I recently bought some quality headphones, and discovered the sound quality of my ipod classic and nano was really very poor. So I was looking for an alternative to apple, but that would work with my existing music collection in itunes. I was tempted by some of the Cowon mp3 players as they have a good reputation for sound quality, but as they're not compatible with AAC files I couldn't face starting again wiith converting all my CDs. This Sony player therefore seemed to the best, affordable option. I wanted to pay for a music player, not a multi function device with apps, games etc that I don't need - I've got an iphone for that!
Having decided on the Sony, the sound quality is really very good, with easily adjustable equaliser and sound settings. There's so many possible combinations, I haven't been able to try them all yet. The bass thumping if you want it, but can be toned down to suit your preference or music genre. The supplied headphones are also good, but are open-backed, so possibly not the best if you don't want to disturb your fellow passengers.
I have found Sony's Media Go software very easy to use, and dragging files directly from itunes onto the walkman surprisingly simple. Transfer time seemed a little slow, but that may be down to my USB connection.
The walkman also looks and feels lovely, small, slim and made of the same sort of aluminium as ipods. Only the patterned fascia around the screen is plastic I think. Having used apple touch screen products for a while now, I've found it quite a nice change to use actual buttons - adjusting the volume or skipping tracks without having to look at the screen is a definate plus. It's also more discreet whilst out and about, no need to have expensive kit on show as it can stay in your pocket.
The only downside to this product might be that it's only 8gb. If only Sony made it in different memory sizes - I'd definately buy a 16 or 32gb version!