Things are pretty good spec-wise, too -- there's 8GB of flash memory and video playback along with smaller dimensions and a longer-lasting battery than the nano.
Part of the NW-A800 series, we've tested the £180 8GB model, although 2GB (NW-A805, £120) and 4GB (NW-A806, £150) versions will also be available when the range debuts in April.
There's no doubt that Sony has finally succeeded in producing a nano contender, but is it worth the £180 price tag?
The A808 has been designed with elegance in mind. The graphite-black matte finish is complimented by a stylish silver trimming. It's ever so slightly smaller than the nano and weighs a mere 10g more, despite being capable of playing full-screen video.
Screen size is important when you're going to be watching video on a device, and the A808's screen is a very attractive 51mm (2-inch) 240x320-pixel colour QVGA LCD screen.
This model feels as delightful to hold as it is to look at. It also doesn't feel like you're going to crush it during use; it's surprisingly rugged for such a thin and lightweight device.
All navigational and selection controls are on the front of the device and are incredibly easy to operate with a thumb. Only the volume control is situated on the right-hand side, but is comfortably within reach of a forefinger.
The only thing we didn't like too much, like the nano, is that the headphone socket is on the bottom of the player. We prefer these sockets to be on top, but this is just our preference.
The interface reminds us a little of the one used on the PSP, with all the pretty menu icons contained in a three-by-three grid. Navigating through the lists is simple and the controls are immediately responsive, with each icon glowing alluringly when selected.
Your music collection is sorted in the traditional artist/album/song structure, but we particularly liked being able to browse by the year of album release. The A808 can also pick a year at random and play all music released in that year.
What separates the A800 series from anything else in its class is its support for H.264 videos you've converted and transferred from a PC. Other flash-based MP3 players can cope with video, such as the Creative Zen V Plus, but they use proprietary video formats that result in much larger files.
Videos are rotated to fill the whole screen and look stunning. The screen is too small for watching full-length movies, but it's perfect for short clips, music videos or film trailers. Because this is a flash player, videos start instantly -- there's no waiting around for a hard disk to seek the correct location. It supports a variety of bit rates, from the watchable 384Kbps to the stupendous quality 768Kbps. Unlike audio, video files can simply be dragged and dropped on to the player through Windows.