Summary: Having bought a lot of Sansa products in the past I decided to try a Sony instead. Unfortunately my experience with this player has not been good. After using it occasionally for the first 3 months I finally decided to load it up and listen to it while working in the garage. I put about 4Gb of music onboard and I listened for a few hours. I then brought the unit inside to charge and it never worked again.
Summary: I decided to buy this unit for my 10-year-old son as his first MP3 player because I didn't want to dish out the big bucks for the IPOD not knowing how careful he would be with it. I love my IPOD Classic but they are pricey. Additionally, I've always been a fan of Sony electronics. No more...at least not with their Walkmans. Loading music was easy - drop and drag to the folder using my PC, which recognized the Walkman as soon as it was plugged in.
Summary: My wife has an iPod nano, and while the sound is good, the iPod has had a reputation for breaking and I found the iTunes store a nightmare to navigate. For me, it came down to the Sony or the SanDisk. While the SanDisk is less expensive and has the microSD slot, it is almost as fragile as glass. When I looked at them at the local BestBuy, the SanDisk on display was broken after 2 DAYS on display.
Pros: Easy to use. Works without having to load drivers or proprietary software. Best sound quality I've had from any MP3 player. Great headphones. Long battery life. Lots of sound enhancement options.
Cons: Too short headphone cord (and while there is a reason for it, I think it sucks).
Pros: Great sound. Crystal clear display. Supports multiple formats.
Cons: No bookmarking-not for the audio book lover. Very limited shuffling options-either shuffle your entire collection, including audiobooks or shuffle all of your playslists. Unable to shuffle by genre or playlist.
Summary: I've tried several different MP3 players, and this is the best one I've owned. The included headphones are also excellent. The A818 is simple to use, and well designed. The "Media Manager Software" that is included is OK, but it is much better if you spend the few dollars and register it. You can just drag and drop your files on the Walkman, and you're ready to go. Battery life is excellent. Screen resolution is very good, but small.