My day to day MP3 player is the Sony Network Walkman NW-E507. I love this player, and I feel it was severely overlooked in the market, and too quickly replaced by Sony. However, despite its lack of media coverage, any of my friends who has seen it has instantly wanted one and a couple of them even bought one.
The new Sony Network Walkman NW-S203F is very different. Although it is a similar MP3 player, it is pitched entirely at sporting types, with specific features to help.
Weighing in at an amazing 26g, it’s lighter than my bunch of keys – even the smaller set (house and shed keys) that I usually detach when I’m going riding. It actually feels quite similar to some remote controls I’ve seen with some devices – let alone a player by itself. It’s available in 512MB, 1GB and 2GB varieties – my review sample featured 1GB.
Much like the E507, it uses a three tiered toggle switch for selecting tracks. Pull it all the way to the outside edge and you can select the album (by twisting it like the accelerator on a motorbike). The middle is for selecting the track, and the final position is hold.
The play and stop button is pretty obvious, but also doubles up for selecting options in the menu. I find the button a little on the small side, unlike the E507 which has a much bigger button that is very thumb friendly. Although this is curved in an attempt at ergonomics, its thin feel and harsh edging irritates my thumb.
The headphone socket is at the top of the player, by the jog dial. The other end of the player twists off to reveal a mini-USB connector, with the top held on via a tough looking piece of plastic. However, the USB connector is inset into the body of the player which means you can’t use a standard mini-USB cable, it needs to have a slightly longer connector. Looking round the office, I found that we had a good mixture of both varieties, so this is hardly proprietary on Sony’s front. But it does mean that when you go to charge your device at a friends house, their cable might not fit. It’s still better than having a proprietary cable though.