Sony is one of the pioneers of portable audio devices. It all started with their
Walkman back in the eighties, and now, in the era of hard disk MP3 players, Sony
has brought in their own version. The Sony NW-HD1 is one of the smallest hard
disk based audio players on the market and features an amazing 30 hour battery
The Sony NW-HD1 can't really be called an MP3 player because it only plays back
files in Sony's proprietary Atrac3 and Atrac3plus file formats. You can convert
MP3 files using the software which is included with the player, and you can also
play MP3 files that are stored on your computer when the NW-HD1 is connected to
The Sony NW-HD1 is an amazingly compact device considering the 20GB hard drive
which is at the heart of it. Sony advertises it as the smallest 20GB hard drive
player on the market as of June 2004. It weighs just 3.9 ounces and the
dimensions are about 3.5" x 2.5" and is just over half an inch thick. It fits
into the palm of your hand can be comfortably carried in your pocket or purse.
20GB is enough to store 13,000 songs encoded at 48 kbps using Sony's ATRAC3plus
audio format. The sound quality that this bit rate is comparable to MP3 files
recorded at 128 kbps, and the lower bit rate takes less storage space allowing
you to have more music on the Sony NW-HD1. You can also use the hard drive as an
external data storage device for your computer.
The Sony NW-HD1 is powered with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Sony claims
the battery life is 30 hours -- way more than the 12 to 16 hours offered by
other manufacturers. The quick charge feature allows you to recharge the battery
up to 80% of its capacity in less than an hour a so that you always have music
on the go.
This player uses Sony's G-Sensor shock protection system which allows you to use
the G-Sensor when jogging or working out. Sony claims it will protect the hard
drive and provide skip free playback when the Sony NW-HD1 is subject to vertical
or horizontal movement.
The Sony NW-HD1 connect to your computer through a USB 2.0 interface allowing
for speedy transfers to and from the player. The USB cradle is also use to
recharge the battery. The enclosed software can be used to rip CDs and encode
the music and to ACTRAC3plus format, and also allows you to reformat other music
files such as MP3 and WAV.
Although some people may object to having to reformat their MP3 collection, the
software which is included with the Sony NW-HD1 makes it an easy job. One
setting will allow you to automatically convert files to your preferred format
and bit rate.
This is one of the most expensive portable players on the market today, but the
Sony NW-HD1 is backed with the famous Sony quality and features. It is proving
to be a solid hit.
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