I'm not one to moan, but I put myself through a fair bit in the line of duty for TrustedReviews. I put up with ropey MP3 players and low-quality bundled headphones. I listen to music I wouldn't ordinarily wish to be caught dead with, yet then find myself humming it on the street days later. I struggle through games as awful as Space Siege or Fracture just to make sure they're as bad as my intuition informs me. They always are. But with the NWZ-W202 I've taken self-sacrifice to a whole new level. I've actually been out jogging!
I haven't done it for years, and after the hour or two it took me to recover I remembered why. Yet the NWZ-W202 deserved the effort, as my night-time run convinced me of what I'd already suspected: that this is the best audio player for active pursuits I've seen.
At first, the form factor seems rather gimmicky. Whereas rival products like the iPod Shuffle or Philips GoGear Spark are still essentially conventional MP3 players, just smaller, lighter and attachable to clothing, the NWZ-W202 is a true one-piece design, with the player effectively integrated into a pair of in-ear headphones.
The battery and electronics are packed into two slimline units that sit on top of the ears, with the earpieces protruding inside your lug'oles, and the whole caboodle kept in place by the toughened, springy cable that fits around the back of your head. At first, it does look a bit silly - as if you're so self-important that you've attached two Bluetooth headsets to your head with a piece of thick wire - but in actual fact it's not too bad. In fact, if you find the black models I looked at too understated, you can also get the NWZ-W202 in pink, yellow, purple or white.