Review: Sony Walkman 4 GB Waterproof Sports MP3 Player

If you’ve been paying attention (and you should) you know I’ve been looking to further minimize what I carry with me during my daily runs. Prior to this effort I had been wearing the Microsoft Band, strapping my smartphone to my arm for music using an Armpocket armband, and wearing a set of Plantronics Bluetooth headphones. This has been my running gear for the longest time and has served me well. If not for my current mission of trying to eliminate extra gear, I’d still highly recommend the setup.

But, I believe I can do better.

I recently reviewed the Pyle Flextreme MP3 Player Headphones, which provided me the option to leave both my smartphone and the armband behind during runs. It may not sound like much, but even the small change felt surprisingly liberating. I said during that review that I expected to test more devices like the Flextreme in an effort to find just the right pair.

This past week I was in Minnesota at the Mall of America for a conference, and I had the opportunity to test a new set of MP3 headphones during the week – this time from Sony and bearing the familiar and famous Walkman branding. The Walkman set is very similar to the Flextreme with only a few exceptions:

  1. The Flextreme doesn’t support albums or folders – the Walkman does. Using the Walkman, you press and hold the skip button to move back and forth between folders (separate playlists or albums). The Flextreme only supports playlists and even if you place songs in folders only recognizes the songs and delivers the music in sequential order.
  2. The Walkman provides marginally better sound – particularly Bass.
  3. The Walkman provides quick charge capability. A 3-min quick charge equals up to 60-min of battery life.
  4. The Walkman offers customizable fit using a special rubber tether (see slideshow above).
  5. Both the Walkman and Flextreme offer unique charging solutions, but the Walkman option (in the slideshow above) seems more solid and the charging cradle doubles as a protective device for travelers.
  6. The Walkman sports a special ZAPPIN search feature that allows you to quickly find just the song you want for your pace by playing back just the main melodies until you pinpoint exactly what you were looking for.

Both are waterproof and both provide special earbuds for use while swimming. Both have 4GB of storage – essentially providing space for over 1,000 songs.

At $98, the Walkman is over twice the price of the Flextreme ($40), so you need to decide if what the Walkman provides extra is worth it. I’m happy with them, but the Flextreme is just as solid so far. You can find the Walkman on Amazon:

Sony Walkman NWZW273S 4 GB Waterproof Sports MP3 Player (Black) with Swimming Earbuds

EXTRA: Here’s an additional tip for fitness while traveling: get a Flipbelt. The Flipbelt is actually pretty awesome as it sits on your waist but allows you to safely and secretly carry your smartphone, hotel key cards, personal ID, and even credit cards should you need a cab back to the hotel if you get lost or need extra hydration along the way. It comes in five different sizes and is around $30 from Amazon.com: FlipBelt

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