For those looking to run up a sweat in the gym accompanied by music, a persistent problem prevails - non water-resistant MP3 players with messy cables that end up being spoilt or dirty. Thankfully, Sony has come up with a tasteful and attractive solution, the Sony Walkman NWZ-W252 Digital Music Player, shipped with a USB port and a holder that prevents magnetic leakage. We see whether it is indeed suitable for the sports enthusiasts.
Set-up is relatively simple, though it requires a close look at the instruction manual before. The USB port allows the device to be charged as well as to be updated with songs, aided mostly by a program that is located in the flash drive of the player itself.
At first glance, the player can be easily mistaken as a pair of headphones or a Bluetooth headset. A closer look reveals that it is a compact and for most parts, cable-free music player that's meant to be worn around the back of your neck. At only 42g, the Sony Walkman W252 is a convenient device, especially for those who exercise, since it is a self-contained device - just separate the two headpieces, wear it and operate it with the buttons located at the sides of the gadget.
If you want to switch it off, simply join the pieces together at where the magnetic strip is, and separate them when you want the player on. While the buttons and click wheels are a tat tiny, you'll eventually get used to them with a bit of guesswork and fumbling. The fit is pretty comfortable, and tight - eradicating the omnipresent fear of them falling off during an exercise routine.
The Sony Walkman W252 comes with the Zappin mode, which allows users to get a quick preview of your songs until you track down the desired one. Another feature worthy of mention is that the player takes around 90 minutes to get the Sony Walkman W252 fully charged to its 11 hours worth of battery life; a rather fair trade-off, we must say. For those in a rush, do note that the nifty gadget has a rather unique function that allows you to charge it for a mere three minutes for 90 minutes of battery life. While it only comes with a small 2GB memory, it is targeted at those who needs a media player during short spurts of exercise sessions.
But back to the serious stuff: size, weight and functions-otherwise, the main attraction here is that the device is water-resistant. Of course, there are certain precautions to take. While the device is made to function even when in contact with water or sweat - the headphone sections are not water-tight, so if water enters the interior, it might make it difficult to hear.
Additionally, you have to make sure that the player's USB jack cover is closed. We tried splashing water on the player - even to the extent of submerging the gadget into a bowl of water and washing it and it still works without a hitch. The problem here is whether prolonged exposure to fluids will eventually lead to permanent damage, which is not something we can know now.
The Sony Walkman W252 isn't exactly a sturdy - in fact, it's bordering on flimsy - device. Nonetheless, it performed pretty decently in the music department, but users have to contend with its fixed set of headphones.
While it might not suffice for everyday listening, we seriously recommend the Sony Walkman NWZ-W252 for sports enthusiasts because it caters to the average gym goer or weekly runner who wouldn't mind a dash of music to go with their routine. With time-saving features like the Zappin mode or the quick power charge features, the device ensures that exercising with music is no longer a sticky affair.