I’m still having a heck of a time associating the resurgence of the Sony “Walkman” name with the new products. For many of us ’80s children, it wasn’t a walkman unless it was bright yellow, had those clunky rubber buttons and worked even after all of the bells and whistles started to fall apart. My headphones had cracked in two, my battery cover had fallen off and my “switch sides” button barely pressed by the time I upgraded to a discman, but 20-something years after I unwrapped that Christmas gift, I still have my Walkman and it still works.
Nowadays, I wouldn’t be caught dead with the thing though. Digital technology has made it so much easier for us to transport all the music we need on one small device. Today’s “Walkman” has been reduced to the size of your phone, or in the case of the Sony Walkman Swimmable mp3 sport (Model Number NWZW273SB,) a pair of earplugs on a headband.
Leave behind the Big Yellow Box
The Walkman mp3 sport is a durable, action ready in-ear pair of headphones ready to go with you wherever you need your music. Whether it’s a bike ride, jog or even in the pool, this Walkman is game to being at your games. Hold on a second. “In the pool” you say? Yes, you can take these into the pool with you while you’re swimming laps or just splashing around and you don’t even need to cover them with a shower cap!
In fact, one of the most convenient things about this Walkman is just how small it is, yet it’s amazing how much music it can hold. It weighs next to nothing and has 4 GB of internal memory which means that you have up to 1000 songs at your disposal without having to carry anything else along. As you’ll see by these pictures, however, this is fully a device of its own on its own; you can’t use it to connect to another mp3 player.
One other thing you may find helpful is that it comes with multiple sets of rubber earpieces. You get 3 sets of non-aquatic earpieces and 3 sets of aquatic earpieces. This is great, both to ensure that you have a good fit and if you have a couple of people in the house who want to use it. You’ll want to be really careful and really cognizant of placing the aquatic earpieces on when taking it to the pool. The difference between both sets is the fact that the black all-sport rubber earpieces have an opening for music to flow to your ears freely. The grey aquatic rubber earpieces close that hole to make it harder for water to enter your ears.
Easy to set up and get going
Setting the headphones up is literally a snap. Take the headphones, snap them onto the charge base (there is only one way you can do this so you can’t mess them up or break them) and then plug it into your computer via USB connection. There are instructions included on how to get your respective computer to recognize the Walkman (if manual input is required) but depending on your operating system, you may not need them at all. My Windows 8 laptop immediately recognized the Walkman and it was basically as easy as a plug and play device.
You’ll be presented with options to sync the walkman with Windows Media Player or manually import the music yourself. You can also use Sony’s Media Go software to import your tracks and playlists. I have an odd, almost unhealthy compulsion of having to manage my own media. I’ve never allowed any devices to automatically sync, and I always go the painstaking hard route of importing music myself. If you’re like me, you’re in for a treat. You can simply open the file navigation system of the Walkman and drag and drop all of your music into the appropriately named folder.
In the time it will have taken you to read the last couple paragraphs, you’ll already have enough battery life to run the device for at least an hour. The battery charges extremely fast and in fact, one of the great selling features for this device is the “3 minute quick charge.” While you won’t charge the entire battery in that time, 3 minutes is all it takes to get 60 minutes of music playback. A full charge will last 8 hours! Even if you let the batteries run all night and die out, you can get your Walkman ready again for that morning jog or swim in the time it’ll take you to get dressed and lace up your running shoes! This was very impressive and was an automatic selling feature to me, a guy who has to keep a phone charger at his work desk because he forgets to plug it in half the nights of the week. The only thing to bear in mind while charging is that the connectors are exposed and ridged inward, so you should let the device fully dry off of water or sweat before you put it back on the charger.
As you can see, the Walkman mp3 sport is very small and in fact, the only issue I had was figuring out how to store it. It’d recommend picking up a hard case for it or something that will keep it protected. It looks sturdy enough to last for a few falls and it probably will. However, the device is literally a wire connecting the two earpieces together and you should do what you can to protect the protruding earpieces since slipping them into a pocket, or into the bottom of a sports bag unprotected could be bad news for their long term life health (especially for the rubber earpiece). In exchange, the wire is very thick and pre-moulded for use to prevent it from tangling so it won’t bunched or tied up. It slides onto your head and wraps around your ears comfortably and no matter how much you inadvertently tangle, stretch or bend the wire, it will go back to its normal position time and again.
Navigating through your uploaded music is pretty easy, down to the fact that both earpieces display their respective options at the bottom, making it easy for you to adjust the volume or switch tracks (or playlists.) The buttons themselves are rigid, sturdy and have little give. I assume this has been done for enhanced water proofing—the inner casing has to be as tight as a drum to keep water out. In fact, I found the power button to be so stiff that the only way I knew for sure that these were powered on were by staring at the little light in the middle before I put them on. There’s a sliding lock switch just above the power button, but frankly I can’t see a time you’ll ever need to use it since you can’t accidentally just brush the buttons on this.
But do they sound good?
They look good and feel pretty good (with the right earpieces) but the sound is another matter altogether. A pair of headphones are only ever as good as the quality of the music it outputs. If the music sounds tinny or hollow, it negates all the features and benefits of the device. If you are craving the thick, bass rich sounds you get out of Monster or Beats headphones, these aren’t for you. Considering each earpiece is hardly larger than a piece of gum, it would be nearly impossible to fit the creature comforts of large headphones. There isn’t a lot of bass blasting at you, and the volume caps just short of “The world doesn’t need to hear what you’re listening to” which is beneficial for me because the world doesn’t need to hear that my workout music is basically just an 80s movie training montage.
The sound quality is nothing to write home about, but it’s all I need to get me through my exercise and really, it’s to be expected for something this small. The fact that I can take these to the pool or even the gym without my headphones getting tangled up, or having to worry about tucking my iPod into my pocket or buying a sleeve band. I don’t need a lot for my workouts. As long as I have a steady stream of good, motivating music and I don’t have to worry about it slipping off my head, it’s a winner for me. The Sony Walkman mp3 sport is a definite winner.
The Sony Swimmable Walkman mp3 sport is now available at Best Buy and online at BestBuy.ca