|Page 1 of 6|
|Author: BK Toh|
Date of review: 17-August-2000
Type Of Review: Miscellaneous
Updated 14 April, 2002
Compatibility with Windows XP and OpenMG v2.2! Go to the last page for details.
I originally had no intention of buying a portable MP3 player or anything remotely resembling one. I was a recent (circa 1999) convert to the MiniDisc format and bought both a MiniDisc deck as well as a portable recorder and was well satisfied with both.
While solid-state memory devices, such as Smartmedia and Memory Stick (MS) provided a skip-free medium for music storage, which should give it an advantage for use in small portable devices, providing a 40 second RAM buffer in an MD player would give you in effect the same level of functionality.
MDs also come in a conveniently small and affordable (about £2.50 for a premium Sony ES MD) package, so it doesn’t have to cost (or weigh) the earth when you need to pack a few hours of music in a small carrier bag for a short-haul flight (i.e. when British Airways has no form of inflight entertainment at all).
With an MP3 player, you are stuck with expensive SmartMedia cards that are notoriously expensive. It just wasn’t worthwhile unless you happened to have access to a Iomega Clik drive or a notebook PC for storing your MP3 files. Otherwise, you would be stuck with only about an hour’s worth of music stored in your player’s puny 64MB of memory.
The MS and MD Walkman units alongside each other. Notice that the remote control of the MD Walkman is already almost a quarter the size of the MS Walkman unit.
The Memory Stick is a lot smaller and lighter than the MiniDisc, but the MD is whole lot cheaper.
However, I had also recently become an owner of a Sony TRV20E DV camcorder that also doubled up as a digital still camera. The resolution was only a mere 1Mpixel which was slightly less than my old Olympus Camedia 340’s 1.2Mpixel unit, but resolution wasn’t that important since these images were for use in websites only and not for final print. The Sony did, however, provide a better lens system than my fixed focus Camedia.
There were only two problems that stood in the way of the Sony replacing my Camedia completely.
Having gotten used to a USB Smartmedia reader for my Camedia, I just didn’t have the patience to wait for long downloads. One of the advantages of having a digital camera was instant access to your shots. I found that my wife and I used the old Olympus a lot more once I got the USB Smartmedia reader.
- Firstly, it only came supplied with a mere 4MB Memory Stick which stored only about 8 Super Fine (low compression) images at the highest resolution.
- Secondly, it required me to use a serial cable to transfer the captured images to my PC
So I began to look around for a larger capacity MS and a USB reader. The official Sony USB MS reader retailed for about £60-£65, provided you could even find one. I ordered one from a high street camera shop but there was still no stock after about a week of waiting. I also found out that a 64MB Sony Memory Stick would set me back about £130-£160. Quite a scary prospect.
It was about this time that my local hifi store brought in the latest Sony MS Walkman, the NW-MS7. It was to retail at £280, but the sales rep brought it down to £230, which was about the price I would have to pay for a USB reader and a 64MB memory stick separately. I wasn’t really sure if the MS Walkman would double up as a USB reader for my memory stick as well, so the sale rep kindly arranged for a demo with his own notebook PC.
And that was how I ended up with a MS Walkman.