i cant say that is sounds better than the x series as some people might have got acustomed to the x series sig and will find everything else inferior. in my personal opinion the sound is fuller and (more powerful sounding?) it still retains the x's warmth and instrument seperation. but when listening to this i (believe) the music travels in and out of my brain around my ears and back again. i have been using the klipsch x10 and the phonak Pfe 012 (grey filters) there is more clarity with the phonaks than with x10s but then again there is more soundstage with the kilpsch. but that's because thy are very different sounding earphones if on the fence of buying, i will definetly advise people to wait for more user reviews (who can express themselves better than me). or were possible have a listen, as sound quality is subjective to what your hearing/ears prefer.
to answer your second the buttons on the x series are better placed than on the side. you are right it is trickier to press them as they are close together and a small. i realised that i need a few seconds to feel them when its hidden in my pocket, to pause rewinf foward are close together, the pause button has a little bump/dot on it to make you aware its the middle one. so i guess that slightly helps, but i prefered the top buttons on x series aswell.
That was fine enough initial impression thanks, I will keep an open mind on getting one possibly when the 64gb version arrives.
Yes, the X digital S master amp is pretty impressive SQ( which I think has passed many by) that it made my 2G Ipod Touch at the time sound inferior by a fair margin that despite the apps and slick feel to the Ipod I knew that journey (six months) had come to a sudden end due to the X.
Just thought the button thing would of been common sense for Sony to keep it on top especially as the design looks like it could of easily accommodated them just like the X.