14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2014
I've been a competitive runner for decades and I've constantly struggled with ear bud cables and wired MP3 players right from the git-go. Recently I decided to upgrade my athletic audio player and I considered the different options, all of which I discounted as they were either wired (conventional MP3 players with earbuds) or very expensive (ear buds with bluetooth connectivity which required a wholly different and more costly player along with very costly ear buds). Neither was a viable option for me, until I found the Sony Water Resistant Walkman.
Sony also makes the same player in a water proof model designed for swimming. But after reading the various reviews, the Water Resistant Walkman seemed the better choice for me. Afterall, I didn't intend to use it while swimming; I only needed a new audio player for my running, training, and dry-land conditioning.
Using the Water Resistant Walkman for the first time was initially a little frustrating. It took about 25 minutes for my laptop to recognize the device AND to install the software. But after those hurdles were surmounted, the Walkman had no difficulty being recognized by my computer and both software programs included in the player itself became functional immediately upon installation on my computer.
The software included in the player provides a detailed guide describing the use and functions of the player along with a content transfer program which allows you to drag and drop many different format types of audio media into the player, including iTunes media.
The content transfer software was amazingly simple to use! Click on the songs that you wish to place in the players memory and drop them onto the designated area of the software. From there, it takes literally a few seconds for the software to install the selections onto the player.
Before I did that though I formatted the flash memory on the player using the procedure included in the Quick Start Guide. This increased the available memory and removed some proprietary material that I wasn't intending to use.
Using the Walkman for the first time was easy. The 3 different size ear buds pairs that are included with the player allows customization of the buds to your particular ear canal size. When running with the player for the first time, i discovered that I have 2 different diameters of ear canals, therefore, my left ear bud is a medium size and my right ear bud is a small.
The fit was great; easy to place around my head and into my ears and easy to remove. The neck cable that attaches the two ear pods sits comfortably against the nape of your neck, and the curved cable mounts that attach to the pods keep the buds secured to your ears.
The sound quality is exceptional. Deep, deep bass, high, high trebles, and a wide mid-range, this Walkman offers true sound and distortion-reduced audio quality that makes your music sound "fresh" and "new." In fact, I heard aspects of my favorite running songs that I had not heard before!
The controls on the player are truly simple and easy to use, even when you can't see them as you're exercising. Once you activate a control the player tells you what you've done ("Shuffle", "Play"). You have separate controls for volume, advance or repeat, play/stop, shuffle, and playlists. It also has a positive on/off power switch and a battery condition light that lets you know what level of charge exists in the player. The player charges quickly on your computer (within minutes) and lasts, for me, about 80 minutes of continuous play.
All in all, I find this player a great addition to my workout routine. The sound is great, the simplicity of the controls is laudable, and the manner in which it functions is reliable and predictable. I really like it, and recommend it highly. It is exactly what I wanted without undue expense yet it provides music quality and ease of use that is above and beyond any iPod Nano or iPhone that I've used for training.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Over the last couple of years, I've really started to exercise more, and as I've done that, I've gotten a lot of use out of my iPod Shuffle. But the one thing that always bothered me about it was the cord connecting the player to the headphones. That's why I jumped on the Sony 2GB Walkman the instant I heard about it. While it has a few flaws, I really like it.
What Is It?
Actually, I was surprised that find that Sony was still using the Walkman name. I can remember having the original Walkman back in the day - a tape player that hooked to your belt and used earphones. They were the iPod of their day, and everyone had one and called all the clones Walkman whether they were made by Sony or not. Obviously, Sony decided there was no need to change the name of a good thing, so their line of MP3 players still bears the Walkman name.
Most of their Walkmans look similar to iPods (although I haven't done any true research.) What makes this particular model stand out from the rest is the design. It is made up entirely of two ear pieces connected by a plastic cord holding wires. That's it. The player is completely held within those two pieces. When I have the ear pieces in my ear, it looks like I have a Bluetooth devise in each ear. The cord goes around the back of your neck right at the base of your skull.
The entire player is designed to fit into your ears and use them to support it. As a result, the ear pieces go a little further into your ears than the traditional ear buds. The device comes with three sizes of ear pieces, and I've found the middle size the best fit for me. When I start to run, it takes a tenth of a mile or so for them to work themselves into the best position, but once they are there, they stay in place. In fact, when I am in the gym and do back extensions (basically keeping my lower body still and swinging my upper body like a pendulum), they don't move at all. I don't find I have a harder time hearing people around me, so I feel safe running with them and still hearing cars. However, I sound like I am talking through a tunnel when I speak, so I am probably shouting without realizing it.
Initial Set Up
I almost gave up on this before I even used it once. I got it out of the package and used the included cord to plug it into the USB port on my computer. The little light came on to indicate that it was charging. But nothing else happened. There's supposed to be a program that you can install that lets you copy music to the MP3 player, but no prompts came up. Finally, after over an hour of finagling with it, my roommate figured out that it wasn't plugged in all the way. That took care of it for me, and installing the software was easy from there.
However, on a subsequent charge, the light that is supposed to flash to let me know it was charging never did start flashing that I saw, but it charged just fine.
That light also is what tells you how much charge you have left on the battery, but it only comes on when you are playing a song. By then, I have the unit on my ears and can't see it, although I usually look when I am taking it off after working out and see the battery level then. I wish the battery update was when you first turned the player on, however.
You can get a 90 minute charge in 3 minutes (or so they say) or a full 11 hour charge in about 2 hours. Considering I was working out four to five times a week for a month on one charge, I'd say that 11 hours is probably about right.
This MP3 player is designed to work with Windows Media Player, and if you use that, you can even have it randomly select songs to add to your player. I have all my music in iTunes, however. The player does accept that format, although you have to manually select the songs you put into the player. I wish it had the option to randomly select songs in any format, but that's a minor issue. It supports four formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, and WMT files.
The 2 GB size is very misleading. Between the software to run the player and the software that needs to be installed on your computer, you actually get 1.68 GB of music space. Still, I have gotten better than the advertised 500 songs on both times I've filled it with music.
So, I'm charged and fully loaded. Now what? The controls on the player are minimal, but you don't need any more than that. To turn it on, simply separate the two sides of the player. When you want to turn it off, put them back together. A rather strong magnet holds them together, although it is a bit tricky to get it just right and to turn it off. They do provide a plastic cover that helps you get it in place and keep it there when you throw it in your gym bag so the battery doesn't drain away.
The right piece has the majority of the controls. In the back is a toggle switch. Press it in and you start a song playing. Press it again and you pause the song. You can also use this switch to skip the current song by pressing it forward; backward goes to the beginning of the song.
Also on the right hand side are the two volume buttons. In front is the volume up button and between that and the play switch is the volume down button. The volume up button is a bit longer, but honestly, I can never tell which is which without finding both of them. Both buttons respond quickly to being pressed, so it is easy to increase or decrease the volume to the desired level. The volume between songs seems to change a little bit, but nothing so drastic that I worry about my hearing.
The left piece has the playback button. You can shuffle, play in order, or play by playlist. Since there is no screen, you really don't have any control over what you hear. I just put mine on shuffle and let it go; I haven't even tried to load a play list on it. I have found that it seems to reset the shuffle every time I turn it on or off. I know in the month I kept the same songs on the player that I heard some of them two or three times. Often, it would start up with a new song when I turned it on, even after only one day. Sometimes it wouldn't however, and I can't figure out what makes the difference.
If you feel the need to find one particular song, you can us the ZAPPIN feature on the player. It will go through the music playing a snippet of each song until you find the one you want to use and stop it. Again, I haven't used this feature. I find it too distracting to working out to try to find a particular song. I just let the player surprised me.
All of these controls are very logical to use, which is important since all of them are out of sight when you are wearing the Walkman. Because I was always changing where I was clipping my iPod Shuffle, I still didn't have those controls down, and I'd have to stop or slow down my run if I wanted to change the volume. Not so here. After the first time wearing it, the controls came naturally to me.
The sound itself is fine. I'm always using it with some background noise, but the sounds always sound like they would if I had the real CD going.
Wearing it While Working Out
When I first put it on, the plastic cord connecting the two sides was a little stiff, and the player pulled at my ears any time I turned my head. But by the end of my first run, it had stretched out enough that it was quite comfortable. I still find it pulls a little if I tip my head way back, but for normal use, it's fine. I did experiment with the ear pieces sizes a little, and getting the correct ear piece on there also makes a world of difference.
I absolutely love it for using it at the gym. I used to move my iPod Shuffle around to two or three places on my shirt depending on what I was doing so it wouldn't interfere. No longer an issue in the slightest. The ear pieces and the cord are never in the way no matter what exercise I am doing. I'm looking forward to my summer runs since I can now run without a shirt and not have an earphone cord stretching down to my shorts.
This is Sony's second generation of this particular design, and it has an increased water resistance. Really, they should call it sweat resistance. The opening to plug the USB cord into the player seals very tightly; in fact, it's a little hard to get open. But they claim you can't ruin it no matter how much you sweat or if you are caught in a slight rain. I personally wouldn't use it in any more rain than that, however.
Despite a few design flaws I hope they work out on future models, I'm quite happy with this Sony 2GB Walkman. This is going to be my go to MP3 player when I am working out for some time to come.