Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sony Walkman NW-E390 Music Player Impressions: NWZ-E384 update?

Looks like Sony updated their line of Sony Walkman digital music players recently with the NW-E390 series recently. Only reason I noticed was because I was surfing the Best Buy website. Why do I care? Because I bought the Sony Walkman NWZ-E384 years back to replace an iPod Shuffle -- wanted more storage, battery life, to not have to import music using iTunes, and a screen. I took a look at the specifications of the Sony NWE394 and NWE395 models just to see what I was missing.
A Sony Walkman NWZ-E384 Music Player
Disclaimer: I had not had any firsthand experience with any Sony Walkman NW-E390 series products when I wrote this piece. Details were quoted from the Canada website or United States website in late July 2016. Details on this page are NOT guaranteed for accuracy.

How did the Sony Walkman NWZ-E384 work out?
I picked it up around 2013 and used it extensively at an old job to avoid disturbing people in adjacent cubicles when blasting music. They were used with a set of Sennheiser Momentum Over-ear headphones and enjoyed quite a bit. What I liked most was the file support or transfer ability that allowed me to move my collection of music without having to use iTunes or convert files. Battery life was also exceptional. Think I only recharged the device once a week despite using it for an hour or more a day, five days a week. And the price at the time was like CA$ 85. See my review linked above for more details.
Rear View: Sony Walkman NWZ-E384
First Impressions: The Sony Walkman NW-E390 Series Music Players
Stop the presses: there is no "Z" in the model name. Not sure how significant that change was and if that was supposed to suggest that it was very different from the NWZ-380 series. Anyway, while the NWZ-380 series was no longer listed on the website, it was on the American website, along with the NW-E390 series. This made a side by side comparison of the specs a little easier.

On the United States site, I found only the NW-E393 (4 GB) and NW-E394 (8 GB) models. However, on the Canadian and American Best Buy websites, I found the NW-E395 (16 GB) model available. The prices listed on the American Best Buy site:

Sony Walkman NW-E393/B (4 GB): US$ 64.99
Sony Walkman NW-E394/B (8 GB): US$ 74.99
Sony Walkman NW-E395/B (16 GB): US$ 94.99

These prices appeared to be in line with the "Starting at" price of US$ 64.99 on the American Sony website.

Under the "Full Specifications" link for the NW-E390 on the American Sony site, the weight listed was 1.38 oz for the NW-E393 and NW-E394. In comparison, the weight of the NWZ-E383/4/5 was listed as 1.83 oz on the same site. Listed "Dimensions (W X H X D)" were "1.69 x 3.62 x 0.39 in" for the E390s and "1.69 x 3.43 x 0.39 in" for the E380s. So, the E390 series supposedly was slightly lighter and a bit taller.

Still from the American, both NW-E390 models and the three NWZ-E380 models appeared to share some details. The ones that got my attention: "128 x 160" "Display Resolution," a "Screen Size" of "1.77 in," and an "FM Tuner." There were some differences when it came to software or electronic features -- on paper at least, since specs sometimes aren't the same for the exact same product between websites. The "Audio Formats" appeared to be a match between the two product lines though. One major difference that got my attention was the "Battery Life - Continuous Playback Music" of "35 hours (approx.)" for the E390 series and "30 hours" for the E380. A potential increase of 5 hours.

Only pictures of the front bezel were available when I checked the American Sony site. It looked like the NW-E390 Walkman had sharper, more squared edges. And the color of the player's shell appeared to be a consistent color, as opposed to the pattern on the NWZ-E380. They both appeared to have a similar button layout on the front. However, I noticed two raised items on the right-side of the NW-E390 photo. No such buttons were on the NWZ-E380 photo -- my own NWZ-384 didn't have any buttons that I could see on the sides or back other than a "Reset" pin-hole on the rear. Could they be volume buttons?

Final Thoughts
The Sony NWZ-E380 series of digital music players may have been replaced by the Sony NW-E390 series. From what I could tell after reviewing product photos and specifications on the Sony website, this replacement came with a few differences. The ones that caught my eye: a slightly longer rated battery life, a slightly taller body, a more squared off shape, more consistent bezel coloring, and maybe an extra physical button or two on the side. Some electronic or software features may have also changed. In terms of American currency, the E380 and E390 Walkmans appeared to be priced roughly the same. Not the most exciting update ever but if I had to replace my still working Sony NWZ-E384, I would definitely consider the NW-E394 or NW-E395.

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