In case you are wondering, Almost Fit is NOT turning into a product review site – But I had the opportunity to take a look at one of the new cord-free MP3 players from Sony, and thought readers who listen to music while exercising might find my impressions helpful. But before I go further, here’s the legal bit:
Disclosure: This post is not a paid review or endorsement, but Sony did send me the product to get my thoughts. I am in no way affiliated with Sony and have received no compensation for my impressions. And also, the legal bit makes me feel weird, like going to the principal’s office for something I actually DID do this time, but it turns out it wasn’t as bad as I thought. OK I feel slightly better.
Several weeks ago I received a note from Melissa, a Community Ambassador for Sony letting me know about a product line that they are promoting: the Sony W series cord-free mp3 players. I receive a fair number of these notes and offers to review products, but to be honest I rarely give them a second thought. In general I don’t do product reviews, mostly because 9 times out of 10 the offer is for packaged/processed foods that I already know how I feel on principle, so I don’t think it would really be fair. (The other exception has been cookbooks which I do review on occasion.)
This product on the other hand, since I’m not eating it , seemed like something I could check out – and the words “cord-free” piqued my interest. Plus I’m kind of a gadget junkie, though I usually take forever to buy them. (Note to Apple : I will gladly write up a review of the iPad or one of the new Macbook Pros if you want to send one to me. No, seriously.)
To provide a little context, lately when I run I use my iPhone with some 3rd party ear buds to listen to music or my ever growing list of podcasts. As many readers know, I am also an active iPhoneography enthusiast , so I generally have my phone (a.k.a. camera/ipod/everything-I-need-in-one-gadget) with me wherever I go. So, my iPhone with headphones is my primary source of comparison, though I am a product of the 80’s Walkman generation, so I have a long history with portable music. In addition, I am also an amateur musician with a home recording studio, so I do use studio-grade headphones for music production – which means I’d like to think I have a reasonable ear for audio quality.
Overall, for readers of Almost Fit I think this product has value as a good workout tool, and as you will see in the review I LOVE not having to deal with headphone wires. The ear buds that I usually use with my iPhone are great both sound and comfort-wise, but I am continually fighting with them pulling during exercise routines. I also find it tough to do things like take photos with my phone along the way, or use exercise tracking applications (of which I’m a fan) while listening to music on my phone. So a separate device makes sense to me in some cases. That said, this device is not without it’s flaws.
With that, here’s the review.
Sony W Series Walkman MP3 Player (2GB model NWZ-W252)
Suggested Retail: $60
A few features: Holds approximately 470 songs (rough estimate), and is water resistant. The highlights on the packaging include “Up to 11 hours of music playback”, “3 minute charge for 90 minutes of playback” and 2GB of storage (though the fine print says it’s actually less).
Overall there are a lot of things to like about this device. Here are the biggest positives:
While I generally liked it, there were a few things that really bugged me.
Overall I like this device, and will continue to use it for running. I think for a general purpose MP3 player it still will not replace my phone or a larger iPod, but compared to a wired device like the iPod Nano which I would put in the same class, for workouts I’d take this one and ditch the wires in a heartbeat. I think the media storage is pretty small, but it is the same as the entry level Nano and in the same price bracket. Visually this looks a lot like a phone earpiece, so I wasn’t self-conscious about how it looked; it felt pretty natural.
Thanks for reading Almost Fit. Hopefully you didn’t find the review too terribly obnoxious. Comments are welcome.