Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sony Walkman NWZ-E384 8GB Review Part 1: My iPod Replacement

"Who doesn't have an iPod?"

Product placement works and apparently, it does wonders on me. After watching Silver Linings Playbook, I just had to have an iPod Classic. Lucky for me, I already had an iPod Shuffle from two years ago that I was getting sick of -- not so lucky for the Apple Corporation.
Sony Walkman NWZ-E384 hooked up to Sennheiser Momentums
My short portable music player history
The first portable music player I ever had was a Creative Muvo N200 acquired at the low price of $100. That was during my second year of college and I took that thing everywhere. It eventually died on me and my professors started getting annoyed by people wearing earphones in class -- I was surprisingly never caught despite being the worst offender.

The device eventually failed and it wasn't until two years ago, when I found out that voices carry in offices, that I was in the market for a new device. Being so out of it and just wanting something functional, I went for one of the cheapest options possible that also required the least amount of deciding: Apple iPod Shuffle.

It worked okay. More recent generations of iPod Shuffles are extremely light and tiny. I've dropped my player many times and my ears -- with ear buds attached -- caught it every time. Battery life was acceptable at around 15 hours (never really timed it), it worked with iTunes that I used regularly, and the sound quality was fine. For $50 ($25 during major sales), it's quite the device. But at some point, the lack of an LCD, the need -- as far as I know -- to use iTunes and AAC files, my unwillingness to convert my large collection of WMA music files ripped from purchased CDs, and battery life got to me. This was probably a year into regular use of my Shuffle.

Looking for a new player: What I wanted
1. LCD screen
2. WMA file support
3. Battery life longer than 15 hours

The iPod range of products are cool and functional, which is probably why they're so popular -- I count marketing with "cool". What I realized, though, was that the thing I wanted most was a WMA file compatible music player. As for the other criteria: most regular-sized players have display screens and their batteries appeared to usually have over 25 hours of battery life for music.

Googling for iPod alternatives lead to a very interesting collection of websites and communities. The best alternative appeared to be the SanDisk Sansa at one point. I even added it to an Amazon order once, went up to the order confirmation, and then proceeded to remove the item -- I was feeling cheap that day.

Somewhere down the line, I stumbled upon the Sony Walkman product line -- not that hard considering how small the portable music player market has become in 2013 with the popularity of smartphones and iPods. This was actually among my top three choices when I acquired my iPod Shuffle years ago to be perfectly honest. No surprise, I cheaped out because it was about $80 and the Shuffle was $50. The second time around, it was discovered by yours truly that the Sony Walkman not only played WMA files, but also AAC files. Being able to play WMA files was essential. To be able to play AAC files was absolutely brilliant considering the amount of stuff I buy off iTunes.
Sony Walkman NEWZ-E384 Overview
The Sony Walkman NWZ-E384 8GB

According to the Sony UK website, this is the 8 GB model with in-ear headphones, a 4.5cm (1.77" @128x160 pixels) LCD screen, and it has up to 30 hours of battery life. Also stated is that, among other files, it supports non-DRM MP3, WMA, and AAC files. There are also 4 GB and 16 GB models.

From my personal observations, there are separate jacks for plugging in the headphones and data transfer/charging cable (USB mini-B). The buttons are of the physical push-down variety and the screen is not touch sensitive. Also, there's a FM radio receiver.

I thought this was a United Kingdom and Canada model, but it shows up on the story, so guess not. There's a similar model on Sony Walkman NWZE374/BC 8GB. I'm not completely sure what the difference is, but I read something about being the file types supported.

No comments:

Post a Comment