Sony’s superbly stylish new player threatens to outperform the competition
Sony has been quietly kicking up a storm among more discerning digital audio fans with its recent range of players, and now offers a stylish thumb-sized device with a range of excellent features for audio control.
The Sony NW-S706 is presented in attractive silver/chrome with a fade-to-black screen that offers several display modes, each contributing to build a player that’s as high on class as it is on quality.
The result is beautifully crisp and clear audio alongside thumping bass, creating a totally immersive soundstage.
There is a range of innovative shuffle features that sort music into random playlists based on factors such as most played, specific eras or most recent additions, making it easy to enjoy music in different ways without having to build playlists.
You’ll also find a wide range of equalizer and sound environment settings to fine-tune the audio and an FM radio.
All this is easy to configure thanks to the unique shuttle switch design that allows quick movement between menus, although it does mean that the player requires two hands to use.
Handy extra features such as the ability to upload and search for albums by cover art brings a bit of extra vibrancy to the sharp full-colour screen.
The player has no power switch; instead it manages activity by itself, switching off the screen and going into a sleep mode when it’s not in use.
This enables super-fast start-up times that resume any music stopped mid-track. Considering the maximum battery life is touted at an astounding 50 hours, this setup would appear to work very well.
With a 4GB version retailing for £180 (cheaper if you shop around online), there are rivals that offer higher capacities for less, but none that are this enjoyable to use.
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JVC Alneo XA-F107
Even on-device recording isn’t quite enough to convince us of the XA-F107
Good Points Superbly stylish Excellent sound quality and performance, great quality earphones supplied Great battery life and total control over your audio Bad Points Requires two hands to operate the shuttle switch Overall Sony’s NW-S706 comes highly recommended to anyone serious about their audio. A combination of great looks, quality sound and excellent performance make this an instant favourite.
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