Here at Zath we like Sony Walkmans, not just because on the whole they are good products such as the A845, S Series, X Series, but also because they are constantly adding to their line up and it keeps us busy, and this week is no exception as Sony have released the sports based Walkman W250 and the B150 which is aimed more at the younger end of the market.
Sony Walkman W250
Due to the fact that it looks slightly more interesting I think we’ll start with the W250 which as I said is designed very much for sport and activity, something that is immediately apparent as soon as you look at it as the ‘neckband’ design kind of gives it away!
Pretty much everything in the W250 has been designed with the idea of movement in mind: the neckband design means that not only do you not have to have pockets (or attach it to your arm) but you also don’t get any wires dangling around asking to get caught on rogue items.
It’s also completely water resistant which means as well as protecting from the drops of rain and sweat that inevitably will on fall on it in exercise, but also just wear it in the shower which as well as providing a nice auditory backdrop to your shower also means it gets cleaned – something you couldn’t do with your iPod Touch that’s for sure!
One of the most important things when using MP3 players when running is to ensure that not only do the earphones stay in, but that they also feel comfortable 13.5mm EX Comfort fit examples on the W250 look like they should do just that — the fact that it is a ‘neckband’ design means that even when running they should stay firmly in place.
Obviously there are drawbacks to having this design of MP3 player: it’s not as good for sharing with friends, depending on what colour you choose it can look a little odd and of course you don’t get a screen which although makes no difference when you are actually doing an activity when it comes to normal life that can be a little inconvenient, unless you plan on owning two MP3 players!
Fortuitously it is still fairly easy to navigate around with small ‘levers’ allowing you to change between folders, artists and albums so as long as your efficient with your file management you will be fine, and failing that it boasts ZAPPIN technology which essentially quickly skips through your song playing short samples allowing you to easily select the kind of music you wish to listen to.
So this really is an MP3 player built completely around an active user (right down to the battery which quickly charges up to 90mins worth of life from just 3mins) who could still then use their Nike+ Sensor and iPhone to track their workouts – whilst its perfect for them unless you have a particularly active lifestyle the features that make this special may be more of an inconvenience than a benefit.
Sony Walkman B150
Moving onto the B150 and I have to say Sony have left me feeling a little disappointed with this example as it really doesn’t push any boundaries whatsoever, and in fact looks almost exactly like the kind that they were producing four or five years ago but instead marketed for younger ‘music lovers’.
Of course it isn’t exactly the same — you get a good 18 hours of battery life (along with the quick charging resulting in 90mins playtime from 3mins charging), an FM tuner and the same ZAPPIN technology as in the W250; you also get a ‘bass boost’ which not only boosts the bass but offers you the wonder of a big red flashing LED. Wow.
Ok maybe that is a little harsh as it is a solid MP3 player which will almost certainly have great sound quality and be very practical and easy to use, but it seems a little lacklustre from a company that generally offers you touchscreen, OLEDs, noise cancelling or even MP3 players specifically designed for sport!
There is of course the fact that it will almost certainly be a lot cheaper than most other Sony Walkman MP3 players, so this is definitely more of an MP3 player for those you want quality on a budget (which I suppose does include younger listeners) and I think that is perhaps more the line that Sony should be going with!