Monday, 6 April 2009
Sony Walkman NWZ-W202 2Gb MP3 Player Review... Wearable!
The Sony NWZ-W202 is the first Sony music product I have bought since the dawn of time/my first walkman cassette player (except for a second hand vaio for £65! and a previous digital camera). It's not that I don't like Sony products it's just that actually they always seem over-priced and not quite right for me.
So why this review and the change of heart? I have an Apple Powerbook (6 years on and going strong) and an Apple iPod 10Gb Second Gen (6.5 years and going strong). I am always on the lookout for new gadgets. It is my cross to bear, but in this case I was looking to upgrade my trusty ol' iPod.
So as ever I'm wandering around the gadget shops and I spy what appears to be a set of headphones. On closer inspection they are headphones, but with the mp3 player built in. So far so good. Killer selling point then appears - 12 hour battery life! And if you forget to charge it, 3 minutes (yes 3!) will get you 90 hours of playback. Being Sony I reckoned, looks nice, probably osunds nice, but will be ridiculously expensive... £59. No cheaper elsewhere as only just released and only Sony Centres stocking it. Tried it on - nicely fitting. Compare it to other Shuffle-esque products... similar price. Plus no bloody wires to break from the headphones (I often spend £30-£50 on headphones to replace broken ones).
So I bought it. And here is the review.
Price £59. Second person in Westfield London to buy it apparently.
The box is reasonable, but once you take it out you'll never get it back in again. It looks like headphone packaging.
It comes with:
Replacement ear buds.
Strange little docking cradle (essentially a standard - hurrah! mini-USB cable stuck in a bit of plastic).
Bizarre plastic case
The actual player looks and feels really well made. It has no screen (obviously), and consists of two black plastic earpieces with chrome fronts. The ear buds project out of the back of the pieces, with the actual in-ear bit coming off at about 45 degrees from the base ear buds (look at the pictures it's really hard to describe!). The two earpieces clip together with help of a magnet (strong!) which also turns it off. You have a shuffle on/off switch, an operation light (blinks to show power levels), and then on the underside of the right earpiece, the mini-USB connection, volume rocker switch, a reset hole and a jog wheel for skipping and playing.
The buttons work well as does the jog-wheel. The jog-wheel also controls the 'Zappin' feature. This is both rubbish and awesome in equal amounts. It's design is this - press and hold the jog-wheel and some stupid american woman says 'zappin in' and then the player will skip to the middle of the song and play either 4s (zappin short) or 15s (zappin long) of the song, before skipping to the next track. You can choose which to play by pressing the jog wheel to 'zappin out'. Now this is actually a good feature, and works well. If only they had not put in the stupid voice. To make it perfect it would merge the Apple 'Speak it' feature of the Shuffle and this 'Zappin' feature.
The sound quality is good. Very good. Good deep immersive sound. Seems to be a good representation of the whole range of audio.
2Gb - enough for about 20 reasonable albums. Enough for me when doing short commutes or warming up for comps. I have my iPod for bigger things. Plus it's so quick to load (and charge at same time!) it's no hassle. Besides, quite how many songs do you want to have without a navigation screen?
Does it fall off/out? No. In fact there's a free-running blog where they tried it and failed completely to lose it! It is only 68g so can take it anywhere, and if you want to you can hang it on your neck too. When I'm on the tube or running it's fine, no loosening unless I want it out. Perfect.
If you use it with a Mac it has USB drag and drop abilities. On a PC it comes with software (on the player!) to allow you to either a) use Media Player (urgh) or a special loader which analyses the songs to adjust the equaliser for them. It seems to work well. You are also able to use playlists (somehow) or order the albums via naming them. I haven't quite found out how to do the playlists with a mac yet!
Overall from my point of view (bit techie non-audiophile) this is an awesome bit of kit. Plus for £59 it's pretty competitive and looks cool!