Review : Sony Walkman E-Series

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E_Series-edit

While the iPod still kicks butt in the MP3 player, Sony has spent a lot of time creating brand new lines with its Walkman line up, but now, it seems that the smaller and thinner E Series model finds the perfect balance between cosmetics and features from the iPod nano. TECHGEEK.com.au has the first review of the product in Australia (from what I can tell), and Terence Huynh puts it through the test.

  • Score:

    7.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    Screen has bright colours, decent features. Perfect on a budget.

  • The Bad:

    Propriety port, lack of accelerometer.

  • Bottom Line:

    Easy to use MP3 player on a budget

The MP3 player is simple, even my mother could play around with it – which she did, and absolutely love – and has a bright screen, and text is still readable despite its small screen, and the bright colours make the cover art look beautiful; and thank God it is not a touchscreen, because I don’t want fingerprints messing the screen.

Design-wise, it looks great; and it is very slim and can fit inside a pocket. It has a circular 4-way directional pad, with a play/pause button in the center; with another two buttons “Back” and “Options” – which also act as the home button and the power button (yes, you can actually turn this OFF). There is a volume button and a mechanical hold switch. The only thing I don’t like is that it uses a proprietary port to sync and recharge – a simple mini USB could have done the same thing, as if you lose the provided cable, you have to buy another one for $20.

The interface is sleek in neon-esque colours and the black background, though you are not able to customise it; and some are a bit confusing – like the playlists being a separate item and not inside Music. Organising is easy, as music files are sorted by artists, albums, genre, and so forth because of the ID3 tags embedded inside the track; or you can also view them by the folder. Album art can be magnified, though you are not going to get it in full screen for some reason.

Video playback and photos actually look good and bright despite being on a smaller screen, and you can still see it clearly in different viewing angles.However, it does not feature an accelerometer that allows the screen to turn to a horizontal direction (that method is reserved by clicking the Option button and going down the menu), which is a drawback if you have been spending time with the iPhone or iPod touch.

The player can receive FM radio, along as FM recording. However, unlike the iPod nano, you are not going to get the metadata of what the song is being played – and don’t confuse that feature for digital radio, as many FM radio stations are broadcasting their metadata via FM. Also, there is no pause or rewind feature.

While the features are decent, the player supports MP3, WMA (including protected WMA), LPCM audio (see here) and unprotected AAC files; along with JPEG photos and MPEG-4, H.264/AVC and WMA video formats – though you are most likely going to have to convert because of the screen (a 262K colour TFT number with a 240 x 320 QVGA screen). Files can be synced by iTunes, Windows Media Player or a simple drag and drop from the hard drive – and it is Mac compatible, though you are not going to get syncing from iTunes, but a drag and drop via Finder will suffice.

Battery life is 30 hours for audio, higher than the iPod nano; but for video, it gets 4 hours for video – which is slightly down from the iPod nano’s 5 hours of video playback battery life. No matter, it is still a very good MP3 player on a budget – granted if your budget is under $150.

There are three models, a 16GB model that comes in black or purple for $219; an 8GB model for $169 and comes in black or pink; or a 4GB model that comes in red, purple, pink or black for $129.