By Tony Chan our gadget man
Portable media players these days can do a lot of things. You can listen to music, watch videos and movies, read documents and play games. You can even get on the internet and look for information on some of them.
While Sony's new NWZ-S745 doesn't cover all the bases, it does offer one feature that few of its rivals can match - it can help you learn foreign languages. The model's language learning mode helps you master the pronunciation of foreign languages by making it easier to rewind and play back words or phrases. The A-B repeat function replays sections of digital books, and the Quick Replay function reverses audio playback in 3-second intervals so you can re-listen to specific words.
For really difficult words, there is a special DPC Speed Control feature that lets you play back portions of audio tracks at different speeds, such as half the normal speed, or twice the normal speed. But it doesn't change the tone, so you can still hear the pronunciation clearly.
The product also features noise-cancelling headphones that the company says will block out about 90% of any ambient noise. It comes with a 2-inch LCD display, 16MB of memory and an FM radio, plays back most music and video file formats, and offers up to 42 hours of music or 10 hours of video playback battery life. It costs HK$1,798.
Pros: language learning mode to help you master pronunciation of foreign words
Cons: No wireless connection