The Walkman has certainly come a long way since that bulky cassette player. Yes, I still have one on the back of my closet, but it probably won’t get as much play as the NWZ-W252, which is Sony’s newest entry into the classic line.
This one-piece MP3 player is part of the W series, which means it’s water-resistant. However, this is the first MP3 player in that series (the rest are headphones). In other words, you have absolutely no excuse not to do five miles in the rain — unless you consider laziness to be a valid excuse.
Aside from technology, Walkman design has also really evolved. The NWZ-W252 features a wrap-around neck design not just for the headphones, but for the entire device. The whole thing wraps around your head!
Out of the box, the NWZ-W252 comes with the device and its holder, a USB cable and all of the usual start-up paperwork. It does not have software, since everything you need is stored on the actual device.
Plug in the device into your PC (sorry, no Macs) using the included USB cable. In seconds, your PC will recognize the unit. The install takes a few minutes, but it’s quick and easy, since the Walkman does all the work. After that, the Walkman Guide and an option for Content Transfer will pop up. You can use Content Transfer to automatically pull tracks from iTunes. It’s also just as easy to drag and drop MP3, WMA, AAC and PCM files to the unit. Finally, you can also use Windows Media Player to rip files from CDs. The NWZ-W252 has a 2GB drive, which translates to about 470 stored tracks.
The player boasts 90 minutes of runtime after only 3 minutes of charging. Again, no reason to not run. Oh well…
Even for sponging out the couch, this device provides a nice soundtrack. At a mere 1.6 ounces, having the player attached to your head won’t slow you down. The controls, however, are another story. I highly recommend setting up your playlist in advance because trying to exercise and flip through tracks on a device that’s attached to your head can be a bit tricky.
Sony does make it as easy as possible, having just two volume buttons and a flip-switch to go forward or back. That means no playing tracks by band, album or genre, unless that’s the way you set up the playlist to play back. Sound quality was very good and the unit was surprisingly comfortable, which really says something, because I am not a fan of earbuds.
Another feature that should be noted is Zappin. This sort of justifies not having an LCD screen, by allowing a sneak preview of each song. It allows listeners to choose between long and short clips. Why you’d want this is really puzzling, but it’s there and it’s easy to activate by pushing in the switch until you hear audible confirmation.
Overall, the NWZ-W252 is no-nonsense. It has very few bells and whistles because it’s designed for a specific task. If you aren’t into exercise, there’s little reason to have the unit. For those who actually motivate to be active, this device just might be worth $60 to have as your running buddy.
Other features include:
- USB-based Battery Charging
- LED Battery-Life Indicator
- Built-in Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
- MSRP: $60
The Sony W Series Walkman, is available for about $60 at Sonystyle and other authorized retailers nationwide.