Sony NW-E507 - Excellent Choice, Though iPod Nano Temtping at 2/4GB
Written: Nov 21, 2005
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
I purchased the Sony NW-E507 just over a month ago. I was considering this against the 2GB iPod Nano and it was a close call as:
- Both are flash based players (this is key to me, as I wear it while I am walking, on a plane/bus etc, and never have subscribed to the theory that a device that has a disc spinning at 5,000+ rpm with a head that hovers a few microns above it is suitable for use on the go)
- In Australia, the 2GB iPod Nano was priced just below the NW-E507.
- I rip all my MP3's off my CD collection at a 192kb bit rate. It makes a difference, even over 128kbs - in a quiet setting - so memory is important as each song take 4MB to record at a 192kb bit rate.
- I wanted a radio, as I enjoy listening to the morning radio programs while on my 1hr+ bus trip to work.
- Apple had a poor track record with its batteries.
- Sony has a good track record in audio quality (I have a Sony Clie PDA, and the music quality on that is good, though memory is very limited).
Key factors that finally swayed me to the Sony was audio quality, radio and battery life.
Memory - At 192kb bit rate I was able to fit 163 songs onto the device. Obviously ripping whole albums is not really an option for me, so I had to select all my favourites, so being able to put music into separate folder was of no real use to me. In addition, the device has in-built search functions where you can search by either artist or album.
Transferring music to the device using the Sonic Stage software was no problem. It can take MP3s direct without conversion. Though Sonic Stage puts a unique identifier to each song meaning you cannot upload songs from the NW-E507 to other devices, except from the computer that the song was downloaded from. This piece of copy protection while wonderful in terms of digital rights management, means that you can only manage the device effectively off one computer, and you can't use other Windows programs (like Explorer) to manage your music files. When you view the device as a drive in Explorer all of your music files just come up as standardised filenames which the player only understands. The MP3 tagging system worked a treat as Sonic Stage takes the Artist Name and Album from the MP3 id tags (I use software that allows you to edit MP3 id tags by right clicking on the music file in Explorer, so correcting information on the MP3 tags was simple). The only drawbacks I have with Sonic Stage software is the inability to equalise the loudness of the tracks (I listen to mainstream pop), so it means I need to put up with adjusting the volume for soft and loud songs on playback or just put up with the difference in volume.
Audio quality - very good. The supplied headphones, while ear buds, do a good job. Given I already use Sony ear buds on my Clie, I found these earbuds comfortable.
Battery life - incredible. I played 90 songs before the battery indicator went from fully charged to 1 blip down. Takes under 2 hours to fully recharge. Using the radio tends to chew up power a little faster. I use it for 1-2 hours per day and find I only need to charge it once per week. I have yet to run the battery down to the last blip.
Portability - Brilliant. The device comes with a clip. I wear it in either my shirt pocket, or trouser pocket. It's about the size of 2 short pens tied together, and not heavy at all (official weight is 37g). Its a godsend when sitting in taxis/buses/planes, waiting around in airport lounges and walking.
Display - Fantastic and clear. Std display shows artist, song title, track number, elapsed time and battery status. Display can also show time and some bubbles. Only drawback is in direct sunlight when it becomes invisible, and very difficult to distinguish even with your hand cupped around the display.
Radio - Sound quality very good. Reception - average, it sits firmly in the middle of the radio reception on my Nokia 7150 mobile phone (pass a tall building and you will hear interference), and a car radio.
Ease of use - One toggle (play, FF, RW, track fwd, track back), 2 volume buttons, 2 buttons on the face (display/menu/radio), and 1 button on the back for repeat makes this device easy to use. The manual is largely redundant.
Minor con - Airport Customs mistake this player for a lighter. Always get asked - What is it ?
If you are looking for a good quality, take anywhere, forget that you are wearing it, all round music player that can play MP3s and radio, then this Sony is an automatic choice. Just don't mind the copy protection Sony overzealously applies.
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Amount Paid (US$): 225
Recommended for: Athletes - Lightweight and Portable, Perfect for the Gym