This will be a quick one. I’m currently cruising at 35,000 feet on my way to Edinburgh and I only have half an hour left before they tell me to switch off all my offensive electrical devices.
One of these devices is the black Sony W202 Walkman I acquired this month. This is Sony’s ultra portable wearable, wire-free MP3 player. This thing is not sexy; in fact the reflection in the window tells me I have two first generation Bluetooth headsets creeping onto my face. Maybe this is why people are staring? But is it practical? The ample 2GB memory stashed in the earpiece eliminates the need for any other hardware which means no wires – It fits snugly too. It’s much lighter than it looks and it seems to be staying in place. The controls are on the earpiece; everything I need, skip forward, skip back, and volume adjustment. These controls only take a minute or two to get used to. If I hold the skip dial down and push forward then the player goes into Zappin mode. In Zappin mode I hear a recognisable excerpt from each of my tracks in turn so I can easily find any song I’m looking for without the need for a display, in short, it doesn’t jump from intro to intro, but plays a part of each track I can actually distinguish. Brilliant! The whole headset is flexible so I can throw it in and out of my handbag without worrying about it too much, and I’m not sure if colour comes under practical but if I were to dye my hair pink, green or purple I could get a set in each of these colours to blend. Hmm.
So it’s practical, but does it sound good? Sony has incorporated their in-ear EX headphones keeping their pledge to give us the best possible sound out of the box every time; even from a player they consider secondary. I have a good bass, clean treble and it’s not bad at high volume either – sorry seat 24A. This surprised me, I thought there would be a compromise somewhere given the design but it really is very good. (This is actually the reason I excitedly climbed over 24A to get my laptop and tell you about it.).
So it sounds good, but is it simple to manage my tunes? It comes pre-loaded with content manager software – no Sonic Stage! – I get a little box pop up on my desktop every time I plug it in, into which I drag music files, in just about any format, from Windows Media Player, iTunes (non DRM only), or from folders on my computer. I got a docking cradle in the box, which also acts as a charger. Plug the player in for 3 minutes and I’ll get a 90 minute workout out of it. Plug it in for 30 minutes and i’ll get a 12 hour plane journey – I’m told by the box the maximum charge.
I think that just about covers it. As I’m by an exit I now have to climb back over 24A and put my laptop away above his head. I’m keeping the W202 on though. I’ve been given a boring black set but it blends in with my hair.