The Sony Walkman W202 was first spotted last February during their Summer 2009 launch. They sent in a unit for me to try out. Check out the review after the jump.
The design and construction alone of this wearable Walkman gives a good hint that it’s made for the gym and the outdoors. The rubber cord wraps around the back of your head and hooks over the ears while the in-ear earphones snugs really well that no amount of physical movement could possibly break it loose (unless somebody yanks it off).
The earphones though looked like some Bluetooth headset at first glance so it might solicit some mixed reactions. If that’s not much of an issue, the Walkman is pretty comfortable to use.
There are only a few essential controls found on the left ear piece — two small buttons for volume control, a switch for shuffling songs and a jog dial to control music playback. The jog dial also serves as a play/pause button as well as control for the Zappin feature (a music browsing feature that plays about 5 or 15 seconds of the most familiar track of the song).
There’s Â a magnet strip at the end of the earpieces that snaps them together. Snapping them off turns on the device and putting them back turns the Walkman off. A tiny blue LED light indicates that the device is operating and another LED strip for battery status.
The Walkman also comes with this cradle that serves as a USB charging station and song transfer. It has a quick-charge feature that gives you 90-minutes of playback with just 3 minutes of charge time. Battery life is just over 10 hours on my test by Sony claims it can do 12 hours on a full charge.
The Content Transfer app allows for drag and drop transfer from WMP11 or iTunes for MP3, WMA and AAC file formats. Settings also allows for automatic sync of songs from iTunes to the device. However, the review unit I had only has 2GB of storage so if you have a large music collection, you need to have a song selection in a separate folder for synching.
Sound quality of the Walkman is great. The low and high ranges are pretty clear and cranking up the volume to the highest setting doesn’t produce any noticeable distortion. The bass is not too strong but just enough and the volume levels are adequate (from 0 to 30 on the controls).Â There’s no noise-cancelling function but since the earphones are Â in-ear, a significant amount of ambient noise is filtered out.
I was actually hoping it would have Bluetooth so that I could stream music from other devices into it. That would have also solved the lack of storage capacity of this model.
The Sony Walkman W202 might not be one music player for regular use and I don’t think it will replace an iPod and earphone combo for most people. However, it might appeal to some specific crowd that’s looking for a light (35 grams) and comfy alternative during workout or some outdoor activities. I’d personally consider this a secondary music player that I might only use in the gym.