Product Type: Sony MP3 players
Newest Review: ... can also perform a full charge providing you with up to 18 hours of music. It comes with a built in microphone for voice recordings. Using... more
The Incredible Shrinking Walkman
Sony NWZB162 B Series
Member Name: rosebud2001
Sony NWZB162 B Series
Advantages: Easy to use, functionality, "zap feature", clip
Disadvantages: Sound quality could be a little better - a bit more oomph in the volume would be much appreciated
I must admit I had decided I didn't want to spend a lot of money, so this limited the choice somewhat, but eventually I decided to buy a Sony Walkman NWZ-B162 2GB player. It had a screen and more importantly was fairly cost effective at just £24.99 in Argos.
The Sony Walkman I chose is available in black or black with either red or blue. I chose the blue and I have to say I like the metallic look this has.
Aesthetically the Walkman is very small, measuring 90 x 23.3 x 15.2 cm, and weighing just 27 grams. Back in 1981 I got one of the very first Sony Walkman products - which at the time seemed incredibly small and portable but was actually rather huge. Comparing this to the Walkman I owned 30 years ago one cannot help but gaze in awe at just how small it is.
In the box you get three things - the player, the clip and a set of headphones. There's no software disc and no lead to connect the player to the computer.
There's a wheel control on the front of the player and while this isn't anything like as good as the scroll wheel found on iPods, it's fairly functional and you use this to skip backwards and forwards and the play/pause button is to be found here too. The wheel illuminates when a song is being played.
The volume control and bass switch can be found at the top of the player, with a lock button to be found on the bottom. The screen - which is tiny - can be used to navigate your music and to keep an eye on battery life and change settings on the player.
The clip slots on at the back quite easily and once correctly in place it is firmly attached. I like how you can choose whether to use the clip or not but my preference is always to have it so I can easily attach it when I am in the gym. Yes, it makes the player look a little bulkier but that's a small price to pay in my opinion.
What I love about this Walkman is the fact it doesn't need an extra piece of wire to connect it to the computer. Instead, you just pull off the cover at the right hand side of the player and you are met with a USB connector which you use to connect the player to your computer.
The player is compatible with most common operating systems and my computer, which runs on Windows 7, recognised it immediately.
To add music you need to use Windows Media Player, which detected all my music files when I set it up. I chose the songs I wanted to add by highlighting and then hitting "sync". It takes about 15 minutes to add 300 songs which is the amount I went for. The player has a capacity of 2 GB which is about 400 songs and I have currently got 455 MB free space on the player. Transferring one song this way is very quick - it takes about 10 seconds or so, so it's easy to add new tracks later on which suits me as I can be fickle and like to add new songs fairly regularly.
The battery charges via the USB plug too and it has to be said that the speed with which the battery charges was one of the things that really sold this player to me. The player needs just three minutes of charge time to give 90 minutes playing time and a full charge - which will result in a maximum of 18 hours play time - takes just 70 minutes. I've owned the player for several months now and generally just charge it up once a week and that's plenty for me.
The player has no on/off switch - instead you use the wheel to get things started. The wheel initially gives you three options , and from here you can choose whether you want to use the voice recorder feature, access the music library or check the settings on the player. The settings are pretty simple and here you can set the date and time and choose from other options including language, LED light brightness and the screen contrast. You can also choose whether to play songs in order or opt for the shuttle setting here.
I like the shuffle setting on my gym MP3 player so this is stuck on shuffle permanently. A really good feature however means you don't have to rely solely on the screen to find out what song is coming next. Instead you can use the Zap feature which will play an excerpt of the song coming up next and if it's what you want to hear you merely hit the Zap button a second time and the whole song will play in its entirety. If you don't want to hear it you can just wait for the next song to come along. I really like the Zap feature and it really adds to the functionality of the player.
The screen is very small but it will tell you what song is playing, let you know if you have the bass on or off and also features a battery icon to let you know how much battery power you have left.
The sound quality is decent enough but as is so typical with these small MP3 players, a bit puny. The headphones which are supplied are really awful and not worth bothering with but using my JVC Marshmallows the sound is a little better but still a bit on the quiet side. The volume settings run from 0 to 30 but even at 30 it doesn't always filter out the music playing outside in the gym. This is the one thing I miss about using my old iPod Photo in the gym but then again my ears probably prefer these smaller players.
There's a bass on and off switch and certainly I find the volume to be a bit stronger with the bass on but more importantly the sound quality improves too. General sound quality is decent enough - and it could be argued that it's perhaps better not to have a player which cuts out all outside sound, especially one such as this which is designed for people to use not just in the gym but out running or cycling.
The battery life is good on here. I have never yet run the battery right down and while I would argue that the 18 hour battery life mentioned by Sony is optimistic you can still get over 10 hours' worth of play from one charge.
The player is designed to save power so if you are using the MP3 player purely to listen to music on shuffle the screen will go dark with only a flashing LED blue light around the wheel to tell you the power is on.
The controls are easy to use, with the wheel being used to skip forwards or backwards and also to scroll through the settings. I found it a bit strange when I first used it thanks to my experience with Apple's scroll wheel but like so many Sony products it is designed to be easy to operate and it only took me about 10 minutes to work out how all the features worked.
The player switches itself off after remaining idle for 15 seconds, which is another nice power saving device. You can lock all the functions on the player too using the "hold" button and I find this very useful when I am in the gym and just want to listen to whatever comes on as it stops the player from switching itself off or skipping a track in error.
Overall I have been very impressed with this MP3 player from Sony. The sound quality whilst not brilliant isn't awful either and is perfect for people on the go thanks to the clip and the way you can use both the screen and the Zap feature to find the track you want to listen to.
The quick charge time for the battery is perhaps its strongest point however and I really like how I can top up the power in less than 5 minutes to give me enough playing time for a gym session.
When I factor in the low price, the fact it looks good and the ease of use I have to say this is a four star product, with only one star knocked off due to the fact the volume isn't as loud as I would have liked.
Summary: Sony's small mp3 player
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