What It Is: The Sony Walkman W Series is a wire-free wearable MP3 player. By combining the the player and the headphones into one ergonomic frame, the W Series removes the need for dangling wires between headphone and MP3 player, allowing you to run or engage in sports tangle-free. The new W series’ main feature, however, is that it is water resistant and washable.
What It Does:
- Features a unique wire-free, ergonomic design for comfortable fit and convenient music playback while exercising.
- Offers up to 11 hours of playback time with a full charge of 90 minutes. A Quick Charge function also allows the Walkman to play up to 90 minutes of music with just 3 minutes’ charging time.
- Water resistant and washable, allowing the player to be used in rainy conditions and even cleaned under running water.
- Extremely light at 43g and available in four colors of pink, white, lime green and black.
- The ZAPPIN feature plays the main chorus of each song when activated, allowing users to easily scan through their music library, whether on multiple playlists and folders, to find the song they want to hear.
What We Liked:
- No wires! Headphone and earphone wires are the bane of the active sportsperson who chooses to exercise to music, whether he uses earbuds, clip-on, hooked, or wire-framed headphones. Removing the need for wires sets you free from irritations like wire entanglement, earphones coming loose from your ear due to tension, and that annoying audible thump of wires bouncing off your body as you run.
- Our reviewer tested and wore the Walkman W for a half-marathon race, and found that it was a snug fit, and also light enough that the weight didn’t become a bother over prolonged usage. There are 3 sizes of earbuds that come with the box so you can find one that will fit you.
- The key feature of being water resistant is really practical for our rain-prone climate. That this Walkman is washable too, well, that just makes perfect hygiene sense.
- The Quick Charge function, which allows up to 90 minutes of playing time with just 3 minutes’ charging time, is especially useful for frequent usage. No more having to wait forever, or exercise without your music player, just because you forget to charge it.
- The buttons on the Walkman are also easy to find and operate while in use, without having to take them off.
- The bundled software for transferring music files to the player is simple and easy to use.
What We Didn’t Like:
- The Walkman W isn’t compatible with anything other than Microsoft Windows, which means it is effectively non-Mac-compatible. Really? In this day and age? Can’t we all just get along?
- The Walkman W is also turned off and on in a rather strange way. When not in use, each side of the earpiece is magnetically locked to the other. To turn it on, you pull both sides apart; to turn it off, you connect them together again. Our reviewer found that, unless you have a pencil neck, hanging the Walkman W around your neck when not in use (as most of us are used to doing with our headphones) usually leads to both earpiece sides coming apart such that the Walkman W doesn’t remain switched off. The magnetic lock has an annoying tendency to come apart most other times as well.
- Our reviewer still isn’t quite sure what the point of the ZAPPIN feature is. If you can actually be bothered to manage your MP3 tracks like a DJ while exercising, you’re probably not working hard enough.
Where To Get It: The Sony Walkman W series costs $129, and is available at all authorised Sony retailers.
Picture courtesy of Sony.