (built in)
USB cable Yes
Accessories attachment Yes

General data

Weight (g) 77g
Battery life – continuous playback music (h) 23
Charging time (full charge( (h) 2
Dimensions (mm) 52.5 x 96.9 x 9.3 (width x height x depth)

On first appearance the player is a nice size, similar to an iPod Nano, just not as slim.  The packaging it comes in is nice and compact but no charger is supplied so you’ll either have to purchase one or stick with the USB.  Has a nice weight to it, as in it doesn’t feel flimsy or breakable after a few drops.  On the touch screen is a sticker, with no important information, just be careful when peeling that you’re not trying to peel the protective layer off…like I did. -_-  Oh yeah, and there is no CD for the software included.  Probably for the best really.  Having downloaded it from the Sony website I found Content Transfer absolutely pants and unnecessary.  The interface of it doesn’t leave a good impression either, a little bit like Winamp in it’s early stage1.  I should also note that files can also be transferred via bluetooth, as well as dragging and dropping, so you’re options are open.

Right, onto the more technical stuff.  Though it is a touch screen player it still has a “Home” button with the volume, play and hold button on the left side of the player.  The player is quick starting up and the touch screen is very responsive2.  To transfer files is literally as simple as drag-and-drop.  However, with playlists you have to sync them – I recommend with MediaGo because Windows Media Player tends to duplicate tracks.  The sound is beautiful, with the added option  to set the VPT (i.e. studio, arena…).  If you’re into karaoke you can set the track to that mode and sharpen or flatten the keys of the songs.  Note that with karaoke mode you can still her the main vocals of the songs, they’re just more subdued, harmonised if you will.  Aside from playlists there is an ability to create bookmarks: like a playlist but you can add/bookmark tracks on-the-go.   Again, don’t bother with Content Transfer.

I haven’t put any videos onto the player but from the default ones provided the quality seems quite impressive for an mp3 player – this is only in comparison to the Zen Mosaic, Sony S2 Sports Walkman and Zen Micro, which I have previously owned.  My only gripe with the video aspect of this player is that it doesn’t support a couple of the “essential” video formats (mkv and avi to name a couple) and though some can be converted into wma not all can.

Hmm…what’s this?   SensMe™ channels is interesting and quite brilliant.  If you’re feeling in a certain mood (e.g disco, emotional, extreme…) the player will play the songs according to the chosen mood type.  Clever.  Note: you have to update this regularly so all tracks are included.  If you have a lot of music and do this the first time be prepared for the long time is takes to update.  It used up a lot of my battery, which was fully charged prior.

What else…there’s also voice recording.  Oh and despite popular belief3 you can easily sift through song/artist/etc lists, the letters denoted by dots on top of the screen, though  this is not the case if you want to skip to a certain track on your playlist.  There is also a “123” icon and “etc” before and after the dots.  The only issue you will find, not surprisingly, is trying scan through songs which are more characters-based than letter.

Overall this Sony Walkman is nifty with great sound, as you would expect from a Sony product.  However, the price might be off-putting as it does seem dear for what it includes.  Currently, the price stands at £299.  Also, if you were to buy the charger that would set you back another £8, roughly.  In bullet points:

The good:

  • Great sound quality
  • Nice size and weight
  • Responsive touch screen, which only lags a little once you’ve used more storage space
  • Quite a lot of memory (64GB)
  • Good video quality
  • SensMe™
  • Drag and drop functions, which can also convert files into the relevant formats

The Bad:

  • I think it’s a little too pricey for what it is and the memory it holds
  • Doesn’t support some of the common video formats and even though drag and drop does convert some files, it doesn’t convert all
  • It’s not an issue for me but for people who have a plethora of music 64GB still might not be enough
  • [edit 06.01.14] When you sync the playlists via Windows Media Player it will duplicate the songs already on the mp3, ergo losing memory space.4
  1. That’s an injustice to Winamp though. []
  2. Until your player has filled just under half of the storage capacity then it starts to lag a little. []
  3. Well, in short reviews I’ve read. []
  4. My computer tells me that I have 30Gb worth of music, all of which I transferred to mp3 player, along with the playlists but my mp3 players shows that I have used over 50Gb of space.  No to mention I have noticed duplicates. []