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on June 2, 2013
We have a pool that I use to exercise (not laps so much as jogging, stretching, etc) and music always makes me spend more time on a healthy activity by making it actually enjoyable.

I had an iRiver MP3 player with waterproof case and headphones back in the day. It was quite good until the player finally died. Then I acquired a Creative Zen MP3 player and combined it with an H2OAudio drysac and headphone set that was merely fine, but not good enough since it slapped, waggled and tangled while I was trying to move about. Kinda took the fun out of pool time, actually. The MP3 player finally corroded to bits because I forgot to remove the battery during the Not Going In season.

This Sony Waterproof Sports player is just right. Most importantly, it stays exactly in place so you don't have to fuss with it while you're working out. (That's been my experience, anyway.) It locks out extraneous sounds, so the volume doesn't need to be pushed. And it's comfortably unobtrusive.

Although it arrived with additional ear caps to fit most any size ears, the ones already installed fit me right out of the box. Charged it via the small docking platform with USB connection. Easily synched my favorite playlist from Windows Media Player. Enjoyed an hour exercising (underwater, too) in the pool with music to keep me company. Again and again!

I love this thing. One must make sure the device is completely dry before returning the player to the charging dock, that's the only "pay attention" consideration.

By the way, I took one star off because besides producing electronics, Sony is also a media company and I was extra-special annoyed to find that they had pre-installed several songs to the player. It's like bloatware that didn't show up when I opened the device in Windows Media Player, and that I didn't find out about until I was ready to work out. Easily removed, but if that sort of thing annoys you like it does me, fair warning.

UPDATE: May 2014 I was recently knocked out during an elective medical procedure, and as a person who believes that our subconscious hears what's going on during surgery even while unconscious, I wore this Walkman, and had my own favorite, calming music playing while counting backwards from 10 into oblivion. I later woke up to my own music, too, instead of all the other disturbing sounds that one might endure during recovery. The doctor didn't mind because there were no wires in their way, so ... good tool!
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on May 14, 2013
PROS: Sold build quality, neat audio interface, no shortage of modes, easy music upload and management, straight-forward instructions

CONS: Excruciatingly poor/non-existent audio quality in the water, awkward fitting, gets in the way of swim gear (cap/goggles), price is a tad high, especially when factoring in that it barely works in the pool.

I was excited to read about this product's introduction at CES 2013 and anxiously awaited for it to arrive on Amazon. Let me first say that I consider myself to be an intermediate swimmer; in the pool 3-5 times a week, working a variety of different routines and distances. I have never tried underwater headphones before, primarily because they are all either A) too expensive or B) poorly reviewed. However, the price point, 4GB's worth of music space, and Sony branding appealed to me enough to take the plunge with this 'Waterproof' Walkman.

Out of the box, these headphones seem impressively minimal -- a charging 'dock' that connects the walkman to your computer for simple USB drag-and-drop is the only periphery aside from the headphones. You cannot connect the MP3 player to your computer in any other way, and this was OK with me.

Dry-land sound was bearable -- nothing remotely earth shattering -- but I figured if the audio was even half as decently replicated while in the pool it would be worth the investment. Unfortunately, on my first push off the wall underwater the headphones lost volume completely (even at the loudest volume setting) and it sounded like Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" was being whispered into my ear by a gnat ... or something. Utterly frustrating. I took the headphones off and tried to dry them off on the pool deck. Also tried drying out my ears. No dice. Over the course of my workout I tried the headphones both with and without my swimcap (the headphones will NOT fit under a cap, unless it is folded up above the ears) and still wasn't able to get listenable audio.

If you do a google search for a review of these headphones you will in all likelihood stumble across a series of video reviews conducted by swimmers/bloggers that Sony hired to sing the device's praises. Pay close attention to how the swimmers in the video utilize the headphones: not once do they ever actually put their face in the water! I'm convinced that is the only way that this product can be used successfully.

If you do water aerobics, VERY light swimming, or are just looking for something to lounge in the hot tub with, I imagine that these would be right up your alley. If you are buying these for the other 'extreme' exercises that Sony is also attempting to market toward (sweaty cycling, running, kayaking) there are better options both in terms of sound quality and price.

I have already boxed these up for return.
1414 comments273 of 303 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 25, 2013
I am not a swimmer, I just wanted a compact mp3 player, and I sweat a lot, since I work all day in a basement.

I hate wires. Especially when it's a claustrophobic tether that's connected from your pants pocket to your ears. I dealt with streaming music via bluetooth for a while and got sick and tired of the streaming performance, from my phone and headsets. So, in the process of shopping around, I stumbled upon this little gem. The thought of having such a compact player, without dealing with the annoyances of A2DP!

There is only one problem with the device, and I thought it was because my head was oddly shaped, or something. But, when I tested it with a friend, and two co workers, they agreed. The wire that connects the two, is too short. When you place it in your ear, and loop it behind your head, it is uncomfortable. It's a matter of preference, of course. I found it extremely uncomfortable, and my friend said that it was annoying, but tolerable. It stands to reason that Sony made it snug, because this is marketed towards swimmers. In fact, it comes with a rubber support to make it fit tighter, by the occipital bone, on the back of your head.

But, the solution was simple. I just reversed it. Now the arched loop that's supposed to go above the ear, curves outward, and it gives you all the room in the world to breathe. In fact, I find the controls are easier to press, when they're on top, not below, so reversing it was best.

The sound quality is very decent. I'm a perfectionist, but a realist. The sound is not SUPER CRISP. But, considering the compact design, it is outstanding! The bass response is very good, and the multiple ear bud sizes provided really seal in the sound, and let you enjoy it, in sound proof bliss.

The battery life is fantastic. I work an 8 hour shift, and only turn it off for a 45 min break, and it's juiced all day. I work one 10 hour shift a week, and on that day, I usually worry it'll die on me, but somehow it doesn't, so I applaud the battery capacity. The charger is clever, but Sony really dropped the ball by not selling it separately. Since it's not a standard mini or micro USB, you have to worry that it will die on you after extended use, or take the charger around with you in the street, which in my opinion, defeats the purpose.

I live in NYC. It's raining every other day, and I've worn these out in heavy rain, no umbrella, and NOT ONE ISSUE! Good job, Sony. I also sweat a lot, and never any issues.

The design is fantastic, minus the short cord. The buttons are a little solid, but I prefer solid over cheap and flimsy. They're well shaped, and fit snuggly, whether the correct way, or upside down, like I use it. Before purchasing, I was worried about navigating the albums and playlists, so in case you're wondering, you can. Pressing the track forward, advances to the next song. HOLDING it down advances to the next album. You're greeted by a pleasant beep, and a voice telling you "next album", "play", "shuffle", "repeat", etc.

Overall, if you want an mp3 player with great sound, compactibility, waterproof, sweat-proof, and long battery life, this is a good choice.

[--EDIT--8 weeks Later--]

I am deeply saddened, because they no longer hold the charge they used to hold. I hadn't dropped it, crushed it, damaged the charger, or anything of the sort that might have affected the player's quality. And it really hurts when you're in the middle of a song and all of a sudden you hear a *BEEP*, and it shuts off.

-The first time it happened, it died after only 2 hours.
-The second time, I took it home, and it lasted 4 hours.
-The third, and fourth time, also 2 hours, and then I called it quits.

And I have to say that the worst thing about this product, that I did not think of initially, is the charger. It's one of Sony's trademark "custom" chargers. It's cool at first, until you realize that it's your only option. Do you know why all electronic devices now-a-days are using USB chargers, and not those weird custom chargers from a decade ago? Because of it's ease and simplicity!!! Everything (except Apple products) use micro or mini USB, and it's wonderful! These headphones DO NOT.

Though inconvenient, if the player would die on me, and I could just give it a "quick charge", I would be writing a different review right now! But, taking the charger around with you, defeats the purpose, doesn't it? And I used to use it at work AND at home, so it would make no sense to leave the charger at work. So... now I only use it at home, and I've lowered my rating from 4 to 3 Stars.

What I'm trying to get at is this: If you want a compact mp3 player, waterproof, don't mind the snug fit, and don't mind carrying the charger around with you, then look no further! But, if you want to be free of wires, and want more than 2 hours of power, I would urge you to shop around a bit more.

BTW, in case you're wondering, I'm now back to Bluetooth streaming, and I am having no issues with the new headset, The Bose Bluetooth Headset Series 2. It did leave quite a dent in my wallet, but it's worth it.
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on February 27, 2014
I'm a runner in Portland, Oregon. As you probably know, this makes me a runner in the rain. I'm out before dawn; thus it is cold, dark and wet in the winter. My plan was to update my method for listening to music on my runs. My prior method was with a pair of long-in-the-tooth "Oakley Thump" glasses w/mp3 combo player. These are not waterproof, so I have forgone the music in the rain for the past 7 years or so. Now that the battery doesn't hold a charge, I was in need of a replacement.

The issues I faced were many and varied, as I checked out pouches for my Galaxy phone and a wireless headset. My thinking was that I already had a "music player" built into my phone, so maybe I should take advantage of it:

> Ear buds fall out of my ears, thus the need for a wireless headset.
> Wireless headphones are expensive, and not 100% waterproof.
> I find wires and shoulder pouches to be annoying.
> The waterproof pouches I perused are especially cumbersome.
> Is it worth the risk to destroy my phone due to water damage?
> Do I even need a phone on my runs, or should I consider this to be "me" time? (Yes!)

My research concluded with the decision NOT to risk losing my phone to a leaky or defective "waterproof" pouch, and semi-waterproof headphones to an Oregon gale. And all this was very expensive any way I looked at it.

The solution: Sony's NWZW273 Waterproof Walkman. This product exceeds all of my expectations--and there was even a bonus.

Finding the right fit among the four choices of ear buds was easy. I have a fat head (size 8+ hat size) and, contrary to some reviews, I have no problem with the Walkman fitting perfectly and comfortably. Note that I do not have a massive neck, though, and I believe that is where the fitting problem comes into play for some. The reason is, the band actually fits around the back of your neck, and not your actual head. So, consider neck size to be an issue if you've got a big one.

Dragging and dropping songs and/or folders is simple, and it beats the hassle of iTunes in the Windows world. I much prefer the simplicity of DAD in lieu of synchronizing with iTunes. Just a personal preference.

The sound is better than I expected for these mini-headphones. There is no EQ control, but that seems unimportant, as the bass response is decent, and treble is fine, considering the form factor.

As mentioned, the Walkman headphones are very comfortable. I'm out for at least an hour on each run, and I feel no ear fatigue after four days of wearing them.

The added bonus? These are smaller than the picture makes them look. I hadn't considered that my warming skull cap--quite necessary in the cold and wet--might not fit over my ears with the Walkman in place. No worries! The product fits easily under the hat, which still covers my ears. And yet, the controls are still accessible, as they face downward on the device. I couldn't have asked for a more sterling silver lining.

The Sony Waterproof Walkman Sports MP3 Player is a solid winner.


I've had my Sony waterproof Walkman MP3 headphones for almost a year and have had zero issues with the product. I use my Walkman roughly every other day for runs from 3 to 15 miles in Oregon's famous, ever-changing weather: Sun, rain, snow and heavy winds. I also swam with the product in lake Tahoe in July and August of summer 2014. I'm almost tempted to buy the newest version just to see if the sound has been improved, but, hey, these sound great, so what's the purpose?

If I have one complaint, it's minor: there is no fast forward or rewind during a song. For those of you listening to books, imagine not being able to back-track a minute or two in a chapter. maybe Sony has this worked out in the newer product...?
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on June 3, 2014
I was putting off a purchase of these for months because of the negative reviews here, but then decided to risk it. If you are a swimmer, you know that nothing about your gear is ever perfect. Goggles need a lot of adjusting in the beginning to get the fit right, and even the fogless will leak and fog. Same with these headphones. They fell off the first time I wore them, then I figured out a better method to attach to my head (I didn't have a cap, but managed to secure them with my goggle strap.. The sound was sometimes clear, sometimes muffled, but I realized this was because of water drops in my ears and the pressure; even without these headphones, your ears get plugged up swimming. When my ears are water-free, the sound is awesome. I also found that if I squeezed my arms against my ears on push-offs (which is good form, anyway), I could keep the headset secure after flip turns. I've been swimming for three decades and have to say, I wonder where these have been all of my life. Awesome boredom buster, great tempo trainer, and certainly keeps me in the pool longer. I think the pricing is a bit high, so I'm expecting these to last a year. Crossing fingers. One thing I would ask the Sony engineers to fix is the power switch. It is really difficult to know when the player is on or off. A light or sliding switch would help. Also, the power lock is impossible to understand. The Sony product manager needs to make that feature clearer to understand and operate.
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on February 2, 2014
Casual lap swimmer

I started swimming on and off about 1 yr ago and wanted something to fight the boredom now that I'm getting stronger. I didn't want to spend a lot so I knew the product wasnt going to be perfect.

So far I've only used the mp3 player today, around the house and lap swimming for 1 hour. The set up was easy but you do need to install a few items to get going. The programs sync with itunes so I can import my audiobooks and podcasts with ease which I love! The sound quality is good and the controls are easy to get used to. Charging is super easy... plug and charge.

In the pool:
I had the pool to myself today, so not much outside noise from other swimmers. It took me about 15 mins to figure out how to wear it so it didnt fall off all together. When you push off the wall, it will fall off right away, this has to be worn under your swim cap. I tried under the goggles but it kept falling off. I also have to make sure to push off gently otherwise the force from the water will move them out of place. Once I got the hang of it, the ear pieces pretty much stayed in place. They did fall out here and there but it wasnt a big deal for me.

Sound quality under water: he water muffles the sound a bit but I could hear and follow the music and lyrics clearly but it wasnt a seamless experience.

With the music I was able to concentrate and get back to laps more quickly. I'm the type of swimmer that needs to recover at the end of the pool for about a minute oherwise I suffocate. The issue I was having was over-relaxing. I managed to cut my 1k from 62 mins 3 weeks ago to 51 today. For me its met my objective.

After the pool I had to leave it for a bit to dry out because there wast any noise coming out from one side but its working fine now. So I guess making sure it dries properly is a priority.

Pros: fits well
Good music quality
Easy to use
Easy to learn how to use
Helped me focus during boring swims.

Cons: Moves during laps
Sound can get muffled with too much water

Watch out for:
Drying after swim
No diving, hard push from wall
No salt water!!
Watch for the "jelly" pieces that go in the ear... they can fall off.
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on December 11, 2013
Sometimes the charger works...sometimes it simply refuses to charge the device..
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on May 29, 2013
I trust in Sony for many years. I like swimming. I saw the ads where Sony showed a new walkman waterproof for swimming. I guessed Sony found a reliable device to use while swimming. I bought it online at Sony store at 200 USD. I adapted the earbuds to my ears as they told. After 25 mts of amateur normal swimming, left channel sounded muffled, then the right channel. I wiped the water, but nothing. At home, I read again additional instructions. I realized that Sony expects that in the normally irregular external ear conduct, a soft silicone earbud should obstruct any single drop of water inside while swimming. It's almost imposible, even with flotation without moving. It's a fake. They promised something imposible. The quality of sound outside the water is just good. But inside water it gets inaudible absolutely in just a minute. Great desillusion about Sony!
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on August 18, 2014
I purchased these June 2013. They worked fine up until June of 2014. I am no longer able to charge the walkman. The device is not recognized by any of the computers that I used to be able to charge them through. I have tried everything; updating drivers, cleaning both the docking station as well as the walkman charging contact plate, no luck. This is a very common problem with this particular Sony product and is extensively documented and discussed online. When they did work, they were great. I expected at least two solid years of use from this pair, but that is not the case. Avoid these. They are not worth the money.
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on April 12, 2013
Ok, read a few reviews and people said those did not work good for swimming. Well I bought them anyway and after 2 hours of swimming (crawl), I would say that they work 100% as advertised. If you adjust the rubber strap so that they are tight, put your swimming cap over them and finally your goggles over your cap, everything holds perfectly and sound is great. So far I ran with them, cycled with them, on top of swimming and give them a high 9. The only thing stopping me from giving them a 10 is the button handling wich is a little bit hard at times being so small. So if you want great portable music, great sound, without chords hanging, that mp3 player can do it all and yes even swimming with them works great. Johnny Begood, Québec.
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