Sony sent me a pink NWZ-E453 4GB to play around with for a while and to give you guys a review of it. So let’s get to it!
After unwrapping it and picking it up, my first thought was how lightweight it actually was. Second, how plastic’y it felt. I’m an iPhone/iPod guy so I’m probably a bit used to better build quality than what this plastic E453 was able to provide as a first impression, and probably most other MP3 players on the market as well. When looking at it, you would be forgiven to suspect that somebody within Sony handed their engineers an iPod Nano 4G and was asked to run it through the copying machine – and out came this Sony branded iPod. Cause it looks really, really inspired by the Nano 4G.
Even the menu system has some iPod Nano feel to it. There’s not much bad to be said about the menu system though, it’s really simple and really easy to use. Navigation is blazing fast with no “lag” or anything anywhere. No complaints!
But let’s get back to the build quality because that really left an impression with me. Just about everything on the Sony Walkman E453 feels plastic and not exclusive at all – including the enclosed earbuds, which by the way, are white – so another iPod similarity there. Don’t bother with the enclosed earbuds though if you care about the music entering your ears (this tip also applies to iPod’s and most other MP3 players on the market) – you need to go out and buy good quality earbuds or headphones if you want to really enjoy the quality of your music. And if you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home, then order a pair online, like Sony MDR-NC300D for example.
On the other side, it does feel kinda nice how lightweight it actually is. So I guess it boils down to what you prefer, a heavy metal/alu-based MP3 player or light plastic? I’m leaning towards the “heavier but better build quality”-side myself, but I’m not totally against the “light and plastic”-side either.
The display is a color 2″ QVGA LCD with somewhat low resolution. The photo below exaggerates a bit since it’s a macro photograph (thus it also shows how easy the display will pick up scratches), but even in normal use the display is not smooth looking and you can see the rough edges around text and icons.
While Sony Walkman E453 does support video playback (MP4 and WMV), the 2″ screen is probably not what you want to watch all your video podcasts on. It’s just too small. But it’s there and you can watch videos if you wanted to. Video playback is smooth though, no hiccups or anything. Just the low resolution, unfortunately.
Karaoke? Yeah, that’s one feature I didn’t really test that much…. let’s just say that I’m not a very good singer and leave it with that. Anyway, the karaoke feature works by automatically changing audio settings on the Walkman so that it lowers the vocal in the music, allowing you to do most of the singing while keeping the actual music playing at a normal volume level in the background. I’m sure this is a fun feature for some parties and music lovers.
This Sony Walkman comes with a bit of software known as Content Transfer. It’s very easy to use, almost too easy – not really that many settings or features available.
Automatic transfer allows you to “watch a folder” and automatically transfer the content to the Walkman. Meaning, you could have a Podcasts folder where you download podcasts to (perhaps automatically using some RSS/Podcast software) and then Sony’s Content Transfer will automatically transfer new podcasts to the Walkman. It does respect deletes done on the Walkman so if you delete a podcast because you’ve listened to it, it won’t transfer it over again the next time you connect the Walkman to your Windows computer.
You connect the Walkman to your computer using Sony’s proprietary USB connector, so don’t leave home without it, if you’re counting on synchronizing on the road.
I’m no audiophile, so for me, the sound quality seemed plenty. I couldn’t say anything bad about it. You have the option to play around with a built-in Equalizer, either presets or make your own, so you can adjust the sound a bit more to your taste in music.
In the United Kingdom, the Sony Walkman E453 sells for around £56 ($90) at Amazon. I’d say you get a decent MP3 player for that price. It’s 4GB so there’s not a lot of storage space available unless you decide to buy the NWZ-E454 with 8GB or NWZ-E454 with 16GB instead. While the screen is small and not a very high resolution, it still has color and it’s possible to watch videos if that’s what you like to do every now and then.
Walkman E453 is also available in different colors so you can find the one that goes perfectly with your style.
All in all, I’m giving Sony Walkman NWZ-E453 a 3 out of 5 rating. If it had more storage space (for the same price), or a better/bigger quality screen or just better build quality overall, I would easily have given it 4 stars – maybe even 5 stars if it had most of the things mentioned. If you’re into karaoke, then feel free to add another half star to my rating 🙂
Buying this Walkman is not going to leave you disappointed as long as you don’t have the highest expectations for the build quality and LCD screen.