Sony NWZ-W252 W Series Walkman MP3 Player Review

Sony NWZ-W252 W Series Walkman MP3 Player - 1Sony-NWZ-W252-W-Series-Walkman-MP3-Player-Review

In the 80s and 90s Sony dominated the portable media player market.  Then Apple came along and released the iPod.  Ever since Sony has been scrapping to keep pace and finally, after many years of denial, started building iPod compatible stereos, docks and bedside alarm clocks.  So does the Sony’s NWZ-W252 Walkman even warrant a look? Or, you might want to take a look at our review of Samsung’s tiny MP3 player: YP-F2 for another tiny MP3 option.

Sony NWZ-W252 W Series Walkman MP3 Player - 5

Fortunately, the day after I ran my iPod Shuffle through the washing machine, the NWZ-W252 showed up at my door.  So there couldn’t have been a better time to review the MP3 player.  The first thing I noticed about the Sony NWZ-W252 is that there are no cords to manage.  I ride a bike and always listen to my Shuffle or my iPhone while commuting to and fro.  More often than not the cords get tangled in my helmet, which may seem like a petty concern, but when it happens time after time I assure you it is not.  Everything needed to listen to the NWZ-W252 is contained directly in the headphones themselves, which includes all the necessary controls as well as a USB port for transferring and charging the device.

Use a Mac and iTunes?  No problem.  The NWZ-W252 is completely compatible.  The included software doesn’t support Mac OS X, but fortunately you can just drag and drop tracks directly from iTunes to the player (it holds roughly 1.68GB of music), which mounts as a flash drive on your desktop.  That’s it.  There is nothing more to do or any drivers to install.  Sony tossed in some additional software to facilitate transfers, but it’s PC compatible only, so I couldn’t review that.

Sony NWZ-W252 W Series Walkman MP3 Player - 6

A 3 minute charge can provide the NWZ-W252 with up to 90 minutes of playback time.  However, a 1.5 hour charge, a complete charge, can provide up to 11 hours.  I used my NWZ-W252 10 times for an hour at a time until I had to recharge the player.  This is on spec with Sony’s website.  When the battery begins to die the LED light changes from green to orange to red and the headphones emit a beeping noise.

The NWZ-W252 weighs 1.6oz (43 grams).  While significantly heavier than most headphones, they’re surprising comfortable and remained in my ears through most activies, though this didn’t include running since I loathe that activity.  Sony has engineered the NWZ-W252 to with stand moisture, which means you can sweat all you want and they’ll keep pumping out tunes.

Sony NWZ-W252 W Series Walkman MP3 Player - 7

Since the NWZ-W252 lacks a display, Sony has built a proprietary music scanning system called Zappin.  When engaged – you press and hold the play/pause button for a second or two – a voice says “Zappin in”.  It chooses a small snippet from each track and plays it.  Once you’ve found a song of interest you simply hit the play/pause button to deactivate the option, which is followed by the same voice stating “Zappin Out”.  It’s all rather cheesy, but hey, it works.

You can opt to listen to all your music or shuffle from song-to-song.  During my experience both options produced a shuffle play, which leads me to believe that the NWZ-W252 plays music by the order in which it is added, not by artist.  I didn’t like this since logic says that ‘all play’ should group or play by band, which in turn allows you to find tracks by a particular artist more easily.

Sony NWZ-W252 W Series Walkman MP3 Player - 4

The sound quality of the NWZ-W252 is well on par with most of today’s top headphones and MP3 players.  Personally, it thought it lacked bass, while Jeff felt as though it sufficed in the lower frequency department.  Bass on ear bud headphones can be very subjective as each person’s ear canals are shaped differently and thus provide a different level of bass response.  Sony provides up to 3 ear bud attachments to help quell this problem.   To much dismay the NWZ-W252 lacks an EQ function so there was no help there.

Sony NWZ-W252 W Series Walkman MP3 Player - 2

The only drawback of the of the NWZ-W252 is the way it looks when worn.  Which I should note is a completely subjective statement.  It can be best described as wearing a bluetooth headset on each ear.  Yeah, it looks that bad.  But than again the NWZ-W252 is intended for working out, so really this is a some what moot point.

Sony NWZ-W252 W Series Walkman MP3 Player - 3

So despite Sony struggling to find their niche in the portable media player market, the NWZ-W252 receives high marks for a solid sound performance, a decent battery life and easy operation. While it won’t supersede my iPhone for day-to-day casual listening, it’s a exceptional device and should be considered well before Apple’s latest iPod Shuffle.

A variety of sellers on Amazon sell it for about $60.

Pros:

  • Super easy to use, even with a Mac & iTunes
  • Solid sound quality
  • Decent battery life

Cons:

  • No display
  • Just 1.68GB of storage
  • Shuffle function flawed

Also why not check out:

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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18 Comments

  1. Hey, my sony havent been charged for 2 yrs.. but its still good, i just lost the charge. And i found a charger that siit the plug but it just beep.. and doesnt turn on.. I have charged it for hours.

  2. Can you help me please.
    I’ve lost my charger for sony walkman nwz w252.
    Where can i buy a replacement here in manila philippines?
    Hope to receive a response as soon as possible.
    Thanks in advance.

  3. I am facing problem on two fronts very recently charging even for hrs it is not holding even for half an hour and not recognise d by usb of my laptop any body out there with help

  4. My wife bought one for me from Japan. It is advertised as water resistant so you can rinse it. I didn’t even do that. Used it for my long bicycle rides. It suddenly stopped working. I called Sony. Although it was under warranty, they asked me to produce all documents with no commitment to fixing the problem. They said it is bought in Japan and not their problem (All done very polite)
    My friend had ipod from apple and had problem with it. They corrected it no questions asked.
    I do not recommend this unit. Not practical for running as it bounces and again on bicycle lasted only 7 months.

    1. That’s too bad Kaveh.  I had no problems during my review.  They now make an updated version.  The review is https://www.gadgetreview.com/2011/12/sony-nwz-w263-walkman-review.html

  5. i'm interested..i'm not a sport person, but i listen to music most of the time…love its wireless characteristic, but i wonder if i can use this while wearing my hijab…will it still be comfortable?because the ear bud seems like it will make hurt my ears…

    1. All depends on your ears.  Personally I had no problems, though the fit wasn’t as snug as it could have been, which meant reduced bass.

  6. just posted…I found the Mi-Sport previous model not heavy at all, comfortable and never fell off once. They can`t really as they hook over the ears.

  7. With regard to the Mi-Sport version.. I had a model of their previous pair and they are absolutely not too heavy and are secure. They hook over the ears. They are heavier than the Sony but it plays no part in anything and are actually more comfortable. I have worn very lightweight headphones that are uncomfortable, so comfort is far more important.

    They are a level above the Sony. Navigation through your music will be much better it looks like with this new model… and bluetooth…and fully submersible? For me it`s a no contest, although I bet the Mi-Sport will cost more.

  8. With regard to the Mi-Sport version.. I had a model of their previous pair and they are absolutely not too heavy and are secure. They hook over the ears. They are heavier than the Sony but it plays no part in anything and are actually more comfortable. I have worn very lightweight headphones that are uncomfortable, so comfort is far more important.
    They are a level above the Sony. Navigation through your music will be much better it looks like with this new model… and bluetooth…and fully submersible? For me it`s a no contest, although I bet the Mi-Sport will cost more.

  9. please provide your mac and itunes version because i just got one and it does NOT work with my Leopard Mac and tunes 9.2

  10. I'm glad you mention you ride a bike, I commute as well riding a bike.
    How about the sound while riding the bike ?
    Do you get too much noice from the air while riding or does it fit tight enough like the in ear headphones ?

    I'm thiking on buying this one as almost all headphone I use dont last more than 4 weeks as the cables breaks internally close to the plug after being bent (e.g. jogging or holding the ipod touch at waist level}
    Also while riding the bike unless you use in ear headphones or some sort of muffles for your ears the noise is intolerable.

    Thanks for your review and I will appreciate if you can comment on my question

    Robert

    1. don't buy!!!! I had the w202 and the new w252 models both crashed when I sweated on them…I don't like the head phones the guy below us is pitching either, looks heavy, big, and prone to fall off your head…

      Stephen

      1. just posted…I found the Mi-Sport previous model not heavy at all, comfortable and never fell off once. They can`t really as they hook over the ears.

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