By April 18, 2010

Sony NWZ-A845 Walkman review

nwz_a845 We have here the latest instalment of Sony’s Walkman media players the NWZ-A845. The first thing that comes to mind for me is “Is the device as good as it looks? And will it be an IPod Nano beater?” To find out if the answers to these questions are yes; I have prepared a full review of the device for you to make your own judgement and maybe for you to answer them for yourselves.

Introduction

Sony as a company have been making walkman MP3 and media players for many years always improving on what they previously released to the point where people say ‘wow’. Here at tracyandmatt we have had quite a few of Sony’s MP3 and media players to have a play around with and to also review and we have always been very impressed with the sheer quality of the devices so when I received this one I definitely expected it to give the same impression. We first heard about the product early in January of this year so we have been really anxious to get hold of one to review so when we finally received it I jumped at the chance to do the review.

 

What’s in the Box?

  • Sony NWZ-A845 Walkman Media player
  • Noise Cancelling Headphones
  • Extra Ear buds (Large and Small)
  • Docking Adapter (For use with optional cradle)
  • 3.5mm Audio input cable
  • USB 2.0 Sync/charge cable
  • Plug adapter for use in-flight
  • PC software (Stored on flash memory of the device)
  • Quick start guides of different languages
  • Precautions booklet
  • Product Registration Information
  • Warranty Information Leaflet

 

Sony NWZ-A845 walkman specification:

The NWZ-A845 has an extensive spec list and you can find the full rundown HERE.

General

This media player has a very simple yet effective style and design as there is only what is needed on the device as I will show below.

As the device is so thin there is nothing on the top of the device as it’s just not needed. The left hand side of the device is also plain as nothing is needed here.

Walkman-angled-right

However on the right side there are the up and down volume controls which are as you can see separate buttons which is quite unusual with these types of devices. Also on this side of the device there is the hold button.

Walkman-side

The bottom of the device is where the 3.5mm port for headphones and the provides audio jack; also on the bottom is the Sony proprietary connector and an area where the user could connect a charm or lanyard to wear around the neck.

Walkman-bottom

The front of the device is where most of the controls are of course, there is quite a large OLED screen, a d-pad which contains up, down, left, and right controls; also in the middle of this is the play/pause button; and just above the d-pad is a back/home button and a multiple use power button that also doubles as the option button. There is nothing to speak of on the back of the device however apart from the walkman logo and a little information about the company on the bottom.

Walkman-back Walkman-front

Highlights

  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Simple user interface
  • Design
  • Large OLED Display

Lowlights

  • Choice of playback options e.g. Equalizers lacking
  • Stored software not that simple to use as there’s no in depth guide
  • Average sound
  • Limited video file support

 

Review

Well I have used this little device for little over a week fully and I can say that I have mixed views on it. This is for many reasons as I will explain further on in the review but for now I will concentrate on what I found to be good with the Sony NWZ-A845.

First off I would say that the design of the device is nothing short of stunning to be honest it’s one of the best looking and definitely the thinnest media player I’ve seen to date so this gave an extremely good first impression to me. As for the features of the device I would gladly say that the user interface is nothing short of brilliant because it is so very simple to use, anyone of any age group would find it very easy to control this little media player and have a very good time doing so; this is one of the highlights of the device for sure; one of my main likes about the player is the FM radio and this is basically because of the sheer quality of playback through the provided headphones, which incidentally is the only possible way of listening to the radio, as with many other devices on the market today. The sound is just as good if not better than any radio that I possess currently. I do however have one issue with the radio feature and that is when I was browsing for a local radio station it didn’t automatically find the stations that I knew were available so I then had to manually find the frequency which took a bit of time to do, and also when I did eventually find the radio stations the player didn’t display the name of the station all it showed was the frequency of the station; this disappointed me quite a bit if I’m honest because with almost every other media player I’ve had in the past they have displayed this clearly as standard.

Another quite positive thing about the device is the storage, from the box there is 14.1GB of storage space available to the user this is including the stored PC software on the device. This means that it has almost the same available space as that of an IPod Nano 16GB player, this I found to be a fantastic amount of storage as I am only used to 8GB with my iPod Touch, so it was a pleasant change for me to be able to put double the amount onto the device and I found there to be no playback issues with that much media on it.

As stated in the highlights and lowlights section there are both good and bad things about the music/podcast playback, first of all I will talk about the good points as I think the device has some definite potential in this area in particular. The main positive thing that I found with the music playback was the options when listening to tracks, during playback I was able to easily choose a different track by doing 1 of 2 things and they were to either press the back button until I got back to the menu and then chose a new track that way or there is a much simpler way of this, which is on the playback screen and is quite a neat little feature and it reminded me of an iPod quite a lot, the feature is basically to press the left arrow on the d-pad and a list came up giving options such as artist, albums etc. This was very helpful and it turned out to be very fast at changing tracks also so this feature I found to be one of the best that the device has.

Another quite incredible feature of the player is the built in noise cancellation that works with the headphones perfectly to block out external sound almost completely, and I have to be honest and say that it works absolutely brilliantly as when I was listening to music or watching a video I could barely hear people speaking to me (which as you can imagine didn’t go down too well with my family) but the feature impressed me a lot from the very beginning of using the device.

Now after all the incredible products that Sony have created in the past I was expecting the sound quality to be immense but unfortunately it wasn’t and the only way that I can describe it is that it sounded quite hollow and a little tinny, this happened when the device had all equalizers switched off but the sound turned to full, which is how I like to listen to music and I also like my music fairly loud but this wasn’t the case with the NWZ-A845 and I was quite disappointed with this especially as I was looking forward to epic sound.

However there is a shining light with this as there is something that I didn’t expect, when I was trying out the optional custom equalizer settings the sound was just as good as any other media player I’ve heard before so I was to be quite honest taken back by this, the problem with this though was actually getting the settings correct for it to sound good which no word of a lie took me around half an hour as I tried every single position on all of the different settings. Having been eventually impressed with the quality of the music playback I was a little apprehensive about how the video playback would be so I approached it carefully by checking the resolution, bit rate and frames per second that the device was compatible with and I tried a couple of different things to convert a movie into MP4 and I have to say that I was very impressed with the playback quality, it surpassed my expectations to be honest as the sound and the sharpness of the playback was fantastic. The one other thing that really impressed me was the fact that the PC software has an automatic convert tool built in so this means that when an incompatible video type is added to the player this program will automatically convert the video to the correct format for playback. This is the first time that I personally have seen this feature on media player software so I was pleasantly surprised, mainly because of how well it worked.

The final thing that I would like to mention is the media player’s battery life, now Sony state that it has a battery capable of up to 29 hours of mp3 music playback but I have a little bit of bad news regarding this and to be honest it was quite unexpected, I only managed to get 16 and a half hours music playback out of the device but if you think about it this is actually a positive with a negative as most devices aren’t capable of even managing 10 hours of mp3 playback an example of this is the IPod range which I’ve only ever managed to get a few hours constant playback out of. I did think about this carefully before deciding that this is actually a good thing for the player and for the user as they will be able to have a great player but also they will have more time in between charging to listen to their music etc…

Walkman-angled-left

Conclusion

Here we are with the conclusion to my review of the Sony NWZ-A845 and it’s that time again when I give my opinions on the device and then hopefully they will help you decide if this is the media player for you or not? Overall I did enjoy my time with this device, but it did take a while to grow on me because of the little teething problems that I encountered whilst using the product; but in the end I do love it and if the price was right I would consider replacing my iPod! What I would say is that anyone who doesn’t have any sort of media player experience but who does want to try one then I would certainly recommend this one to be a very wise purchase as it is very simple to use and does have a few cool features that make it stand out from the crowd.

 

Review by: Chris

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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