Sony Pocket Vaio VGF-AP1L Brief Impression
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wowie11

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I just received my Pocket Vaio today (purchased from eCost at $239 - brand new...not remanufactured!), so I can't really say much about it yet. I loaded a few songs in mp3 format (with the latest firmware update, most sony portables are now able to play mp3's natively) using at 192-256kb/s CBR and 128-320kb/s VBR and I have to say that the sound quality is superb...definitely much better than my ipod (I have a 40 gb ipod photo) and almost, if not right, at par with my deceased Rio Karma (RIP 2002-2005, hard drive failure). I wish the Sony Pocket Vaio had the same parametric EQ that the Karma had which gave it a lot of flexibility, instead Sony provides a few but pretty adequate presets to work with. It may not play all of the file formats out there or have a built in FM player or even be ultra portable, but it is solidly built (dare I say even better than the iPod
), has a huge hard drive in relative comparison to players around it's price range (40gb), has a battery life of at least 20 hours (I've read reports of bat life ranging from 17 hours to 25 hours), and it has a really nice color screen that can show off your photos pretty nicely.
Some quick cons - not so portable (still pocketable and definitely not as big as it looks on photos, but still larger than the iPod photo), the GUI is a little different, but once you're used to it - it does the job (so not really a con i guess), you can't file transfer without the docking station (which is included and although not huge, it would be an extra hassle to carry around in case you want to off load some digital photographs), although it now plays mp3's natively Sony manages to mystify its users by putting on a DRM of sorts (turning it into an OMA file) preventing free music transfer from computer to vaio to another computer, no thumbnails provided for photos (like iPod photo) so you have to put up with it cycling through each photo, and it doesn't come with a case...not even one of those dustbags that Sony usually includes with most of their portable electronics and the cases that I find online are friggin' expensive!
Some quick pros: Nice GUI once you learn it, beautiful color screen, excellent battery life, super solid built, superb sound quality, relatively inexpensive, decent remote control, get "What is that?" looks from iPod users, one of a few players at this price that allows picture viewing, and oh, before I forget, one of a very very very very very few portable MP3 players out there to provide the very elusive GAPLESS playback!!!
I would recommend anybody looking for a portable unit with a large storage capacity and a color screen to take a look at this player. A very solid DAP deserving serious consideration IMO.
 
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iano

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I agree wholeheartedly...I have been very impressed also over the past week with my Vaio - the screen is superb in its clarity (excellent choice and size of font for example)...and I have quickly gotten used to the G-sense touch pad thingy...

Sound is great, I find the presets also good enough, and it feels really solidly built.

Its quite a bit bigger than my HD3, which I also like, but has the advantrage of having all presets available for mp3 files, which the HD3 does not.

I bought mine for approx $260 from amazon.com, but if you're lucky and look carefully at the many ebay items listing new ones, its possible for them to be obtained for the low $200's, incredible value to my mind.

One word about the cases, they are verye xpensive, but I did get one via Sony - and I have to say I am a little disappointed since it does not seem to fit real well. Could be my hamfisted manual dexterity, but I would think it should be a better fit than this. I am not aware of others being made anywhere else, and its slightly unusual shape might mean other generic cases are less likely to fit.
 
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h-man

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Quote:

Originally Posted by D-EJ915
hey iano, is the Vaio Pocket quicker than the HD3? (accessing songs, etc.)


No, there are some lags when you access new tracks, etc, but not too bad!
 
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iano

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I kind of agree...I had not noticed any specific difference, but I had not been looking out for it. For me, any differences were not significant enough to outweigh the pros, or for me personally to particularly take notice.
 
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SDLeMire

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iano, that case from Sony I had the same problems with. It seems to be a little too small. The velcro has a hard time latching on. Kind of a ripoff if you ask me.
 
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wowie11

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Quote:

Originally Posted by iano
One word about the cases, they are verye xpensive, but I did get one via Sony - and I have to say I am a little disappointed since it does not seem to fit real well. Could be my hamfisted manual dexterity, but I would think it should be a better fit than this. I am not aware of others being made anywhere else, and its slightly unusual shape might mean other generic cases are less likely to fit.


I'm glad that you love your Vaio pocket too! Hmmm...if it's straight from Sony, I'm wondering if you might have gotten the case for the regular VGF-VP1 (non-L version) - which is the 20 gb version. It is supposedly about 2 mm thinner in depth than the 40gb L-version, which might cause a bit of snugness in a not so flexible leather case...just a thought...
 
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sanity8me

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i'm about to order my Vaio Pocket any day now. i'm not sure if i can say this yet but it seems to be the most overlooked HD DAP...ever? i seriously think, besides the original problem of not supporting the mp3 format, it's because of the unusual g-sense touch pad. it seems to scare people away. i know that's what happened with me when i walked into the sony store in boston to check out the HD1. i remember being intimidated by it and thought that it would be a hastle to use. didn't even bother playing around with it because i was too dumbfounded at how "cool" the HD1 was. definitely regret that now.

anyhow, i have a few questions:
-where the hell is the pause button on the unit?
-how heavy/large is the dock cause i'm considering to just take it with me into the car or would that be ridiculous? (since there's no lineout on the unit)
-can i make my own "groups" in the player. for example: 1990s, 1980s, oldies, etc, etc. and if so, can the songs in them be associated with the "artists and/or genre navigation options in the menu? (i'm pretty sure it can be done, but i'm just double checking cause i'm used to navigating only by folders with my iRiver)
 
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iano

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Reply to SDLeMire above - yes, thats exactly what I experienced with the case also.
 
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wowie11

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sanity8me
i'm about to order my Vaio Pocket any day now. i'm not sure if i can say this yet but it seems to be the most overlooked HD DAP...ever? i seriously think, besides the original problem of not supporting the mp3 format, it's because of the unusual g-sense touch pad. it seems to scare people away. i know that's what happened with me when i walked into the sony store in boston to check out the HD1. i remember being intimidated by it and thought that it would be a hastle to use. didn't even bother playing around with it because i was too dumbfounded at how "cool" the HD1 was. definitely regret that now.

anyhow, i have a few questions:
-where the hell is the pause button on the unit?
-how heavy/large is the dock cause i'm considering to just take it with me into the car or would that be ridiculous? (since there's no lineout on the unit)
-can i make my own "groups" in the player. for example: 1990s, 1980s, oldies, etc, etc. and if so, can the songs in them be associated with the "artists and/or genre navigation options in the menu? (i'm pretty sure it can be done, but i'm just double checking cause i'm used to navigating only by folders with my iRiver)



I think you will be pleasantly suprised by how easy the G-pad is to use after about 10 minutes of practice. It will throw you off, however, if you're going back and forth with an iPod...too similar but not...if you know what I mean.
As far as your other concerns:
1. The pause button AFAIK is a soft button on the G-pad on the main unit (which kind of sucks - unless I'm terribly mistaken and I just haven't found it yet), but the play button doubles as a pause button on the remote.
2. The dock is pretty big (almost as big as the player), but is surprisingly lightweight. Also, the dock doesn't need to be plugged in to file transfer from your camera (which is a nice feature I use whenever I want to offload pics from my digicam)
3. Haven't really played with playlist functionalities yet, although I will soon...so I or another Head-fier will be sure to let you know!

IMHO, I agree with you. It is a very underrated player in the market and, I believe, is bargain priced right now if you get it for sub $300. Not only does it have a much larger capacities for players playing at that price point, the screen is also head and shoulders above any other player out there: 2.2" with 256k colors vs. a standard 65k colors for most other players (including iPod photo). The sound quality is also superb and should be a serious point of consideration. The other thing, and I might get bashed for saying this, is that I am a fan of the ATRAC format from back in my MD stashing days (I still have 3 MD players that I just can't, or won't sell). IMO the compressed sound quality of the ATRAC format trumps the MP3 format any day. On the more detailed music that I have, I do have those ripped in lossless formats, but most of my music is in ATRAC with a few in MP3 for space saving purposes. So, this player having the capability of being able to play ATRAC is an added bonus to being able to play MP3's and it's own lossless format.
 
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sanity8me

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wowie11
I think you will be pleasantly suprised by how easy the G-pad is to use after about 10 minutes of practice. It will throw you off, however, if you're going back and forth with an iPod...too similar but not...if you know what I mean.
As far as your other concerns:
1. The pause button AFAIK is a soft button on the G-pad on the main unit (which kind of sucks - unless I'm terribly mistaken and I just haven't found it yet), but the play button doubles as a pause button on the remote.
2. The dock is pretty big (almost as big as the player), but is surprisingly lightweight. Also, the dock doesn't need to be plugged in to file transfer from your camera (which is a nice feature I use whenever I want to offload pics from my digicam)
3. Haven't really played with playlist functionalities yet, although I will soon...so I or another Head-fier will be sure to let you know!

IMHO, I agree with you. It is a very underrated player in the market and, I believe, is bargain priced right now if you get it for sub $300. Not only does it have a much larger capacities for players playing at that price point, the screen is also head and shoulders above any other player out there: 2.2" with 256k colors vs. a standard 65k colors for most other players (including iPod photo). The sound quality is also superb and should be a serious point of consideration. The other thing, and I might get bashed for saying this, is that I am a fan of the ATRAC format from back in my MD stashing days (I still have 3 MD players that I just can't, or won't sell). IMO the compressed sound quality of the ATRAC format trumps the MP3 format any day. On the more detailed music that I have, I do have those ripped in lossless formats, but most of my music is in ATRAC with a few in MP3 for space saving purposes. So, this player having the capability of being able to play ATRAC is an added bonus to being able to play MP3's and it's own lossless format.




thanks wowie. yeah i just can't believe how overlooked/underrated this player appears to be, especially now with the mp3 friendly firmware update. i'd expect way more people on a forum like this to be going ape $hit right now with the new phenomenal price it's been going at lately.

does anybody else know if you can make your own "groups" and as many as you want (example: 1990s, 1980s, oldies, etc etc) on the Vaio Pocket? this is really bothering me...

also, how easy/quickly are the volume, pause, stop, and play buttons able to be accessed when playing your music?
 
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Kestrel

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Here is something that you may want to consider. This for the record - is the *only* thing holding me back from purchasing the Vaio Pocket.

The player is stuck in a wake state mode. The hard drive periodically spins up and no delay will send it into "deep sleep." From what I understand - if you let it sit for a few days undocked - the player will be dead or close to it.

I would easily take a long boot up every single time in order to conserve battery life - 10 seconds won't kill you - honestly. Frankly however, the current vaio pocket will not fly in my book. Nothing like a great player ruined by a trivial issue such as that. Great battery life doesn't matter if you have to dock it regardless of the situation to keep the battery life up.

Any owners want to comment on their experiences with this issue?
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kestrel
Here is something that you may want to consider. This for the record - is the *only* thing holding me back from purchasing the Vaio Pocket.

The player is stuck in a wake state mode. The hard drive periodically spins up and no delay will send it into "deep sleep." From what I understand - if you let it sit for a few days undocked - the player will be dead or close to it.

I would easily take a long boot up every single time in order to conserve battery life - 10 seconds won't kill you - honestly. Frankly however, the current vaio pocket will not fly in my book. Nothing like a great player ruined by a trivial issue such as that. Great battery life doesn't matter if you have to dock it regardless of the situation to keep the battery life up.

Any owners want to comment on their experiences with this issue?





This might be why I can't seem to get more than 5 hours out of the battery without having to recharge it. I never leave it in the docking station. Anybody that can confirm this?
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by EyeAmEye
This might be why I can't seem to get more than 5 hours out of the battery without having to recharge it. I never leave it in the docking station. Anybody that can confirm this?


Yes, this is true and well documented on the Pocket VAIO user forum:

http://www.club-vaio.sony-europe.com...reads?forum=41

I have not found it to be to much of a problem. I always leave mine in the docking cradle which is attched to my CPU. It is always ready to add/delete music and always charged. To ease your mind about use away from the cradle I recently took my VAIO on a 5 day kayaking/camping trip. The player lasted the entire trip with moderate to light use each day without any charging. I also recently used it on a three day weekend with HEAVY use in my car (4 or so hours of playing at a shot for two of the days) and it lasted without having to charge it.
 
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sanity8me

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Cerith
Yes, this is true and well documented on the Pocket VAIO user forum:

http://www.club-vaio.sony-europe.com...reads?forum=41

I have not found it to be to much of a problem. I always leave mine in the docking cradle which is attched to my CPU. It is always ready to add/delete music and always charged. To ease your mind about use away from the cradle I recently took my VAIO on a 5 day kayaking/camping trip. The player lasted the entire trip with moderate to light use each day without any charging. I also recently used it on a three day weekend with HEAVY use in my car (4 or so hours of playing at a shot for two of the days) and it lasted without having to charge it.



if this is true then i don't really consider it to be much of a problem...


Quote:

Originally Posted by sanity8me
does anybody else know if you can make your own "groups" and as many as you want (example: 1990s, 1980s, oldies, etc etc) on the Vaio Pocket? this is really bothering me...

also, how easy/quickly are the volume, pause, stop, and play buttons able to be accessed when playing your music?



anybody?
 
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