- Fast charging
- Naff shuffle mode
- Fairly low volume
Review Price £26.59
The NWZ-B162 is another one of Sony's budget stick MP3 player models. Virtually identical to the NWZ-B152 before it, and not too far removed from 2009's NWZ-B142F, its release isn't going to set pulses racing but it is one way to get a portable MP3 player without spending too much cash.
The NWZ-B162 is small in size and high on convenience. Its coloured end cap hides a full-size USB socket, letting you plug this player directly into your computer, just like a flash drive. Once plugged-in, it acts much like a memory stick too, letting you drag and drop files directly into the player's file system. It's a style that fits well with the limited 2GB memory. This will hold around 20 albums, so will require frequent hook-ups with your PC unless your on-the-go music collection is very limited.
Low price, low 28g weight and the supplied clip, which is an optional extra that slots into the back, cast this player as a good match for sporty types. The quick charge function comes as a huge bonus here too, supplying enough battery life for a long workout after just a 90 second charge. Total battery life isn't impressive by today's standards, at 18 hours, but not having to worry about the "Battery Empty" message just before heading out for a run is a blessing.
The rotary dial is the main navigational tool of the Sony NWZ-B162, which also works for gym bunnies as it's easy to find and operate without a single glance at the player itself. One part isn't so well-suited for an active life though - the USB end cap.
There's some friction to keep it in place, but that's it. Give it a light yank and the cap comes off, with nothing to stop it from bouncing away under a bed, down a drain or under the wheels of oncoming traffic. It'll work without the cap - it's just a piece of plastic - but then the NWZ-B162 won't look and good and won't handle the elements quite as well.
Selling at £30 though, this is a player to use and abuse rather than cherish. This is something that seeps through into the design, whose sense of style is supplied as much by that all-important Sony logo as the shiny colourful elements. It's functional, not luxurious or desirable like the pricier, less compact Sony A845.