As this is designed for joggers, Sony has included a suitable strap for such a thing. It is a fully adjustable, stretchy, velcro strap. There is more than enough room for even the largest of arms. It’s quite comfortable (I wore it for a whole day without any discomfort). The strap is not removable from the plastic body, but hopefully it won’t get damaged in the wash.
Once fitted to your arm, there is still the question of where the headphones cable should go. I don’t think I’m wrong in suggesting that most of the time, you’ll be wearing a short armed T-Shirt. In which case, running the cable under the arm and out of the neck hole works fine. It certainly works better than having an MP3 player in your pocket as the headphone cable tends to occasionally snag and tries to rip the ear buds straight of my ears.
It does feel like quite a bit of a palaver, just to go out for a jog, but once you’ve worked out a routine it’s quite simple.
The S203F has a “G Sensor” to help monitor your performance while running. In order to get the best out of this, you must input your height, weight and striding distance. It will then be able to tell you exactly how many steps you’ve made, the distance you’ve run (calculated by your measured stride) and the calories burnt.
Setting these options, as for any option is a complete pain. First you most hold down the shared home/disp button to bring up the menu. Then you navigate your way through it using the track selector. Once you find your option and set it, instead of bringing you back to the menu you came from, so that you can adjust the next setting – it dumps you straight back to the currently playing song. A complete pain! However, most of these things will only need setting once and won’t have to go through it again.
Amongst calculating these statistics, you can also set a preset sports mode, where it will play music until you reach your chosen time limit, or chosen distance. There is also a stop watch, so you can time yourself. A quick press of the “disp” button, and it will display your vital statistics – great for mid run, where you want to know how much distance you’ve covered.
Where the player sits in the pouch, there is no real need for the hold button. It’s really easy just to reach across and change tracks. This is a function that is also useful when riding a bike as well (reaching inside your pockets when riding a bike is difficult).
Once I had gotten over the annoyance of changing settings in the menu system, I actually quite liked this player. It’s incredibly light, comfortable to wear and easy to change tracks, or get information mid-jog. The supplied headphones are good (an usual find) and sound quality is excellent. At £79.99 this an elegant solution, at a reasonable price, though at only £15 more you might want to plump for the 2GB version.
Score in detail