Gear – MP3 Sony W Series my review.
I am not sure that I could live a life without tunes. I love my music all sorts from Classic to Rock, Trance to Bach. I think if you told me that you could have a watch or MP3 player on your run I would chose the MP3 player. But which MP3 player is best for on the run?
I want the following in a MP3 player for running specifically:
1. Good quality sound
2. Able to use the functions without looking at it
3. Volume adjustments within easy reach when pushing hard
4. Playlist easy to select
5. Easy to load and remove songs
6. Works in the rain and handles sweat
7. Ear position is comfortable on long runs
8. Small & little or no cables
I now have a player that almost does all of this perfectly. It is my favourite running partner. I mean that I will leave shoes off my feet but my ears will be covered. Running with sound just makes my runs that much better. It is my time to enjoy a great tune uninterrupted.
I have used iRiver, iPod Shuffle (4 of them now) iTouch, and the iPhone. Now I use the Sony W series MP3 player. Let’s start with a short list of minor faults for the Sony W series?
1. In very humid weather sweat forms in my ears and the ear buds fall out (rare event)
2. Battery life is only 6-8 hours (only a problem on a 70 plus km run)
3. If I don’t want to hear music the machine does not just hang around my neck
4. Does not have voice over like the iPod shuffle
These are small issues. Ear buds falling out in humid weather is something that I have found to be a problem with all the systems I have tried. During ultra-races I have taped bear buds in my ears to overcome this. I have not tried taping the Sony W series due to its size directly at the ear. But by drying off the bud during a run I get reasonable results holding it in my ear as required. In three months of use I have only had this issue happen 3-4 times. I have changed the bud size to large. This has mostly solved the problem except on the hottest of humid runs.
Now for the good part what rocks about this system:
1. I don’t need to clip it or arm band it or house in a special pouch it because it’s all in my ear
2. Rapid 3 min charge = 1 hour play back
3. Can use without a hat because there is no small cable hanging
4. Does not get caught on everything
5. So easy to load with songs and playlist from any format just drag & drop
6. Hangs around your neck when talking to other (not while running)
7. Great sound
8. selection of ear bud sizes is good
9. Water proof, I am happy to run with tunes in the rain
10. Buttons easy access even at a fast clip
11. The earphones that come with the MP3 sound great (No double spend)
12. It just plays music (I like it simple single function)
Basically these are essentially a set of headphones with the MP3 player build in. I have a 2G version which is the only version available in Australia. In the USA you can get more colours and 2 or 4G. The features that I love the most are easy to access buttons. You do not need to look at the system at all. Just turn it on and start running. Press play then adjust songs or play lists with your right hand and volume with your left. It is so easy to load your playlist out of iTunes. Removing content is a little harder but still quick.
I use to use, an iPod Shuffle with aftermarket ear phones wrapped around the adjustment band at the back of my hat. The cables had a tendency to get caught on everything. Especially annoying when using a pack as it would rip out the ear phones. This is now a problem of the past. With the Sony you can use any hat. It is so simple just plug them into your ears and you are running out the door in no time. If you are using ear warmers in winter they just go straight over. This really is the perfect music system for running.
The only feature that a iPod Shuffle has that the Sony currently does not is the voice over song title or playlist. This is a feature I used a lot in the past. Yes I miss it a little, but when you consider the rest the Sony W series has it hands down for running. I still use a iPod for non-exercise personal music. But if I had to choose just one player it would be the Sony W series. Overall I would give the system a 9/10 for function, form and value.