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  #1  
Old 10-14-2007, 10:03 PM
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yuki yuki is offline
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Default NWZ-S615F 2gb version review (full)

NWZ-S615F 2gb version review



I finally got a hold of the Sony NWZ-S615F, and I am really surprised on how good this little little pmp is. Sony chose to go the route of discontinuing sonic stage on this model. I have used the player for a few hours now and have compiled my thoughts as of thus far.

Packaging and accessories (4 out of 10): The player comes with a basic set of headphones, a usb cable, an installation cd, and a cradle adapter. The aspect that really knocks down the points in this category is the damn plastic blister pack it comes in. Sony should have opted for shrink rapped box for the pmp, making it more environmentally friendly and easier to open.

Build quality (9 out of 10): Sony has usually made decent quality products in the years, the S615 is no exception. Plastic is used as the build material, but it does not have that plastic overall feel to it. The player feels very dense with almost no give to it at all. The display is protected by plastic and seems scratch resistant.

Navigation, Buttons, and GUI (8 out of 10): Navigation is slightly above average, Sony choosing to utilize a directional pad. The menu is very easy to understand and navigate. It is always easy for the user to go to the “now playing” section no matter what menu is open. The GUI is very clean and searching by many different options is available including that of the standard ID3 tags and that of folder navigation. Album art is displayed on the now playing screen which is a nice touch. The directional pad is a bit cramped though and is a little difficult for users with bigger hands. In all though, navigation is very functional and GUI layout is intuitive and clean.




Computer connectivity (10 out of 10): Sony dropped sonic stage and windows XP sp2 or better can see this as an MTP device. The device is available as a drag and drop device in explorer and the media library on the pmp is updated via usb disconnect. One interesting thing I did notice (not documented) is that the user can force mass storage drivers in device manager. I have not tried transferring anything in mass storage mode though, you are able to see the directory structure in this mode with no problem.

Supported codecs (8 out of 10): Sony did choose to include AAC which is a nice touch, yet the device is a bit lacking in codec support. Sony opted not to use a popular lossless codec, but the unit is capable of playing linear pcm with the file extension of .wav which is lossless. Also WMA (standard wma) and MP3 are support as with most other players on the market. Jpeg file format can be used for image playback. Video playback is allowed by , mpeg4 and h.264 at qvga with the mp4 and m4v container formats (so dont expect divx and xvid files to work).

LCD (10 out of 10): At 1.8 inches, the LCD is on the small side. Though what really sets this player aprt from many others is that it has a QVGA resolution, which paired with a 1.8inch screen makes it very sharp. The display only supports 256k colors but this is forgivable as saturation and brightness is paired with a great contrast ratio. I have yet to see a better looking LCD on a pmp of this size. Below are some pictures of the LCD, notice in the black and white how good the contrast is.



Audio performance (10 out of 10): This is the area Sony has always shined in, and to date with all the daps and pmp players I have tested, I can say this is one of my favorite with relation to sound stage. I used a pair of Panasonic RP-HTX7 headphones as well as Sennheiser HD-485 during the test, the test below will be that of using the 485 series. Though I being up the Panasonic headphones, because they sound great only on very limited outputs, and I have never had anything portable drive them well except a D2 and this player.



This pmp does have a few useful audio enhancements that I have tested and work well. DSEE brings out high range audio using a band pass filter and extender I am guessing via DSP. In most cases DSEE does work well, a few cases it has made the audio sound overly bright. Clear bass is another feature I have used, along with the 5 band equalizer really work well. Clear bass extends the bass without making the music sound muddy. The other DSP effects sound over processed for my liking, like the virtual surround sound and the dynamic limiter.

For the Following I used my HD-485 set with the Clear bass set to 2 and the EQ all bands at flat, all other DSP effects were turned off.


Song: Death Cab for Cutie – Brothers on a Hotel Bed

This song has a few aspects that are very hard from most flash daps to reproduce. One Ben Gibbard has a slight echo to his voice, which was quite apparent on this dap. Also you can hear a bit of studio noise that I could only hear on my computer. Bass is very tight and punchy and trebles are shaped but not overly harsh. In all this piece sounded fantastic.

Song: Bach - BMW 1007

This is a harpsichord and cello composition with strong high and low elements. The version I have chosen was a 1968 re master that was originally recorded using very high end microphones at the time. The original recording does not contain any artificial pushes like newer music. In all it sounds very clean on this dap, lows from the cello suite are present and very punchy. The harpsichord does not sound overly bright but has proper treble.

Song:Bach - BMW 1053

This is probably one of the most familiar cello suites of all time, but that said it also can easily sound like crap if not reproduced well. The player really renders good warmth on this piece as well as fatefully reproduces the room acoustics.

Loudness is really not a factor for this player, it was able to push all the headphones I was using to uncomfortable loudness. I have not tried the stock ear phones, like other players they seem of a lower quality than even a cheap pair of Sennheiser earbuds.

Video performance (8 out of 10)

I don't really see video being a strong point of this player, only given the screen size being 1.8 inches. That said the LCD quality does make for clean video playback. The major downfall is the lack of codec support, it has to be qvga and h.264 or mpeg 4 (generic) with the mp4 and m4v container format. Video is very fluid with out any artifacts.

Overall (9 out 10)

In all the NWZ-S615F is a great well built little player for the price point of $100 for the 2GB and $119 for a 4gb. Sound quality is amazing as is LCD quality. Navigation is very generic but works, and 1.8 inces is a small screen for any serious video playback. The biggest strength of this player is the sound quality which very few flash players I have heard can match (the D2 is not much better IMO).

Pros:

Sound Quality
Build Quality
AAC support
Video playback at QVGA at 30fps
Bright QVGA LCD

Cons:
Needs more codecs for video
Small LCD for video
Navigation is very generic

Untested:

battery life
fm radio
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2007, 10:58 PM
celinedion1 celinedion1 is offline
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Good review. I was actually planing on buying this player but instead I bought the A815 instead. The store where I bought my A815 from was selling the S615 for $120 and the A815 for $100. I'm glad to see that the S615 got positive reviews. I'm sure that if i would of bought it than I would've loved it just as much as the A815. Looking forward to reading your review about the battery life and the fm radio.
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2007, 07:54 PM
selfnoise selfnoise is offline
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Nice review!

A couple of comments(based on the very similar NWZ-A818):

-I have loaded videos on the player using mass storage mode (in Windows 2000) and have also deleted content this way. So it seems to work fine. You will need to embed your album art in the MP3s to get any this way, though.

-Yeah, the packaging is awful. Sony's marketing in general is awful, considering that the actual players look really cool. Do they actually want to sell these?

-I really didn't like the DSEE (it sounded very processed to me) but maybe that's more of a difference in headphones than anything. The A818 also has a mode called "Clear Stereo" which adds a subtle touch of separation when using the included IEMs. In general I thought the player was at its best fairly flat on the EQ. The clear bass does work quite well.

-The one thing I'm not wild about in audio quality is that the player really brings out the hiss on certain tracks (mainly older stuff). This may also be an artifact of the headphones, though. I would like to find some IEMs with less hiss to be sure.
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Old 10-30-2007, 02:32 PM
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yuki yuki is offline
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The review that gave about the audio quality of this DAP is under stated after listening to the s600 and a few other players over the last week. The S600 sounds truly amazing; the sound stage has a really strong and vibrant presence with gorgeous lows, creating an epic listening experience. The EQ gives the user so many tweaking options, and I have yet to over drive the audio output into distortion. Also I have yet to get any sound fatigue after prolonged listening like with some other daps (usually lower end ones).

The FM radio works well, but like with all other mp3 players I have tested does not use the DSP to post process (so EQ and sound functions don’t work in FM mode as it is just a pass through). Though FM radio sucks, it has become an unused feature.

The LCD in the s600 is stunning, truly stunning. Again QVGA at 1.8 inch creates a very clear image with great color saturation. Video playback is very fluid, but mostly I love actually being able to see the details in album cover art

Battery life is great, I have went about 29-30 hours before recharges without ever getting a low battery warning.
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  #5  
Old 11-15-2007, 10:03 PM
tomjennings83 tomjennings83 is offline
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damn thats a great review and seems like a good player to
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  #6  
Old 11-18-2007, 04:17 PM
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Ascariss Ascariss is offline
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Great review Yuki. You hit the good points with the pros and cons on the device. I would agree the packaging is on the low side. When I got my 818 and saw the package, I thought, where's the rest of it? Maybe sony decided to opt for cheaper packaging as not to increase the price of the units? who knows, but the previews older models had way better packaging.
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  #7  
Old 11-20-2007, 05:39 AM
3rdalbum 3rdalbum is offline
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Default My add-on review

I got the 8 gig version of it.

Packaging and Accessories: I actually got a lanyard with mine too - not inside the product box, but inside the shipping box! (I work at the place I ordered it from). It's a nice lanyard, the only trouble is that it doesn't go through the damn hole in the MP3 player! I've since chucked the lanyard - I wasn't expecting it to come with the unit, so I haven't really lost anything.

Build Quality: 10 out of 10. It feels very solid, and mine doesn't have any scratches on it yet.

GUI: Took me a little while to get the hang of it, but it's a nice looking GUI with good features.

Supported codecs: I have to agree, I would have liked Ogg and FLAC support. I would have really appreciated if the player was less fussy over video format, as it took me a while to figure out how to make video files to exactly fit the specifications. But it's no real dramas.

LCD: 10 out of 10 here too. It's a lovely little screen. I'm not sure what other DAPs are like, but there's a fair bit of reflection off the screen when you are outdoors. Maybe I'm just too fussy :-)

Audio Performance: ClearBass! It's the most impressive thing I've heard from a DAP. There's absolutely no distortion.

Other: Employs a 24-hour low power mode, so within 24 hours of you turning the MP3 player off, you can turn it on and it will instantly continue playback. Instantly. Like you'd only just paused it.

The clock screensaver is annoying - it never stays on the screen for long enough to read it.

Inevitably, the player only changes part of the database if it finds new songs or doesn't find old songs. So, if you change the ID3 tags of an album that is already in the database, the new information will not appear on the player. You have to rename the folder that the album is in, before the new information will appear. I guess this is unavoidable - the Walkman probably doesn't have enough processing power to do MD5 hashing of all your songs!

But yes, I'm very impressed with this MP3 player, and I have no regrets about my purchase. Check it out!
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  #8  
Old 03-29-2008, 03:51 PM
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The DarkSide The DarkSide is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rdalbum View Post
The clock screensaver is annoying - it never stays on the screen for long enough to read it.
But yes, I'm very impressed with this MP3 player, and I have no regrets about my purchase. Check it out!
LOL - my only complaint is the fact I can't keep the clock on at all times - glad to see I'm not alone (I've got the S618/8gb)
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  #9  
Old 09-21-2008, 07:44 PM
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sony4ever sony4ever is offline
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lukin gd man lol keep it up enjoy ya mp3 player init coz iam too
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