High Fidelity, High Capacity MP3 Players

Sony NW-A3000

A few weeks after the HD-NW5, Sony launched a second 20 GB player, the A3000. And with it, looks have become an essential component of the player. Ovoid in shape and with an almost perfectly smooth front panel, its luxurious appearance and OLED display built into the shell are a pleasant surprise. In use, the player is also extremely... playful, with its different playback modes including Time Machine, which lets you set-up a year-long shuffle pattern, or Artist Link, which lets you display and play titles in a given musical style. Beyond this playful side and a battery life that surpasses 25 hours, the NW-A3000 is especially easy to get the hang of... at least until the first time you try a file transfer. Like its predecessor, the A3000 requires you to install a dedicated software application - but not the same one. SonicStage has been replaced by CONNECT Player. But in fact there are few real changes beyond the visual aspect of the interface. And even worse, the A3000 requires the new software for file transfers - you can't even use SonicStage.

More Of The Same

Here the balance between high and low frequencies is better, but the possibilities for adjustment by the user are identical. Only two parameters have been added -equalization of volume between songs and a choice of earphone and speaker listening modes.

With this second 20 GB player, Sony confirms its intention of getting back into the hard-disk MP3 player race. But oddly, the A3000 has exactly the same advantages and disadvantages of its predecessor, with an internal incompatibility thrown in. On the other hand, it's prettier and the quality is slightly better.

Name NW-A3000
Manufacturer Sony
Memory 20 GB
Size 2.6 x 4.1 x .8"
(65.2 x 104.2 x 21.4 mm)
Weight 6.4 oz. (182 g)
Power supply Lithium-ion battery rechargeable via USB port or AC
Battery life 27 hours
Formats MP3, ATRAC3
Encoding Yes
FM tuner No
Voice recorder No
Connectivity USB 2.0
Ergonomics 3.5/5
Audio quality 3.5/5
Earphone quality 3/5
Price £180 / 299 euros
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