Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review: Sony NWZ-W273 4GB W Series MP3 Walkman

I have been on the lookout for a waterproof MP3 player for a number of years now and I stumble upon the advertisement for Sony's NWZ-W273 on YouTube. The immediate reaction was I need to get this as it seems to be the most compact design one available in the market so far. While that was my reaction, I couldn't grab hold of one locally. Few months later, I happened to be on a long distance trip and needed to transit via Japan for a few hours. This caught my eyes immediately when I drop into the Sony products area and of course I grab hold of one. Now that I've used it for a few occasions, I wouldn't recommend it for swimming.

For starters, this product is compliant to IEC60529 and is IPX5/8 rated for its "Degrees of protection against ingress of water". In simple terms, waterproof to a certain extend (theses are from user manual):
  1. Exposed to direct streams of water from any direction in a situation where approximately 12.5 l/min of water is supplied for more than 3 minutes from a distance of about 3 m using a nozzle with an inner diameter of 6.3 mm (exclude headphone sections)
  2. Operatable even when submersed in water to a depth of 2 m for 30 minutes.
The player itself is like the previous W262 series MP3 players released by Sony, with the exceptions of the following:
  1. Waterproof
  2. USB Cradle for charging / syncing purposes
  3. Adjustment band
  4. 4GB storage
There's no doubt that it would be the same in terms of the performance and usage when it comes to land based workouts, therefore I will focus on the major difference - swimming.

From the start, I have already stated that this is not recommended for swimming. This is because the player does not rely on Bone conduction for transmission unlike other competitor models. This is of course due to the fact that it was designed for land based sports in mind too. On that note, I found that it is very much impossible to keep it water tight when swimming - I've tried with the supplied ear buds and double flange ear buds: JLAB JBuds Pro Tips Double Flange. With the double flange ear buds, I was able to swim 100m before enough water has got in to affect the audio quality - bassy or no sound at all. So to set the expectations, high bass music is probably what you will get most of the time in the water.

Other than audio quality, the build of the player is much easier to handle than competing swimming mp3 players. The weight is ~29g which is light, has a neck band with the adjustment band for a secured fit. It does not dislodge when fitted properly during flip-turns. However when it does gets off, do note that it sinks rather than float.

Overall, it is a similar package with the predecessors of the series. The software and operations of the player are not hard to master and does provide adequate functions as an mp3 player. I do hope to see a waterproof ear tip from Comply to improve the audio quality in water.

What's Good

  • The player is well constructed, compliant with Ingress Protection ratings (IP Code)
  • Easy to transfer music, drag and drop or with supplied software for both Windows and Mac
  • Comfortable to exercise with it
  • It works underwater and you could swim with it
  • ZAPPIN is a good way to navigate to the songs you want

What's Bad

  • It's hard to prevent water from getting in and when it does, either the music gets drowned totally or becomes bassy.


A good list of IP Code and their explanations is available on Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_Code

For more information on the player, visit Sony - http://discover.store.sony.com/sportswalkman

If you like to reward me for the review with an Amazon purchase - Sony NWZ-W273 4GB Waterproof Walkman Sports MP3 Player

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