Sony Walkman NWZ-A818 (8GB A810 Series) Review

The NWZ-A818 is Sony’s new Walkman that is a potential iPod killer. The version I am reviewing is the 8GB black version, but it is also available in pink or white, with 2GB (no pink), 4GB and 8GB versions. What’s particularly special about this Walkman unlike the previous A800 series is that it does not use the SonicStage software to transfer files. Instead it uses drag-and-drop which can be done with Windows Explorer.

The sound quality is breathtaking, I have never listened to an mp3 player that has sounded this good. No seriously, it is unbelievable. This possibly the MDR-EX082 earbud earphones at work.

I bought mine from Amazon.co.uk for £120 with a free SRS-NWZ10 desktop speaker system (charging cradle, speakers and remote). With this system I can charge my Walkman, blast music through the speakers and change the tracks with the remote. Sadly, this offer ended early due to unexpected high demand and not enough supply.

Pros

  • One of the best sound quality mp3 players on the market.
  • Uses Media Transfer Protocol for file transfer.
  • Plays popular MPEG-4 and AVC (H.264) format videos as well as displaying JPEG photos.
  • Long battery life – 33 hours music or 8 hours video.

Cons

  • No FM Tuner (Radio), Voice Recorder, or Memory Expansion.
  • No gap-less playback support.
  • Does not support multiple artists, genres, etc. for a single track. This means that only the first artist, genre will be displayed. However, this may be fixed with a future firmware update.
  • Does not having ratings for files like in the iPod and Windows Media Player. This means that you are unable to select your favourite 5 star tracks, etc. Once again, this may be fixed in the future.

For more details check out other reviews:

UPDATE: THE PRICE ON AMAZON.CO.UK HAS BEEN LOWER TO £74.99!

UPDATE 2: Sony has released their Media Manager for WALKMAN (Software). I don’t recommend you use this software unless you want to transfer pictures to view on the walkman. It converts pictures to a lower resolution (640*480) fast, but it does not work with copyrighted images (if they have a © tag).

UPDATE 3: A lot of people have asked me how do I convert video for this Walkman. Well basically, I use Ultra MPEG-4 Converter with the following settings:

Download: Sony Walkman A810 Series Operation Guide (GB)

37 thoughts on “Sony Walkman NWZ-A818 (8GB A810 Series) Review”

  1. I just got the a818 and the sound, as you said, is amazing. I’m happy with it so far. One thing that I was looking for is to put my dj mixes on it and listen continuously, but the walkman puts a short gap between the tracks. The tracks are wma files and play without gaps on my psp, so I was hoping the walkman would do the same. Is there anything I could try or will I have to wait to see if Sony will update the firmware to play gap-free (similar to newer gens of iPods)?

  2. Yeah I wish there was gap-less playback aswel. But all Sony need to do it release a firmware update and its done.

    We need to write to Sony about this, to tell them that consumers want this. Then they should do it.

  3. The easiest way would be to use Windows Media Player 11 or you could drap and drop the folders.

    Sony have also released there software for this: Media Manager for WALKMAN.

    I don’t recommend you use this software unless you want to transfer pictures to view on the walkman. It converts pictures to a lower resolution (640*480) fast, but it does not work with copyrighted images (if they have a © tag).

  4. I look at a lot of review about this product. i will not mention which sites.
    I got the most info about sony NWZ-A818 here. which are very informant to me:

    # No gap-less playback support.
    # Does not support multiple artists, genres, etc. for a single track. This means that only the first artist, genre will be displayed. However, this may be fixed with a future firmware update.
    # Does not having ratings for files like in the iPod and Windows Media Player. This means that you are unable to select your favourite 5 star tracks, etc. Once again, this may be fixed in the future.

    I bought one online but i haven’t got it yet. i got a Sansa E280 had it for about three months hate about it is i have to wait like 20 sec. every time it start before it play any song. I’m left handed so i don’t know if the button layout on sony wil be an issue. i will compare both and post it here. one thing,

  5. Basically, the unit remains in standby mode until it has been 24 hours since the last button was pressed. In which case, it turns off properly. If the unit is in standby mode when you press play it will start playing music instantaneously. However if it is off, then it will take around 5 seconds to turn on.

    Well I don’t know whether being left-handed will affect the usability of the Walkman, but I can certainly say that this unit starts up in seconds.

  6. Is there anyway to transfer my sonicstage music directly onto this player? I am not sure if this question was answered clearly. Because I too need to know if, I for example dragged and dropped my music files that are currently stored on my previous MP3 in the sonic format will they be converted and play on the NWZ-A818

  7. Raquel

    Your files will have to be converted first.
    Sony Have supplied a CD that comes with the NWZ A818 and on it is a conversion tool that will convert your (Sonic Format )music files( that are actually Sony Atrac Files) to MP3 Files.When they are converted you can then drag and drop them onto the A818. Also on the CD is Windows Media Player 11,you could if you wished install it on your PC.and then load the converted files (now in MP3 Format) onto it. This would give you more options in managing your music and in my experience very fast at transferring music to the A818 Hope this will be of some help to you.

  8. The Media Manager for Windows Ver 1.1 is very half baked. Features you would expec tare not there and it is counter-intuitive to use. There are no clues about the workflow pattern to use and you are left to stumlearound until you discover it yourself.

    It sometimes says “no internet connection” when trying to get information about a CD from Gracenote.
    If no gracenote information is available, it is possible to edit the info on the PC but this does not transfer to the Walkman.
    It sometimes says “unable to transfer to Walkman but gives no clue why or what to do about it.

  9. I just got the sony walkman A818 (8gb) mp3 video player. now i have alot of problems transfering playable video onto it. i found out hjow to actually put the mpeg4 (mp4) video’s on my player. it shows up and have the title and everything, but when i go to play the mpeg4 video it says this format is not supported on my player, any ideas how to get them to work, help would really be appreciated and thanks in advance.

  10. Recently purchased an A818 and found the only way to play videos was to purchase the Pro version of the new Walkman Media Manager. It converts the video to the proper format before transferring it the unit. However I cannot get the Update Album Art feature to work. Anyone have any success with the Media Manager updating the album art?

  11. I still think the player is unable to do gapless playback — The Wall in my A816 have a 1 second gap between songs, while the exact same songs play seamlessly on Winamp.

    I found out if you play a song selected based on one of the criterion (artist, album et cetera) and then go to Options >> Playback Range >> Selected Range, the player will only play songs constrained to the selected criteria.

    A little Captain Obvious here, but I think it helps alleviating the lack of OTG playlists.

    Also, anyone have tried a firmware update yet?

    Waris out.

  12. I’ve also been missing the gapless playback mode since I bought my player. But what bothers me most is that the NWZ-A8 series lacks an on-the-go playlist. Why doesn’t holding down the play key in the song browser add the highlighted track to a “quicklist”, like any other upmarket player does?

    My former player, the Samsung YP-Z5 (a shame it was stolen) featured both of this – after a simple firmware update.

    Seems Sony doesn’t give a shit about their products any longer as soon as they’ve sold them out.

  13. I bought a minidisc (sony) player a few years back and saved a loads of music onto the discs, through the computer. I aren’t much of techy, does anybody know if I can get these off my minidisc onto my nwz a818. I am also having know end of probs with video I have bought roxio dvd copy and convert, this doesn’t appear to be working (although early days). Any advice welcome,

  14. Hi, I assume the video player of the walkman (or NWZ-A818 if you’d rather) plays in mpeg4? but i’m having a bit of trouble finding software that will convert my avi files to mpeg4 format!
    Can anyone help?
    Thanks!

  15. Hi,
    I am equally happy with sony a818 but I am facing some problem in running mp4 format on the walkman. I have converted my .avi format to mp4 but still it is not recognising it? Any idea?
    Does the tool used to convert .avi to .mp4 matters? I can run the output in media player or quick time and I can see video running on my computer and then I copied it to video folder of walkman but still it is recognising it and saying “format not supported”. I just copied the .mp4 file without any thumnail or jpeg picture for my .mp4 file.

  16. Hi, I have converted the video to mp4 with the program Ultra-MPEG4 converter with the same exacts specs and when I copy/paste the file from my desktop to the video folder, it says the video isn’t supported by the player and asks if I want to skip the transfer or cancel. No matter what I select, the file never goes through.

    I hope you can help me, I really want to watch videos on this.

    A810

  17. i have used all the software told on most of the sites still it says that the type of file for video is not the required one … plz guide me it accepts .wmv and .wma but doesn’t show them in list and i use media center os does it makes a difference ?

  18. I figured out how to play videos on the bloody thing. You have to install Windows Media Player 11 or update (whichever the case), then just drag and drop the .mp4 videos to the video folder on the device.

    If you don’t update to WMP11, you will have an error message and it wont allow you to add the video.

    Remember, you don’t have to add the video through WMP11, just drag and drop. As a matter of fact, I tried doing it through WMP11 at first, but WMP11 didn’t even know that there were any .mp4 videos on the PC.

    I hope this helps someone, because it was driving me crazy.

    PS – I did use Ultra MPEG-4 converter to the specs posted earlier in this thread.

    1. Great… And what if you cant install WMP11 because you don’t use windows? I’ve been having the same issues. wont play any video files even though I know they are the right format :(

  19. I needed to update Windows Media Player to number 11 or it wouldn’t work. Drag and drop wouldn’t work otherwise. I wonder how many of you get it to work by doing this? Let me know.

  20. Dude,
    I checked the sony website and I found version 2.1 and 2.11 but there was no 2.0 and I cant find it anywhere does anyone know where to find it?

  21. Hi i have a problem that has not been discussed on here, i have been trying to connect my A818 to my xbox but the xbox doesnt reconise it does anyone know why this is?

    ive got all my tunes on my walkman and i really want them on my xbox and i would have thought that with it being plug and play it would reconise it and then i could put the tunes on the xbox. is this possible or does anyone know another way i could do this

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