updated 08:30 am EDT, Tue August 25, 2009
Sony Walkman S540
Sony today updated its Walkman players in the US with updates to its staple non-touch models. As rumored, the S540 series has its own stereo speakers to let users play music or video without headphones. Its display is larger than in the past, now up to 2.4 inches, and users can now record both voice through a microphone as well as the built-in FM radio.
The larger screen and speakers have had an according impact on battery life: although music playback lasts even longer on headphones at 42 hours, video playback has dropped from a maximum 10 hours to 6.5. Using the more power-hungry speakers drops battery life to 17 hours of pure audio and 5 hours of video.
A counterpart line, the E440 series, borrows some of the design elements of the S540 but sheds the speakers and recording functions while using a smaller 2-inch LCD much like earlier Walkman players. As a consequence of the size reduction, it lasts for 30 hours of music and 4 hours of video.
Both Walkman units continue to support AAC, MP3 and WMA for audio as well as H.264, MPEG-4 and WMV for video. Music reaches the players through drag-and-drop loading on both Macs and Windows PCs, though the latter continue to get a companion Content Transfer app for an intermediary sync with iTunes.
The S540 extends the capacity of Sony's flash players and will come in 8GB and 16GB versions for $110 and $130 respectively. The E440 will have the exact same capacities but, due to its simplicity, will cost significantly less at $80 and $130 for corresponding models. Sony ships both models in September.