updated 08:30 am EST, Tue February 26, 2008
Sony S710 A720 A820
Sony today launched a sweeping change to its Walkmen players that brings recently launched Japanese players, and more, to the US. The A820 is Sony's first music player with built-in Bluetooth and uses the technology to supply wireless stereo sound to headphones, speakers, and any other audio output that can pair with the device. It also features Sony's largest screen yet for a device at 2.4 inches across, which helps both for playing H.264 and MPEG-4 videos as well as navigating AAC, MP3, and WMA songs. The A820 is also one of Sony's longest-lasting large players yet with up to 36 hours of steady playback.
The A820 line is split into two models split both by capacity and, for the first time, by bundled equipment. The 16GB A829 sells for $320 and comes just with Sony's EX in-canal earbuds; the 8GB A828K drops the price to $270 but adds street-style Bluetooth headphones for wireless listening out of the box. Both will be available in March and will be accompanied by the A720 series, which drops Bluetooth and comes in 4GB ($150), 8GB ($200), and 16GB ($300) variants.
Sony's budget S-series Walkman line has also been updated with a new noise reduction feature. The S710 uses the same 1.8-inch screen as the S610 but adds an active noise reduction feature in the device that eliminates 75 percent of outside noise in addition to the passive effect from the EX earbuds; battery life is shorter at 33 hours, but the device also gains an FM tuner for radio when storage runs short. These too will ship in March and will sell for $150 in a 4GB model and $200 for an 8GB version.