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Sony Walkman NWZ-B152 review

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Sony Walkman NWZ-B152
  • Sony Walkman NWZ-B152
  • Sony Walkman NWZ-B152
  • Sony Walkman NWZ-B152
  • Sony Walkman NWZ-B152

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Decent sound quality
  • Drag-and-drop file management
  • Display

Cons

  • Build quality

Key Features

  • USB port
  • Drag-and-drop file management
  • Zappin track browser
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: free/subscription

It’s not too expensive, the controls are pretty intuitive and the sound quality is as good as you can expect from an MP3 player in this class. You really don't need to know much more about the Sony NWZ-B152 to tell that it's a compelling alternative to the 4th Gen Apple iPod shuffle for those in the market for a music-playing gym companion.

Of course there's more to the story than just those basics, and Sony doesn't have an entirely cut and dry victory on its hands. At £28 the NWZ-B152's 2GB of capacity is about £8 less than an equivalent iPod shuffle, but the Walkman is a larger device, making it slightly less portable. A decent part of that bulk comprises the USB port, which is hidden under a cap that's almost begging to go missing.

The build quality of the NWZ-B152 isn't outstanding, with the plastic casing feeling, well, plasticy and the Forward/Back control proving a little wobbly. There's enough metal that is doesn't feel horrendously budget, but it’s definitely a step down from the more rigid construction of Apple's players.

On the plus side, that USB connector allows you plug directly into a computer to transfer music rather than fumble around for the appropriate cable or dock. In doing so, you can immediately drag music onto it giving it a notable advantage over rival players that require software to manage their libraries. That said, we think that most iPod shuffle buyers will have a larger iPod as well, so they'll probably not care as much about their gym-bound player needing also needing to use iTunes. Not that we wouldn't opt for drag-and-drop transfers every time given the choice.

One particularly notable feature of the NWZ-B152 is the player's ability to pull 90 minutes of power from just three minutes of charging. If you're the type not to notice you've forgotten to charge your player until you come to use it, this will prove a very useful ability. On a full charge the NWZ-B152 claims 18 hours of playback while an iPod shuffle is good for just 15 hours. However, in our use we found ourselves wanting the change the music on the device - 2GB is good for less than 500 tracks - before we needed to recharge it; naturally jacking in to update the songlist charges the battery so the it never ran down fully in everyday use.

thomasthetanker

February 20, 2011, 2:20 am

I've the 143 and its very useful. Think of it more as a USB stick that can play music and doesn't need iTunes.

SJW

February 20, 2011, 11:33 am

One feature that has been overlooked is the FM tuner. If I'm at the gym I prefer to bring an FM tuner so I can tune into one of the tvs on display, rather then listen to music. Of course the latest gen ipod nano has FM, but at twice the price.

Ouroboros

February 21, 2011, 5:46 pm

I love my sony w252 as I find it the perfect mp3 player: no wires, great fit, long battery life, splashproof/sweatproof, and decent music quality. I don't miss not having a display as I know what tracks are on each playlist, but then I only have 100 or so tracks on. As Thomasthetanker mentioned, being able to drag and drop is essential!

kingosticks

February 21, 2011, 5:59 pm

The Sansa Clip+ also has a display, and additionally has the FM tuner, MicoSD card expansion and no need for iTunes! If you're going to stretch the extra £7-10 it's a better buy than a Shuffle.

stranded

February 21, 2011, 9:34 pm

A friend of mine has bought this player. Horrible display illumination-song presentation modes Sony picked for this device. Other Sony players i have seen the last 10 years have not this problem.

MrGodfrey

February 24, 2011, 11:53 pm

I agree the Sansa Clip+ is better value and probably a better player overall - I certainly like mine - but I also appreciate the usefulness of being able to plug a PMP directly into a USB port without having to remember a USB lead.

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