Sony Walkman NWZ-E436F 4GB - Sony Walkman NWZ-E436F

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


User Score:

You have several options for getting content on the E436F. You can just drag and drop it into the correct folder just as you would with most modern players, or alternatively use Windows Media Player 11 to sync your media libraries. However, Sony also supplies a dedicated drag and drop Content Transfer applet where you drag files onto the little window and it copies them over to the correct folder. You can drag and drop directly from WMP11 or even iTunes should you wish, though as anyone stuck in a love/hate relationship with Apple's ecosystem will instantly suspect, DRM-enabled tracks are not supported in the latter case.

Finally, there's a Media Manager application that gives you more detailed options for the transfer and handling of media between PC and Walkman. This unfortunately bought back some nasty flashbacks from the bad old days of SonicStage, and I'm not sure I can see many people using it in preference to WMP11 or any of the great third-party media management apps out there.

Video playback is rapidly becoming de-rigeur on all but the smallest, cheapest players, and the E436F has some interesting capabilities in this regard. The 2in screen is theoretically capable of playback at a full 30fps and, with support for DRM-enabled WMV9 files as well as H.264 AVC and MPEG-4, it's one of a growing number of players compatible with the BBC's iPlayer service.

That's all well and good, but if I was particularly interested in video playback this wouldn't be my device of choice. The 240 x 320 TFT screen is nice, bright and pin-sharp, but in the default portrait format you have to really squint to see what's happening on the screen. Rotating the view to a landscape format helps a lot, but as the screen has a 4:3 rather than a 16:9 aspect ratio any material in the now standard format is cramped between black bars.

Nor is the motion as smooth as Sony makes out; while there are periods when you can believe it's running at 30fps, there are also noticeable judders, even in the sample material supplied by Sony on the player. On the plus side, the iPlayer compatibility works just as advertised. I downloaded last night's edition of Later… Live and seconds later I was watching it on that teeny weeny screen.

To put things in perspective, we have made similar complaints about other comparable players, including the otherwise wonderful 4th generation iPod Nano. Two inches might be big enough for five minutes of light viewing, but watch too many hour-long programmes and you'll only please one person: your local optician.

We've similar reservations about photo viewing - even your best shots won't make much impact on a screen this size. If you really want photos and video playback, our advice would be to step up a device class to something like the iPod touch or iRiver Spinn.

dave doubledecks

October 24, 2008, 1:06 pm

Why is it that mp3 players these days often have the headphone socket on the bottom of the case rather than at the top?? Am I the only one who finds that annoying?


October 24, 2008, 5:09 pm

Any chance of the s series getting reviewed soon. That seems like the one to go for. More of a direct competitor to the nano, with its bigger capacities.


October 24, 2008, 11:17 pm

@ Dave_doubledecks

Because generally people place pockets upside down in their pockets with the back of the gadget facing outwards simply because that's the easiest thing to do, so naturally they put headphones jacks on the bottom because that's what will be facing upwards while in a pocket.

Geoff Richards

October 25, 2008, 12:40 am

I think what Juxtah means is this: people hold devices in their hand "top-up", right? Now, lower your arm and slide that device into your jeans... the top slides in first leaving the bottom pointing to the sky. I'm going to guess that's why the socket is at the bottom.


October 25, 2008, 1:51 am

I just realized how incomprehensible I was :P

I really should make a habit of reading what I'm writing...

dave doubledecks

October 25, 2008, 10:21 am

LoL that's where 'm going wrong! I put mine in the top pocket of my jacket. Who puts their mp3 in jeans for goodness sake? It must get pretty uncomfortable when you sit down??

Geoff Richards

October 25, 2008, 11:41 am

Haha, well, I guess it depends on the size of one's MP3 player :)

Plus of course it's never a good idea to use the back pockets where you'll sit on your player!

Thinking about it, I actually use the breast pocket of my shirt while walking to work but the logic still applies - I kinda "pour" it in head first rather than neatly slide it in face up.

I guess, Dave, if it bothers you a LOT then you'll be hunting down players with top-mounted jacks (such as my ageing Sansa). But if I think about the latest Apple iPod nano, that thing is so small, thin and light that it really doesn't matter - you'd barely feel it in any pocket (jeans or otherwise) especially compared to a mobile phone.

Still, it's always interesting to learn what features are most important to different people. Thanks for your feedback.


October 26, 2008, 8:32 pm

I bought this DAP one month ago to replace my 2 GB Clip, and i was so disappointed by its audio performance... compared to the Clip this Sony suffers from a lack of detail and clarity, but the worst point is no doubt its terrible output power... i could barely feed my Denon D1001 full-size headphone (only 32 ohm impedence). I'd say the Clip is about 50% more powerful... it changes a lot of things. EQing makes things even worse as adding bass or highs lowers even more the output volume... Since then i sold it and bought a 4 GB Clip.

Please not i have also a Sony Vaio Pocket which is great (much better than the E436), i love Sony but they desappointed me on this one.


January 27, 2009, 2:31 pm

Which player would you say is better (especially minded the sound quality with the pair of earbuds in the box, because i actually dont want to spend money on buying earbuds)

this one, or the Iriver Lplayer?


March 16, 2009, 11:55 am


"i was so disappointed by its audio performance... compared to the Clip this Sony suffers from a lack of detail and clarity,"

Really? I can't help but to be suspicious. Even a hearing impaired person like me could hear the distinct difference between the E436F and the Clip. (For the record, the Sony outputted much more clearer and clean music than the clip. Much more detailed, too.) I gander you were using stock headphones for the Sony - Or your ears are much more damaged than mine.


April 11, 2009, 12:24 am


Spot on! The volume output -- or lack thereof -- of the NWZ line is ridiculous. I have the 8gb version, and while it's ok with the provided earbuds, with anything larger (i.e. Grado SR60's or even Senn PX100's) the sound is not even low-fi quality. It's just LOW, period. I added a headphone amp and it's totally night and day. I tried my g/f's Shuffle with the PX100's and it didn't need an amp for volume, although the total SQ of those cans was increased by using the little headphone amp.

Also, since there's no easy option in the Walkman's settings to switch back and forth between MTP and UMS, there's a little trick to un-do the MTP drivers so that the unit becomes a straight USB Mass Storage drag/drop unit. You have to go into Device Manager (Windows XP), find the Walkman in the Portable Devices group, right click, then select Update Driver. Then select "No, not this time", then Next. Select "Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) then Next. Select "Don't Search, I will choose the driver to install", then Next. (Be sure to check the box beside Show Compatible Hardware) Highlight USB Mass Storage Device, then Next. (To revert back to MTP, just do the same thing but choose MTP instead of USB Mass Storage Device.) Personally, I'd never go back to the MTP mode. Having the Walkman seen by the computer as just another USB mass storage device allows the drag/drop transfers to go much faster, and I can defrag the Walkman now, whereas that was not possible before in MTP mode.

Also, a proprietary USB cable is just a dumb, unnecessary, all too typical Sony idea. And the fact that there's no free software bundled to convert avi's and mpg's to the necessary video format is just another reason this unit is, at times, a royal P.I.T.A. All in all, it's a relatively well made unit, but because of the low volume, proprietary USB cable, lack of bundled software to convert videos to the accepted format, and the limited number of recognized audio formats, I'd definitely choose another brand the next time around.


September 24, 2009, 11:22 pm

The most annoying things is that NO media software is included. Media Manager is SO outdated and the Content Transfer software is only meant for file transfer!

HELLO, PEOPLE! Do you really enjoy having that darn Sony logo appearing instead of the album art?! I certainly do NOT!

Quit saying "use drag n drop"! I guess many of you don't care about album art or creating playlists But I certainly do!

I have many compilation "playlists" which the player does NOT support. It'll spread the underlying music to each artist's folder while the playlist is NOT transferred! You'll have to use "folders" to listen to EACH darn artist manually unless you "SHUFFLE ALL" files! What a Pain in the A**!

No wonder Sony priced the devices Lower than the Nanos? It does NOT sell that well and can ONLY compete on price alone!

I returned mine and will NOT buy another Sony mp3 player until Sony wakes up and makes GOOD media software for their players (and SE phones, which I also own) that CAN rip music, edit files (i.e. album art tag) and 3) create playlists especially compilation playlists!!

At least Sony, FINALLY, adopted the universal standard for their phones (and mp3 players?) in that it will start using Mini-USB ports. The newer E-440 series (or E-430 in Americas) are now shown with those ports!

Now, if Sony can only include media software similar to iTunes!

Despite many iPod haters, iTunes is very good in ripping music, editing files and creating playlists! AND.... It's F-R-E-E!

iTunes is still considered one of the Better (if not The Best) media software to beat!


February 13, 2010, 2:39 pm

This is the third Walkman I have owned and to be honest, I don't think I'd buy another (none of them have lasted very long and I was very careful with them). I was really disappointed in the durability of this player - it died before the year was out, I sent it off to be repaired, it came back and died again in the first week. Looks like I'll be off to Apple for my next MP3 player.

comments powered by Disqus