Sony continues to revive its portable-media creds with its Walkman A810 series.
Walkman a810 Storage Capacity and Size
Available in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB flavors and four colors, its anodized aluminum shell, trimmed in chrome plastic, has a solid feel. The 8GB model measures a svelte 4 x 1.7 x 0.4 inches and weighs 1.9 ounces. There are volume buttons on the side and a hold switch on the back, and the buttons below the two-inch LCD were simple and comfortable to use.
Excellent Headphones and Battery Life
Two things set this player apart from the pack: Sony's EX series in-ear headphones and the excellent battery life (an impressive 8 hours for video and 33 hours for audio). The silicone-tipped headphones are far superior to regular earbuds, though we're not thrilled about the asymmetrical two-piece cable design.
Sony Walkman A810 Sound and Video Quality
The audio quality with the DSEE feature turned on is excellent; it restores parts of the music that are lost during compression and generally livens up the sound. There's also a custom five-band equalizer and a handful of EQ presets. The player supports MPEG-4 video, unprotected AAC, MP3, WMA, and protected WMA music files, and JPEG photos. Content looked and sounded great, though the 320 x 240-pixel screen's colors were a little drab for our taste.
Although Sony has thankfully abandoned its SonicStage software, the A810 series still works only with Windows-based software, leaving Mac users in silence once again. However, its slim profile, top-notch battery life, and AAC support make it a solid--and cheaper--alternative to the nano.