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Sony Walkman NWZ-X1050 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £210
inc VAT

Sony's latest Walkman has some slick features, but most are poorly implemented.

Sony’s latest Walkman, the NWZ-X1050, is a touchscreen audio and video player that also has built-in wireless networking, a YouTube player and a web browser. For all these reasons, it bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple’s iPod Touch.

This is the first MP3 player we’ve seen with built-in active noise cancelling, which lets you enjoy your music in noisy environments, such as an aeroplane, without having to drown out the noise with high volumes. A small switch on the side activates it, and you can adjust the level of noise cancelling in the NWZ-X1050’s settings. It’s surprisingly effective, and we were able to enjoy quiet acoustic music on a noisy London Underground train.

Noise cancellation works only with the included headphones, so those who have their own favourite set won’t benefit. The included pair sound detailed, but the bass is too heavy and high notes can sound harsh. Music sounded more balanced, but just as detailed, with a high-quality set. The battery lasted for an impressive 27 hours when playing music.

A useful feature when listening to music is the ability to search YouTube for a matching music video, or to search the web for information on the artist.

The touchscreen interface generally feels as responsive and accurate as the iPod’s, but its menu system isn’t as logically organised and some of the unlabelled icons are hard to decipher. The physical volume and playback buttons are useful for controlling the Walkman without having to fish it out of a pocket.

The NWZ-X1050 officially supports playback of WMV and H.264 video files. However, the only videos it played in our tests were H.264 videos encoded by Sony’s own Vegas video-editing software using very specific settings. Inexcusably, no video conversion software is included – it costs an extra £6.

This is a shame, as videos look great on the NWZ-X1050’s sharp, bright OLED screen. Usefully, it generates thumbnails automatically at set intervals in your videos, like DVD chapters. The YouTube player also works well. The battery provided an incredible 10 hours of video playback.

Disappointingly, the NetFront web browser is poorly designed. If you’re visiting a website that also has a mobile-specific version, it’s automatically set to display that version instead of the regular site. You can’t change this preference, which is frustrating as mobile versions often lack the full content. It mangled the layout of some sites, making navigation tiresome. In addition, the onscreen buttons for zooming and switching orientation don’t work as well as the iPod’s multi-touch gestures and automatic orientation sensor.

To enter web addresses and other text, you use an onscreen alphanumeric keypad. This awkward design, combined with the lack of predictive text auto-completion, makes entering even small amounts of text tedious. You can’t synchronise your Walkman’s bookmarks with those on your PC, either, forcing you to type in the addresses of all your favourite sites.

Sony’s Walkman NWZ-X1050 is a mixed bag. It’s a great music player, but the integrated noise cancellation works only with the rather average headphones included. Apple’s similarly priced 16GB iPod Touch has a longer audio battery life and is better at playing videos and browsing the web. It also has a huge catalogue of third-party programs to expand its capabilities. If you don’t need the iPod Touch’s extra features, the 16GB version of Philips’ excellent Opus MP3 player is a better choice at just £129 from


Price £210
Rating ***
Headphone Rating ***


Capacity 16.00GB
Formatted capacity 14.03GB
Interface USB
Storage medium flash memory
Battery and charge options Li-ion, USB
Size 52x11x96mmmm
Weight 94g


Device has screen? Yes
Viewable size 3 in
Native resolution 432×240
Memory card support none
FM Radio yes
Audio record options line-in
Supplied with headphones, USB cable, universal dock adaptor, line-in adaptor, airline adaptor

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 27h 14m
Tested battery life (Video playback) 9h 49m
500MB transfer time 4m 25s
Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback Yes
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 Yes
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 Plays For Sure download

Buying Information

Price per MB 1.3p
Warranty one year RTB

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