After a few months of partying down in Japan, Sony's NW-E000 series of thumbdrive DAPs is making its way on over to the States to meet an aging iPod shuffle and cronies. Headlining the series is the 2GB NW-E005, which comes in green, black and violet, and retails for a wallet-friendly $130. Sony also has a $100 1GB version in silver or pink, and a $70 512MB unit in blue to round out the collection. This being Sony, the SonicStage software, Connect Music Store and ATRAC3plus format are all necessary evils, but things do look up from there. Sony has included unprotected MP3, WMA and AAC playback, along with FM radio, one of their sexy (if hard to read) embedded OLED displays, and a 5-mode EQ. The rechargeable batter life is rated at 28 hours when playing ATRAC3plus at 48Kbps, but other formats don't fare so nicely, and the three-minute quick charge only manages three hours of playback. Overall, Sony isn't breaking a lot of ground here, but they are offering a sexy device, a bit of codec support and a dang good deal if you can stand to have the evil tendrils of SonicStage all over your tunes.

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