iPod touch vs Sony Walkman X Series vs Samsung P3

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Intro

Apple’s iPod touch has some serious rivals in the form of the Sony Walkman X Series and Samsung P3 PMPs.

Which one stacks up as the best for music, video, and all round appeal? Read on as the Tech Digest guide pits these mighty touchscreen handsets against one another.

Battle of the Specs: Feature Comparison

Let’s leave aside fanboy love for Apple and Sony (does Samsung have fanboys too? I’m not sure) and take a look at how the main features stack up.

This is top-of-the-line stuff. If you want detailed specifications you’d better skip to the end of the page.

Display

For pure real estate, the iPod touch trumps both the Walkman X Series and the P3, with a 3.5-inch display compared to just 3-inch for the others.

However, when it comes to aspect ratio, the Samsung’s screen is 16:9 — perfectly suited for widescreen video — whereas the Sony has a rather bizarre 9:5 aspect ratio and the touch 3:2.

That means, in raw resolution terms, the touch (480 x 320) trumps the P3 (480 x 272) which trumps the X Series (432 x 240).

Having said all that, Sony’s screen is based on OLED technology for a much brighter, crisper display than the other two handsets.

Touch

All three handsets feature touchscreen technology, though it’s implemented in different ways.

The iPod touch is the only one to feature multitouch, letting you make various two-fingered gestures (so to speak) to perform tasks such as zooming in and out of photos.

The Samsung P3 offers a haptic-enabled touchscreen. In other words, you’ll get physical vibration feedback when you perform certain tasks.

Sony’s a little quiet on exactly what its touchscreen handles, so I’m afraid I’m going to presume it’s single-finger pecking and swiping for controlling the user interface.

Audio and Video

So what can these babies play?

Audio-wise, the iPod touch will play AAC-LC, MP3, Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV files.

The Walkman X Series will also play PCM and non-DRM WMA files, while the Samsung beats both by also playing OGG and FLAC.

When it comes to video, the touch is effectively stuck with Quicktime files, whereas the P3 will also play back Shockwave and Windows Media file, and the Walkman X Windows Media 9 files.

Other multimedia

  • Both the Sony and Samsung players feature an FM radio.
  • The Samsung P3 can be used as a voice recorder.
  • Both the Walkman and iPod touch feature Wi-Fi for access to the Internet

Capacity

  • The iPod touch comes in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities.
  • The Sony Walkman X Series comes in 16GB and 32GB capacities.
  • The Samsung P3 comes in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities.

Other Applications

The iPod touch is a bit like the Swiss Army Knife of portable devices compared to the Walkman X and P3 players.

It features access to the iTunes application store and can be used for gaming and a whole host of other apps. It can even be used to make VoIP calls over a Wi-Fi connection by adding free software.

Battery Life

The iPod touch offers up to 36 hours of music playback and up to 6 hours of video playback.

The Sony X Walkman Series offers up to 33 hours of music and 9 hours of video playback.

The Samsung P3 offers up to 30 hours of music and 5 hours of video playback.

Price

You can pick up the 8GB iPod touch for around £165, with the 16GB model coming in at £214 and the 32GB model at £283.

Sony’s 32GB NWZ-X1060 comes in at £279 while the 16GB NWZ-X1050 model is £209. Much the same as the touch in fact.

The Samsung YP-P3 range has an RRP of £110 for the 8GB model, £170 for the 16GB model and £200 for the 32GB model. Quite a bit cheaper especially on the higher capacity models.

Which is Best?

It hardly seems fair to compare the vast feature set of the touch with the efforts of Sony and Samsung, so I’ll focus on the multimedia aspects because that’s a core function of all three units.

  • All three units will happily store all of the music you own on CDs, though the method for adding it will vary from player to player.
  • The touch relies heavily on iTunes, whereas the Sony and Samsung players use Windows Media Player.
  • There’s less of an issue today with iTunes’ proprietary format, since Apple removed the DRM from most, if not all, of its online music. That means you can move purchased tracks around without worrying about copy protection.
  • I’m not entirely clear what levels of DRM are in place on the other devices, but it will depend partly on where / if you purchase music online.
  • Ripping CDs from your personal collection, or obtaining audio from (ahem) other sources won’t likely cause you a problem on any of the players.
  • The Samsung and Sony devices run rings around the touch when it comes to audio and video playback formats. Whether that matters depends on what types of files you’re going to want to listen to and watch on the move. The iPod won’t touch Flash/Shockwave or Windows Media files, whereas the others will, but that won’t stop you watching YouTube videos.
  • There’s no denying that Sony’s OLED screen is very nice, and a more advanced than either Samsung or Apple currently offer.
  • Sony’s audio credentials may also trump the other two, with boasts of noise cancellation and audio boosting technology that the others don’t offer.

If I was buying a unit purely to play music and video, I think I’d plump for the… Sony. I like the Walkman brand and think the device looks pretty slick, has some decent cutting-edge technology built in, is obviously made for music, and offers Internet access.

Then again, the price is almost identical to that of the iPod touch which can do so much more.

The Samsung units are definitely nice and can be picked up quite a bit cheaper, too.

Roundup

Yep, I sat on the fence for a while. I’m an Apple fanboy at heart, and I have an iPhone, so I’d be quite happy to recommend the iPod touch. I know it’s not for everyone, though.

The fact is that these three devices are both very capable multimedia players. It really comes down to how much you want your portable player to do, which company you’ve pledged allegiance to, and how much cash you have to spend.

Bear in mind that Apple could well revamp the iPod touch later this year.

Detailed Specifications

Here’s the full specification rundown as published by each manufacturer.

Samsung YP-P3

Product Type MP3 Player
Storage Type Flash Memory
Memory Capacity 8GB / 16GB / 32GB
Display Type TFT LCD
Display Resolution WQVGA (480 x 272)
Embedded Speaker Yes
Embedded Mic. Yes
Output power(@16 Ohm Earphones) 20mW/Ch
Output power(Speaker) 0.8W
SD MMC Expansion Slot No
Available Colour Black / Silver
Touch Screen Yes
Battery type Li-Polymer
Display Screen 3.0″
FM Radio Yes
View Picture Yes
View Text Yes
Line-In Recording No
Voice Recording Yes
View Video Yes
Game Yes
Special Functions (Bluetooth) Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Datacasting Yes
Tuner (DMB) No
Wireless Internet No
Etc. Haptic (Vibration) feedback, Widget
Battery Playback Time (Audio) 30
Battery Playback Time (Video) 5
Music Storage Capacity(@128kbps MP3) 1000 songs (4GB) / 2000 songs (8GB) / 4000 songs (16GB) / 8000 songs (32GB)
Battery Voice Recording Time 5
Memory Voice Recording Time 76hrs (4GB) / 152hrs (8GB) / 304hrs (16GB) / 608hrs (32GB) at 128kbps
Charging Time (PC) 4.5
Charging Time (Adapter) 3
Video Storage Capacity 67hrs (4GB) / 137 hrs (8GB) / 279hrs (16GB) / 560hrs (32GB)
Dimensions for Unit W x H x D 102 x 52,7 x 9,9 mm
Weight for Unit 96
File Format Supported MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, AAC, FLAC, JPEG, Bitmap, PNG, SWF, WMV, H.264, MPEG
VOR (Voice Operated Recording) No
VER (Voice Enhanced Recording) No
Voice Enhanced Playback No
FM Recording Yes
Voice Recording(bit rate) Yes
Video-In Recording (TV Recording) No
Moblie TV Recording No
Adjustable Play Speed Yes
Alarm Yes
Album Art Yes
Lyric Display Yes
Wallpaper Yes
Clock Yes
TTS (Text to Speech) Yes
STT (Speech to Text) No
OS Compatibility P: Windows XP or higher (Vista) UMS: Windows 2000, Windows XP or higher (Vista)
USB Connection(MTP/UMS) MTP (Europe / North America / Australia) UMS (Other Countries)
USB Host No
Connectivity (USB Version) USB2.0
Mobile Playlist(Favorite) Yes
Library( Artist, Album,Genre,Title DB sorting) Yes
File Navigation Yes
PC Application EmoDio
PC Playlist (SPL) Yes
PC Playlist (WPL) Yes
User EQ Yes
Preset EQ Yes
Sound Feedback Yes
Etc. Yes
Multi-language DNSe 3.0
Resume Yes
Bookmark Yes
Etc. Yes
Included accessories Earphone, SW CD, USB Cable

Sony NWZ-X1050 / NWZ-X1060 X Series Walkman

High speed data transfer YES
USB connection YES
WM-PORT YES
Memory size (GB) 16 / 32
Dynamic normaliser YES
Clear Bass YES
Equaliser YES (5 Band)
Clear Stereo YES
Shuffle YES
Music Searching Methods All Songs / Album / Artist / Genre / Release Year / Playlists / Folder
Music Play Mode Normal / Repeat / Shuffle / Shuffle&Repeat / Repeat 1 Song Playback Range Selection (All Range / Selected Range) Intelligent Shuffle (Time machine Shuffle / Shuffle All)
Video Play Mode Normal (Continuous playback is not supported)
Photo Play Mode Normal (Flick Operation is supported, slide show is not supported)
Podcast Play Mode Normal (Continuous playback is not supported)
CD Cover Art Display Searching / Now Playing / Album Scroll
Drag and Drop YES
Display resolution WQVGA (432×240)
Display type OLED (colour)
Screen size (inch) 3
Horizontal / Vertical display YES
mp3 YES
WMA (Non-DRM) YES
AAC-LC (Non-DRM) YES
Linear PCM YES
JPEG YES
mp4 YES
AVC (H.264/AVC) YES
MPEG-4 YES
WMV 9 YES
Repeat YES
Shuffle YES
Digital sound preset NO
Hold YES
DSEE YES
VPT YES (Studio / Live / Club / Arena / Matrix / Karaoke)
Noise Cancelling YES (Digital)
Theme Settings YES
Wallpaper Settings YES (User Setting)
SensMe™ channels NO
FM tuner YES (30 presets)
Weight (g) 98
Battery life – continuous playback music (h) 33
Battery life – continuous playback video (h) 9
Charging time (full charge) (h) 3
Capacity (audio files) 4000 (at 128kbps)
Capacity (video) (h) 62 (at 384kbps)
Headphones YES (13.5mm EX earbud / SML)
Headphone extension cable NO
Extra ear buds for headphones (small/medium/large) YES
Windows Media® Player 11 (CD) YES
mp3 Conversion Tool NO
Media Manager for WALKMAN® YES
Content Transfer (CD) YES
Operation Guide (CD) YES
Quick Start Guide YES
WM-PORT YES
USB cable YES
Rechargeable battery YES
AC mains power adaptor NO
Width (mm) 52.5
Height (mm) 97.4
Depth (mm) 10.5

Apple iPod touch

Height: 4.3 inches (110 mm)
Width: 2.4 inches (61.8 mm)
Depth: 0.33 inch (8.5 mm)
Weight: 4.05 ounces (115 grams)
Capacity:

* 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB flash drive
* Holds up to 1,750, 3,500, or 7,000 songs in 128-Kbps AAC format
* Holds up to 10,000, 20,000, or 25,000 iPod-viewable photos
* Holds up to 10 hours, 20 hours, or 40 hours of video

Display:

* 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display
* 480-by-320-pixel resolution at 163 pixels per inch

Audio:

* Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
* Audio formats supported: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV

Wireless:

* Wi-Fi (802.11b/g)
* Nike + iPod support built in
* Maps location-based service

Headphones:

* Earphones
* Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
* Impedance: 32 ohms

TV and video:

* Support for 480p and 576p component TV out
* H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

Battery and power:

* Built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery
* Playback time
– Music playback time: Up to 36 hours when fully charged
– Video playback time: Up to 6 hours when fully charged

Andy Merrett

34 comments

  • Samsung are poor at marketing though they provide best quality and wide variety of products unlik apple or sony. All are blinded in the illusion that only apple & sony provide great sound quality. Most of them here havent experienced samsung yp’s music clarity, yet they decide the winner themselves.

  • Samsung are poor at marketing though they provide best quality and wide variety of products unlik apple or sony. All are blinded in the illusion that only apple & sony provide great sound quality. Most of them here havent experienced samsung yp's music clarity, yet they decide the winner themselves.

  • HANDS DOWN ipod touch is 10 times better that sony.Im geting a new Ipod touch for my birthday, the Ipod touch has great sound,great picture,and great touch screen, it takes awsome pictures and videos so I say Ipod Touch wins

  • HANDS DOWN ipod touch is 10 times better that sony.Im geting a new Ipod touch for my birthday, the Ipod touch has great sound,great picture,and great touch screen, it takes awsome pictures and videos so I say Ipod Touch wins

  • Thanks for sharing so significative article with us. I agree with your idea competely.I am looking forward to another great article from you. And I want to say air jordan shoes are so popular, the air jordan fusion sport shoes are fashion and there are so many yong people like them. Cheap air jordan 5 are hot selling all over the world.

  • The ipod touch is definitely better. I use it all the time and just love. It is way better no doubt. orlando accident lawyer

  • I’ve used your tutorial to get paypal ipn integration successfully working, thank you for sharing this information.

    However, when the user is returned after the transaction they are logged out of my site. This is not happening every time though.

    Do you know why this might be happening? I appreciate this is probably a paypal issue, but I just wondered if you might have come across it before or be able to point me in the right direction.

  • I’m getting it for Christmas and a Sony Walkman 32GB X Series and the Samsung P3 next month.

  • Reviews about ipod agree that the audio quality isn’t really that great. Finnish ‘mikrobitti’ magazine made measurements about how much juice ipod touch can produce and it was almost a joke but for most users they are fine with sucky sound quality if there is useless gimmicks to cover it.

    ipod touch screen breaks if you drop it from 0,5 meters which is not so great either with the bad audio quality.

  • I am now angry that I wasted 5 years in i-Pod audio. What a waste of years of music. I’m now going back to all those albums I should have enjoyed first time around! You have been warned! I won’t be missing my apps either! Time for MUSIC

  • I agree with everyone about he quality of the Sony but i have a problem. I have an Audi with an iPod connector for the music system. It does not appear to have a cable for my Walkman. Does anyone know of a converter cable or do I have to buy an iPod? I really don’t want to!

    • I’ve have the same issue with the Audi and Sony Walkman – I’ve tried using the USB lead into Audi’s music system, and whilst it recognises the fact that a device is connected, it can’t access the content – something like ‘initialising device’ before timing out with a ‘can’t connect’. I guess Audi drivers are doomed not be be able to connect their Sony X series Walkmans to their car music systems… I too don’t want to have to buy an iPOD. Anybody else have a solution?

  • I’ve finally dumpled my i-Pod Touch for the Sony. I just cannot get my head around the sound quality the Sony produces! Quality and not quantity comes to mind with all these three devices! About that Kill switch some idiot wrote about, hahaha I’ve had sony digital products for years now! My DAT Walkman / Minidiscs are over 10 years old and sounding pure as ever! I’ve gone through 4 I-pods in 5 years, do the maths. To all of you, I’ve re discovered music again. I am now angry that I wasted 5 years in i-Pod audio. What a waste of years of music. I’m now going back to all those albums I should have enjoyed first time around! You have been warned! I won’t be missing my apps either! Time for MUSIC

  • i guess this review is not based on the sound quality of the devices. Well, it doesnt take a lot of research to find out that the Sony Walkman is designed mainly for mp3 playing. It boasts Digital Clear audio technologies which really makes your music files to be clear and transparent if there is such a thing. I think Walkman is desgined with audiophiles in mind. ipod not. ipod is good at that it does which is play music with mediocre sound quality but i guess thats ok due to the market it is designed to. People who chooses that one rave for each and every little single stupid useless application. Where Sony Walkman is more Pro. Samsung i have no idea on how it is or how it performs for playing music, so i wont go there. Anyways. if you are an audiophile who cares for sound quality. just check these features: Digital S-Master Amplifier; DSEE-Digital Sound Enhancement Engine; Clear Bass; Clear Stereo; Digital Noise Canceling4 (Modes: Bus/Train, Airplane, and Offfice).

    It also comes with MDR-NC020 Noise Canceling EX Series earphones.

    oh i forgot to mention. You DONT NEED ITUNES. You need to drag and drop. and thats it!!!

    Me as an audiophile will go for the Walkman X Series 32Gb.

  • Between the Sony & Touch the Sony is the best one for sound quality. I’ve not tried the Samsung yet.
    A big disappointment with the Sony is that it doesn’t implement gapless playback, so any tunes on a CD that merge into each other (eg NoRoots by faithless) have an annoying 2 sec silence at track end.
    Even my 5 year old ZenSleek will do track boundaries correctly.

  • Don’t talk crap about kill switches. I have two Sony Walkman models that are over 5 years old and working perfectly. It’s amazing the rubbish people are prepared to believe without anything at all to back it up.

  • Apple get their sound codecs and speakers made from Samsung and SONY products have a kill swithch, which means it breaks when warranty expires so I recommend a Creative Zen Xfi – its got wifi and lots of features.

  • Hi. Most important aspect in any multimedia player is the audio quality, interface not fancy gimmicks. Reviews about ipod agree that the audio quality isn’t really that great. Finnish ‘mikrobitti’ magazine made measurements about how much juice ipod touch can produce and it was almost a joke but for most users they are fine with sucky sound quality if there is useless gimmicks to cover it.

    ipod touch screen breaks if you drop it from 0,5 meters which is not so great either with the bad audio quality.

    walkman x is too expensive

    samsung interface is .. Don’t even want to talk about it.

  • This article unfortunately does not cover what is most importantly the quality of the sound of each device. The iTouch just as the iPods only has the preset EQ’s in which some songs can distort in. The Sony AND… Samsung have sound enhancing processors as the NSEE for Sony and DNSe 3.0 for the Samsung. I’ve tried the three of these units. The iTouch cannot give the natural and powerful sound the other two can produce. The Sony has a more natural sound when it enhances the Bass frequencies and is very impressive! The Samsung however has a much clearer and energetic stage sound. If you’re going for value I would definitely recommend Samsung. It also is Napster compatible as the sony but not the iphone.

  • these are the mobile phones with different companies and each mobile having their own functions.but all the phones are very good and have more functions. they are windows based phone with high quality picture and sound.

  • Samsung does have fan boys, we’re all hiding on ABI ^^
    And bear in mind that the p3 has good deals on top of the cheaper prices; play has the 32gb for £150 which then puts it in competition with the zen and sony A series as well.
    And you can bet your left testicle that the zune HD will better all of them 😀
    (and might even make it to england!)

    • I’m guessing you mean “Anything But iPod” forums and not the Association of British Insurers? 🙂

      There’s always deals to be had, moreso on non-Apple stuff it seems. Interesting about the Zune HD. It definitely has potential but will it flop?

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