It's about time we got an MP3 player with this feature. Sometimes you want to share a song with your friends without sharing your earbuds or headphones with them. Now, thanks to the external speakers on the Sony S-series of Walkman MP3 players, you can. These new S-series players are a little thicker than some at roughly .5”, but that's to be expected considering the extra hardware they have to pack.
Outside of the external speakers, this new Walkman line is pretty standard. It's got a 2.4” QVGA LCD monitor, 30 FPS playback, and Sony's 'Clear Audio' and 'Digital Linear Phase Speaker System' technologies. The battery life Sony claims on this new line is very impressive; over 42 hours of audio playback or 6.5 of video. When the external speakers are in use, the battery life drops substantially. You get 17 hours of audio, or 5 of video. That's not bad, and some battery life is a worthwhile trade for being able to show your videos and movies off to the world.
The S-series also has a voice recording and FM radio feature. It supports a variety of audio codecs including MP3, WMA(DRM), AAC, and Linear PCM. Video Codec support includes H.264, Baseline Profile, MPEG-4, and WMV (DRM). It comes in 8 and 16 GB models which cost $110 and $130.
I can't speak to the quality of these music players, but the S-series sounds like a pretty solid buy from the specs given. The price is reasonable, and the only major drawback I spot is in storage space. 16 and 32 GB options would have been much nicer, and well worth the extra cost.