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Sony Walkman NWZ-E443 4GB - Sony Walkman NWZ-E443 4GB

By Hugo Jobling



  • Recommended by TR
Sony Walkman NWZ-E443 4GB


Our Score:


Although you can play mp4, h.264 and WMV videos, the small screen size and resolution makes it a headache inducing experience. As you might expect, even though BBC iPlayer downloads will playback just fine, squinting at the screen for an entire episode of Antiques Roadshow is more than you'll want to suffer.

Less frustrating is the software-free management of files on the E443. Sony supplies music management software on the player itself, but anyone who installs it is surely mad because drag and drop transfer is far, far easier. Besides, Windows Media Player's syncing abilities are more than good enough if you are inclined towards automated music management, anyway. The only downside is the slight delay as the E443 searches through your files each time it's powered on, but it's a concession worth making.

The single most annoying 'feature' of the E443 is its proprietary connector. Sure, this means it will fit into older Sony Hi-Fi systems that have docking ports, but when there's plenty of space for a mini-USB port its more than a little annoying that Sony has seen fit not to provide one. Apple get's away with it because iPod docks are more than just misshapen USB ports but the E443 has no such defence and Sony seriously needs to fix this with the next generation of Walkmans.

The E443 might not have a video camera - and will be considered all the better for it in my estimation - but it does have an FM tuner. I'm as unconvinced as to its necessity here as ever, but at least it has feature parity with the nano, with live pausing and recording both supported.

More useful, to my mind, is voice recording. The E443's microphone is placed rather awkwardly, such as it ends up pointing into your palm with the player held 'normally' so if you forget to point it at what or who you want to record you'll end up with muffled audio. Otherwise the quality is as good as can be expected - sufficient for taking revision notes or recording a private meeting, but not a concert.


October 5, 2009, 7:05 am

"...is too small and two low resolution to make the feature worthwhile."

You mean "too" not "two" don't you Hugo? :)


October 5, 2009, 11:20 am

Seems like i've been waiting ages for this review...very interested in this player, BUT!

Does it support on the go playlists?? I find that a very important feature, but the last gen of Sony players didn't do it, and no mention of it in the review. So, am I right in thinking that if you're listening to one artist, then you can't add others to 'now playing'? Is that a playlist? Thanks!


October 5, 2009, 1:12 pm

@Ohmz: Cheers, fixed.


October 5, 2009, 2:18 pm

"...the only other audio enhancements available are a bunch of pre-set and two editable equalizers, which hardly count - producers put a lot of effort into making sure an album sounds 'right' and I doubt you'll do a better job."

Actually, I find the equaliser settings useful for headphone matching. I never use the stock headphones and some third party headphones need a tweaked equaliser to get the best out of them.

"Time was when a Walkman was literally your only choice of portable music player."

Think you missed out "There (once) was a..." ;)

Good review!


October 5, 2009, 3:24 pm

Couple of questions. 1) how does the sound quality compare to the S-639? 2) does this unit support gapless playback?



October 5, 2009, 5:29 pm

Odd. CNET tested their unit and got 24h of audio runtime off the battery, significantly less than the advertised 30h. Thought this review was a bit rambling, I'm afraid, though this might also be due to the fact that there really isn't a whole lot to write about considering the fairly minute changes from the previous generation.

And, owning a S638 due to the sound quality, I have to say (again) that the interface is just painful compared to the Nano or even my antique iPod mini. I thought the SQ made up for it, but I was wrong, unless Apple's SQ has worsened a lot. Did they finally add a sleep (or a wakeup) timer in this generation?! No on-the-go, by the way.

Of course what I really want is a player with the interface and the size of an iPod mini, but using flash memory. Why? Just imagine how big a battery you can shove in there, with the reduced power usage of a b/w-display I'm sure you'd have 100+h of runtime.


October 5, 2009, 9:22 pm

Just so you know Hugo, I support your use of "Time was" - da-da, da-da, da-da.

Anyway, what does it record voice into?


October 5, 2009, 9:40 pm

S630 series was brilliant - even more so than a iPod Nano 4G. The sound is warmer, so that can explain why some people who has grown used to the sound signature of an iPod, to dislike Sony's warmer sound. I am waiting for the new A-series to see how Sony takes DAP to the next level.

The UI is also wonderful. Quick shortcuts to everything that matters - and with actual buttons to press too. Beats using a circle touch sensitive pad.

Morsch, all of these DAPs use flash memory including the S630 and E443 to the newest Nano.

BTW, Tursted Reviews, the new S640, that replaces the brilliant S630-series, has no built in speakers.


October 5, 2009, 10:39 pm

Obviously all of these DAPs use flash memory, but the iPod mini did not (it used a tiny HDD). Apart from that, it was pretty sweet though, I'm being told back then Apple used higher quality audio parts, too. I don't want to argue, if you like the Sony UI, good for you; I found switching to it from Apple exhausting, primarily because I missed any kind of analogue control for volume and skipping within tracks. You're aware that the iPod wheel does have actual, physical, clicky buttons?


October 5, 2009, 11:02 pm

Yeah, but you said

"Of course what I really want is a player with the interface and the size of an iPod mini, but using flash memory"

Isn't that the iPod Nano?


October 5, 2009, 11:14 pm

Spiritually, yes, but the Nano is smaller and much thinner; if you kept the player as unwieldy (by todays standards) as the Mini, you could have a device with enormous battery runtime. I'd love to be able to go for weeks (or even one week) without a recharge. It was just an idle thought, though, apologies for going off-topic...


October 5, 2009, 11:32 pm

@ morsch - what is this 'analogue' volume control you speak of? I think you'll find the Sony players also support skipping within tracks. For me, as the primary role of a a music player is to play music, the better sound and more customisable quality is enough for me to forgive small niggles with the UI.

Oh, and have you actually *seen* an iPod mini lately? They're friggin HUGE compared to modern players, with a screen the size of postage stamp. I thought the whole point of these players was to be portable?


October 5, 2009, 11:54 pm

Ohmz - Shh you :)

Mik - No on-player playlists at all. I never use them, but I can see why the omission would be annoying to some.

Jordan Russel - I've yet to find an equalizer on a portable player that did anything but ruin the sound output to my ears, with any 'phones I've got available to test with at any rate.

Salforal - 1) As good, if not better. 2) On further inspection, seemingly not, which is ridiculous.

Morsch - Perhaps CNET had sound enhancement features turned on? That would wear down the battery faster - I left them turned off except to test with. Sorry if I seemed to ramble, as you suggest there's not that much profound to say so if you're already familiar Sony Walkman players I'm probably giving you some superfluous info. I can't say I agree with you about the interface. It's simple, functional... basically the best non-iPod UI going.

GoldenGuy - Cheers, style is sometimes more important than grammar :) Voice notes are recorded in 160kbps (at best).


October 6, 2009, 12:52 am

@Salforal Having read the press release, it says that continuous playback is not supported, so it seems they've missed gapless out again.

It's probably the thing that has annoyed me most with my flash-based Walkman players, so it's a shame not to see it implemented this time around...


October 6, 2009, 1:20 am

Of course the Sony supports skipping within tracks. But I'm often (as in every day) in a situation where I want to be roughly in the middle of a long track, either an audiobook or a DJ set. Skipping while holding the FWD key is inconvenient and takes a very long time; it's even more of an ordeal when you don't know where exactly you want to go. The click wheel and equivalent controls (on the Zune and many other players) solve this very well, the same goes for rapidly and exactly changing the volume. Like I said before, if you're happy with the interface, good for you.

I've got a mini lying around here. Of course I prefer today's thinner players, though I certainly think it's portable unless you're wearing hot pants or something. The screen is tiny but for me the primary role is to play music so I could live with that (sic). ;)


October 6, 2009, 7:50 pm

Slightly off topic but is there any indication as to when the new S740 series will be making it over from Japan?


October 7, 2009, 11:08 am

@ Hugo - Try Cowon's players.


October 7, 2009, 4:55 pm

@ Hugo - with HiFis I'd agree. I have a NAD stereo amp at home hooked up to a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s. The "tone bypass" is always engaged. But some headphones are another matter. My Sennheiser MX500s combined with my S639F sound flat without tweaking the S639F's excellent array of equaliser settings. My Grado SR60s are another matter however...


October 9, 2009, 6:58 am

I have a previous Sony NWZ-A815..a brilliant little player (metal casing as well), is this new one going to be any significant upgrade? The inclusion of radio is a big plus but other than that?

The screen may be too small for watching 30 mins plus programs on bbci player but who would want to do that anyway? It's perfect for music videos.

Also how are the earphones that come with it? The ones bundled with my A815 were pretty decent quality really..


October 30, 2009, 11:11 pm

I love this MP3. I definitely have no complaints what so ever. It was even easy to put on all my audio books from www.audiobooks.net without having to change the format or anything. This is a good buy.


November 1, 2009, 1:05 am

I dont know wether to get this the new NWZE443 OR the older walkman NWZA816b any help please.Which is better sound quality etc i noticed the older NWZA816b is still more expensive than the NWZE443.


March 2, 2010, 7:45 am

Quite agree with the recommended award, it produce a very good sound quality. I use Senheisser CX 300 II with it.

Some cons I have:

1. The supplied earphone not that good, it cannot accommodate the sound produced.

2. Cannot make playlist on the go.

3. If we use the custom equalizer it will change to flat setting when we enters the equalizer menu, but if we use the preset setting provided, it doesn't change to flat setting when we enters the equalizer menu, quite an inconsistency.


May 4, 2010, 12:16 pm

All comments are good but how come no one came to mention that it does NOT display lyrics? I couldn't display lyrics at all, be it embeded in the mp3 tag or if an lrc is placed in the same folder. This was very disapointing to me.


July 8, 2010, 6:21 pm

to all people looking to buy this player..

i've been using dis player for almost 7 months..absolutely no bugs.. may be the screen is small for a few people..other than tat it is gr8..battery life is also very good..shame on i-pod..

for people who think it's wise on spending money on worthy products, i seriously suggest dis player and it'll never let you down..


August 21, 2010, 3:14 am

Is a very good player.

FM radio is a real bonus.

Don't know how anyone could be without it.

I have the E445, 16 GB version.

Can anyone tell me, please, if it is possible to index stop points on radio or audio book recordings rather than having to start from scratch every time?

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