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Old 09-09-2010, 08:44 AM
benesotor benesotor is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: UK, Southwest
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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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Sony NWZ-E445 16GB | Creative Zen Vision:M 30GB Sennheiser CX500, Sony MDREx35lpb, Creative EP-830, Sennheiser CX300, V-Moda Bass Freq, Skullcandy Smokin' Buds

The Budget IEM Shoot-out!
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