A couple months ago, I bought the Sony E-Series Walkman 4GB MP3 Player (model NWZ- E353). There were a few reasons I decided to go with this Sony MP3 player rather than one made by Apple or SanDisk, which were both recommended to me by people on Twitter.
I didn’t want to use iTunes, I didn’t want anything with a touch screen, and I wanted something that had more features than an iPod Shuffle, so anything made by Apple was out of the picture.
I researched the SanDisk Sansa Clip+. Initially, this looked like an ideal candidate. It was small, and generally had all the features I wanted. It even had an SD card slot as a bonus, so I could increase my storage space if I wanted. I read consumer reviews which said that the physical build quality was not that good, and the clip breaks off easily, so this was discouraging. I also looked at the Sansa Fuze+. After test driving the Fuze+ at the store, I found that I really disliked the menu navigation system and the physical user interface. I found it difficult and unintuitive to navigate. Unfortunately, Best Buy did not have a demo unit for the Clip+, but if the menu system for the Clip+ was at all similar to the Fuze+, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I felt that the buttons on the Fuze+, which seemed to work by touch, were not responsive enough.
I researched other MP3 players, but either the consumer and editorial reviews did not impress me, or they were not available at my local Best Buy. I was limited to purchasing there because I received a Best Buy gift card.
I decided to go with the lower end model of Sony Walkman MP3 players, the E-Series. It has physical buttons, so I wouldn’t run into any moisture issues using it at the gym, as I might do with a touch screen. I explored the menu system at the store, and I found it a lot easier to understand than the Sansa menus. The battery life was significantly longer than the Sansa Clip+, with the Sony clocking in at 50 hours for music listening, compared to 15 for the Sansa Clip+ and 24 for the Sansa Fuze+. Small bonus was that the Sony E-Series included a picture viewer and video player, both of which I never use.
I have used my Sony E-Series for gym entertainment, on the airplane, and listening to music in bed. I use a pair of Sennheiser earphones that I’ve had for years. The listening experience is enjoyable, but I’m not an audiophile, so I don’t consider myself to have a discerning ear.
Loading the music onto the MP3 player is not difficult. You just use a USB plug to connect the MP3 player to your computer. You can either use the built in software to transfer files or drag and drop. You can create folders for different albums, and the music will be organised inside the MP3 player accordingly. One minor hassle is that you can’t create playlists using the MP3 player. You have to use Windows Media Player. In practice, I usually listen to music album-by-album, so the only playlist I have needed so far is my massive compilation of 80s music, however for anyone that likes to create playlists, this might be a deal breaker.
The physical form factor is small enough that it fits in a pocket. I like the design and appearance of the player more than the Sansa MP3 players. The only downside is that the front face, excluding the buttons, is glossy, so it is susceptible to smudges and scratches. My player has picked up a few minor scratches. I did look into a screen protector, but couldn’t find one that would fit it, particularly around the three main buttons on the front. Unlike iPods, this player isn’t so popular that everyone is making screen protectors for it.
Unlike one of the other MP3 players I have owned, the Sony E-Series has proven to be reliable. It is easy to use, and I am happy with my purchase.