Mossberg: Sony's new Walkman is no iPod killer

The Wall Street Journal's technology columnist, Walter Mossberg, takes a look at Sony's new 20GB Network Walkman NW-HD1, the first Walkman portable music device to feature a hard drive (subscription required to read the article). Already dubbed an "iPod killer" by some industry wags, the Walkman fails to impress Mossberg on several points, including "confusing" user interface, "tedious" song-loading process that took more than two hours to transfer 416 songs, and less robust companion music download service that also sports more restrictive rules than the iTunes Music store. "The iPod wins this round, and remains champion," said Mossberg.

Despite the strikes against it, the Walkman does sport some features that beat Apple's iPod, in Mossberg's eyes. The Walkman is shorter and thinner than the iPod, about 10 percent smaller in overall volume and about one-third lighter too. What's more, the Walkman beats the iPod in battery life -- 22 hours, according to his test, compared to a little more than 12 hours for a new iPod.

"If you love the Sony name, or the Walkman's size and design, or if you regularly take flights lasting more than 12 hours, you might be willing to pay $100 more for this new Walkman over an iPod. But, for everybody else, until Sony fixes the multitude of sins in this product, steer clear of it," concludes Mossberg.

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