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Sony Walkman NWZ-A828 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £103
inc VAT

Sony’s latest Walkman, the NWZ-A828, is the first MP3 player we’ve seen that comes with a set of cordless Bluetooth headphones. This may sound gimmicky, but they’ll appeal to anyone who’s ever struggled to untangle a pair of wired earphones.

Bluetooth is built in, so there’s no need for an external adaptor. There are controls for adjusting the volume and skipping between tracks on the right headphone, but bizarrely there isn’t a simple pause button. Getting a comfortable fit can be tricky, especially if you wear glasses. The wireless connection remained stable and didn’t drop during our tests

Sound quality was surprisingly good. There wasn’t quite as much bass as we would have liked and some backing vocals sounded a little muffled, but otherwise they sounded clear and reasonably detailed.

Using the Bluetooth headphones dramatically reduces battery life. With Bluetooth enabled, the NWZ-A828 lasted a mere 10 hours and six minutes playing music and six hours and 47 minutes playing video. Using the included corded earphones, the NWZ-A828 lasted an astonishing 46 hours and 44 minutes playing audio and nine hours, nine minutes playing video. If you’re determined to use the cordless headphone, you’ll have to charge your MP3 player regularly.

The included wired sound-isolating earphones blocked out a surprising amount of background noise. The bass was overwhelming, though, and the treble sounded very harsh. Music was far more balanced and detailed using a quality third-party set of headphones.

The NWZ-A828’s slender black metal frame feels sturdy. The menus are easy to navigate and make it easy to select songs from the same artist, album, genre or year as the one currently playing. There’s no support for DRM-protected music, but this isn’t a serious issue any more since both iTunes and Amazon now sell music without copy protection.

Video support is poor. The Walkman will play only MPEG4 or H.264 videos with a 320×240 pixel resolution and a 15fps frame rate, so the videos aren’t very smooth. The only video-encoding program that consistently produced playable files was Sony’s Vegas video-editing program. The included Media Manager program is of little use; it will re-encode incompatible videos only if you pay an extra £8 for the Pro version.

The NWZ-A828 isn’t perfect. Video support is poor and the Bluetooth headphones aren’t a very practical replacement for a wired set. Still, it’s a great music player thanks to its logical controls, excellent battery life with wired headphones and good sound quality.


Price £103
Rating *****
Headphone Rating ***


Capacity 7.84GB
Formatted capacity 7.03GB
Interface USB
Storage medium flash memory
Battery and charge options Li-ion, USB
Size 51x10x94mmmm
Weight 58g


Device has screen? Yes
Viewable size 2.4 in
Native resolution 320×240
Memory card support none
FM Radio no
Audio record options none
Video record options N/A
Supplied with 06:47 Bluetooth video

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 46h 44m
Tested battery life (Video playback) 9h 9m
500MB transfer time 10h 6m 0s
Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback Yes
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback No
Audio WAV playback No
Audio Audible playback No
Image BMP support No
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support No
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback No
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback Yes
Video WMV playback No
Video MPEG-1 playback No
Video MPEG-2 playback No
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback No
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support No
Video H.264 support Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support No
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support Yes
Download compatibility none

Buying Information

Price per MB 1.3p
Warranty one year RTB

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