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  #1  
Old 09-09-2010, 08:44 AM
benesotor benesotor is offline
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Default REVIEW - Sony Walkman NWZ E445 16GB

So, I've had the Creative Zen Vision M for a good while now. Generally if I think a product is good and it works I won't replace it until it stops working.
So it turns out the Creative started to not work properly!

I felt I didn't want a big heft hardrive player, nor do I want a touchscreen player.
I'm afraid to admit, but I did consider getting an iPod at first, namely the previous generation Nano. But I decided I didn't want to spend the money.
I also looked the Zen mosaic, but I didn't like the build quality of my brothers'.

So I researched the line-up of Sony Walkman's, seeing as I've always been impressed with Sony products.
After looking at quite a few, I finally went for the E series, the 445 to be exact, a cheap little 16gb player at £59

I won't tell you everything this player does, Sony or retailers can tell you that, I'll just share my experience.




First impressions -

I'm a big fan of it's size and weight. This is a pleasant departure from the Zen Vision in that sense.
Build quality is actually pretty impressive considering the price. Good plastics, solid and good looking. The buttons feel good although not keen on the click sound they make.
I booted up the player to have a look, it's on and ready to use within a second or 2 which is nice.
The screen is glossy, but once turned on is bright and clear. Viewing angle is as expected for a small cheap LCD, not great... but not a major issue.


Anyway, time to put some music on...

Interface & Sync

I plugged the player via it's usb connector which unfortunately is unique to the player, I was hoping for a mini-usb port here.
Anyway, It's plugged into a windows 7 64-bit machine and I decided to do the transfer in Windows Media Player, although you can use almost anything to Sync this device, as well as drag and drop. Just how I like it.
WMP instantly recognised the player as 'WALKMAN' and quickly analysed space.
I dragged all that I could fit into the 14.7GB disk and hit sync, and it took about an hour to complete the process. So transfer rates aren't that speedy.
However it was simple and painless.

After pulling the player out, it took a couple minutes to build the library which is good. That was it, all ready and organised.
Going into the library via 'Artists' navigating through sections of the alphabet via the D-Pad was simple and intuitive. The whole experience is very easy and makes complete sense, I felt completely comfortable and confident in using the player within 5 minutes.
The only thing I wish the user-interface had was a custom shortcut button, I hope this gets introduced.

Playlists unfortunately can't be made in the player, has to be done externally.
I'd also like to be able to change the theme If I wanted but no option for this.
Plus It'd be nice to have the clock on the top bar rather than have it as a menu option.

Music and Video Playback

Sony are generally considered pretty good with sound quality when it comes to their MP3 players, and this is no exception.
The sound out of the box is nice and clear, absolutely no complaints. The EQ is pretty basic, I'd keep it flat. However I did make use of the 'ClearBass' option, it does bring out a lot more bass from my little IE buds without ruining the mix, really impressed with the quality overall.
Only issue with playback is this player is really not very loud. I had to have it at about 70% volume in a silent room, so for loud environments you really need noise cancelling earphones. It's a little frustrating.

Video playback is okay. The screen is rather small, but it at least plays video smoothly. Colours aren't all that vivid. It's not really a video suitable player, but It's there if it's needed.
Transfer was at least simple, I dragged and dropped the H.264 video file and windows 7 automatically converted for the player.

Conclusion

As someone who is more interested in basic functionality, sound quality and value rather than gimmicky features or fancy touch technology... this little Walkman has thoroughly impressed me. It's a lovely little player.
It does everything I need it to, and doesn't get in the way of me and my music.

Pro's

-Solid build, stylish design, small and light.
-Intuitive, clear and simple user interface
-Sync couldn't be easier
-Nice clear sound
-Great value
-Responsive

Con's

-No miniusb
-Not loud enough
-Battery life (30hr) not that impressive
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  #2  
Old 09-09-2010, 08:50 AM
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Nice review, moved to "MP3 Player User Reviews" forum and left a week redirect.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:01 AM
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Hey there benesotor, congrats on the Sony E445 - you may be one of the first here at ABi to own one of these I believe.

Pretty much you entire review sums up my own reactions to my Sony E345 when I first got it. Not sure I could have said it better. Coincidentally, prior to my purchase of the Sony E345, the last players I had were also all Creatives.

I only disagree with your assessment of the E445 30 hour battery life as being "not impressive" - I would submit that, for its form factor, it is quite good. Also, your comment about it not being loud enough? Don't blame Sony - blame your EU legislators for the volume limitations.

I don't need videos but nice to hear that Windows 7 indeed does auto convert the formats to ones the Sony E445 likes. I also assume you did not install any of the Sony included software?

A final request: just for us in the states, can you take a close up picture of the connector for the E445, the wire and on the device?

cheers and enjoy - I have said it time and again: I believe the Sony E series to be a terrific player, especially for the money.
-lestatar
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lestatar View Post
*snip*
I don't need videos but nice to hear that Windows 7 indeed does auto convert the formats to ones the Sony E445 likes.
*snip*
*cough*I told you so*cough*
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:40 PM
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Great review, ENJOY!!!
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  #6  
Old 09-09-2010, 02:07 PM
benesotor benesotor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lestatar View Post
I only disagree with your assessment of the E445 30 hour battery life as being "not impressive" - I would submit that, for its form factor, it is quite good. Also, your comment about it not being loud enough? Don't blame Sony - blame your EU legislators for the volume limitations.

I also assume you did not install any of the Sony included software?

A final request: just for us in the states, can you take a close up picture of the connector for the E445, the wire and on the device?
In hind sight I probably should've re-phrased what I said about the battery, 30 hours is good (twice as good as my Zen!) but compared to some other walkmans offering 42,50 and even 82 hrs, it's not ground breaking. Good nonetheless.

With the volume limitations, sure it is the damn EU do put these restrictions in... although saying that this walkman certainly won't go as loud as any other player i've used.

I did not install any of the Sony software, I didn't feel it necessary.

Sure I can get those pics... do you not have this player in the states?


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Last edited by benesotor; 09-09-2010 at 02:19 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-09-2010, 02:39 PM
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We have something like it but it has mini usb.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:05 PM
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Nice review, and beautiful shots too (serious camera!). Thank you.
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  #9  
Old 09-10-2010, 04:59 PM
benesotor benesotor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meetooman View Post
Nice review, and beautiful shots too (serious camera!). Thank you.
Thanks! Oh I love my camera
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  #10  
Old 09-10-2010, 05:19 PM
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Thank you Benesotor...great pics indeed. That plug does look like a proprietary Sony interface. This makes me sad...

Yes, proprietary means maybe cool stuff like docks and such, but I still like global standards better when it comes to my USB connectors/devices. Newer microUSB world standard would have been nice.

Enjoy the great sound from the Sony E
cheers,
-lestatar
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lestatar View Post
Thank you Benesotor...great pics indeed. That plug does look like a proprietary Sony interface. This makes me sad...

Yes, proprietary means maybe cool stuff like docks and such, but I still like global standards better when it comes to my USB connectors/devices. Newer microUSB world standard would have been nice.

Enjoy the great sound from the Sony E
cheers,
-lestatar
Proprietary didn't stop you from getting a Fuze.

Sony players are horribly overpriced in Singapore. Balls to sony. This player costs in the region of $169 here.
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Last edited by rickysio; 09-10-2010 at 10:39 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-13-2010, 01:48 PM
Gradius Gradius is offline
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What? Still no FLAC support? *me dies*
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Old 09-13-2010, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickysio View Post
Proprietary didn't stop you from getting a Fuze. ...SNIPPED...
True that! But that was quite offset by the sheer wonder that is Rockbox so
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benesotor View Post
Sure I can get those pics... do you not have this player in the states?
That looks like the standard, proprietary Sony connector. Some of the less-expensive models do use mini-USB, such as my E345.
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
What? Still no FLAC support? *me dies*
What? FLAC support on a Sony product?
I'm still shocked they finally admitted ATRAC was a failed codec.
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  #16  
Old 09-13-2010, 05:49 PM
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What? Still no FLAC support? *me dies*
I actually PRAY this is sarcasm, or that your not holding your breath - Sony will almost certainly NEVER do FLAC.
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:29 PM
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Well, you know how I generally feel about FLACs on portable, space limited DAPs, but this is a damm shame for Sony not to include FLAC support....
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lestatar View Post
Well, you know how I generally feel about FLACs on portable, space limited DAPs, but this is a damm shame for Sony not to include FLAC support....
Just use WAV...then you get gapless playback too!
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:38 PM
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I'd probably be interested in Sony's players still if they hadn't cheaped out on the build from the A728 I own to the S- and E- series players they push now.

And I don't like the Mickey Mouse control pad. It's not nearly as nice as the square d-pad on my A728.

No gapless, either...

what I'd really like is a Sony A818 (the buttons were pretty much perfect) with 32GB of space or 16GB and an sdcard slot. And gapless.
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:43 PM
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For $89.00 for 16gb I'd deal w/it, especially since I always put my players in a case.
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