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Sony VGFAP1L - £199 in Dixons - worth looking at?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Vorix, May 26, 2005.

  1. Vorix

    Vorix
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    Just spotted this Sony 40Gb MP3/Picture player in a Dixons advert. Can't find much review information on it although the Sony website does goes into quite a lot of detail.
    Supposedly it's been reduced from £349 although other sites seem to have it for about £250. It seems a bit big compared to an iPod (for example) and I can't quite work out where it sits on Sony's line up - bizarrely it's under the Vaio brand on the website, rather than with the other MP3 players. Is it a new model just become available or an old model being phased out? It seems good value at this price.
    Does anyone have one and is able to give some feedback?
     
  2. watchinthewheel

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    WOW that looks great, i want one i need more space than the hd3's 20gb! so very very cheap too! seems to be older than the hd range though and 10 hours battery is a bit weak and that will be under optimum too. heres the amazon page with a couple of reviews.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000309ZLW/ref=pd_sxp_f/103-6745658-7016654

    it comes with ss2.0 so it is old, it looks like a prototype for the hd3 but seems to have more features, perhaps sony released it as a tester saw that it had too may features, was too big and too expensive and adapted it into the hd3? thats an educated guess though.

    adit:also just noticed that its atrac only i doubt it has a firmware update like the hd1 either
     
  3. Vorix

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    Ah - the ATRAC issue - why do Sony insist on making out that their players supports MP3, WMA etc. when this just isn't the case? I think this has probably been done to death elsewhere so no need to turn this thread into another rant on the subject!

    Anyway, it looks like it has been around for at least 6 months in the US so perhaps Dixons have just got hold of an end of line batch - thought it looked too good to be true :(
     
  4. watchinthewheel

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    i would still seriously think about getting it tbh, it still looks great, although the £199 thing isnt that impressive, sony style (the official sony store) is selling it for that price too.
     
  5. johann1979

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    ;) Hi guys, I own a Vaio Pocket at the moment - mine is only 20 Gig, but I can give you some tips on the player itself. It has really superior sound quality (compared it to my mate's iPod), but very akward navigation.

    If you upgrade the firmware (which is available on the Vaio-Link website), it will allow you to have gapless playback and scrolling will be much faster - HOWEVER, I have pre-ordered the HD5 and I'm giving the Vaio Pocket to my boyfriend.

    My main issues are with the imbedded battery and the business ethics attached to that. I find it rediculous that companies can slap an expiry date on something as complicated as a mp3 player. To have the build in battery replaced will cost you over £100, which will leave you in the position to consider moving on and buying something new altogether.

    I personally don't wan't to be there in 2 - 3 years when the battery needs replacing and I have a couple of gigs left on it.

    The picture quality is magnificent with over 250 000 colours, beats the crap out of iPod Photo's 65 000. It is also no bigger than an iPod - measured it up with my mate's - it is however a bit heavier.

    If you have a CyberShot camera you can attach it to the player without a computer and upload your photos to it - which was handy when I went to South Africa on holiday and took over 1 000 pictures with 5 million pixels each.. You can of course view them straight after on the player...

    So make up your own mind, however I have decided to move on after just 6 months... :hiya:
     
  6. johann1979

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    Oh yeah, and it works perfectly with SonicStage 3.1 if you find 2.1 too old...
     
  7. johann1979

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    oh yeah, and mind my spelling and punctuation mistakes - I'm tired...not stupid... hehehe
     
  8. Matt Horne

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    I have the 40gb one...the battery issue is a non one because by the time it needs replacing there will be something better to buy.. its no different that the issues you will have with a ipod or the other non-removal batteries.

    Lovely bit of kit.. I am using it with SS 3.1 and have about 23GB of mp3s with albumart on it. Fits in the hand nicely.. its not that big but mine is usually in my rucksack. A sony case for it can be bought for a tenner. The battery wil give you 20 hours if you use it.. but the the battery will discharge in about a week if you leave it off.

    Worth every penny at £199.. oh and the 40gb is a bit thicker than the 20gb version..

    Matt
     
  9. johann1979

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    Like I said Matt - it mostly has to do with the business ethics for me. I have been upgrading my player every 6 months for the last 2 years out of choice - however, that is MY choice as the consumer who shelled out £200+ each time - not up to a company to implement a strategy that makes it more likely for me to pay extra money and buy another product at £200+.

    There is absolute no reason why a battery should be imbedded. To make a tiny hatch in the body might add 1mm at most. The HD5 is a beautiful example that the battery is not imbedded to keep the player as small as possible. Sony only ever created one minidisc player with an imbedded battery, the MZE10 and it was a disaster and disappeared off most of the shelves a few short months later...

    Besides - I only upgraded so often because every 6 months something far more suitable for my needs turned up, yet never did it satisfy all my needs. I started upgrading minidisc players because of the battery life that seemed to double with each release, then moved on to HD-Minidisc and then to Vaio Pocket. With the release of the HD5 that is hopefully set to change as it will take me at least another 4 years to fill up 30gigs (estimated by having considered how long it took to collect my current 12gigs of music.

    I did some research on Lithium batteries and the type such as used in the Vaio Pocket will be down to 80% capacity after 300 discharges, 60% by 500 and so on... You will probably need a new one after 2 years normal use. In short it will need a battery replacement before I get the drive filled up and as I am about to study for 4 years and will be living by student means, upgrading my player every 6 months would not be a priority...

    I agree - it is a nice looking piece of kit, it has great sound, picture and battery life (for the time being...) - and I recently convinced a friend to get it instead of an iPod - however, I will choose the HD5 over and above the Pocket - there are online stores that are selling the 30GB version for £204 when it gets released.
     
  10. Matt Horne

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    I understand what you mean.. I've had mine since they were released.. I sayed away from the ipods due to the battery life issues.. and i agree having a replacable battery is a great idea. But I admit I am a sucker the solid build lovely screen and album art. ;)

    As to battery replacment I cannot understand why Sony do not sell replacements, its only a couple of screws and the battery is on a wire which you disconnect.. there pictures on how to do it for Battery disposal in the manual !

    I reckon at the moment I recharge it about once a week.. so it should do me until something else comes along that takes my fancy (though the Tosh Gigabeats also look very nice !)

    Cheers

    Matt
     
  11. johann1979

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    I agree it looks very nice, but you will have to sacrifice gapless playback and 4 hours battery per charge if you want the Tosh. :)
     
  12. Steven

    Steven
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    these batt life estimates from manufacturers, normally with mid volume, lowest encoding, backlight minimal and that. So Toshiba 16 hrs - I'm guessing 2-3 hrs less in real life usage
     
  13. VORD

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    thats a great price mate. cheers im gonna chekc that out as i was interested previously. ta. totallyfreeipod.co.uk
     
  14. Vorix

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    Thanks for the feedback and response - I may go up to town over the weekend and have a look at one in the flesh. Of course, I know that as soon as I buy anything these days it's out of date - although I'm amazed that people replace this stuff every 6 months. I guess that eBay gives you a way of moving it on which never existed a few years ago, so it's not quite as uneconomical as it sounds.
     
  15. Matt Horne

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    Well mine is now months old :) Not going to change it.. its perfect for me. I have vbr mp3's (lame standard setting) and I set the player on all song shuffle after a recharge and left it running.. it lasted 23hours non stop before the recharge light started flashing.. of course you should not expect to get that if you use it for a couple of hours a day..as it wil begin to discharge when the player is off. I recharge mine about once a week and us it on the daily commute and at work.

    Cheers

    Matt
     
  16. johann1979

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    I recently got on the train from London to Wolverhampton and was so angry when I switched the player on and saw I forgot to charge it. My battery was basically dead, it had gone passed the one bar level and was actually flashing.

    I had two sets of headphones connected to it through a splitter and banging away at full volume it lasted the WHOLE 2 hour journey!! However, this is providing you don't search around for tracks on the actual player as the colour screen would have just drained it completely.
     
  17. Vorix

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    I just went in to Dixons and asked tohave a look at the player in the flesh, so to speak. It felt really solid and well engineering but was also very heavy. I would also dispute an earlier post that it's not much bigger than an ipod. I would have said it was a third to half as big again - definitely not very pocket friendly. I think I'm going to give it a miss and see what other players come out later this year.
     
  18. watchinthewheel

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    wait a minute can this play mp3s or not? if it can can it play vbr as you seem to suggest? even the hd1/3 cant do that (not sure about the hd5) im seriously thinking of gettign one of these the sizer doesnt look too bad really, plus it has a docking cradle (better than the hd3) and a 40gb hdd! how come i have never heard of this, sony have been keeping it very quiet!
     
  19. johann1979

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    Ehrm...that was my post Vorix and my friend had his 40GB 4G iPod with him when I bought it and we squared them up next to eachother and they seemed the same size.

    It is heavier, but then it does have a huge colour screen. so it would be. Here are the dimensions as cut and copied from the www.vaio-link.com and www.apple.com/uk websites.

    Vaio Pocket: 115.2mm x 63.3mm x 17.2mm Weight: 195gm
    iPod: 104mm x 61mm x 14mm Weight: 158gm

    Above you will find the dimensions of the normal (not iPod Photo!) Vs Vaio Pocket. It is not a half or even nowhere NEAR a third bigger - it is 37 grams heaver (the weight of a packet of crisps), one tiny little centimetre taller and just millimetres wider and thicker - I never buy anything unless I fall in love with it and I feel I can't leave the store without it. You didn't feel anything like that, so it is obviously not right for you.
     
  20. johann1979

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    yeah, you just have to download the new firmware from www.vaio-link.com and you can play mp3's without converting them to atrac. It also offers gapless playback for cd's where tracks are mixed into eachother - I'm not sure about iPod on that.;
     
  21. Vorix

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    You're probably right - I didn't like the great big hunk of metal that seemed to have been stuck on the end and made it really chunky. I don't want to get into a big slanging match - at the end of the day it's about perception - and you're right, it didn't do it for me - but then I'm not convinced by the iPod either - otherwise I guess I'd have one!

    (Interestingly, the Sony UK website lists the dimensions as follows 114.7 x 63.0 x 26.7 - gives it a volume of 192936.87 cubic mm against the iPod's 88816 cubic mm (using the dimensions you gave). Even your measurements give a volume of 125425 cubic mm - almost 50% greater than the iPod.)
     
  22. johann1979

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    If you read carefully you will see the Sony website gives the dimensions in millimetres while the iPod's dimensions were in centimetres. To simply it I simply moved the decimal one space up on the iPod dimensions and converted it to millimeters too. The Sony dimensions are even more precise with another 10th of a millimeter given (Something the Apple sight doesn't do).

    So your revised, more precise calculations should be to take the weight of the Sony (195 gm) and subtract the weight of the iPod (158 gm) which is 37gm. If you take 158 and devide it by 37 and then multiply it with 100 - you will find that the Sony is 23% heavier - that is not even a quarter more.

    And I had 7% for maths at GCSE level!

    Working out the volume by simply multiplying the dimensions like that is very inaccurate. As you might have noticed when in the store, the Vaio Pocket has a metallic case on the one side where the battery is housed in - that is much thicker than the rest of the player (which is over 80% of its surface area). Legally Sony had to supply the maximum dimensions. That calculation falls on it face as the player is not that thick on all the sides. The more accurate method would be to look at weight. Size wize it is not too difficult to immagine an extra 10mm.
     
  23. Vorix

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    Hey - can I call a truce? I was deliberately provocative in my last post - not something these forums should really be about. I've been a big Sony fan in the past - I'm not dismissing this out of any principle other than a fitness for purpose for me at a personal level. I'm glad Sony, Creative etc. are in the game to keep Apple honest, and vice versa. I think Sony have lost the plot a bit recently (it's as if two different internal departments both had ideas for digital audio players and they couldn't choose between them so decided to say 'sod it' let's stick one out under the Vaio brand and another as a Walkman and see what happens) but let's hope they find it again.
     
  24. johann1979

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    yeah sorry if I seemed bitchy - i just love a good argument... :)
     
  25. Beanieman

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    Hiya

    I Have had this for two weeks now, I think this is a great bit of kit. I have heard some where it is capable of playing MPEG movies.....does anyone know if this is true and how it is done?

    Cheers

    Beanie

    (My first post OOOOooOOO) :thumbsup:
     
  26. johann1979

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    really?? I didn't know about this, but I have to say I always thought that if it could play mp3's and it has a colour screen, it's simply up to the firmware whether it could play video - I could be wrong though...
     
  27. budlynch

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    I have had this for 2 weeks now and its really grown on me.
    Also have the HD3 and I think this has better sound quality to the HD3 and double the capacity.
    It does not play MPEG movie files (and does not display lyrics although the latest firmware update says it can display lyrics, and there is an option tab on the player itself)
    maybe a future firmware will allow mpeg playback

    I was going to take it back to DIXONS before the 14 days were up but I am now keeping this. with 40 GiG storage capacity I could even afford to have my music in WAV format
     
  28. johann1979

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    Yeah I am convinced my Vaio Pocket sounds better than my HD5 - definitely...
     

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