Since we unboxed the NWZ-W202 – one of Sony’s latest all in one portable music players, we’ve had some time to test it out.While the word “wearable” may not come across to many of you as being linked to a portable music player, indeed, the new Sony W202 is exactly that.
We don’t reckon that anyone would just by looking at Sony’s official picture (left) of the W202′s heart shape design and be able to instantly think and relate that to a music player. In fact, when it was first received, the latest W Series addition actually appeared awkward to us but extremely fascinating.
For those who have not yet seen our full gallery, you might like to head over to see how it works. Despite our first impression of its awkward design, once we picked up the W202, we felt it was lightweight (weighs 35g) and immediately realised how suitable it would be if one of us here at GadgetLite were actually a keen runner. There has been a trend in all-in-one music players for some time and probably one of the most notable leading brands in this field have been Oakley and their all-in-one music incorporated sunglasses. Other designs of all-in-one music players we’ve seen in the past also include iRiver’s N12, just doing a simple search would yield loads of results! Though the W202 isn’t a pair of sunglasses or a pretty necklace, what it lacks is clearly an advantage.
Available in a range of five different colours, the W202 doesn’t have earphone wires that tangle over each other and it is highly flexible and by that we mean that the position of its earphones are not fixed liked those of Oakley’s sunglasses, fitting heads of all shapes and sizes!
As you can see in our photo above, the two earphone pieces are linked together by a flexible plastic tube which as you can imagine plays a vital role for music play and control. Some of you may wonder at this point whether the W202 is made of a durable plastic material or whether it is the type that would wear out after a few months of use. We can appreciate even from the pink W202 which we received that Sony have put thoughts into the fact that the W202 was designed for active users who enjoy their sports. While, it doesn’t feel like it would crack open and fall into pieces after a single drop, we don’t recommend you test this out! Overall, the Sony W202′s design feels solid to hold and to use.
As you can see in the picture above, all of the Sony W202′s controls are hidden away on the under side of the right ear piece. They were easy to reach and get hold off, though you wouldn’t be able to see the controls while you are wearing them during your run. It is not difficult at all to remember which button is for which particular function. You may be wondering why there isn’t a switch to turn it on, in fact, there isn’t. Again, Sony have distinctly customised the W202 conveniently for active users. On the end where the two earpieces join together in the middle to form its heart like design is a piece of magnet (below), when these two magnets are separated, it activates and thus switches on the W202.
In order to keep the two earpieces together and avoid consumming the W202′s internal batteries when it is not needed, Sony has also included a plastic clipper which fits and holds them together:
Features / Functionality
With regards to range of functions, admittedly the Sony W202 isn’t an iPod with playlists, podcast functions, etc. However its main fuctions are as easy to us as it is to wear, here are the main technical features:
- 2GB storage holds up to 500 tracks
- 13.5mm EX Series headphones for clear and powerful sound, extreme comfort and high quality audio performance
- Battery life of up to 12 hours as well as 90 minutes playback time from a 3 minute quick charge
- Supported audio formats include mp3, AAC and WMA (DRM)
- Music Searching Methods
- ZAPPIN™ technology for quick song searches: Listen to the first few seconds of the chorus to find your favourite tracks
- Repeat or Shuffle and Repeat
As mentioned above, the controls are all on the right hand earpiece, with a multifunction jog dial and a volume controller. The inside edge sees a shuffle slider too, which you can engage for overall random music play. The jog dial handles everything you’ll want to do. A simple click acts as both play and pause, a sweep forward skips forward, a sweep back goes back. Overall, the W202′s functions and controls are extremely easy and simple to learn.
Some of you may be wondering what ZAPPIN is, Sony has created this piece of software and equipped it into the jog dial of the W202. In a way ZAPPIN counters the disadvantage of the W202′s lack of display. When ZAPPIN is activated with a long press of the jog dial. When activated, it acts as a way of quickly finding tunes you’ve put into the W202′s 2GB flash memory. Once activated, it will play you a short snippet of the song, if you want to listen to that, then a quick press resumes play. Its possible to change the length of clip between 4 and 15 seconds, depending on your preference. What’s more, if you turn off the player in ZAPPIN mode, it will startup in ZAPPIN mode too, so go straight into track skipping.
While its true, there is only one playback mode, we don’t believe there have been any compromise in soud quality. Music is played at a range of satisfactory volumes, which should be adequate for running outdoors and gym users indoors. The W202′s built in earphones in our view were quite capable of playing music with moderate bass, in fact, its music play is slightly “bassy”. Whilst this may not be an adjustable function, it should not affect you too much if you’re an e-book listening. Overall, the W202 deals great crisp, clarity to music play with an automatic added touch of bass and should generally suit whatever it is that you’re playing while you’re on the treadmill!
Though many of the features and design of the Sony NWZ-W202 have been completed in a practial way that would most suit active and sporty users, we could not come to an agreement whether the W202 would be practical and suitable for “regular” users who enjoy listening to abit of music while visiting the shops as it would appear quite awkward.
Sony boasts that using mini-USB (through the cable stand included) a 3 minute charge will give you 90 minutes of listening and a full charge will give you about 12 hours listening, again this further reinforces the convenience that the W202 has been designed to provide. Yes, the W202 certainly does have an advantage over the iPods for example, it is much less bulkier, lighter in weight and even if compared to the new iPod Shuffle, the W202 does not have earphone lines that act as the only source for music control, which would tangle about. Perhaps it would be best concluded that the W202 certainly has obvious advantages over current market portable music / MP3 player designs but it is not without its own shortcomings.
- Sophisticated, practical sporty design
- Lightweight and extremely comfortable for an all-in-one music player
- Package includes different sizes of earbuds for best fit
- We enjoyed the thought that Sony had put into even the smallest details such as the on/off mechanism of the music player itself
- Sufficient music player functions as an entertainment source primarily focussed for sporting
- Excellent battery features, perfect for instant on the go
- Generally speaking, if you don’t mind its design and are looking for an iPod alternative with better sound quality, the W202 would be a good candidate
- Fixed non-upgradable flash memory of 2GB will cost £59.00 (Product Page)
- Cannot be used as an alternative pair of headphones (lack of bluetooth for example) for other devices despite its great comfort
- Controls located on the right earpiece may be too small for those with large hands
More pictures of the Sony NWZ-W202, latest W Series all in one Walkman MP3 player from our unboxing gallery earlier on below: