Sony Walkman NWZ-B162 review

The NWZ-B162 charges quickly and clips to clothing securely but it's fiddly to use and offers no advantages over rivals from Apple and Sandisk

3 Oct 2011
Our Rating 
2/5
Price when reviewed 
28
inc VAT

Specifications

Sony's NWZ-B162 Walkman is a long, slim MP3 player around 9cm long but just 23mm at its widest point. It comes in a variety of snazzy colours (we're particularly taken by the blue one, pictured) and has a sturdy clip that makes it easy to attach to clothing or a backpack. This makes the NWZ-B162 a promising option for running or exercise sessions.

The player is simple to use. A tiny mono LED screen displays what's playing and a jog wheel lets you move back and forth between tracks. You can also use the jog wheel to navigate menus, but the jog wheel can be inaccurate, sometimes leading us to skip straight past the menu option we wanted and sometimes not responding at all.

Sony Walkman NWZ-B162 front

There's also a Zap button, which quickly skips through your music, playing a fragment of each track until you find one you want to listen to. Tracks can be played randomly or in order and sorted by artist, album, folder, playlist or a few other common tags. Shuffle mode shuffles in both directions, so there's no way of getting back to a track that you accidentally skipped or would like to hear again.

A bass boost button quickly and easily increases the player's already emphatic bass to levels that most people will find uncomfortable. We were surprised to find that at the player's default EQ settings, mid-tones sounded somewhat weak and easily overwhelmed by bass when compared to our reference Cowon and Apple MP3 players, particularly at lower volume settings. You can apply your own EQ settings, but this is fiddly. The player's output was a little quiet when we listened to it through third-party headphones, but it's an improvement on the supplied earphones, which sound fine but felt hard and uncomfortable and were prone to falling out of our ears.

Sony Walkman NWZ-B162

Part of this little player's appeal is that you only have to charge it for three minutes to get about an hour and a half's play time; perfect if you're just running out of the house. You can also quickly and easily add music by dragging and dropping files and directories onto the player. You can sync with Windows Media Player, although after a copying error one of our folders was impossible to delete.

This 2GB player costs almost as much as the ubiquitous Apple iPod Shuffle (4th generation), which is smaller, lighter, has a better clip and less bassy default audio settings. Unless you absolutely hate being tied to iTunes, you might as well buy a Shuffle, and if you want a display, you can get a higher-capacity Sandisk Sansa Clip+ 4GB for just a few pounds more.

Details

Price £28
Rating **
Headphone Rating **

Hardware

Capacity 2.00GB
Formatted capacity 1.83GB
Interface USB
Storage medium flash memory
Battery and charge options Li-ion, USB
Size 23x90x15mmmm
Weight 28g

Features

Device has screen? Yes
Viewable size 0.78 in
Native resolution mono LCD
Memory card support none
FM Radio no
Audio record options microphone
Video record options none
Supplied with headphones, clip

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 15h 5m
500MB transfer time 3m 17s
Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback No
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback No
Audio WAV playback Yes
Audio Audible playback No
Image BMP support No
Image JPEG support No
Image TIFF support No
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback No
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback No
Video WMV playback No
Video MPEG-1 playback No
Video MPEG-2 playback No
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback No
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support No
Video H.264 support No
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support No
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support No
Download compatibility none

Buying Information

Price per MB 1.4p
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.amazon.co.uk
Details www.sony.co.uk

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