Unlike the Samsung YP-4 and iRiver’s T7 Volcano, the B133 hides its built-in USB connector the old fashioned way – under a plastic cap. There’s nothing too much wrong with that and a proper USB plug arguably makes a sturdier connection than the slimmed down, pop-out plugs in the aforementioned devices. All I would say is that the bulk of the player can make it hard to get any other USB cables into adjacent ports while the Walkman is plugged in.
Still, once connected you can easily copy across files and folders either by straight drag-and-drop or using Windows Media Player (or the media applet of your choice). Unfortunately, the easy drag-and-drop file transfer utility that ships with the S and E series Walkmans is not included, though in practice I haven’t really missed it.
In short, we’re talking basic price, basic spec, basic features. The Voice Recorder works well enough for light note taking or the odd meeting, and you can customise the volume of the built-in microphone to suit your needs. If you want radio, two other Walkmans in the B series, the B133F and the B135F, include an FM tuner for around £5 more than the straight B133 and B135 models. Otherwise the only feature worth mentioning is a pulsing lightshow around the play button; fine if you like that sort of thing, but a bit dull after the glowing LEDs and screensavers of the Samsung YP-U4. And while I’m moaning, the B133 doesn’t shine in one area where its bigger siblings excel: at 16 hours, the battery life is only average.
Still, the strength of the Walkman brand has always been the sound. Surely the B133 carries on in that fine tradition? Well, the B133 is a decent sounding player, and a slightly stronger one than the YP-U4 or the T7 Volcano when given the right material. The sound through the supplied headphones is best described as competent; a little on the thin side, but with a good, solid bass when you use the Bass Boost button or switch EQ from ‘none’ to ‘heavy’ or ‘pop.’ In fact, playing ”Paranoid” from Kanye West’s weird but oddly wonderful ”808s and Heartbreak”, you could even describe the sound as being a little too bass heavy, though the warm keyboard sounds and Auto-tuned vocals cut through clearly enough.
The same impressions come through with rockier material. Spin ”Revelations” from Audioslave’s album of the same name and the booming guitars, pumping bass and crunchy riffs make a potent background for Chris Cornell’s typically beefy vocals.