Sony's Walkman range over the past couple of years has been, let's face it, lost in the wilderness. Mention Walkman to the average man in the street and they are more likely to mention Sony Ericsson's brand of music-focused phones rather than the MP3 player.



Sony aims to stop all this with the launch of the Sony Walkman NW-A805 a small 2GB MP3 player with video and image viewing capabilities. So has it succeeded? We get listening to find out.

Smaller than the nano, the new Walkman aims to cut off any hope that Samsung has of muscling in alongside Apple. A part of a range of three flash based players, the Walkman NW-A805, sits alongside the 4GB NW-A806, and 8GB NW-A808. While the NW-A805 doesn't have Bluetooth, what it does have is a 2-inch screen that dominates the display of the 2GB player.

Beneath this is the players controls, and rather than try an emulated any notion of touch sensitive buttons Sony has kept it simple. An options button, a back button and a d-pad for navigating around the menu system. Volume buttons are on the side and there's a hold for those worried about pressing buttons when it's in a pocket.

Fire it up and PSP or PS3 owners will notice the Sony menu interface straight away. Now a standardised interface across all of the company's products it's easy to use and simple to master.

Acknowledging that you might have plenty of songs on board, Sony gives you the chance to search for songs alphabetically although only by first letter only.

Trying to out perform the nano, the player offers drag and drop video and although the screen is bigger than the nano we still wouldn't recommend actually watching videos on it. As with all pocketable devices, it's just too small to look at without squinting your eyes.

Sony has tried to help but offering the ability to rotate the video 90 degrees so you can get the most out of the screen, but it's still not really big enough and we certainly wouldn't recommend watching anything longer than pop videos or movie trailers.

The Sony NW-A805 also supports the drag and droping of image files although unfortunately not music. For that you've got to use Sony's Connect software, which as we've seen previously isn't that great an application.

Verdict

For the extra £40 RRP you get the ability to play video, which will certainly appeal to the YouTube generation and as long as your video quality is good, the picture is stunning if not small.



As a music player the Sony is very good, the interface is easy to master and the sound great. Battery life too is very impressive with the promise of 30 hours on a single charge.

The catch - that damn software.