Thursday, 9 April 2009

Product Review: Sony W Series MP3 Player

The fine folks who advertize for Sony contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I wouldn’t mind trying out a new MP3 player that’s being marketed to runners and creating a playlist that gets me pumped and running. I of course gave the request due ethical consideration and then jumped on the chance like a fat kid in a candy store.

I’ve had an ipod mini for the last four years, but I was willing to set aside my loyalty and give the Sony W Series MP3 player a try because this player is just a headset. Take a look at it:

There is no annoying earphone cord to get caught on something like my hand or elbow and then have the earbud yanked unceremoniously out of my ear. One of the things that annoys me immensely during races is when my earphone cord gets caught on the safety pin holding my race bib in place. The Sony W Series Walkman is one solid piece. No cord, no annoyance. Awesome!

I’ve worn the new player on my last five runs and I have to say I like it. Here’s a quick pro and con list for you:

  • It’s small and compact.
  • No earbud cord.
  • No longer have to worry about armband chafage.
  • Earbuds fit easily into my ears.
  • The neckband is plastic yet flexible and doesn’t rub against my skin at all.
  • No problem wearing both the player and sunglasses.
  • It has a shuffle feature so you don’t get stuck in a playlist rut.
  • Wearing it makes me feel cool in almost a sci-fi kind of way. Yes, I know I’m a dork.
  • The Zappin feature, which is a track search feature that plays recognizable clips of each song in quick succession, is a bit useless for me since I can tell what song is playing within the first three notes anyway. But I don’t need to enable this feature, so it’s fine.
  • The volume controls are two buttons while the play/pause/ff/rewind feature is a pushable dial. This seems counterintuitive to me and I wish they were switched around.
  • The player controls are located on the underside of the right earphone part. I’m left-handed. Annoying, but it’s a predominantly right-handed world so I understand. I’ll get over it.
  • Having my entire musical library in iTunes is a bit of a problem, since the Sony player hooks up to Windows Media Player. In order to make my iTunes files compatible, I have to burn them onto a CD and then recopy them into WMP. Time consuming and a bit of a pain in the ass, but to be expected.
The Sony advertizing peeps loaded up a playlist for me to try out. I warned them that my musical tastes tended towards corny pop and dance. They did a decent job, but the playlist just wasn’t cheesy enough for me to push the pace, so I loaded the player with a bunch of my music and things picked up from there. If you’re curious to know how bad my musical taste is, here’s my playlist in its entirety:

Where The Streets Have No Name – U2
Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears for Fears
In A Big Country – Big Country
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order
Big Time – Peter Gabriel
Pride (In The Name Of Love) – U2
Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
True Faith – New Order
Like A Prayer – Madonna
Cradle Of Love – Billy Idol
If – Janet Jackson
Gonna Make You Sweat – C+C Music Factory
Move This – Technotronic
Rhythm Is A Dancer – Snap!
Jump – Madonna
Harder To Breathe – Maroon 5
Say My Name – Destiny’s Child
Numb/Encore – Linkin Park & Jay-Z
Forbidden Love – Madonna
U + Ur Hand – Pink
Hot N Cold – Katy Perry
What Is Love – Haddaway
Sun Is Shining – Bob Marley
Tribulations – LCD Soundsystem
Insomnia – Faithless
Don’t Mess With My Man – Booty Luv
Sunchyme – Noize Masterz
Cry For You – September
Infinity 2008 – Guru Josh Project
Some Kinda Rush – Booty Luv
Saltwater – Chicane
Hip to Hip – V
The Weekend – Michael Gray
No Good (Start the Dance) – Prodigy
Halcyon + On + On - Orbital

I listen to various chunks of this playlist during each run—whatever fits my mood that day. The player has 2 GB of memory and can hold up to 500 songs, so I’ve got plenty of room to add more incredibly bad yet entertaining and motivating music. Hooray!

In all honesty, I really like the Sony walkman. My ipod mini will be relegated to only non-running activties from here on out. Wearing the Sony player while running is hassle-free and since there’s no screen for me to obsess with or an armband to straighten up, I can concentrate more on running and my thoughts. And that can only be a good thing.

If you all have any specific questions about the Sony player, leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them. I’ll ignore all comments on my spectacularly bad choices in music. To each her own.

Later gators.


Vanilla said...

PRODUCT WHORE!!! (Welcome to the dark side.)

BTW, I absolutely LOVE Everybody Wants To Rule The World. It was the first song on my marathon playlist.

Also, it's good that you've come to grips with the fact that being left handed is annoying.

X-Country2 said...

Nice hook-up! I won't even comment on your playlist since the CDs in my car include two Britney Spears and TWO Ashlee Simpson.

Nitmos said...

What no Huey?

Also, do you wipe your nose like a cokehead when What is Love comes on?

kelsey said...

very cool! I've got to find a solution to my ear bud dilemma, and that pesky cord problem. This might do the trick. :D

tfh said...

Score! Nice review. Free stuff is good, and those are actually pretty nifty. Now that I've said I don't race with music, I also think they'd be very convenient and discreet to race in.

Thanks for the early nineties flashback...strangely, your playlist is a lot like the one my fifteen-year-old Indian cousin-in-law made for me of "cool English music." Minus the Michael Jackson. ;)

joyRuN said...

I'm loving that it has no cord - I manage to get tangled up to no end.

I'll ignore the Destiny's Child seeing the New Order & Depeche Mode in there. Where's Britney??

Roisin said...

It does look pretty cool...but having to deal with switching my itunes library is way too much of a hassle for me :(

On the upside, your playlist nearly matches mine. Almost to the letter! And that reminds me...I need to download Haddaway STAT...

Carolina John said...

that does look like a great product. it's exactly what the wife has been looking for. next gift idea, thanks!

Ms. V. said...

That's a scarily similar playlist to mine...

Great review!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

earbud yanked unceremoniously out of my ear

I hate that and I even have a name for it - earbudus interruptus - because I have a whole, elaborate ceremony that I ceremoniously perform whenever I have enough alone time to "yank my earbud" - and I'd describe to you but I'm just now getting the sneaking suspicion that you and I don't mean quite the same thing when we speak of "yanking the ol' earbud" so I'll stop now.

carpeviam said...

Thanks for the review! I agree that the earbuds cords on my shuffle cause a problem from time to time.

PS-Decent playlist! I always have a little Van Halen and Def Leppard on mine. ;)

RunningLaur said...

Love your music list. Pretty sure I would listen to the night at the Roxbury soundtrack on loop for runs if I had it. Now that I think about it, a purchase might be coming...

Danielle in Iowa said...

So the earbuds don't bounce out? That's pretty awesome!

And since I got an ipod, I haven't used this program, but there was some freeware on the web that converted itunes files into a format that other mp3 players could read. But bollocks, I can't remember the name of it.

Jess said...

Great review, but I love my iPod shuffle. Someone will have to tear it away from my dead hands one day.

Irish Cream said...

Awesome review and I love your playlist! I might have to download a few of those gems to spice up my own stale playlist . . .

Marcy said...

Oooooohhhhhh I like that! I love my Sansa Clip but the dayum cord always annoys the heck outta me (although it HAS saved the thing from going into the toilet a couple times so I can't really be THAT annoyed LOL)

Anonymous said...

That is a great review! I was quite curious about how the gadget would perform during a couple of different runs.

Thanks! Being a total music-n00b (without the The Missus' music taste, I would still be listening to the three Bruce Springsteen live albums that were released somewhere in the seventies...) I am sure to find some new music in the songlist you published

Run For Life said...

Sweet, thanks for the review. I hate the cord problem, too!


Half those songs sound like the playlist from my high school grad.

The other half, I have no f@$&in idea.

Heather said...

I liked your playlist. One of the reasons I rarely run with my ipod is because I can't stand the cord flopping around and the ear buds falling out.

Viper said...

sell out


Mel said...

Your play list looks strangly like my own. Guess I am just as cheesy. Nothing wrong with a little cheese to get the feet moving.

Ted said...

You are missing one important song that you should have in your playlist. How about Peter Frampton "Show Me the Way" or Weird Al Yankovic "Beat it".